Denzel Walkes

Denzel's an independent writer and podcaster from San Diego, CA. In his free time, he dabbles in graphic design, project management, and information technology.

Denzel's learning how to run businesses. This site is a testament to the journey.

Project 001: The Smoke Show: A BBQ Podcast Part Two!


The Smoke Show: A BBQ Podcast Part Two!


When I initially started Real Nerd Hours, I had no clue what I was doing. I think that organizing the episodes with one sheets was immensely helpful to guiding myself through podcasting. I know I’ve used the term before, but that was in a different context, and, shamefully, I’m not that creative. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that there are Show One Sheets and Episode One Sheets… for now.

Organizing the episodes is pretty easy depending on how in depth you want to go. You don’t need to write everything that you’re going to say line for line, which is a huge positive. You just want to have a few topics outlined and their corresponding minute marks. Remember that the times don’t need to be completely consistent across the board either. The intro can be eight minutes one time and three minutes another. It’s really up you. The important part is having the outline.

The outline of the episode is pretty important if you don’t want to just have a show that rambles. There isn’t anything wrong with random tangents, but this is something that should help you stay on track if you don’t want that.  There are a few ways you can go about organizing your episodes and we’ll be going over that in this post.

For the following examples we’ll be going over the first three episodes of our brand new (fake) show, The Smoke Show: A BBQ Podcast. As you would imagine, episode one will be the introductory episode. Let’s get started.

Episode One

This example will be the strictest of the three. I think it works to our benefit here because it is the very first episode after all. Think of this one sheet as the training wheels for the episode.

Introductory segments
0:00-0:30: Intro Music
0:25-0:45: As the music fades out, come in with the title of the show and the tagline. Introduce myself and my co-host.
0:45-5:00: Give listeners an extended history of myself and my co-host’s history with BBQ and why we love it so much. Utilize the “Vision” statement if necessary. Introduce the following topic as conversation comes to a close.

First Segment
5:00-9:00: 3 Tips for BBQ beginners. List one tip, then explain why it’s important!

Main Segment
9:00-22:00: Which region of the US has our favorite BBQ? Discuss the differences between each region and what they pride themselves on. Discuss why these things are important.

22:00-23:30: Thank everyone for listening and give out the social media information

Pretty simple, right?? There really is nothing to it. Though, this does assume you have knowledge of the topics you’re speaking about. It would be a weird choice to pick stuff you have no idea about… don’t do that.

Episode Two

This outline will be a little bit simpler. What we’re doing is including far less information. This will represent what it’ll be like after you’ve got 15 or 16 episodes under your belt. You’re a little more experienced but not quite a master!

Introductory Segment
First 3 minutes: Intro music. Host intros and small talk
Following 7 Minutes listener questions

First Segment
Between 4-6 minutes Top 5 Sides for the cookout!

Main Segment
15-18 minutes International BBQ! How’s it compares to US BBQ. Fusion dishes. Favorite Dishes.

Thank everyone for listening and give out the social media information

It really only gets easier from here.

Episode Three


This portion is the meta-outline zone. There is no outline. The only outline that exists is the outline of the mind! This episode would represent when you’re maybe 30-40 episodes into recording your podcast. You’d be pretty seasoned at this point.

Let this serve as a reminder. Once you get to a certain point in podcasting you’ll be able to remember everything that you want to bring up for your topics. The only thing you’ll need to keep track of is the time. It’s always helpful to keep notes of important points that you want to make during your episodes, but it’s not a huge deal. All of it is personal preference.

I’ve been known to go back to the type of outline seen with episode 2 when I have guests on the show. I do this so we don’t spend too much time on a single topic. I often put questions under the headers for each of the sections. Guests are another monster in themselves!


I hope this post helps you along with your podcasting journey. Again, none of this is mandatory for creating a podcast. It’s something that has certainly help me and others not get lost in the weeds on the way!

Enjoy what you’ve seen so far? Join our email list at the bottom of the page to ensure that you never miss a post or podcast.

Lastly, we will never share your information with anyone!!

Project 001: The Smoke Show: A BBQ Podcast Part One!


The Smoke Show: A BBQ Podcast Part One!

Here it is! It’s finally here. I’m sorry it took so long. It was definitely a major failing on my part. Without further ado, part one of The Smoke Show Project!

Pre-production is easily the toughest part of the show. This is where all the heavy lifting is done aside from planning out each show. The pre-pro here will hopefully act as a template for your process when you decide to pursue your show!

Tech Specs!!

