The podcast’s intro music shimmers playfully for a few seconds and then fades as a single voice breaks the digital din.
“Welcome to BackStory, the show that explains the history behind today’s headlines. I’m Brian Balogh,” says the host, a professor of history at the University of Virginia.
And then the podcast offers up the episode’s subject, which ranges from the history of UFOs in America to Yankee whalers.
Historians from across the United States, guided by Balogh and his co-hosts, dissect and inform.
And for the last five years, Stefan Ramey of Conquer All Music, located at 637 Conquerall Rd. in Bridgewater, has been working with Balogh to make the popular BackStory podcast possible when he’s in Canada.
Balogh has been coming to Nova Scotia for years and spends his summers on the LaHave Islands.
“It’s been great,” said Ramey, an audio engineer. “That’s the amazing thing about access to the internet and recording technology; the fact that things can be so interconnected.”
Balogh used to drive to use the CBC studio in Halifax until he found Ramey’s space along the South Shore.
“For me, it’s very fortunate to have a studio that’s 15 minutes away from where I live. But I also think it’s valuable for the economy of Nova Scotia not to have all of the businesses concentrated in an urban area,” said Balogh.
And thanks to the magic of the internet, Ramey is able to live and work in rural Nova Scotia while simultaneously being connected across the continent.
“For my business, I never would have been able to do this even probably 20 years ago because the internet was slow and the speeds weren’t there,” he said.
“It’s crazy that this little rural community in Nova Scotia gets to have its influence spread over a large portion of North America.”
Conquer All Music is also a music store, rehearsal hall and live-sound business.
At this point, the process of recording BackStory is a practiced dance for Ramey and Balogh.
Ramey explained that Balogh brings a device, which allows him to connect his phone line to the studio so the audio can be
From there, the University of Virginia will call Ramey from their studio and the podcast is on its way. They usually record two or three times a week during the summer.
Ramey is very much behind the scenes throughout the process, but his work is palpable; the recorded sound is crisp and clean.
The quality of sound, said Balogh, is something he strives for with the podcast.
“We’re aiming for a sound that makes it seem like we’re all sitting around the kitchen table,” he explained.
“You’d be surprised at the number of people who are amazed to learn that were not sitting around a table.”
Ramey said he is happy with his work and enjoys knowing his work is circulated. He noted that BackStory is downloaded some 100,000 times per episode.
“They’re hitting all of these big U.S. cities, but they’re connecting to rural Conquerall Mills,” said Ramey with a laugh.
Ramey added he is proud to make his living remotely; at the click of a button, he is sending projects across the continent.
“I think that’s wonderful and that’s why I choose to live in a rural setting because with the internet, the world isn’t that far away.”