Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Is It Live, Is It Memorex Or Is It Me?

Aside from writing the weekly 80's Nuts Newsletter, I dabbled in radio for a year. I had trained as a disc jockey at KUNV during the early 90's but never submitted a demo tape. It would take a couple named Patrick and Aimee that launched their own online 80's radio station to coax me onto the microphone. For that, I would record five 2-minute segments called the 80's Nuts Update that aired on weekdays at noon and midnight in the Midwest (10am and 10pm P.S.T.) This was fun as I believed that getting the news out to people, who didn't normally get it, was important. 80's Airwaves closed after just more than a year.

It was during this time that Patrick and a few other people asked me about podcasting. I knew very little about the technology involved and was pretty fearful. But, I made a promise to the subscribers of the newsletter and visitors of my Web site that I'd bring the radio segments back in the form of a new podcast by the end of the year. With just a few months left, I started looking into the changes in this technology. I had a better idea of what podcasting was as I was downloading a lot of them for my iPod. But, I was still lost as to the hosting and RSS feeds. I also knew that I needed to take steps of progress from what I was doing before.

This morning was my first test of two new free tools: Skype and Talkshoe. You may have heard of Skype before as it is a way of using your computer as a pseudo-telephone. You can connect with more than one person and hold conversations or pay a little more to actually call real phones (this means using your speakers, microphone or headset.) Talkshoe is a very exciting program. Essentially, a user can set up their account and record their rantings, podcast or talkshow. People connect to the program on their computer and call in via phone or use Skype. On the host's end, you can mute and unmute people to control the flow of conversation. The computer program allows you to chat with other people in cue and also 'raise your hand' to ask a question. At the end of the show, the file (which runs as streaming audio during the live recording) will be posted to iTunes as a podcast. The test went pretty well but I'll have to make an attempt with a real live audience before I even consider it further.

So the negative to going with these production tools is that I can't stop and edit my flubs as I've done many times when recording. What happens, happens and that's just the way it is. Yet, there are positive points:

1) I wouldn't just be reading the news to people that may have already gotten the email or been to the Web site
2) I could connect to many people that don't currently read the newsletter
3) I would be able to answer questions from long-time and new listeners/readers
4) I could actually schedule live interviews with guests
5) I could make the experience more personal by discussing the news with people

I figure that the best time that I could do a show like this would be for an hour on a Saturday afternoon/evening. I'm sure that the next test with live callers will seal the deal. Talking 80's Music with Martin Hennessy is the current working title. Keep your fingers crossed.


Matt said...

I look to you for all my 80's music info . I can't imagine a better person for it!

Lucy Stern said...

Wow Martin, that all sounds complicated to me, but if anyone can do it, you can. Let us all know how it goes and maybe we can listen in on some of your podcasts....Good luck

LoraLoo said...

I am really looking forward to your podcasts! Who knew all those years ago (it's been like 9 years, right?) how big this would all be.

Anonymous said...


Aimee and I wish you the best of luck with your new podcast - regardless of what shape it takes. We will be subscribing and listening because your two minutes a day were a very important part of our little station!

Take care,


BeckEye said...

I'm requesting some Charlie Sexton in advance. :)

Anonymous said...

How totally cool!!!! You know I read every word of your newsletter every week? Now a PODCAST! Good on you, Martin!!

Look at that hot new pic of Beckeye! WOO HOO

BeckEye said...

OH...if you EVER interview Glenn Tilbrook, you MUST call me in advance and let me come out there and co-interview with you. You will probably have to do a lot of editing though, unless you want a highly disjointed piece featuring lots of me gushing, giggling, lame flirting and general dorkiness.