The Podcast Is Over

This is the official announcement that the Eat The Evidence podcast has concluded.

Despite shielding, in 2022 I contracted covid because of the UK lifting its mask mandate in schools. My teenager’s school was quickly overwhelmed by covid cases so despite her continuing to mask, she picked it up and brought it home. That was in March 2022; I’ve been ill ever since with long covid issues and exacerbated other chronic illness issues.

In April 2022 I released a short episode announcement saying I was putting the show on hiatus because I could barely hold a conversation due to my constant gasping, let alone find the energy to edit episodes. I said at the time that if/when my health improved I’d come back to the podcast, in particular to do an episode in early 2023. At that time most people were still on the masking side of things. Most cake folks who were friends of mine were railing against the lifting of mask mandates in their areas, posting memes about how they were still going to keep masking because they cared about themselves and others in their community, and otherwise being quite vocal against the anti-masker types.

However, despite epidemiologists continually begging governments not to remove mitigations and in fact put many of them back, and despite escalating case rates to the point that some areas have had entire hospital/paediatric unit shutdowns for months now, the public has decided it generally doesn’t care anymore and they can pretend covid is over. Governments have done likewise in defiance of their own medical experts, many of whom have quit over it. Covid is not over. Deaths and disability continue to pile up. But the health supremacist attitude that it’s okay to travel around and party with no mitigations has taken hold.

When I started this podcast, I declared it might not be a political podcast but it was going to exist in the real world where politics matters. That’s why on so many episodes my guests and I would talk about how these issues affected our sugar arts businesses on both the micro and macro levels. I also declared from the start that bigotry would not be tolerated within the podcast. We’ve spoken about problematic cake issues like “gender reveal” or those who don’t want to do LGBTQ+ cakes and liken LGBTQ+ folks to Nazis. We’ve talked about using our art to fundraise for groups assisting asylum seeking families who have been ripped apart and put in concentration camps. We’ve talked about the environmental issues of everything from the products we use up through travelling for cake shows. And we’ve talked about disability and chronic illness and how these things affect us as sugar artists as well as our clients.

In 2021, several people came on the show to rightly call out those who weren’t masked in public spaces. There was absolutely justifiable anger on the part of those who were still trying to make a living at teaching at cake events being one of only a handful of folks masking at that time. People whose surgeries had been delayed due to covid waves came on this podcast to talk about how finally getting those treatments had turned their whole businesses around, and we talked about our mutual friends whose conditions had worsened to the point that they’d had to close their businesses.

Yet despite all of this, the very people who enthusiastically called for supporting disabled/chronically ill folks in 2021 have been posting their naked-face, crowded-event selfies on social media in 2022 and expect those who remain ill to be okay with it. Some even came to me for travel advice or made other insensitive, health-privileged comments that would have infuriated them only months before, and again, expected me to be okay with that.

It turns out a lot of people were willing to talk a good talk about caring for each other within the sugar arts community and out into the wider world, but when it became inconvenient to do this one small thing, they bailed.

Those of us who are still masking all the time have formed small groups of support. We know who has our backs, and we see the many who don’t. Some have left social media entirely. Some have pared down to only a handful of trusted folks. There is a lot of anger and despair to see people we thought were on our side abandon us for the sake of partying.

At the point where I saw so many people attending November 2022’s Cake International without masks, I gave up on the wider cake community. I considered focusing the podcast just on those who were continuing to mask, and in that light messaged the person who was supposed to come on in early 2023. I begged him to please have his team mask up at their upcoming event as they had the previous year (I actually asked months in advance, I didn’t spring this on him) so that I could have them on without the personal stress of feeling like I was broadcasting activities where medically vulnerable folks like myself wouldn’t be safe. I even said he didn’t have to reply right away, just to please consider masking at the event if he wanted their team to be on the podcast again. But not only did he not reply at that time, he never did. The event happened and I touched base again to ask if they’d masked so I could have them on the show. He never replied. I’ve been fully ghosted over it, but pictures have surfaced of the event and they weren’t masked. So I gave up.

This wasn’t even the first ghosting for the podcast. Several other times people have begged me to come on the show and even when interview times were scheduled, they just didn’t show up. I’d sit for an hour waiting, poking them on Messenger, and they just never replied. I don’t know why.

