How It Works

There are a few different ways the show is recorded, depending on how many people are on the show, and where those people are.

Two-people — You & Me — Remote

Most episodes are done like this. You are in your office. I'm in New York, in mine. We chat on Skype. I record everything from my end. Easy. It's just like a regular Skype call, only 1) we use great mikes, and 2) it gets recorded and broadcasted to a lot of people. If the connection is bad because of low networks speeds, then I might ask you to record the show from your end as well. I'll explain how to do so later, if needed.

Three or More People, remote

If we have three people or more then we need to record the show from Austin, from the 5by5 Studio. They will call you via Skype. And they'll call me via Skype, and everyone else, and toss us all together in Cyberspace. I'll make all the arrangements, and give you the details by email.


Sometimes everyone who is on the show is together in the same room. We don't use Skype for that! I'll bring all the equipment. You'll talk into the mike I bought. You know... like on TV.

Here’s some information to help you prepare for a guest appearance on The Web Ahead.


You will need:

  1. Microphone or USB headset — read more about what will and won't work.
  2. Skype account.
  3. Reliable internet connection, preferably wired ethernet (sometimes wifi connections aren't high-enough quality).
  4. Quiet environment, free of background noise. Preferably in a room that doesn't have an echo.
  5. No mobile phone close by (they can interfere with the audio).
  6. To turn off all background-uploading during the show — automatic backup programs, bit torrents, etc. Anything that might use significant internet bandwidth needs to be quit or paused.
  7. Please read Tips on Improving Sound Quality.

How It Works

  • This is an audio podcast. There is no video.
  • Email me your Skype name before the day of the show, and I'll send it to the folks at 5by5. Accept their connection request.
  • The folks at 5by5 will call you on Skype when it's time. Usually the stranger calling you is named Miranda. She's great. You can also message me in Skype if you are wondering what's going on. I'm 'jensimmons'.
  • We'll start with a sound check. And we can chat for a bit to make any plans. We'll start broadcasting live and recording whenever we are ready.
  • 5by5 will record all of the audio from Austin. There is no need to record yourself locally.
  • We'll live stream the show to a small audience. If you want, tell your friends and followers they can listen live and join the chatroom at Don't let the LIVE AUDIENCE thing frighten you. We can still totally "mess up". People love to hear the behind-the-scenes parts. It's a big part of why fans make time to listen live.
  • If you'd like to be in the chatroom during the show you can join the IRC Freenode channel #5by5, or go to Or if you think it'd be too distracting, then no need.
  • There will be a page on the 5by5 website for this episode (at[episode-number]) where we will list links in the show notes. Feel free to email me a list of link before the show, send links during the show (in skype chat or IRC), or email a list soon after we stop recording. I'll be writing up the description, title and organizing links right after we are done.
  • Shows usually post to the web a few hours after we stop recording. You can follow @5by5 on twitter to be notified the moment the show posts.
  • I'd love for you to write a blog post, tweet, etc about the show after it's out.

Tips for a Successful Interview

  • Focus on the show. A guest who is checking email, typing, eating, shuffling papers, and engaging in activities other than talking with the show's hosts will ruin the show. Don't laugh — this has happened more often that you'd believe.
  • Please don't use profanity. We broadcast live and have an audience that varies in age, background, and nationality, and do our best to maintain the same rules as broadcast radio or television. While many of us don't mind these words, allowing any profanity would require marking the show "explicit" in the iTunes store, which would make the show much less visible. A few strong words isn't worth being hidden from potential new listeners or upsetting those who do mind.
  • We are live-to-tape, and edit as little as possible. Assume that everything you say or do will be in the final, released show.