We’ll start here, this is some basic information that helps with keeping your branding in mind. The length is just a reminder of how long to go, there really isn’t any other reason. The title and tagline are used to concisely express what the show is about without visual aids. The font, colors, cover style, and tone are reminders for any designers making additional art for your show outside of your current cover art. This helps to keep the branding consistent. Also, keep in mind for the colors, it’s best to put the hex codes rather than the names of the colors as I’ve done below (#000000 = black). I’ve put the names down there to communicate the names of the colors rather than leave you scratching your head as to what they were. Also, it helps designers know the EXACT color to target for your work.

Length: 22-25 minutes, without ads
Sample Rate: 44100 Hz
Bit Depth: 16 Bit
Export Settings: MP3, 112 kbps, CBR
Title: The Smoke Show: A BBQ Podcast!
Tagline: The hottest BBQ podcast on the internet!!

Font: Chunk Five, Arial
Colors: Maroon, Red, Gold, Black
Cover Style: Box
Tone: Fun, macho, informational


The tone is just a short reminder on how to treat the show while we’re on it. This is incredibly important if you don’t know which way you want to go with your show and you have a tendency to ramble about things and become increasingly serious as time goes on. It’s fine if that happens, but just not during your show because… you know… that’s not what your show is about! This is something that plagues me from time to time.

The tone of the show with be comedic and educational. Some may call it edutainment, my favorite portmanteau!


This part isn’t too crazy. This is just basic information about the host and co-host. A little background about you and why you’re going the podcast.

I have 5 years’ experience in barbecue. I was a pitmaster at my fathers’ small restaurant. Don’t worry; I still am! Every day I go to work with a big smile on my face. I wondered how I could improve my craft. After some thought, I found that teaching was a great way to reaffirm my skillset. Not only would it force me to think about why I choose to do things the way I do, but it would give me the opportunity to have the ideas challenged by a community.


The vision serves as the about section of your show. It’s helps because you can just take it a plug it in on your website for your show! The can also serve as the information you send to any potential guests you want to have on the show as a succinct summary of your show. This is incredibly useful! Don’t skip this part!

We love barbecue! Barbecue has had such a tremendous effect on our lives. Every holiday our family would barbecue at least one dish. I’ve continued this tradition with my family. It means more to me than just cooked meats. It means more than tasty meals. It means home. It means family. It means joy.  We hope that with this show, we can share our love of the art with people!

Our show will be a one stop shop for learning about and how to barbecue. Do you know the difference between Texas and Kansas barbecue? Well, how about North Carolina and Memphis? I bet you can’t tell me how Argentinian and Caribbean barbecue compare. That’s right! Barbecue is worldwide!!!

We hope to teach people about the vast world of barbecue as well as the best techniques to get the best out of their grills. Don’t worry; the history of barbecue will be covered too! We’ll also be interview big names in the barbecue game to bring some of the best insights in the game to the barbecue world!

With this show, I hope to build a strong community of barbecue enthusiasts and professionals alike. I hope that my experience with the craft will help people learn to enjoy it, or at the very least, entertain them.

We love barbecue and after a few episodes, you will too!

Cover Art!!

This is easily the most interesting part, thanks for waiting for this portion!!!

As you saw in the thumbnail of this post, here is the cover art for the show! I designed it myself using a combination of free elements from This is one of the steps I recommend deferring to a party that knows more about graphic design. As much as I like the cover art, I think some one else could convey a stronger message with a bit less effort. I’ve included a video in hyper-speed of me designing the cover.

There were a lot of directions that I considered going in for the logo, but I think this one came together really well. A lot better than what I was expecting, to be honest. The point of this was to concisely convey what the show is about when someone looks at it.

The title is present, in the event that someone isn’t familiar with American BBQ. It also includes a grill, spatula, and grill fork to add a visual representation of BBQ. This helps to make it a little more interesting when someone looks at it. The background is made up of food, tools, and bottles to add even more interesting visuals to the cover art. The art does exactly what it needs to: it shows exactly what the show is about in an interesting way!

The only step here that is mandatory is the cover art and you don’t even have to do that yourself! It’s cheaper and a lot of fun if you can, but by no means is it necessary. The ‘vision’ portion is also pretty important because it’s a multi-use part of your show. You write it and it can be applied for so many things! Those two have unlimited upside!

‘Tone’ and ‘Tech Specs’ certainly have their uses, too! The latter serves as a technical guide to help anyone who may or may not come in to record an episode or design specs for someone creating art for you! ‘Tone’ is a reminder to keep on track for the show!

Don’t feel like you need to do any of these steps to be successful (except cover art, of course). Do it how you want!

