A Year of Podcasting in Review

I spoke on a few podcasts here and there starting a couple years ago, but I really started podcasting in earnest about a year ago. Here’s why I got into it, what it’s done for me, and where it’s going.


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My first foray into the Archaeology Podcast Network (APN) was a brief interview with APN founder, Chris Webster, for the “Profiles in CRM” show. At the time, I was a CRM archaeologist in Kentucky, and I was asked to be on the CRM Archaeology podcast. It’s difficult to talk about podcasting in archaeology without also talking about archaeology in social media. I’ve been active on Twitter since sometime in 2010 (@godigahole), but Archaeology Twitter really started to blow up around 2013; in my opinion, only recently reaching a critical mass for actively engaged professionals. It was John Lowe (@archaeocore) who turned me onto the APN, and I ended up chatting with several podcast hosts during a tweetup he hosted in Austin, Texas during the SAA Meeting in 2014. I ended up joining a few episodes and, between that and my activity on Archaeology Twitter, I ended up moving out to California to work with Webster’s company, Digtech, on a four-month stint in the Mojave Desert. My close work with Webster in those months spurred me to become more active as a co-host on the CRM Archaeology podcast, reboot the ArchaeoTech series with him, and also motivated me to launch my own Go Dig a Hole podcast.

Why did I get into podcasting?

At first, it was Chris Webster’s enthusiasm for podcasting that got me into it. I didn’t have any expectations for where it might take me, but the clear mission of public outreach, education, and being good stewards of the field of archaeology drew me to podcasting. I didn’t even listen to podcasts before I started podcasting – I think it shows in my earlier contributions to the APN, too, because it wasn’t until I started paying attention to how other podcasters worked that I became a more competent speaker. I quickly made friends in the field through other hosts on APN and suddenly their networks became my networks, and that kept me in, even when I wasn’t actively working in the field. I was still contributing something, and gaining knowledge and experience from my peers during the many prolonged periods where archaeology wasn’t paying my bills.

What’s it done for me?

I can’t exactly quantify any returns for all the time I’ve put into podcasting in just a year. I’ve probably volunteered thousands of hours and spent a couple hundred dollars on recording equipment. On the other hand, I gained a lot of opportunities indirectly – in the form of jobs in CRM archaeology, and conference invitations. Podcasting has dramatically expanded my professional network, deepened my connections with fellow archaeologists, and added some lifelong friends. Podcasting has also helped me showcase others’ hard work, and give knowledge and resources to others. It’s given me a sense of place in the archaeological community, and that place is an inclusive space that I built to bring others along for the ride. I’ve been able to challenge my own privilege, by giving a platform for people representing Native American heritage (Episode 14), Queer Archaeology (Episode 16, upcoming), and the Society of Black Archaeologists (Episode 17, upcoming). That’s something I hope to continue, and it’s given me a lot of opportunities to learn along with all the other discussions I’ve had along the way.

What’s ahead?

The CRM Archaeology Podcast just released their 100th episode, with a similar theme to this post. The APN is now pulling around 40,000 monthly subscribers across 15 different shows. The Conference Channel is set to go into overdrive in the coming year, with most of the APN hosts attending just about every international, national, and regional conference available. Several new series are in the works to release in 2017 as well. That’s a lot of potential that, so far to date, only the paperless archaeology tech startup, Codifi, has tapped into for sponsorships, promotions, and professional partnerships. If you’re selling a product or service related to archaeology, or have a company that wants exposure to that many professionals, academics, and interested members of the general public, sponsoring podcasts is such an obvious, easy win. On that note, I’ve started a Patreon page to raise funds for a few clear goals I have, which will use the Go Dig a Hole podcast as a primary vehicle. These include starting small, with projects like transcribing podcasts to make them accessible for the hearing impaired; touring schools throughout the Pacific Northwest (I live in Portland) to teach students about archaeology; and eventually starting the Go Dig a Hole field school in the Portland area, for underprivileged students. So if you have the money to spare, and want to contribute to these goals, hop on Patreon and sponsor Go Dig a Hole. You can also support the podcast by sharing and retweeting, or even joining the show to share your experiences.

Thank you for a year of listening, and reading for longer than that!


 

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