One-Year Anniversary for St. Anthony's Podcast
On the 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Sept. 24th), I will have completed an entire liturgical year of podcasting! My first podcast was actually on Sept. 21st, 2005, but I am looking at it through the Church's calendar. It has been a lot of fun. I've had to learn a lot about the technical side of things as well as the artistic side of thing in order to make it all come out well. I recall listening to the award winning productions of Fr. Roderick Vonhögen's Catholic Insider and Leo Laporte's TWiT (This Week in Tech) podcasts from which came my inspiration to begin this venture. From that original podcast sprang three other ones: The Da Vinci Cast (Picked up by the SQPN), The Children's GIFT Blog & Podcast, and a family-only podcast about our camping experiences called Camp On Dude Podcast. In cooperation with Fr. Roderick, I was part of an initiative to begin a podcast which would chronicle events in the Church and offer a variety of commentary. It is called TWiCC (This Week in the Catholic Church). It struggles, however to really get off the ground. But, who knows what the future has in store. I even encouraged a couple priest friends to offer podcasts of their own: Fr. Mike's Podcast and Fr. Gary Zerr's Homilies.
It went from borrowing someone's microphone and making a simple recording to purchasing my own condenser microphone and bringing in professional music and doing some live podcasts with staff and parishioners. I began with a simple account with Apple, soon outgrew it, then changed to another company, Libsyn.com, who now hosts all of my podcasts. I began an online blog, learned some basic JAVA script and began to create my own liturgical calendar that automatically displays the saint of the day. Listenership first began with people in the parish and eventually grew to reach all over the world. I've had hits on my podcast page from every continent in the world. It's truly amazing how podcasting can reach so far beyond one's own little humble abode. There were times that I wondered if I would have the time or stamina to complete an entire year of podcasting. The sheer busyness of being a pastor made it sometimes pretty difficult. But, I also learned that producing an episode or developing my web site was a refreshing break from the stresses of pastoral work and administration. In the course of this past year, I even launched a new site dedicated to Catholic Geek news which can be found at www.geekisgood.org.
Idea for the Future
For some time I've toyed with the idea of encouraging listener feedback via e-mail or recorded voice comments. I've hesitated to do it as it adds another layer of work to produce the podcast. Yet, I have decided to encourage it as I come to my second year. I figure that it will give a new dimension to the program and could allow folks to hear another voice besides mine. So please consider sending me some audio feedback that I could put on the program.
As I begin year two, I thought I would invite people to consider helping me defray the costs of producing this podcast by making donations via PayPal. The music I use cost me $200 last year. The fee for use of the server which hosts my audio files is $10/month. My broadband connection runs about $45/month. There have been other costs like the purchase of a microphone, headphones, software and an SD card for my Palm Treo in order to do interviews in the field, and other items that I won't get into. Basically, I am looking for assistance for the regular costs that I know occur either annually or monthly. If you have found the St. Anthony's Podcast to be a worthwhile ministry for you, would you consider making a donation to help me lower my costs? If so, you can simply click the link below. If not, I certainly would appreciate your prayers not only for the podcast, but for me as a pastor and St. Anthony's as a Church.
On Sept. 29-30, the Podcast Expo will be held and celebrate three awards to programs from the SQPN: The Catholic Insider, The Daily Breakfast, and the Rosary Army. I am very happy for Fr. Roderick of the Catholic Insider and Daily Breakfast as wekk as Greg & Jennifer for the Rosary Army. Furthermore, I am even more excited to be able to go to this wonderful even if only for the first day. I will be able to meet these new friends whom I've only had conversations with via the Internet. I am excited to cheer on these three as standouts in the sea of podcasts.
I will be flying to Ontario, CA and back the same day just to attend the conference. It may seem crazy (and it very well may be), but I am very excited about the opportunity to meet these new friends as well as feed my geeky hobby of podcasting. Yipee! I hope even to do a podcast while I'm there, but we'll see. This is going to be my first time at this Expo. Heck, it's only the second run for the organizers of this Expo.
If you are reading this and are wondering, "What the heck is a podcast I why should I care?" Well, I'm so glad you asked! A podcast is basically an audio file on the internet that people canlisten to directly or through special software which allows them to automatically receive the latest episode. People from all over the world can listen to and create podcasts right from their homes. It's like radio without boundaries. Most podcasts are actually quite bad, but there are many that are outstanding. The shows from the SQPN are a perfect example. Podcsting exploded as a phenomena when Apple introduced iTunes with podcast subscription capability. So, today, people can go to many places and simply subscribe to a podcast of their choice. I am so glad that awards are now being given in recognition of the outstanding work by podcasters. I think it will encourage others to increase the quality of their show, but also inspire others to begin their own podcast.
That's probably enough for one blog for now. Thank you for all your prayers!
God bless you all,
Fr. William Holtzinger