Women in Podcasting: Interview with Anne Stickney

The WoW Insider Show LogoAnne Stickney is a name that many people in the World of Warcraft community would easily recognize. She is also known as “Shade”, and has been on several podcasts. I am in awe of how much she knows about the lore of World of Warcraft and entertained by her “tin foil hat” ideas regarding it.

What made you decide to start podcasting? When did you get started? Can you give us a brief history of your experiences in podcasting?

I honestly didn’t make a conscious decision to start podcasting at all! I was asked to guest on a show called All Things Azeroth and talk about Warcraft. It went over really well, and I was asked back a few more times and then I was asked if I’d like to co-host. In the meantime, I also began working for WoW Insider. While I didn’t do the show every week, they had me on every now and again. When one of the hosts left the show, I was brought in to replace him. I can’t say that podcasting was something I ever saw myself doing, but I like to talk just as much as I like to write, and for pretty much the same reasons — just to get ideas out there and get people thinking and sharing their own thoughts and opinions. It’s a lot easier than you’d think, when you’re talking about Warcraft — the game already has a pretty passionate audience!

Your current podcast is the WoW Insider Show. What topics does it cover? Who hosts the show with you?

The show basically covers news about World of Warcraft — we also spend a lot of the show answering reader emails and addressing questions regarding the game. It’s been running for a very long time, with a multitude of different hosts. Currently, Matt Rossi is the main host of the show and I co-host with him. We also bring in either Adam Holisky or Alex Ziebart on a rotating schedule. We’ve found that three people seems to be the magic number for stirring up plenty of conversation and multiple points of view!

How long have you been playing World of Warcraft? What makes the game interesting for you? What other games do you play?

I’ve actually been playing World of Warcraft since the original beta back in 2004. Ten years! But it hasn’t gotten old yet, and that’s mostly because of the great story Blizzard has put together — it’s one of the more expansive fantasy universes out there. The Warcraft universe didn’t even start with World of Warcraft, it started all the way back in 1994 with Warcraft:Orcs and Humans, an RTS game. So there’s twenty years worth of history, lore, and development to keep me occupied. Currently I’m not playing a lot of other games, but I generally stick to RPGs or games with a lot of story when I’m playing — games like Skyrim, Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Mass Effect – I even picked up Wildstar briefly when it came out. As long as it’s got an entertaining story behind it, I’m all in.

What words of wisdom would you share with women who are thinking about doing a podcast?

Make sure you’re discussing something you’re knowledgeable and passionate about. If you don’t know enough about a subject, look it up — uncertainty carries through your voice and speech patterns more than you’d think. Dead air is the enemy — but even worse is talking over or interrupting people. Let people have their say, and jump in when there’s a natural break in the conversation. Listen to yourself after you’re done recording. It might sound weird to hear your own voice, but you’ll also pick up on any nervous habits you might have when you speak, filler words and phrases you use far too often, and you can work on cutting those out.

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