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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Podcasting: 5 Frequently Asked Questions for Yours Truly

On Wednesdays I run a guest-blog post when I happen to have one. This week's didn't come through. Oh well! So I'm going to talk about podcasting, my new enthusiasm. (Click here to visit my main podcast page.)

WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO START PODCASTING?
I started podcasting back in 2009 because I wanted to make available my lecture at the Library of Congress about the research behind my novel based on the true story, The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire. The last prince was, in fact, Agustin de Iturbide y Green, grandson of Mexico's first emperor, Agustin de Iturbide. Because the story takes place in Mexico during its Second Empire or so-called "French Intervention," one might very naturally assume that my archival research would be primarily in Mexico. But in fact the Library of Congress has the main archives, that of the Emperor Iturbide (first Emperor) and the Iturbide family. Mexico's second Emperor, Maximilian von Habsburg, has his archive in Vienna and, though I did visit that archive, fortunately for me, there is a nearly complete copy at the Library of Congress. Anyway, I explained all of this is elaborate detail in my lecture, now a podcast, which you can listen to here.

HOW DO YOU MAKE A PODCAST?
There are many ways, and I won't bother count them, but I can tell you, I find it very easy to use Apple's "Garage Band" program. I usually just talk into my iPhone's dictation app and take the mp3 file from there. I am sure professional sound engineers would be horrified. Oh well! If I want to add music, I buy clips at royalty-free sites such as istock.com, uniquetracks.com or Music Bakery.

HOW DO YOU GET A PODCAST ONLINE?
Again, there are many ways, but the one I like to use is podomatic.com. I offer the feed at iTunes. Next year when I start up my Marfa Mondays Project, I plan to also add those podcasts to a youtube page. Stay tuned.

*****UPDATE 1/16/2012***** The Marfa Mondays Podcasts have launched. Read all about it and listen in here.

WHY ARE YOUR PODCASTS FREE?
As they say, information wants to be free. And well, many of my podcasts (such as this one), are, quite frankly, intended to help promote my books and workshops. Others are for my writing students-- a gift to them. Others, such as "Conversations with Other Writers," are just fun to do and I hope people enjoy them.

WHAT PODCASTS DO YOU LISTEN TO?

Podcasting is still very new to me. Just like blogs and youtube channels, there are so many that it takes some time to sift the (alas) few grains of wheat from the Himalayas of chaff. A few podcasts I am delighted to have found are NPR's (and the iPad app lets you put together a playlist); Rice Freeman Zachary's Notes from the Voodoo Lounge; James Howards Kunstler's; and Dr Rita Louise's "Just Energy".

---> For the complete archive of Madam Mayo's guest-blog posts, click here.