Whether it's while walking the dog, running an errand or passing time on a trip, podcast listening is something I'm doing almost every day now. I think podcasts have largely replaced audio books and broadcast radio for me, and listening is one of my favorite ways to challenge my thinking, understand things I'm not familiar with, and spark my own creativity.
I recently started using Overcast to manage and listen to podcasts, and highly recommend it. I was getting really tired of the Apple-built podcast listening features in iTunes and iOS, and Overcast is a breath of fresh air. The Smart Speed feature in particular is pretty amazing.
After a 12-year hiatus since I produced The Richmond News Review, I've also started doing some podcasting again myself at Richmond Matters. It's again about topics of interest to my local community, and while the show is still taking shape you can find the first few interviews under the Richmond Matters Podcast in your favorite podcast directory (for convenience: Apple/iTunes, Google, Stitcher).
In any case, these are some of the podcasts that I'm enjoying on a regular basis:
I took a quick trip to Asheville, North Carolina this past weekend to visit some friends and wander around the area. It's one of my favorite parts of the country, having spent a fair amount of time there as a kid, with my grandparents when they lived in Swannanoa and attending a summer camp for several years in Black Mountain.
This blog post is serving as a bookmark for the recently deactivated podcast and website at RichmondNewsReview.com, which I used to produce and maintain.
In 2006 I created a podcast called The Richmond News Review. It consisted of 15-30 minute shows where I commented on news and events in and around Richmond, Indiana, sometimes interviewing newsmakers, politicians and members of the local media. The show ran weekly at first, and then less frequently, until the last episode in 2008. After leaving the website dormant for a couple of years, in the fall of 2012 I decided to take it down.
Producing the show was an incredible amount of fun for me. I got to blend my writing and blogging about news and politics with my interest in audio and video production. I gained a new appreciation of the time and effort that goes into creating a podcast that people would actually want to listen to (let alone content that is compelling). I added a new voice and perspective to some interesting community discussions. And based on the feedback I got from listeners around the community, I provoked some useful dialog.
I still have the final published MP3 files from the podcast, if there's an episode you're interested in hearing.
It's almost, but not quite, embarrassing to admit how much time I spent as a kid playing "Radio DJ" in my room. I had a Fisher Price turntable along with a cassette deck hooked into a surprisingly advanced "be your own DJ" toy mixing device, and I would spin tunes for hours, paying particular attention the cross fades, the track notes announced in between songs, and faux news and weather reports to my non-existent listeners. You create art for yourself regardless of whether someone else gets to view/hear it, right?
This Friday, when you're gathered with friends and family trying to figure out what to do with yourselves after that meal, consider participating in the National Day of Listening. It's an opportunity to hear and record the stories that we all have to share about our lives, our greatest and hardest moments, and the lessons we've learned. (And as some have noted recently in Richmond, the local community could benefit from having a better sense of our own narrative.)
All it takes is some kind of simple audio recording device, a good list of questions to get you started, and some time. And it's a part of the larger oral history project that is StoryCorps, so there are some neat opportunities to share what you capture with a wider audience, if you want.
If you're in the Richmond area and want to send me some of what you record, I'll consider putting it together into an episode of the Richmond News Review podcast.
Tonight I attended a talk by NPR Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon, who I've always enjoyed listening to on the radio on lazy Saturday mornings. He talked about the current Presidential election and the role the media play, especially when it comes to their participation as news-makers, such as when media personalities moderate debates.
His comments were interesting and insightful, but not necessarily ground-breaking, and when asked to comment beyond what I took to be his prepared remarks, he had some trouble even being insightful. But, I did really appreciate his perspectives on how deferential and petty many members of the media have become, and his advice to politicians and interested citizens to go against the grain more and shake things up a bit.
If you grew up in the 1980s, it was hard to miss the dark and brooding song "In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins. I remember brooding to its tune myself at times, and of course the part where the drums come in was a pivotal moment for those who played along with our own "air instruments."
That's probably why I can't stop laughing at this: