The Podcast: Whatever Happened to the Cool Dog Deli?

Today marks the first in an experimental series of podcasts here on the blog. I’m trying out the medium: taking the gear out for a ride and exploring different ways of talking about things that I’m interested in. Putting this piece together brought back a lot of memories about Nouspeak, a weekly spoken word programme on Trent Radio that I was one of the production team for; I enjoyed that experience, and I had a good time editing this piece together.

Today’s podcast: Cindy Burton, owner of the recently-closed Cool Dog Deli in Charlottetown, talks about the ideas behind the deli, the challenges she ran into running it, and how it came to close.

I have long been a fan of the CITY-TV programme The Originals, especially its “interviewless” format. I’d experimented with the format in radio projects before, and decided to return to it for this piece.

Here’s the tech used to assemble today’s podcast:

  • My “in studio” voiceovers were recorded into Sound Studio using the Omnidirectional Tie Clip Microphone from Radio Shack connected to my iMac using a Griffin iMic (see this technical note).
  • I recorded the telephone interview with Cindy Burton using the Monitor command in our Asterisk telephone system. The result is two WAV-format files, one for each side of the telephone conversation.
  • I broke Cindy’s part of the interview up into individual clips using Audacity; I exported each of the eleven clips as a 16-bit, 44 Khz AIFF file.
  • I used Apple’s GarageBand to edit everything together: I imported my intros and Cindy’s clips, added a soundtrack, and exported into iTunes.
  • I then exported as a 24kbps mono MP3 file from iTunes (which compressed the file from 108MB down to a more reasonable 2MB!).

Thanks to Cindy for agreeing to talk about her experiences; you can email her at or visit her website at


Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on June 1, 2005 - 04:12 Permalink

Great show — thanks.

I never stopped into the Cool Dog Deli, because I didn’t know what it was. I thought for a while that it was some kind of pet store — once I discovered what it was, I was still haunted by a weird dog-food mental association.

Isaac Grant's picture
Isaac Grant on June 1, 2005 - 13:29 Permalink

I went to the Deli a couple of times, but was turned off by the lack of any decent stock of items I might buy either time I went (cheese, bread, meats — aka deli food), and the incessant dog references and puns (“beagle-tender” — jeez, and I like dogs).

I realize its hard to start something like that, especially in the location they were in, but having only cheesecakes in a freezer, and one package of bacon (which was the best bacon I’ve ever had in my life to their credit), and a poor selection of breads (couldn’t figure out when the fresh stuff showed up, guess I could of asked), and not much else useful to me. Again, I know its hard to keep shelves stocked when you’re not getting a lot of business, but not having well stocked shelves kills you too, because people like me give up on you after a couple of visits — not worth the effort going there if you’re not sure if you’ll be able to pick anything up.

Kevin O's picture
Kevin O on June 1, 2005 - 14:13 Permalink

The trick to buying at the Cool Dog was to not make up one’s mind before going in. In that frame the choices seemed abundant.

It’s great to hear Cindy being analytical and positive about something that must have carried a tremendous weight and more than a bit of stress.

She’ll be back. Great spot Pete.

Alan's picture
Alan on June 1, 2005 - 15:34 Permalink

The trick to buying at the Cool Dog was to not make up one’s mind before going in. In that frame the choices seemed abundant.”

I know nothing but trust Cindy and her hard work but your comment, Kevin, makes it sound like you have to have the expectation of someone just off an ice flow.

Were there actual hot dogs being vended? If so, were there white hots?

oliver's picture
oliver on June 1, 2005 - 16:29 Permalink

Cindy mentions that an obstacle to offering idiosyncratic and variety items is the organizational hurdle of making individual arrangements with local suppliers. I wonder how many of those suppliers are online, and whether some kind of e-bay or less elaborate Web thingy would help. Wasn’t this sort of your mission with the crafts council, Peter? Couldn’t the city and the province be persuaded to fund a Web project of this sort? It might be emulated around the world…at least, to the extent isn’t a pathetically naive suggestion I’ll regret having posted as soon as I hit the button.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 1, 2005 - 20:40 Permalink

Some post-podcast ad hoc listenership data: 84 downloads of the MP3 file from 42 distinct IP addresses. Of the 84 downloads, 43 (51%) were from various web browsers, 23 (27%) were from iPodders, and 5 were from the QuickTime player.

Kevin O's picture
Kevin O on June 2, 2005 - 00:51 Permalink

I hadn’t intended to bury my point so deeply: Cindy’s daily selection was limited (so if you had decided in advance you might be disappointed), but the stuff she had was highly edible and by comparison to a deli near my office — well, there’s no comparison to make between real food (Cindy’s) and peas buried in a white starch slurry with memories of chicken wafting in the air.
Never asked about white dogs…


Rusty's picture
Rusty on June 2, 2005 - 14:05 Permalink

Always wondered whether it was a good enough location ….

Wendy's picture
Wendy on June 4, 2005 - 08:12 Permalink

Peter, you have just saved my sanity.

I came across your podcast via doing a Google search lloking for info on how to record telephone interivews.

While I have more than enough equipment to record telephone interviews, I still wasn’t getting the results I wanted. Figuring out the most ideal setup was driving me crazy.

But when I read how you were inspired by “The Originals”, I thought, OF COURSE! What a brilliant idea for a podcast interview! I, too, enjoyed the format of the series. I was eager to listen to how you produced the podcast and hear whether an interviewless format would work in audio. I was so impressed with what I heard.

Thank you for the inspiration. Consider me a loyal reader and listener. :)