I read a funny story recently about an old farmer who, while visiting the local feed store, overheard one gentleman telling another that he’d discovered podcasting. A bit confused, the farmer asked, “Casting pods? Wouldn’t it work better to take the seeds out before you throw ’em?”
Of course, these days everybody knows what a podcast is … right? Not necessarily. Coming up with a clear definition isn’t as easy as you might think. The “podcast” label has been applied to a fairly broad range of online audio and video content. Some of those programs are little more than an archive of radio or television highlights. Other podcasts boast original content. But even then, production values vary wildly. They can sound professional and slickly packaged, or they can come from a single fan armed only with a microphone, a computer and a passion for Minecraft, marshmallow Peeps or the local lacrosse team. I’ve even listened to podcasts about podcasts. I guess that’s part of their charm.
Personally, I love casting pods.
I was introduced to the concept back in 2006. That’s when the team behind Focus on the Family’s long-running radio drama Adventures in Odyssey invited me to co-host their new, biweekly podcast. What a blessing. We’ve escorted fans of that beloved series behind the scenes by interviewing the actors, writers, producers and sound designers. We also run contests, give away free episodes and share fan feedback. Yet as much as I enjoy my role on that podcast, another one is even closer to my heart.
I’ve been part of our Plugged In ministry since 1992, editing our print magazine for 16 years. Yet for all of that writing, we could never speak as directly and personally to parents as we can through The Official Plugged In Podcast. Each week for the past four years, I’ve sat down with our editors—a fraternity of Christian dads at various stages of life—to talk about entertainment and parenting. Our listeners hear more than just reviews. They hear the emotion behind the words, as well as personal reactions and stories. We disagree sometimes, which is fine. And we like to laugh, mostly at ourselves. Those are things people will never hear in our online reviews, no matter how detailed we make them.
If you’re a regular listener to The Official Plugged In Podcast, thanks for making us a part of your week. We appreciate that. On the other hand, if you’ve never tuned in or haven’t joined us in a while, click this link to hear a very special episode. We’re actually celebrating a milestone. Our 200th podcast features highlights from more than a dozen interviews with all sorts of interesting people (and one muppet) who have unique perspectives on today’s media culture. Once you’ve heard the clips, feel free to come back and post a comment about which ones stood out to you. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Oh, and if you run into that old farmer, just smile and nod.