Years ago, we added Skype as a call-in option on Free Talk Live. This wasn't part of a sponsorship or any kind of partnership, but a way of increasing caller audio quality and an acknowledgement of the ubiquity of Skype as a platform. Sadly, after Microsoft purchased Skype it's seemed like they're running it into the ground. Audio quality is worse than ever and now a few weeks ago Skype forced an "update" that broke the program for on-air purposes. Not only can you not turn off the ringer (we tried multiple potential workarounds), the older Skype would allow you the option of assigning the ringer to a different soundcard. That feature has been completely stripped from the latest "upgrade". After being interrupted multiple times on-air by the ringing sound effect, I decided I'd had it with what has become a garbage app.
Thankfully, we added the "On-Air Call-In Line" several months ago to our new Discord chat server at Discord.LRN.FM and the experiment has been a total success. It's better than Skype for multiple reasons. We can decide the audio bitrate, and thus control the encoding quality of our call audio. Discord also is a chat server, so it allows our callers to interact with each other in various text or voice chat rooms, which is really cool. Further, expanding to have more rooms for people to call-in is super-easy - unlike the clunky and confusing way Skype handles putting calls on "hold". In fact, the first thing I did once I decided we were firing Skype was to increase the number of Discord call-in lines to three.
If you were one of the many people who called us on Skype over the years, thank you for helping make the show sound better! Please take a moment to download the Discord app for your favorite device(s) if you haven't yet and familiarize yourself with it. Creating a Discord account is MUCH easier than a Microsoft ID. Once you do that, you're good to click on our server at Discord.LRN.FM, look around, and call-in in high quality to Free Talk Live seven nights per week!
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