Monday, July 30, 2007

Podcasts

I like podcasts.

For the uninitiated, podcasts are downloadable mp3 files uploaded to the internet for whomever wants to listen. For the most part they resemble radio talk shows. Though many corporations are clueing into this new media, most podcasts are done by amateurs (not getting paid) talking about their personal interests. From Albacore fishing to Zoo reports (sorry, but I don’t feel like being clever), if you got a microphone connected to your computer, a program to convert to an mp3 file, you can get your opinions out there.

This is a great medium for those who always thought they should have been in Radio, but it’s even better for authors who want to get their work heard. And it's a way of advertising yourself to potential readers. They old saying, "You have to spend a little to make a lot," is true in the "podosphere."

So, let’s talk about podcasts. I would like to start with the podcast that got me hooked, but there are two, and I honestly can’t say which came first. So, I’ll go alphabetically.

Dragon Page – Cover to Cover.

This is a show that interviews Science Fiction and Fantasy authors, Big and Upcoming. At first it was hosted by Michael Mennenga and Evo Terra. They talked of news in the industry, had an author interview, talked a little afterwards, then had a showcase--"Welcome to my library"--where they read the backcover blurbs of books authors sent them.

Though I found Mike maudlin at times, and Evo too smarmy, they were a good team and had a genuine passion for the genre. They spawned other podcasts including Slice of SciFi and Wingin’ It. I still listen to Slice of Sci Fi, but after listening to 20 minutes of listening to what beer they were drinking, I gave up on Wingin’ it.

That may not be the actually history and evolution of the shows, but it’s the history of how I listened to them.

With so much to do, it appeared that Dragon Page was on the chopping block. Then something great happened. Evo Terra left the show.

Evo was a fine interviewer, but if the author was not hard Science Fiction, the smarmyness really came out. This made him a unique interview and a personality on the show, but I could have done without it.

The other great thing that happened was Michael Stackpole joinning the show. Stackpole is a New York Times bestseller with his own podcast, and shares both his experiences in writing and the industry.

Summer Brooks, who besides having her own show, Kickass Mystic Ninjas, also co-hosted the other shows with Mike and Evo when she could, became a regular. With this new cast the show took regained life. With the addition of Brian Brown who seems to have taken the mantle of Fan Boy, (not a slight, he seems to know about everybody), I believe Cover to Cover to be an infinitely better product.

It’s not perfect. When a guest spouted personal politics some fans took issue. Mennenga seemed to backtrack on the issue, claiming to be on the fence, but sounded wishy-washy. Meanwhile, Stackpole explained his position clearly and concisely.

My take, if it’s your show, and there are no real sponsors, (podcasting doesn’t pay) say what you want as long as your not spreading hate. If you don’t like global warming then go ahead and say so. If you think Bush is the next coming of the Messiah, then say so. If you have someone who wants to rebut, have him on. If you want. It’s your show.

Sometimes, controversy works.

Anyway, very minor points in an otherwise entertaining and informative show. If you like Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and recently branching out to mystery, give this show a try.

http://www.dragonpage.com

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