They say all good things must come to an end –Disney franchises notwithstanding– and so the time has come to say adieu to one of the longest-running and most popular paranormal podcasts in the web: Binnall of America.
I became acquainted with BoA when I turned into an active member here at The Daily Grail, some eleven years ago (time sure flies by when you’re having fun!) and I followed the links left by Greg and other admins leading to this treasure trove of wonderful conversations hosted by this über energetic guy named Tim Binnall. I think what captivated me the most about Tim’s show was the genuine passion he transmitted in his voice for all the same topics I’ve been interested in since before there was an Internet; here was a guy making the most out of these new communication tools in order to reach out and talk to some of the most important luminaries in the field: Jacques Vallee, Loren Coleman, Grant Cameron, Travis Walton, Jim Marrs and Stanton Friedman to name but a paltry few.
Back in those days, instead of having a big list of podcasts I’d listen to, I tended to re-play the same old episodes on my office computer over and over again; on the many occasions I had to stay up late at night to work on some urgent assignment –or cursing my PC because the architectural rendering I was working on was processing too slow, or not coming out just the way I wanted– the only company I had was Binnall’s raspy voice and his contagious nervous giggle while either interviewing a guest, or reading one of the many fan mails he received from all over the world. BoA definitely made those long nights more easy to endure for me, and I know for a fact I wasn’t the only one who has Tim to thank for making their graveyard shift or long commutes a bit more fun.
Later I found out Tim was actually younger than me, which took me by surprise because by the time I became a BoA listener he was already a veteran podcaster, with 2 whole seasons under his belt –that may not sound like much, but keep in mind that still to this day most podcasts tend to last less than a year. My admiration for him only grew more, the same way some older comedians have a deep respect for personages like Dave Chappelle despite of the fact they are actually older than him. Likewise to this day I still consider Tim not as my peer, but as my senior.
Here’s when I get to make a little confession: My personal online interactions with Tim didn’t actually start with the right foot. It was around 2010 when he and Greg Bishop made one of their annual Year in Review shows, and as it became usual in later years the two of them took the recap opportunity to complaint about the sorry state of the contemporary UFOlogical scene –what I would end up categorizing as ‘UFO bitching’ just to tease them in the comments. It was in one of those comments when I took exception with a thing Tim said with regards to a series of UFO sightings that happened during that year around the China/Tibet border. “Who cares? it happened in China!” said Tim, and what I mistook as a personal opinion was actually his attempt in trying to convey how most UFO buffs in the United States tend to disregard cases that occur outside their country. I (wrongfully) accused Tim of ‘UFO jingoism’, something which he didn’t appreciate because he specifically mentioned it on another show with Greg…
I think what I was really annoyed about, was not so much Tim’s apparent disinterest in the Chinese/Tibetan cases, but the fact that I was perceiving a change in his attitude toward the UFO phenomenon. The intoxicating enthusiasm in the tone of his voice when he approached the subject was beginning to erode, and later when we made peace and started to become friends, he did confess that he was starting to get tired about the topic and all the unfulfilled promises made by some of the most vocal celebrities in the field (*cough* Greer *cough* Basset *cough*). This ‘crisis of faith’, I later learned in the flesh, was something every single UFO/paranormal enthusiast needs to confront at one point of their journey, if they are to find an ulterior meaning to all of it despite all the hoaxes and unconfirmed theories.
Surely Tim managed to do just that, because he pressed on with his show and interviewing many new guests, including yours truly on season IX –something which to me felt like ‘my C2C moment’, given how when I started listening to BoA I never thought *I* would end up being invited to the show!
Eventually I managed to meet Tim ‘in Meatspace’ thanks to ParaMania, an informal gathering of like minded weirdos which started in 2016. Tim’s raspy voice was barely audible –he’d lost it just a few days prior– but it was still a great experience having the chance to break bread and share a drink (or two… or ten!) with Mr. BoA himself, who turned out to be just as friendly and jovial as I imagined him to be. It was during that wonderful trip when Tim confided in me for the first time that he was planning on putting an end to Binnall of America in the near future; the news both shocked me and saddened me at the same time —“you mean I will no longer have my beloved BoA??”— but eventually I realized he was making the right move: You can keep doing the same thing over and over for so long before it turns from something done out of passion to a product that needs to be maintained just to keep the wheels turning, even if it means having the same old guests every year (I’m looking at you, Coast to Coast!!).
Only the great have the guts to leave the stage when they are at the top.
“Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere!” Tim reassured me. And sure enough, as I type this Binnall is thinking of ways in which he can reinvent himself and his show, which will just lose the old format but eventually reappear in another style or medium before we the fans actually get to miss it. In the meantime, there’s an invaluable archive of content freely available at binnalllofamerica.com in which you could lose yourselves for days of non-stop listening, if you’ve just begun to discover it.
So without further ado, I invite you to listen to BoA’s Finale, befittingly recorded on the courtyard of an old Magick shop at New Orleans’s French quarter, during the last day of ParaMania 2018. I’m incredibly proud and honored to say I was there when this historical event happened, in the company of old and new friends. As you can surely guess it was an emotive occasion full of reminiscence and gratitude to all who lent a hand to BoA through all these years –including Greg and The Grail– albeit with a clear view of whatever new adventures Fate has still in store for one of the greatest voices in contemporary Esoterica.
Here’s to Tim Binnall, momentarily signing off, but NEVER signing out.
The BoA: Audio Finale from New Orleans (94 Minutes)