Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Lunch Box Mom Podcast: Training Wheels

Every so often, I like to keep readers up to date with the Lunch Box Mom staff meetings. Here are the minutes from one held a few months ago:

Me: I’d like to create a podcast.
Husband/Head of IT: Good luck with that.

So, like so many other businesses, I’ve had to outsource.

In this case, to a junior in college.

This is the short version of how I found my new staff member: I crashed an internship fair at a local university and looked for guys.

There are so many things wrong in that sentence, I don’t know where to begin, but let’s start with the last part: do young men—more than young women—know more about the mechanics of podcasting? I’m not sure, but I tested my theory at the end of the buffet line at the internship luncheon with the first young man I saw:

Guy: I worked at a radio station last fall and my job was to make a podcast.
Me: I can pay you by the hour and offer you pizza.
Guy: Sounds good.

And so began the first Lunch Box Mom paid internship program.

After establishing that I did not own the program, “Garage Band,” or a Mac, my intern went to work researching what I’d need to record, edit and post a podcast.

Here’s what he determined:

“You’ll need the program Audacity to record and edit; Skype to conduct phone conversations and a British program Pamela to record the calls. LibSyn can post the podcast, and you can have an RSS feed to a blog; might want to switch over to WordPress for that and buy a domain name with Go Daddy. Eventually, try to submit to iTunes. You can get public domain music, and you should learn how to label MP3 Tags.”

“Excuse me”, I said after he explained all of this. “I just need to switch the laundry.”

I did, in fact, have to switch the laundry (when do I not?), but I also needed some air. You see, my ability to learn new things has greatly diminished since becoming a mom. In fact, I often tell friends that if there’s anything they want to accomplish—learning French, understanding quantum mechanics, the traffic patterns in Boston, they should do it before the birth of their first child.

But, my intern was patient.

He’s spent about 12 hours with me over the past month. In our last session we edited the first actual podcast.

“It sounds great,” I said, “but listen to the final part.”

Recorded in the final second was my dog, Gilbert, uttering a clear and authoritative, “Woof.”

My intern nodded and assured me we could edit the bark out of the track. “But, if you think that’s going to happen a lot we can record a sound reduction of that and....”

“No, no,” I said. With my two kids, the dog was probably the least of our worries.

A big concern, and something I probably should have thought about earlier on in the process was a little something I like to call...content.

I’d spent the past month toying with different ideas.

Finally, I called a trusted friend.

“Keep the first one short,” she said.

“Oh, definitely. I was thinking ten minutes.”

“More like five.”


“Maybe three.”

It’s true, my favorite podcast, Stuff You Should Know, started out very short. The earlier episodes are much different from the ones I listen to now. So, if you can bear with me, I’d like to say the same will be true for me. I’m using this summer to get the swing of things—find a better mic, master the art of editing, get new theme music, and perhaps most important, stock up on dog bones for my golden to chew on when I’m recording.

The content will continue to evolve, and eventually, I hope to splice together multiple segments. My ultimate goal is to create something that is enjoyable to listen to. I turn to podcasts when I am folding laundry, or making dinner, or nursing a kid at three in the morning. There are aspects of parenthood that are lonely, or tedious, or mind-numbing, and I’d like to create something that keeps you company then—like a good friend.

So, if you have 4 minutes and twenty-two seconds, you can click on this link, and find the first podcast. I call it "Bachelor Pad", and in it, I imagine that I take my two kids on a surprise visit to my cousin, Ben, a film instructor, who's living the jet-setting, single-life in New York City. How can I best compare our lives? I ask him one very important question....

If you have an idea for a segment or if you’re sitting on a stash of public domain music, or if you are an intern looking for free pizza, please send me an email. The IT department over here at Lunch Box Mom is one very exciting place to be.


Podcast: In the book, Blogging for Dummies (a reference book I have been too intimidated to read), they trace the origin of the word.

“....most people believe the word Podcast comes from the Apple iPod device, a popular MP3 player that can store and play podcasts and music. This belief comes close, but it’s not the whole truth. Podcasts arose at the same time that Apple’s device came on the scene, and bloggers conceived the name Podcast to echo the idea that people could listen to these audio files on the go by using a hand-held device. But many devices could play the files and in fact, people listen to most podcasts on a computer, not an MP3 player. Some say the word comes from the combination of the acronym pod (pod standing for portable-on-demand) and the word broadcast, but this meaning evolved after the word itself, probably in response to Apple’s attempts in 2005 to try to restrict the commercial use of the word pod.”

Lunch Box Mom, Podcast One:
Bachelor Ben Episode
First Lunch Box Mom Podcast featuring "Bachelor Pad" segment with Sarah's cousin Ben, a film instructor in N.Y.C. In this segment, Sarah asks Bachelor Ben the all important question "What do you have to feed a five year old?"

ps- This post falls on Memorial Day, but has little to do with the respectful thoughts deserving of the people celebrated on this important day.
Hi, I’m a mom blogger and I need someone to help me make a podcast.


Tim Morrissey said...

You are now officially a multi-media goddess! (Woof....)

Anonymous said...

That's so good for you! My mother used to be so bad at computers and now she is excelling on them. She likes to buy Computers for dummies books. She says they have lots of tips and tricks you would otherwise never find elsewhere.

BTW. I made a comment on your Vaccine Blog in April. I didn't have a profile then. Feel free to let me know what you thought of my comment. thanks =D and good luck with he podcasts I will have to listen to one when i get the chance!