Thursday, April 20, 2006

Pondering Podding

Since I have so much spare time in my life, and you can only write so many thousands of words a day on your blog before you get itchy for another challenge, I'm declaring myself certifiably crazy by admitting that I'm in the very early stages of considering whether or not to start doing a weekly Muley's World podcast.

For those of you who don't know what a podcast is (like me just a few months ago), it's sort of like a mini radio show, or maybe an audio monologue, that is accessed through a blog or web site. Someone basically hooks up a microphone to their computer using the appropriate software, records their voice on an MP3 or other type of audio file, then makes that file available to anyone who wants to access it.

Podcasting is all the rage nowadays, but, trendy old sod that I am, that's not why I'm contemplating starting one. I have a radio and TV broadcasting background, and I miss talking "on air" -- that's a minor reason. The major reason, however, is that when I think of a possible blog topic I'd like to do, I realize that to do it properly, I'd need to tell a long story, one that would require a lot of typing and editing. I'm somewhat lazy in that regard, so blabbing into a microphone would be so much easier, and allow me a lot more freedom.

In fact, I'm even thinking of calling it "Too Tired To Type: The Muley's World Podcast." I wouldn't give up the blog, but this way I could gear each topic to whether it would fit best as a print or audio production.

What would I talk about? A little bit of everything. I could do my usual goofy essays, tell stories from my life, review movies, talk about other blogs I like. The only things I probably wouldn't talk about would be politics, current events and quantum physics.

I've requested through Interlibrary Loan some "how-to" books on podcasting, to see how hard it would be to set up and maintain a podcast. From what I can see on Amazon.com, I'd have to buy about $100 worth of software to get me going, but I've already got all the microphones and other gear.

So, what do you think? Would any of my seven or eight faithful readers be interested in a podcast? Frankly, I'm not a big enough narcissist to do it if no one would be listening. I can always start a stamp collection or something to try to burn up my hours and hours of free time.

To get an idea of how good you have to be to put on a podcast, I visited one of the podcast directories on the web, www.podcast.net, to see what other casts are out there. Looking over the listings of the different journal-type entries, I found evidence for the theory that just about anyone can put together one of these things. There are podcasts about knitting, podcasts where people read their poetry and chapters from their novels in progress, and podcasts where what sounds like teenagers sniffing glue laugh loudly about not much at all. Some of the podcasts are interrupted by ringing phones, barking dogs, and in one, I thought I heard a sound like a malfunctioning sump pump chugging along as the host narrated a boring life story in a monotone. The sump pump was more interesting.

I quickly discovered that there are strange titles given to podcasts. I looked at (but didn't listen to) something called "The Baked Ziti Radio Hour." Someone took a nod from Seinfeld and came up with "The Podshow About Nothing" (enticing title, that). And in one podcast, the summary for the lone episode was "Women who want a shave leaving a message on an answering machine." Okay...

How do you keep up the quality with podcasts such as these? Maybe you should ask the guy whose podcast is called "Trucker Tom." The host, presumably a trucker,is a prolific son of a gun, I'll tell you that. He must record and file a new podcast every time he stops to gas up his rig. On the description page, he says that in Podcast #266, "I play an audio file I recorded of me opening up packages after getting home at 1:30 AM Saturday morning before heading to bed." I'm sure his listeners were bowled over by this, but before they could recover, Tom stopped in at a roadside diner and filed Podcast #267, in which "I play a clip of my GPS in action." Now, I'm sure you're wondering, what is he going to do for an encore? How in the world can he hope to top the sound of packages opening and a GPS beeping? The answer is in Podcast #268: "I talk about buying a new Gateway notebook computer from Best Buy in Lincoln, Nebraska." Can a reciting of the states and their capitals be next? Lash me to the mast, Starbuck.

Anyway, if these guys can do it, I figure Muley can do it. What do you think?

5 comments:

Jenn said...

Wow, that Trucker Tom must be really bored. There are some shows on the radio that are not much more interesting, and someone keeps sending them money to keep them on the air.

This is the first time I've heard of this. I imagine it'll be the next big thing. I think you should do it!

Stephanie said...

Well, sign me up for listening to your podcast! I know what you mean about wanting to tell a story, but then all that typing...*sigh*. A podcast sounds like a perfect medium of communication for a storyteller/radio personality/Texan like you :)

Hope you decide to go for it!

sarahgrace said...

It's kind of an interesting paradox: It is harder to write, easier to read, and easy to talk, harder to listen.
(At least for me anyway)(And it's only harder to listen because my kids are so inquisitive, loud, and interruptive.)

All I know is, I don't think someone would enjoy listening to MY podcast, if I had one, with afore mentioned children in the background...
...but hey, you should at least give it a go.

EmmaSometimes said...

muley,
I am poised with bated breath holding my iPod in anticipation....just say the word, Texas Tornado!

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