Thursday, April 7, 2016

Podcasts: The Radio We Listen to These Days

Earlier this year, I appeared as a guest on a podcast.  If you have no clue what a podcast is, consider this:  In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the talk of radio (i.e. words, but no pictures) was doom and gloom.  Very few folks thought such a medium had any longevity left in it.  Garrison Keillor wrote about the sentiment in his script for Robert Altman's film based loosely around Keillor's long running show.  The film has a grim certainty about it that the old time radio programs were long gone, Keillor was running a show that shouldn't really exist anymore, and the wrecking ball for the quaint old theatre where performances are held to an aging crowd is literally coming on next Monday morning.

As this summer brings Keillor's 40+ year tenure as host to a close and a format change to more music with host Chris Thile has been quietly underway in this current season, it seems oddly delightful to note how the gloom of 1996 or 2006 about radio's future is largely forgotten.  The general format of a radio show (i.e. something  you listen to without any thought of needing the moving image) is still kicking on the FM and AM dial, as well as through satellite and online stations.  Further, a variety of creative content is out there for persons to stream or download for later listening in podcast form.

As a person who drives quite a bit, the podcast has been a welcome companion on the journey.  I routinely listen to eight different shows.  Some have weekly content, dropping a new episode that may have just aired on a public radio station, or others may have an occasional schedule as the team behind the podcast can get to recording, mixing and uploading new shows.  (And in some cases, it may be just one industrious person hosting as well as producing the podcast.)

The podcast allows my brain to think in other directions and muse about other topics, stay current on the news and popular culture and sometimes laugh a little at the satire or humor interlaced in the ways most podcasters talk.  (Snark...It is the lifeblood of many GenXers and millennials).

One podcast series is "Twelve Enough", hosted and produced by the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Malone, who pastors an American Baptist congregation in Rhode Island.  Jonathan has been a long-time colleague, and he actually hails from where I live.  We met up at my home, and he recorded enough material (clergy are chatty!) for two podcast episodes.  My dog Fable spent some time patiently listening to the recording session, though she did start begging for treats at points as the second hour wore on.  She makes some vocal interjections at some points.  I appreciate Jonathan's patience with myself and my beagle assistant.

This week, I offer readers of the blog here a chance to go stream or download these episodes via Jonathan's podcast page.  You can also do the same by looking up his show on iTunes and other places where you cast for pods (pardon the pun).

Part I:

Part II:

Some day when I have more time and tech to record the show, I'd love to experiment with podcasting.  The opportunities to share ideas and invite listeners into the conversation is quite winsome.

And best of all, for those of us with a face fit for radio, it's much more forgiving than the camera!

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