Sooo...this question was posed by my friend and listener Mimi the other day on Twitter:
@Mimi_81 - Topic to think over: I feel w/so many good shows fading, is it still worth keeping up with pagan podcasts anymore? Has the era seen its day? As podcasters, what are your views on the state of podcasting?
What an awesome question that immediately got me thinking. And thinking. And contemplating some more. And then I sat down to type my thoughts and I sat there. And sat there. And played
on the internet for a little bit and sat there some more… It isn’t like I don’t have anything to say it is just that I don’t know how to put down what I do have to say and if I’d try to record it I would probably just end up babbling about nothing and really, ya’ll hear me to that plenty so I'll give it a shot in written form.
Speaking from the perspective of my particular contribution to podcasting I can only say that my recording schedule has slowed considerably this past year and no one is more aware of that than I am. Illness has played a role in delays a few times but my main source of time conflict has become my career. Being a victim of my own drive I guess, I have found that as my work life has become more demanding my spare time has become less plentiful. And I’m not complaining about my career path but the reality is that there aren’t enough hours in the day to devote to everything I want to do and I also need to sleep. I need LOTS of sleep. LOL. Still, I do not intend to quit podcasting, although I can no longer promise a weekly show and sometimes I can’t even promise a monthly one (as in last summer). But, a monthly show is what I will continue to strive for so long as I feel a pull to hook up a microphone, open my mouth and abruptly insert my foot often enough.
Those are the practical logistics and obstacles in my opinion. But, there are others. First, inspiration. There
comes a point (or even several) in the life of every podcaster, blogger, writer, creative person in general when you just got nothin. Nothing to say, no ideas, no creative juice, no ponderings of any sort. Or, you are just fresh out of material that you think anyone would find interesting because you can’t find any yourself. I know that for me, there are even certain times of year when I am completely uninspired. These past three weeks for instance have been particularly difficult in terms of seasonal inspiration. As someone who draws a great deal of my own creativity from the outdoors, I’ve hit a wall at winter’s end. Or, there are times when emotionally I just don’t have the energy. Magically we refer to having “dry spells” and I think in podcasting, like anything else, you can have them too. And sometimes dry spells turn into long periods of nothing and sometimes podcasts just fade because of it.
And speaking of material, I think that sometimes it just runs out. How many books do we have on our shelves detailing Wicca 101? How many podcasts have we listened to about the same? How many times can we review correspondence charts and do we even want to? Even in going beyond the basics, how far can you really go? How many different things can you talk about in relation to belief, practice, spirituality itself? At first it seems like the list would be endless but there really is some repetition involved. That isn’t to
say that revisiting things can’t be interesting but it is difficult to do so and at the same time grow, which is what we all are hopefully trying to do spiritually.
Change. People change and grow. Maybe they grow away from podcasting or maybe they take a different turn in their own path and there isn’t a peg that will fit in the podcasting hole. Sometimes these changes can lead to interesting discussion. Other times they are better left unsaid and explored off the air. I tend to share my ponderings and even my doubts because I’m comfortable with them. I don’t really care if people know that half the damn time I think I might be an atheist while the other half I believe there is truly magic in the world. It is my life and I’m allowed. Other people might be more attached to whatever persona they have created on air and doubts aren’t comfortable to them so they don’t want to share them. And again, maybe this is when the voices fade away.
From the perspective of a listener, as I am also a listener of podcasts, time is always a factor as well as content. For all the reasons above, listeners may come, go, leave and come back, or move on. I tend to listen to podcasts while training or driving. If you change your gym routine or your job, your listening habit might get thrown for a loop and forgotten.
I think from both perspectives – podcaster and listener – we all have some things in common. Life is not
getting any slower and the amount of information we have thrown at us isn’t getting any less. From the
perspective of writer, producer and main actor I more times than not feel pressured by my own protestant work ethic as a million other things get thrown my way daily and for me this can lead to creative paralysis.
As a listener I see things downloading and feel the same sort of oh my god not one but three downloads before muttering about how I will never catch up. Information overload either way and it leads me down a road to indifference eventually.
So, what IS the state of pagan podcasting? I mean, for certain there are still a ton of pagan podcasts out there and probably more being thought about, thought up and recording even as I type this. I cannot say that the era of the pagan podcast is over but the rate of new podcasts has indeed slowed and many of my own favorite podcasts have faded at this time. That is not to say that we aren’t still out there, morphing into other forums and types of media. Some podcasters blog too and find it easier to do so because there are less time constraints, equipment woes, etc. when time is tight. I enjoy blogging for these reasons and I am also extremely active on my own website as well as Twitter (and Facebook to a lesser extent).
Maybe podcasting for many pagans is like a television show. You know, most great shows have this
life of their own where you are getting to know the characters and falling in love with the story for the first season and possibly even the second. Things happen and they are awesome, awful, funny, sad but always tremendously entertaining. Then we start to critique this season’s writing as opposed to last or how
one character develops as over another. We get antsy for something new or we miss the way things were back in season one or we disagree with the writer’s perspective or the show just plain old runs its course. So, I guess in podcasting as in television, eventually every show’s era must end. Sad yes but how long can zombies really walk around and eat people anyway? Don’t answer that.