In other cases I’ve had people ask to be on, sometimes with others, and then bail at the last minute. Repeatedly. At least they didn’t ghost me, I guess.

My point is I’ve dealt with people being disrespectful of my time repeatedly over the years, but being ghosted on this issue while the wider cake community has stopped caring if some of us live or die is just too much to bear.

It comes down to this: I no longer wish to pour so much of my energy, time, and money into giving the sugar arts world a completely free product to enjoy when I am not receiving basic-level respect. I no longer wish to cater to those who treat the disabled/chronically ill as disposable in the ongoing pandemic. I declared from the podcast’s start that I had no interest in serving those who didn’t care for the rights of others to live decent lives, and now that includes not wanting to serve those who don’t care about spreading a level-three pathogen because there’s a party to attend.

So even though my breathing has improved a little with some medical intervention, I do not wish to expend my very limited energy on continuing to produce a free product for those who don’t value my health and life nor the health and lives of my other vulnerable friends.

With that, the podcast is officially over. Here are the final statistics I’m recording as of January 14, 2023:

stats of all time plays from Soundcloud

This is the all-time graph of episode plays/downloads from Soundcloud. It may not include all podcatcher apps but it gives a general impression. Soundcloud recorded 21,135 plays of episodes over the years since the podcast began in 2017. I know some folks listened to episodes repeatedly (I’ve even been told by non-sugar-artist friends that they listen because they find my voice soothing when they’re stressed!), so it’s hard to say how many listeners this amounts to, but over 21,000 plays of 70 tracks is a lot!

top episodes

As of January 14, 2023, these are the plays recorded on Soundcloud by episode for the top few.

For reference, here’s the entire list of the top 50 episodes in order, copied and pasted from Soundcloud and I’ll add in numbered rankings (it always made a huge difference if guests promoted their own episodes!):

  1. Episode 24 – Abby Jimenez – 740
  2. Episode 1 – Eat the Evidence – Dawn Parrott, Kyla Myers, Mark Desgroseilliers – 536
  3. Episode 63 – Summer Spectacular Quiz Show – 528
  4. Episode 65 – Sarah Hadley-Rainsford – 522
  5. Episode 58 – Jacqui Kelly – 510
  6. Episode 66 – Jacqui Kelly – 472
  7. Eat the Evidence – Pilot – 28 March 2017 – 467
  8. Episode 68 – Merry Mischief Bakers – 414
  9. Episode 59 – Haley Popp of Hive Bakery – 410
  10. Episode 61 – Merry Mischief Bakers – 391
  11. Episode 14 – Michelle Green, Shannon Orr, Jean Schapowal, Kristi Rhodes-Mann, Julia Usher – 390
  12. Podcast Announcement – April 2022 – 389
  13. Episode 42 – Thomas Blake Hogan – 380
  14. Episode 67 – Jesse Lesser, Stacy Frank, and Blaque Shelton – 373
  15. Episode 44 – Becca Makris – 359
  16. Episode 30 – Robert Harwood – 347
  17. Episode 45 – Dawn Butler – 347
  18. Episode 54 – Lou Finn – 334
  19. Episode 57 – Stacy Frank the Frostitute – 316
  20. Episode 62 – Sandie Beltran – 313
  21. Episode 20 – That Takes the Cake Sugar Arts Show in Austin TX – 309
  22. Episode 41 – Julia Usher – 300
  23. Episode 48 – Rosie Mazumder – 299
  24. Episode 53 – Kyla Myers and Hemu Basu – 298
  25. Episode 33 – Kyla Myers – 297
  26. Episode 55 – Summer Spectacular Cake Friends Quiz Show (Kyla, Jesse, Jacqui) – 286
  27. Episode 9 – Eat the Evidence – Michelle Boyd, Sachiko Windbiel, Mallory Mae Ragland, Rebecca Sheer – 285
  28. Episode 3 – Eat the Evidence – Kyla Myers, Mike McCarey – 283
  29. Episode 7 – Eat the Evidence – Sara Weber, Mike McCarey – 283
  30. Episode 18 – Shanna Miller, Samuel Plont, Trucolor, Mary Carmen Gonzalez – 281
  31. Episode 49 – Mark Lie and Jesse Lesser – 280
  32. Episode 36 – Jacqui Kelly – 278
  33. Episode 46 – Mary Carmen Gonzalez Abrams – 278
  34. Episode 4 – Eat The Evidence – Cindy Autrey, Amy Ford, Mary Nicholas, Shannon Orr, Jean Schapowal – 274
  35. Episode 2 – Eat the Evidence – Mark Desgroseilliers, Sidney Galpern, Sachiko Windbiel… – 273
  36. Episode 34 – Cake International 2018 – 271
  37. Episode 8 – Eat the Evidence – Shannon Orr, Jacqui Kelly, Lynn Webb, Kendall Cusick, Mike McCarey – 269
  38. Episode 51 – Christine and Phil Jensen – 268
  39. Episode 13 – Eat the Evidence – Wayne Steinkopf and Mystery Guest, plus Heather Sherman – 266
  40. Episode 15 – Cake International 2017 – 265
  41. Episode 17 – Heather Sherman, Shannon Orr, Kyla Myers – 265
  42. Episode 11 – Eat the Evidence – Meghan Allison, Kaysie Lackey, Mitchie Curran – 262
  43. Episode 31 – Jesse Lesser – 258
  44. Episode 6 – Eat the Evidence – Jacqui Kelly, Nick Lodge – 257
  45. Episode 43 – Rob Baker-Gall – 256
  46. Episode 35 – Knockoff Products and How They Harm the Sugar Arts Industry – 255
  47. Episode 27 – Rhianydd Webb – 254
  48. Episode 39 – Heather Campbell Brookshire – 251
  49. Episode 16 – Mari Senaga, Flexique, Simi Cakes – 249
  50. Episode 23- Christy Seguin – 249

