Let me begin at the beginning. Several weeks ago I attended a course run by The Guardian (the third one after self-publishing and blogging I’ve attended – fits with my learning new stuff goal) this time on podcasting.
The course was run by Viv Oyolu and there were 6 of us on the course, 5 men and one woman. I wonder if any of them have begun podcasting? We learned a lot of stuff and I made many, many notes, most of which make no sense at all at this distance. We learned that millions of people have SMART phones and that millions more are getting them. These millions of people were hungry for things to do with their phones – apparently using them to call people is not enough, they want more. Yes, they listen to music and watch films, but they also want information, they want problems solved. Don’t we all and that’s not just those of us with SMART phones. Lord Reith would have loved his SMART phone – inform and educate and all that. But today, these people with their phones don’t want just any old radio station, they want their own with all their own chosen programmes available at the press of a button.
And this, apparently, is where podcasting comes in. A while ago The Observer published an article about the history of podcasts over the last decade. I cut it out with a view to using the information (that key word again) in this blog, unfortunately I lost it so that information is not available to you. Instead of this you have me. I think a decade is how long podcasts have been around but, as I say, you’ll have to take my word for it now.
I wrote in another blog about my heroes of the air waves – Garrison Keiller, Alistair Cooke at the micro level, Radio 4 and PBS at the macro. When a friend suggested that my blogs might make good podcasts I saw myself walking in the footsteps of my heroes and the seed of podcasting was sown. Then Viv’s course came along and the pieces of the puzzle were starting to fall into place. But then I lost the box, the one with the picture of the puzzle on the front, the grand plan. It stayed lost and I lost my enthusiasm. Until recently that is. Viv had talked a lot on the day course about podcast interviews. That is what she did, she interviewed women entrepreneurs. At the time this wasn’t what I wanted to do. I wanted to hear the sound of my own voice not those of other people. No surprise there then.
But then after several weeks of feeling guilty about having spent quite a lot of money on going to London, staying in an hotel, attending the course and not doing anything with it, fate took a hand, as fate is often inclined to do. The next piece of the puzzle walked through our front door in the form of my sister-in-law. Mrs Summerhouse’s sister is an acupuncturist and she lives in Devon. So this was a rare visit. She was staying with us while attending a course in York about using the power of acupuncture (without the puncture bit if I understood it right) to ‘remove / reduce’ scar tissue. Listen to the podcast for a more accurate version. When she got back Saturday night Anna was full of enthusiasm for the course she had just attended. It did sound remarkable. We went to bed and then, early in the morning, a time when many of my ‘ideas’ come to me, don’t know why, I had the idea of interviewing my sister-in-law about the course she had attended. I have no idea where the idea came from and my motives were purely selfish. I could see a way of breaking the impasse. If I asked Anna if she would be interviewed and she agreed then I would feel obliged to record and then publish the interview as my first ever podcast.
As it turned out recording the interview was the relatively easy bit although even this was not without its challenges. But this was merely the beginning. Viv had told us all those weeks ago that we needed a musical intro (the beginning) and a voice intro and a voice and music outro (the end). Can you begin to imagine trying to choose a song as your signature tune, worrying about copy-write, changing the file type so it can be used in the podcast, etc, etc. We are supposed to record all these bits and the interview separately and then, using a software programme called Audacity, edit them altogether. How simple it sounds writing it down like that. The reality was hours and hours of frustration but, driven by embarrassment and shame, I persisted through the tears and violent outbursts. Maybe it’s me, maybe I’m thick or something, but it was hard going (and this having used the same software before on my song writing course). So what I’ve got, and it isn’t posted to itunes as I had originally intended, is the link below which I’m afraid you will have to cut and paste into your browser if you want to hear the interview. It’s pretty low tech but it’s there – I hope. Whether this will be the first of many I’m not sure. My intention was to begin with my ghost stories, add a little ghostly music and take it from there. Only time will tell, as the cliché goes whether I do in fact release any more podcasts.
Quite what this has to do with retirement I really have no idea and whether it adds or detracts from the rest of the site again I have no idea. But nobody, except myself that is in another blog, can accuse me of being unadventurous in retirement.