Enjoy what you’ve seen so far? Join our email list at the bottom of the page to ensure that you never miss a post or podcast. 

Lastly, we will never share your information with anyone!!

Project Announcement 001: The Smoke Show: A BBQ Podcast

Sup gang!

In the coming weeks I’ll be dropping massive knowledge on you! I’ll be going through the steps of building a podcast. It’ll be The Smoke Show: A BBQ Podcast. The project will be done in 3 parts. Part 1 will discuss the pre-production steps involved in creating a podcast; part 2 will be planning the show; and, finally, part 3 will discuss a monetization strategy for the show.

Part 1 is going to be the most involved of the parts. That will have discussion on the one sheet for the show. A one sheet, for our purposes, is an encapsulation of the the show as a whole, including logo, brand fonts, colors, and tone of the show, history, and vision.

To be perfectly honest, I just want to see what it’s like to create a project from scratch with this in mind.

Part 2 is going to be smooth sailing. I’m going to plan out 3 episodes of the show from beginning to end.

Part 3 will go over a few ways that I could monetize the show.

I look forward to embarking on this project with you all. I hope it’ll be as enlightening to you as it will be for me!

I interviewed Landon Donovan

It’s been an uncharacteristic year for weather in San Diego. June gloom, something that has barely existed in my memory, was front and center at 7:45 am when I spoke to soccer legend Landon Donovan. We sat across from each other at local US Women’s National team supporter’s bar O’Brien’s — the very American pub sitting dead center of an area known for its Asian cuisines.

Seated on stiff backed chairs in an atmosphere smelling of last night’s beer and stale cigarettes, Landon and I spoke briefly about what he hopes to accomplish in his role. He’s started as Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations with the United Soccer League Championship’s newest, yet-to-be-named franchise here in San Diego.

Founded in 2010, the United Soccer League Championship, serves as the second division to Major League Soccer, the United States’ premier professional soccer league for men. San Diego joins Chicago and Oakland in becoming the latest additions to the USLC’s growing list of teams

Chronicles of San Diego Episode 11: Geneviéve Jones-Wright

I interviewed Geneviéve Jones-Wright for the San Diego Chronicle this passed Friday. Though it’s the first time I’ve appeared on the site, it won’t be the last!


You can find similar content on



Welcome back to the Chronicles of San Diego Podcast!

This is a show all about San Diego and the various different individuals, institutions, events, civic and cultural issues that represent the spirit of America’s Finest City.

The San Diego Chronicle was conceived with two major goals in mind; to explore and explain San Diego with the content we create, and to inspire others to get involved with their own definition of community. The response so far has been really encouraging.

The cast of Chronicle contributors continues to grow, and on the latest episode, we tried something different. A while back I met a gentleman by the name of Denzel Walkes at the first ever Crafting Community with Conversation event that I threw at Bay City Brewing back in November of 2017.

Denzel and I have kept in touch since then and when the Chronicle launched, he mentioned he was interested in getting involved. It took some time for us to sync up but when the trailers for the Crafting Community with Conversation video series started dropping, Denzel presented me with a pretty comprehensive plan for exactly how he wanted to contribute.

Thus, this interview with Geneviéve Jones-Wright was conceived. I’d like to thank Denzel for stepping up and making this happen, as well as Geneviéve Jones-Wright herself for taking the time to chat just days before the primary election when her race will be decided. I’d like to extend a special thanks to Mary Latibashvili for setting the wheels in motion to get this interview done.

As always, if you enjoy this program please leave us a rating and review on iTunes or Stitcher or GooglePlay or wherever you consume these sounds from. Share it with your friends and family. Share it with your neighbors and colleagues. Help us continue to grow and improve when you send your feedback to us at or on social media @TheSDChronicle on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Subscribe to the YouTube channel! Shits lit. The first episode of the Crafting Community with Conversation is up and people are loving it.


Top Three Ways to Work Without Motivation


Top Three Ways to Work Without Motivation

You ever feel like you don’t want to be at work? Of course you do! There are times when I don’t want to write these god tier blog posts, record podcasts, shoot YouTube videos, stream on Twitch, all while going to work five days a week. Most of the time I’m pretty gassed to take on new challenges and achieve small goals that feed into larger ones.  Some days, however, I do wake up without the necessary drive to get things done. That’s where it gets hard.

Motivation is a tough.  Especially because it comes and goes like that stray cat that you fed once. It was only that one time, right?! It just kept coming back to hang out so you kept feeding it, didn’t you? Why not take it in and make it part of your life permanently?

