Earlier today, we learned that John Gruber has decided to leave the 5by5 podcasting network to join the Mule Radio Syndicate. For any fans of Gruber and Dan, this came as quite a surprise. I think I speak for a lot of fans of The Talk Show when I say that I'll really miss the interplay between them. I wish Gruber the best on his new show, though. Of course, I'll continue to read Daring Fireball, and I'll also continue to listen to a bunch of shows on 5by5, especially Hypercritical, Amplified, Build and Analyze, The Critical Path, and Back to Work.
I'm not going to talk about whether or not Gruber made a bad decision switching to Mule Radio. Who knows? Maybe his show will become better than ever. Also, I'm certainly not going to argue that Gruber had no right to switch networks. Although Gruber and Dan were (are?) friends and had created an incredibly popular show together, every man has to make the choices that he thinks are best for himself and his family. However, I think both of them have handled this situation absolutely terribly, and I'm disappointed by the lack of respect shown to the fans of the show—many of whom have expressed dismay at the dissolution of their partnership.
Gruber and Dan are both professionals, but in this they acted almost childishly. We didn't hear anything from Gruber about his move to Mule Radio until his post on Daring Fireball. We didn't hear—and haven't yet heard—anything from Dan about the cancellation of The Talk Show on 5by5. I can understand wanting to the keep the move a secret, but, after the secret was out, both of the guys should have said something publicly about what happened. I don't mean that they should have told everyone everything that led to the split, but, as professionals, they should have amicably acknowledged the split. A simple "I really enjoyed my time on 5by5, but I've decided to try something new" from Gruber and a simple "We'll miss John, but everyone here at 5by5 wishes him the best" from Dan would have sufficed. That would have been the correct (and professional) way to handle this situation. Petulant silence is most definitely the wrong way to deal with it.
What bothers me most about this whole situation is that Gruber and Dan's behavior (as well as some not-safe-for-work remarks by others) shows a profound lack of respect for the fans of the show. Both of the guys have worked hard to create a show that people care about. They were incredibly successful at this. A lot of people tuned in every week to listen to The Talk Show and, by listening so often, have come to feel like they "know" Gruber and Dan (in the same way that some of the 5by5 hosts have said that they felt like they "knew" Steve Jobs because they followed his life and work so closely). These listeners are the ones who—by tuning in every week, visiting the sponsors, buying T-shirts, and purchasing an iPhone app—made the show possible and profitable. They deserve better than the silence they've received thus far from Gruber and Dan.