Back in 2005, Jimmy introduced Jason to something called podcasts. It was a great alternative to terrestrial radio, which had taken a steep nose-dive in entertainment value. Since that introduction, Jason has downloaded and listened to thousands of podcasts.
The two of them eventually talked about trying to make their own podcast. After many ideas, they finally recorded a pilot episode for “The Underground Cavalry” podcast on July 3, 2008. It was an awkward setup where each recorded their part on their own recorder while they went for a bike ride. The two recordings were later edited together, bumper music was added and their first show was finished. And canceled. They never recorded a second episode.
Eventually their equipment and technology had reached a point where recording a podcast in their own homes would be an easy task, especially since they already spent many nights talking over Ventrilo while playing on their computers. Why not record some of those conversations and call it a podcast? On February 12, 2011, they had their first Bored Meeting regarding a new podcast. It was at that meeting they discussed the format, the recording schedule and everything else regarding the show, including the name. Where did “The Collective Brain” name come from? It was a line from a song they recorded called “Meaning of Number” in December 1998.
And so the two of them recorded the first “Collective Brain” episode on February 22, 2011. The show was edited that night and posted. The show was a relative success. But after a dozen or so shows, the magic was gone for Jimmy. He was quickly losing interest in the show. By episode 15 or 16, Jason suggested they make it to episode 20, then take a month or two off and come back for a “second season.” Episode 20 was released on July 5, 2011, and the show went on hiatus. The break came and went and Jimmy was not ready to return. Would there be a season 2 or was the show dead?
Ken was the first guest on the show (episode 3) and had returned three more times in season 1. So Jason asked Ken if he wanted to take Jimmy’s place. Without hesitation, Ken accepted. Season 2 was on! They released episode 21, the first of the new season, on September 7, 2011. It was decided that each season from then on would consist of 12 episodes. On November 22, 2011, they released the final episode of season 2. Near the end of season 2, Harry had been a guest on a couple of shows. And due to changes in his job, Harry was more readily available for the show. Changes for the upcoming season 3 were discussed over the 2011 holiday season.
On February 22, 2012, exactly one year after episode 1 was released, episode 33 (the first of season 3) was released. The big change was Harry was now the permanent third host on the show. After Jason spent two seasons of editing every episode, the workload was now shared among the three hosts. They each edited four episodes throughout the twelve-episode season which allowed them a lot more time per show to edit. Many hours were spent editing, polishing and tweaking each episode. By the end of season 3, they were exhausted. Although each of them loved editing, the shows were becoming too monstrous to handle even just once every three weeks! They all welcomed the 2012 summer break. During the second half of season 3, another co-worker, Brad, had frequented the show, providing live sound effects and an added touch of chaos. The show formula was nearing perfection…
Although recording season 3 had been fun, editing each episode had become a monstrous task. So the decision to try a more “live” format was made. Jason now used a soundboard for all the bumper music and sound effects so the entire show could be recorded without pause. Of course there were still goof-ups and the occasional post-production edits, but they loved the time saved with the new format. In addition to that change, the cast expanded once again. Brad was now the official fourth member of the show. And one of the biggest stars to come out of season 4 was Squatchy, the first celebrity Bigfoot. Season 4 began on September 27, 2012, and ended on December 13, 2012.
Big changes at their day jobs forced thoughts of the podcast to the back burner during the 2012 holiday season. There had been talk of season 5 starting around February 22, the traditional spring season start date. As that date neared, Jason broached the topic with Ken, Harry and Brad. It was a unanimous “yes” for season 5. On February 25, 2013, season 5 began. The day of release would now be Monday mornings. This gave them the entire week prior to release to get the show recorded and the weekend for Jason to do any editing. The plan worked great! The Brain Theatre was trimmed down to an every-other-week schedule and it only featured the Continuing Adventures of Squatchy. Even with all the changes, the podcast had a successful fifth seson and ended on May 13, 2013.
Yet the show still needed something “new,” something they hadn’t done before. During the summer break after season 5, the show put a call out to local musicians to be featured in a new Local Musician/Band segment for season 6. The response was much better than they expected and season 6 premiered on September 9, 2013. The cast remained the same and the release schedule stayed the same. Every other episode featured the continuing Squatchy serial (Squatchy’s third season of adventures) during the Brain Theatre segment. And on each week between Squatchy shows, they debuted a pilot episode for six proposed new serials. After season 6 concluded on December 2, 2013, the polls were opened for the listeners to vote which pilot would be turned into a 6-part serial to air during season 7 of the podcast.
Season 7 began on February 24, 2014. As was the custom now, new segments were introduced while older segments were cut. Squatchy continued its Brain Theatre run with an every-other-week fourth season. Between Squatchy episodes, Western Hero made its 6-part debut. Jimmy, co-host from season 1, made his return to the show in the form of the chatroom. He did not have a mic hooked up and could only communicate by text, which lead to his credits as being “Jimmy (kind of).” Season 7 also debuted Squatchy’s singing talent in the form of his debut CD, For the Love of Squatchy. But with all the fun and merriment, a dark cloud loomed in the form of whether Brad would return for season 8. With big changes in his life, Brad’s possible departure could mean big changes in the show too. The season ended on May 19, 2014.
Season 8 began on September 19, 2014, with Jay, Ken and Harry hosting (the same cast as season 3). Jimmy would often appear in the chatroom and occasionally would come on as host. The format was relatively the same with a main topic followed by smaller segments. A new section called the Outhouse Segment was a place to throw all the extra “crap” that didn’t have its own segment. The season lacked a Brain Theatre but it did bring back fan/host favorite What Would Jimmy Do? as WWJD 3.0. A first for the show was the inclusion of sports. Each week Jay would share his football picks for the upcoming week, knowing absolutely nothing about the game, and later review how he did compared to Ken. Brad eventually made his return to the show as fourth host, often with the sounds of his baby daughter in the background. The season also held episode 100, a milestone for any podcast. The season ended on December 12, 2014.