Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Podfade Question

The question was recently posed on Twitter and responded to by a number of pagan podcasters, most recently - and most eloquently - by Gillian of Iron Powaqa. Has the era of Pagan Podcasting ended? I think it's fairly safe to say a new pagan podcast, at least one worthy of any kind of note, hasn't really come out since around this time last year. That was the time a show called The Pagan Rapport, hosted by Silver Shadow, was first released. The Pagan Rapport is a great show. I've likened it to Behind the Actor's Studio, but for Pagan podcasting.

While the term doesn't technically apply, since Pagan podcasts are not some collective series, I think there is an element of 'jumping the shark' attached to the inception and growth of the show The Pagan Rapport. It's a podcast about podcasts and podcasters. We've gone meta, folks.

Don't get me wrong. I love the Pagan Rapport, and I am very glad it exists. The host asks the questions many folks, myself included, have always wanted to ask our favorite personalities that keep us company on commutes, road trips, gym excursions, and house cleaning. But, it's definitely a full circle concept. If I'm being very honest, and I suppose I am, my opinion is that most of the longest running shows are kind of running on fumes these days. Shows that used to be about content and challenging, innovative conversations have become 5 minutes of introduction followed by 60 minutes of music. Shows that used to offer magical advice or tips on witchy living have devolved into diaries showcasing what they had for lunch on Tuesday. All of these things are nice in their own way. I like to be introduced to music I may not have otherwise found, and many of these voices have become like friends and I enjoy hearing about their lives. But, it's not why I tune in to Pagan podcasts.

In short: I think most of us have said what we wanted to say.

Each of us gets into podcasting for a different reason, but more often than not the reason I've heard from fellow podcasters is that they wanted to make the show they wanted to hear. They wanted to offer something that didn't really exist in the ether. And, it's a labor of love. It's incredibly time-intensive, not to mention energy-draining, to create regular shows based on innovative discussions of religious and spiritual topics geared towards one of the smallest religious communities on the planet. We get no money, no compensation, and very little in the way of interaction. Yes, there are the emails and tweets and facebook messages, but we don't get the audience numbers of big comedy shows or podcasts run by already famous personalities. We're dealing with audiences in the hundreds to thousands or people. Which might sound like a lot, but in the grand scheme simply isn't.

To a certain extent, what Gillian said in her latest blog post is true. There just comes a point when you don't have anything to say. No big main topic to cover. No new concept to tackle. With a show like mine, I can continue to discuss current events and social issues, but the biggest segment has always been my take on the spiritual. If that's not there, personally, I don't tend to record a show. As you may have noticed, I've been less than inspired spiritually these past 4-5 months, which has only exacerbated the lack of shows due to an increased work schedule. Mo' money, mo' problems, less podcasting, amiright?

However, I think we can also say that this past year has been a tough one for most of your favorite personalities. There have been divorces, job changes, faith crises, money issues, time issues, and issues that haven't been aired in public. There have been internal issues and external issues and honest to god lack-of-wanting-to-take-your-only-day-off-to-podcast issues. And, since there aren't any new podcasts out there, it seems like most folks are going away. We're not. At least, I'm not. We're just human and, sometimes, need to work shit out. We're allowed, especially since our priorities are in our mundane lives - families, jobs, food on the table, clothes on our backs, etc. - which are frankly not provided for by podcasting.

Personally, I'm just coming out of a spiritual upheaval, and, thankfully, I'm coming out of it positively. On good footing, but still a little shaky. Also, and I've been hesitant to share this, but I think my biggest, most pervasive issue has been a combined lack of conviction and determination. I've not felt the care I used to feel about issues, possibly because - due to the Dementor-like soul-sucking of retail - I've become rather complacent and self-doubting. It's been the basis for both my spiritual and personal halting. Fire Lyte, as a personality, doesn't doubt himself. This persona of FL is strong. Convicted. He's self-assured, and it's all that I can do to put that mask on every now and then and sit in front of a microphone.

But...