There were 70 episodes (including the not-numbered pilot and the announcement of hiatus) in total, so there are 20 not shown on the list because Soundcloud only offers the top 50 in stats.

The podcast did achieve quite the global reach, despite being only in English. I’m quite proud of that. Here’s Soundcloud’s play map:

play map

The darker the red, the more plays for that country. I think grey means zero.

Here’s the breakdown by country and city:

table of countries and cities

It’s a big image so click it to see it in full.

So a lot of episodes did reach a lot of people all over the world through the years! The other stats show that the vast majority of plays (about 20,000 of that 21,135 total) came via podcast apps, then about 1000 from Facebook links, and then tiny amounts by other websites. For all the effort I put into posting videos for each episode on Instagram when folks came on to tell me that was the way to market the show, only 11 came through that way.

But now that it’s over, I’m considering those the final stats even though there are a handful of new plays every week.

Here’s what’s going to happen next: I’ve already posted the MP3s alongside the episodes on the main list plus on each episode’s page, right above the Soundcloud player window. This means folks can download individual episodes at any time. I’m very proud of the work I put into this thing, so I’m not throwing all that old work away!

However, Soundcloud’s annual payment is due in April, and I am turning off the automated payment for that. I’m not actually certain if that means some episodes will disappear from their platform, or if I simply won’t be able to add anymore. I’m also not certain how this will play out with podcatcher apps. I believe if you’ve already downloaded episodes to your app they should remain in there, but I can’t guarantee it. So again, you may have to come back here for the individual MP3s.

There will be no new episodes. Instead, I will return to making my own sugar art and blogging it here when it suits me. I gave up a lot of my own art to bring folks this podcast, but I am choosing instead to return to doing things for me, that I wish to do, that enrich me and don’t make me feel like I’m giving my whole self to those who don’t appreciate it. That might mean I eventually catch up on promised posts like about gingerbread softening and/or more ebooks about techniques I’ve developed, but I do remain quite ill with long covid and I’m still spending a lot of time on my fandom project that makes me feel good instead. I am getting very good at respecting my own needs and no longer fawning for those who disrespect me.

Thank you to those who supported the podcast over the years. Thank you to those who came on, to those who helped promote it, and to the listeners. And most of all, thank you to those of you who are still doing all you can to help keep others in your community safe.

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