The standard answer you get when you ask a kid what he or she wants to be when they grow up include occupations such as policeman, fireman, nurse, doctor, or maybe rodeo clown. Seldom does a young child tell you he wants to be a broadcaster or a journalist.
But long before I wanted to be a science teacher I wanted to be a newspaper man or, perhaps, a radio DJ. When I was little, I used to type up a family newsletter on an old Remington typewriter we found in the attic.
Occasionally, I would get out an old record player and a walkie-talkie and play songs over the air for passing truckers within a few hundred feet of our house. Ok, so I was 11; I could have been doing much more destructive things than violating FCC rules.
Later, after I decided what I really wanted to have as a career, I still was fascinated with radio broadcasting and with writing for the newspaper. When I was 15 I wrote a daily column and weather forecast for the old Edinburgh Daily Courier. And when I went to college, I became an on-air “personality” at the college radio station, never mind that I could probably count the number of listeners at any one time with my fingers and toes.
It’s too bad I didn’t have access to what many people take for granted these days, the Internet. Today, if you want to have a radio talk show or play your own songs on the Internet’s version of a radio station, you can do it. If you want to publish a newsletter or a full-fledged newspaper, have at it. You might even start drawing an audience or readership.
Most folks who have been online at all in recent years know what a blog is. It is short for Web log, and it amounts to an online journal. You can publish pretty much anything you want, from personal accounts of your day, including photos, to real news stories that you go find yourself.
More recently, you can use the streaming audio equivalent of a blog, a podcast. I don’t like the name because it’s too device-centric. It’s named after Apple’s Ipod music player because when podcasts first became popular, most people would download them to their music player so they could listen on the run.
If you desire to produce and host your own radio broadcast, all you need is a digital recording device, a microphone, and something to record, like your voice. You can become the radio newscaster you always wanted to be.
Of course, you’ll also need access to a computer so you can upload your production to any of several podcast sites so that listeners can find it.
Despite my early predilection for radio broadcasting, I have as yet not developed my own podcast program. For now, I’ll stick to the print medium, though that could change at some point.
Some of the more popular podcasts have tens of thousands of listeners. Others may have only a handful of friends or relatives that listen in. But whatever the listenership, it’s bound to be better than the occasional trucker tuning into my old illegal walkie-talkie radio station.