Who Is This Idiot?

Dana Sciandra (L), host and owner of Stimulated Boredom, with his wife near their home outside of Washington D.C.

The voice and opinion you hear each week are that of Dana Sciandra, the host, and owner of ‘Stimulated Boredom.’

Impassioned, sarcastic, opinionated, tangential and often goofy; Dana brings his unique perspective to every topic he writes about and discusses. Whether its politics, history, science, and current events; or gaming, gadgets, geek culture, comic books, and movies, listeners and readers can rest assured that he has an opinion to share on all of it!


A Quick Q&A


Q: Why did you start ‘Stimulated Boredom’?

“The earliest seeds of the program were sown by the 1990 movie, “Pump up the Volume.” In the film, an introverted and insightful teenager finds an outlet for his viewpoints through shortwave radio and uses his pirate radio show to rant against the injustices and hypocrisies taking place in his community, school, and in society in general. To his great surprise, he realizes that he’s garnered a loyal following of listeners and can effect change. I always found this concept very appealing.

I started the program back in 2005 as a reaction to my frustration with the 2004 Presidential election and needing a place to vent. Frankly, my friends and family were getting tired of my incessant need to express my opinion and desire to debate.

So, I researched ways to create my own ‘pirate radio station’ and learned about a very new and emerging platform called ‘podcasting,’ at a time when no one had a clue what the hell they were. The website and everything else surrounding the show evolved from there.”

Q: And?

“It was a massive success…I’m accepting my Peabody Award next month, not to mention a Tony Award for the Broadway adaptation.”

….And?

Fine.

I began the show with a simple computer headset and a laptop. The first show that I recorded was roughly 45 minutes long; however, I don’t recall much of it, as I may have intentionally repressed that memory.

Sitting down to record that first episode, I didn’t feel confident that I would be able to speak through an entire episode, unedited and without stumbling over my words. So, I recorded multiple short clips and then edited all of them together into one ‘seamless’ 45-minute show.

Upon listening back to the episode, this approach bothered me because it didn’t sound very organic or conversational, which is my usual speaking style. But, I put all that work in, so I decided to upload the episode and roll the dice. To my great surprise and delight, people immediately started listening in and emailing me with their comments and feedback. From that moment, I was hooked.

It was from that point forward that I established my ‘cardinal rule,’ which was to take a, ‘hit record and go’ approach to every single show that followed, with minimal editing, to maintain a genuine, organic and natural discussion.”


Q: What Political Affiliation Are You?

“I am a staunch Independent. Concerning political/social discussions on the podcast and website, I am neither liberal, conservative, libertarian, moderate or progressive.

As should be the case with anyone who is contemplating the complexities of domestic, foreign and social issues, I am all of these descriptions. The adjective that best describes my stance is wholly contingent upon the individual subject, and not the naïve acceptance of each plank of a particular political party’s platform. There’s a deep divide between honesty and ideology these days.

I am a profoundly opinionated and passionate person who stresses being informed, accurate and seeing all sides of a debate before formulating a personal opinion, including the right to change my mind; a virtue that is lost in today’s ‘my team versus your team’ political environment.”

CLICK HERE for more on my personal politics


Q: What Makes You Qualified To Host a Podcast?

“As with almost every podcast host, absolutely nothing. I am just a guy with a lot of interests, opinions, and a microphone.

I’ve been told that I have a unique way of looking at things, interpreting them and talking about it. I have also been described as someone who, “knows a lot about a little, and a little about a lot.”

I’ve always been a student of human behavior and have had a tremendous amount of personal experiences that have helped to inform my many opinions. I love to debate and considering all sides of an issue before forming an opinion. I’m a voracious reader and love to learn new things. I like to stay informed about the World around me and am passionate about being an engaged citizen.

I put a premium on being accurate, even if it doesn’t support my personal beliefs. In other words, I don’t shape information to fit a particular narrative. On the podcast, I try to make clear what the different sides of an argument are, what my personal opinion is, and how I came to form that opinion.