That’s kind of like what hobbies are like. If a hobby keeps coming back over time, maybe you want to do something like make that hobby a permanent fixture. Maybe see what else the hobby can do for you besides entertain.

That’s where I am. I want to start taking my hobbies far more seriously. That’s part of the reason why I started this blog. Another reason is because I want to become a stronger writer. I also want it to serve as the home base to the content that I create.  There are a lot of things I want to do that will all lead back to this website.

Well, back to the original question: there are a lot of mountains in life that demand conquering. How do I keep climbing if I’m not feeling motivated? That’s hard to answer. Here are three things that help me get on or stay on track when I’m not feeling motivated. This isn’t about regaining your lost motivation. It’s about defeating the need for it; working around it.


File footage of my schedule

Keeping things scheduled not only helps me keep track of my goals, but it keeps them together in digestible chunks that I can continue to return to. When I schedule a task, I try my best not go over the allotted time. This helps me keep my desire to come back. If I stop before I’m tired of doing what I’m doing, I’m either going to be amped to come back, or, at the very least, I won’t be tired of it. That’s how I justify it, at least.

Scheduling also allows me to fit more into a single day. It’s pretty easy to get lost in a task; to spend all day doing one thing. I really enjoy everything that I’ve been doing lately so I like to vary what I do. This helps me stay fresh on each task.

That isn’t to say that I schedule everything that I want to do. If I want to play with one of the far-too-many yoyos I own, I don’t block out 15 minutes of my day to do that. By no means is it necessary to schedule time for every one of your hobbies. That’d be dumb. This is just something I like to do so I don’t find myself dicking around when I want to get things done.

Scheduling is solely for hobbies that I have goals associated with. For instance, if I wanted to become a competition yoyo player, then I’d schedule time every day to play with the yoyo. As of now, I schedule time for podcasting, recording YouTube videos, writing, and Twitch streaming.

Set Goals

Me every time I complete a small goal

I’m very competitive. Even if it means the only person I can beat is myself (heyooooo). What helps me keep on track with specific tasks is setting goals for myself. They aren’t lofty, world beating goals, they are snack-sized, easily digestible goals.

Going back to the example of becoming a competition yoyo player, an example goal would be to master a trick every session, or every other session. That, to me, is incredibly reasonable. Though, admittedly, it may not be completely reasonable to other people. Choosing what’s within your scope is a big part of setting goals. You never want to stress yourself out because it’s just something you’re doing on the side, after all.

Again, setting goals for your hobbies isn’t necessary. It’s just something you can do to help you work around seeking motivation, if necessary.

Make your hobby a habit

It was a trick! The first two are really working toward this last one. I do those other things until my hobby is habitual. You ever need motivation to brush your teeth??? No way! You’ve been doing it since you were a kid… hopefully.

How long, exactly, does it take for something to become a habit? Some dork said that it takes around 66 days to build a habit. I don’t know if that’s entirely true. The real answer is something becomes a habit when it does. I know that isn’t exactly a satisfying answer, but it’s really up to you. How long does it take for you to make a habit or break one? No one person’s answer is going to be the same as anyone else’s. That’s just how it works.

When I was wee lad, I played basketball every Tuesday and Thursday from 17:00 to 20:00. I did this for over three years. I don’t know about you, but when something becomes a habit, the task just becomes incredibly natural. It occurs without me having to think about it. There were holidays that I’d show up to the gym without thinking about it! It became second nature for me to go out and play. Habit is very powerful. By the by, I recommend a lovely book called The Power of Habit. It’s incredibly helpful.

I hope you found this post helps you find your way around motivation! You don’t really need it, trust me. Also, as a side note, if you’ve reached the point where you don’t have the motivation to get out of bed, or you’re struggling to make it through the day, please seek professional help. Everybody needs somebody sometime! Never be ashamed to see someone!

Enjoy what you’ve seen so far? Join our email list at the bottom of the page to ensure that you never miss a post or podcast.

Lastly, we will never share your information with anyone!!

Podcast Equipment for Beginners


Podcast Equipment for Beginners


Podcasts come in varying qualities. I’ve heard shows that sound like they could be on the radio down to shows that I could barely understand. Hardware plays an important part of every podcast – for obvious reasons – but it isn’t the end all be all to a show.

With this post, I hope to elucidate which gear I use and what I recommend for a starter show. There are three categories: Microphones, Interfaces, and Accessories. They aren’t listed in any order of importance.

Off rip, the links posted here are my Amazon Associates links. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

With further ado, here it is: the podcast equipment post. Let’s get right into this.