I got this packet in the mail this past week. It's from the state of Illinois. It's about a job opening in my field. It gives a date and information for my big interview that's happening on April 24. And, while this news hasn't completely filled my cup up, it has stirred something very deep within me. I've started watching the news again. With retention. I've started yelling at the TV again. Taking notes again. I've started outlining shows and making notes of things I actually have an opinion on, for once in a long while.

What I'm saying is that...at least for me...I think I'm coming around the bend. Should this new job happen, it would mean being able to put my feet on my chosen path for the first time in years. Years. YEARS. It's been years since I've gotten paid to do something I loved doing, that I felt a purpose doing. That I felt like the work I did actually mattered. This job, this calling, is important to me. It's one of the sources of how and why I care and the glasses with which I see the world.

As of late those glasses just see endless opportunities to gripe about how people don't fold their own damn clothes back after trying them on.

See how icky a podcast like that would be?

To answer the question: the Pagan Podcasting world isn't over. The era isn't quite done. I think, mayhaps, that 2012 was a breathing, transitional period for many of us. And, now that some dust is settling, we're all gearing up for a seriously witchy 2013. So...the only thing you need to ask yourself is...

Are you ready for a Riot?

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

 

6 comments:

  1. I have missed you SO much. I have kept quiet about the podcast out of a respect for the turmoil that you've said you've been going through. I understand that this is much more important. However, I am THRILLED to find out that you're feeling better and more Riots are coming! (Seriously, if it weren't so early and I were afraid of waking my little one, I'd have screamed)
    I hope that everything goes well and I will be lighting candles for you and that job. You deserve it.

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  2. Great perspective too. Agreed on all counts. Yes 2012 was challenging in SO many unexpected ways. Here is to climbing out of it...

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  3. I don't think the era of Pagan podcasting is over. I think we might be suffering from a staleness of content at times (how many more introductory podcasts can the community really consume before we just don't need them anymore).

    What I'd deeply love to see if a talk-show. Maybe a bi-weekly or monthly show that would sit a moderator of some kind down with some Pagans in a Google Hangout similar to Star Foster's old Pagan Hangout project. Propose a few questions and just let the conversation happen. Could talk about news, holidays, practice, whatever.

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  4. Pagan podcasts introduced me to many new ways of thinking when it comes to magic and spirituality. I have had my curiosity piqued a few times, and that has spurred me on to research those things. I used to look down upon certain practices, and I now realize that there is nothing inherently bad about them. And that in magic and spirituality nothing is black and white. Just like in the real world. I'm glad that you are contemplating getting your pitchfork back out. I think that you can be a catalyst and mark a resurgence. I agree that re-treading the same topics from podcast to podcast does get kind of redundant for everybody. I think that if the podcasters and listeners could get over a block or two we might get some more out on a limb topics to come up, and be discussed. There are a lot of topics, that are still in the back of the topics shelf. We are ready, Challenge us.

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  5. Right now, Pagan Podcasting is new (hell, podcasting is new). When I first got into Paganism...before the internet got popular, before Witchvox even existed (man, I feel old), most of the books you could get at regular bookstores were just as introductory and repetitive as many current podcasts seem to be. However (as behind on podcasts as I am...I have no idea where you guys find the time to listen to so many), I have learned much just from listening to other's perspectives (I admit to being a chronic solitary, all my attempts to get even a discussion group going fail) that I never really got from books. I have been pointed in new directions within my own practice and this has only happened within the last 2 years...since I discovered podcasts (and book and blog recommendations contained therein)...and yes, I realize I'm behind the times, but...you should probably be glad I discovered podcasts at all, considering my love-hate relationship with technology (I am the twitter-less wonder).

    I think they are a wonderful thing, and I think if people can get creative and make their show more than just "this is how we cast a circle" stuff, this medium has great promise. The internet has done great things for the Pagan community (it has also done some bad things, but as with most tools, it can be used to good and ill) and I think podcasts are just the further manifestation of that. We are still trying to find out "how" to do it and make it great, and you're right, you don't get paid and it's probably pretty thankless (many internet artforms are, like webcomics), but for the people whose lives you touch, for the people who laugh with you, for the people who learn from you, it's worth more than you could probably even imagine.

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  6. Well, Amadore and I have totally not said everything we want to say yet. :P

    Good response to the question, though!

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