If you like what you hear, great. If you don’t, feel free to shut off the show and go back to finger-painting.”


Why The Name, “Stimulated Boredom?”

“I just wanted to come up with an apt name that would encapsulate the vast array of topics that I would want to discuss and write on. At the same time, I did not want the show to take itself too seriously.

Since the show would cover so many different topics of discussion and not just one, ‘Stimulated Boredom’ seemed like the perfect name. It’s a nice purposeful oxymoron, meant to denote that it’s something stimulating to listen to or read whenever you’re bored.

The show may transition from the serious to silly at any given time, but always with the intent to simultaneously entertain, inform and educate.”


Q: Do You Swear On The Show?

“Fuck no.

OK, maybe.

Yes, a lot.

Too much, really.”


Q: How Has The Show Changed Over The Years?

“You mean other than it initially being about scrapbooking?

I would say that the show has evolved, but it has always been able to maintain its core principles, which is to (hopefully) be a combination of organic, conversational, unedited, well-informed, entertaining, educational, and interesting.

When I initially started the podcast, I wasn’t exactly sure what I would discuss, I just knew that I was interested in a lot of things and that was probably a good start. For instance, in the earlier days, I tried different ‘bits’ that were more common to terrestrial radio, like incorporating goofy sound effects from soundboards or audio clips from the news and I would comment on it.

For a while, I broke the show into four consistent segments, including the main topic of discussion, a secondary issue, audio clips from the news with my commentary, and then listener email.

At one point, each show was upwards of 15+ hours per week, and I am pretty sure that there is a diagnosable mental condition for people who can comfortably talk to themselves for that long. Over time, of course, I have reduced the show length to a more manageable 1-3 hours in length, and have guest hosts and friends join me from time to time.

But I think the program has settled into a ‘groove,’ and listeners always know what to expect.”


Q: Why a Podcast?

“The FCC does not regulate internet radio or podcasting; therefore I don’t feel constrained by advertisers, regulations, station affiliations, etc. I just wanted to create something that allowed for frank and honest discussion, without having to think twice before saying it or having my content influenced by any restrictions.

For those reasons, I believe that podcasts are an incredible platform for content creators.”


Q: Do You Get Paid?

“Nope. But I do accept tips and delicious baked goods.

I get asked this pretty often, mainly why I would put so much effort into something without any compensation. The simple answer is that I enjoy it. For me, it’s no different than pouring countless hours into a hobby that you love. I am passionate about the things that I talk/write about, and the podcast/website is an excellent outlet for this.

If people would like to support the show they can donate through Paypal. 100% of all donations go into producing the program and covering hosting and website fees.

I used to offer merchandise and may do so again in the future, and I appreciate those who have purchased Stimulated Boredom gear. I also have no intention or inclination ever to make people pay to hear the show either.”

Leah, a listener from PA, sporting her Stimulated Boredom t-shirt


 

Q: Lastly, What Are You Most Proud Of When It Comes To Stimulated Boredom?

“I am most proud of the way that it has grown over the years. The fact that it has attracted listeners in all 50 states and over 112 countries, that still blows my mind, and that people are willing to listen to my particular brand of bullshit. The podcast and website have changed quite a bit from their original roots in politics, but the core principles and goals have remained the same.

I still get a kick when a listener or visitor writes the show and mentions that they voted for the first time, became better informed or interested in a subject that they previously knew nothing about, or began looking at a particular topic a little differently because of the podcast or website. Of everything that I receive, these have always been my favorite comments!

In recent years the show and website have become more focused on pop/geek culture, along with other general interest topics. I still follow politics closely – hell, I live in Washington D.C. – but don’t talk about it as often on the show because I’d like to maintain my sanity.

I also really love and appreciate the fantastic community that has developed around the show.”

Dana Sciandra (R), with his wife Shannon.