First, this is the podcast gear that I use:


To start, the Audio Technica AT2020 is a really solid mic. The aesthetic is neat, it works well, and it’s fairly cheap. There’s a bit of self-noise in the microphones, but that’s never been an issue. The MXL 770 is a little cheaper, uglier, but better.

I’ve had the MXL 770s for years. They are fantastic microphones. I actually prefer them to the AT2020s. The 770s have a pre-attenuation switch that allows me to reduce the power of the signal without distorting the waveform. It also has a high pass filter switch. These mics have a lower self-noise than the AT2020s. That isn’t to say that the AT2020s aren’t good microphones, they are. I just prefer the 770s


This is the trickiest part of this whole thing. There are plenty of interfaces that can be used, if needed. You can completely skip this if you pick up a couple USB microphones.

To record Real Nerd Hours, I use a Focusrite 18i20 USB interface. It’s expensive, but it’s really solid. The reason I use this is because I need to record every person on their own track. This device has 8 XLR inputs, which, I agree, is overkill. At most, we’ve had five people on a single recording. Focusrite’s next smallest device, the 18i8, has 4 XLR inputs, which is completely fine.

For mobile recording, we use a Zoom H6. I love this thing! I really do. It makes recording a snap. The compressor and limiter features on this things are incredible. It has 4 XLR inputs and can be expanded to 6. It records each input on its own track as well. The only major negative is that it is battery powered. It can be powered through a mini USB port on the side of it. It’s so cool. If I had to redo anything, I think I would have started recording RNH using the H6.

Lastly, I use a Behringer Xenyx Q802USB for my desktop. It is a USB mixer. I use it strictly for web based interviews. I can tweak the EQ to provide a richer sound for the interviews I conduct online. This one isn’t very useful, I’ll admit. I’d rather just use the Focusrite for my audio inputs. I just so happened to buy this.

With the exception of the USB mixer, all of this stuff is fairly expensive. I don’t recommend this level of investment for podcasting beginners. Especially because most podcasts don’t make any amount of money.


I use standard XLR cables for my microphones. There isn’t anything crazy about them.

A pop filter is used to help prevent plosives when speaking into a microphone. Plosives distort audio. You don’t want them. Cloth pop filters are a must – they are considerably cheaper than metal pop filters.

I use a couple different stands for my podcast. One is the RODE PSA1 Swivel Mount Boom Arm and a couple random kick drum mic stands that I put on a desk.




I know this can be overwhelming, but just stay with me here. These are the things that I recommend you buy. These are based on one to three person setups. Recording by yourself is pretty easy and cheap. Recording with others is more difficult and expensive. Below I’ve broken out gear for recording by yourself and with others.

Keep in mind that the room you record in is THE single most important facet of the recording process. The room effects the sound of the recording more than the microphones do.


This is what I recommend you invest the most money in. You do not need a $400 Shure SM7B or any incredibly high-end microphone. I recommend keeping it under $100. You can have really great quality if you know how to work it. I would definitely buy MXL 770s. They are fantastic.

You can always run with multiple USB microphones. The Yeti and Snowball are both very good options for beginners. That will keep you from purchasing a USB audio interface, which will save you a lot of money.


The Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD is a pretty rad device. It’s got four inputs and that can be recorded on to separate tracks. It works fairly well. Its cost is on the lower end of these types of devices and it’ll help you start with relative ease.

On the higher end, we have the Focusrite Scarlett 18i8. As I mentioned before, I do have the 18i20. Focusrite makes really great devices. I haven’t ever had any problems with mine and we’ve been going every week for a year and a half. This, I will say, is more money than you should spend at the beginning. It’s a great device and all that, but don’t do it.

I’m not a big fan of USB mixers because they don’t allow for multi-track recording and it’s a pain to edit audio that’s all on one track. I don’t feel comfortable recommending any at this point in time. If I don’t like to use them, how could I justify telling you to? Though, I will say, if you really feel like you should buy one, Behringer Q1202USB is pretty decent. That’s the most I can say for the device.


Definitely get pop filters. For a barebones set up, you really only need pop filters and stands. This can be ignored if you are using certain handheld microphones.

Obviously, if you’re using XLR microphones, you’ll need XLR cables.


I hope this post helped you in deciding which hardware you should purchase for your podcast. Remember, the gear won’t make a show good, that’s what you’re there for! If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment or reach out to me through the contact form on the site!


Enjoy what you’ve seen so far? Join our email list at the bottom of the page to ensure that you never miss a post or podcast.

Lastly, we will never share your information with anyone!!