Tag Archive: expectations


Podcasting Community Grand Central Station

"Phone Me" by spierzchala@Flickr; used under CC license“The community of podcasting” reminds me of an old-fashioned party line telephone. For those too young to know what that is — and I am just on the cusp, having experienced this technology at my grandparent’s place, never my own — back only a couple of decades ago, it wasn’t feasible to give everyone in a rural area their own phone line. Switching technology wasn’t as advanced as today, and it simply wasn’t worth stringing additional lines or putting up additional boxes or whatever they needed to do to get everyone their own line for customers that lived far enough apart, and didn’t really talk on the phone as much anyway. (No ordering pizza when you are 30km down a winding, possibly unpaved, possibly dirt/mud/rock-strewn roadway..)

Now, for each person to get their calls, they each had their own special ring — one long, two short, that one’s for Martha; two long, that was for the Demerchant farm; three short, that’s for you! This sort of open ringing system meant that, once you got to know the ring, you could see — or rather, hear — who was getting calls.

Since it wasn’t a dedicated line, there was another wrinkle: anyone could pick up the phone and hear and possibly interact in the conversation. The term “party line” probably didn’t refer to the idea that groups of youngin’s could get together and “party” on the line, but I’m sure that it eventually co-opted the term. Imagine: easy conference calling was once an accidental feature more available for rural customers!

Ok, so my (probably inaccurate but hopefully illustrative) history lesson is over. How do I draw the analogy to the podcasting community? I think it has to do with them both being open, rural, evolving, neighbourly and having distinct rings. View full article »

Two pints and One thought

Corrigan's Pub, La RochellePodcasts take time and effort to produce. Most of them are produced as projects of interest by their hosts, and not as paid gigs. So is it fair to hold them to the same schedule as everyone else?

Usually, I see this question posed from the other side, as a sort of shame-inducing pledge for podcasters, an admonishment to produce episodes to a regular schedule and not let their listeners/viewers down. To not do episodes on a regular basis is to not act professionally, and this is a black mark against your podcast, your future, and any hopes you might have in becoming a professional podcaster, blah, blah, blah…

But I think we need to rethink this, at least a little bit — because podcasting isn’t that kind of medium..

A recent experience in a little Irish pub illustrates the difference between the “traditional big media” take on podcasting and what I feel is the majority, the “grass roots” podcasting.

This little Irish pub was essentially a rectangle big enough across for about 5 people to stand, and deep enough to hold a good-sized university class or two (although they better be friends). To the left as you walked in the door was the bar, taking up half the width and at least a third to half the length. Opposite it, without any elevation or real demarcation, was the “stage”, which really consisted of a few stools, a microphone on a stand, a few lights and a mixer propped up on a table. The performer arrived — he was just across the street having supper — and many people flooded in at the expected start time. Without any introduction or ceremony, the lone man with his acoustic guitar said a few words, then launched into some folk songs and modern standards.

The performance was simple, earnest and direct. The performer was good, more because he seemed to be having fun and really seemed to enjoy the songs than being absolutely stunning or professional. Mistakes were overlooked by the friendly crowd — which, as it turned out, contained a considerable number of his friends. He is a biochem professor and researcher at the local university, and in the packed pub were many colleagues and friends.

The distance between the audience and the podcaster is much shorter. It’s much more like a pub performance than a stadium show. The audience is more intimately involved, usually very friendly and understanding, perhaps even friends or other performers.

So, what is all this “professional” talk about? Why are we seeking to be professional, rather than just good?

* ~ *

In a way, this article is also a mea culpa: I set out ambitious and perhaps unrealistic goals for the regularity of this blog and podcast, and they were easily missed due to impending travel I knew I was going to take. I do have another episode ready to be edited (an interview with author and podcaster Chuck Tomasi), and there will be more updates and episodes coming soon.

But, I hope you understand as friends: episodes will probably not be on a regular schedule, but on an appropriate schedule.

And I’ll try not to spend so much time in the pub! 😉

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