Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Roots and Wings

Things my mother never stopped mourning: streetcars, really good train travel, and radio. You know, the golden age of radio when an entire family would gather together in the living room for their favorite programming. I was raised in a television era, one in which radios were for listening to music in the car. My teenaged sister sometimes listened to the top forty hits while she ironed every Saturday.

Weekly ironing. Man, I am old.

Something that is bringing back the old excitement of that radio feeling in our culture is the new world of podcasting. While the manner in which we consume the content has changed, the aspect of choosing favorites, looking forward to hearing them, devoting the time to listen is very similar. While we may listen individually, we discuss podcasts in multiple ways, both in person and online through social media.

Some podcasts have a national, even international, following. Some are put together in such a homemade way as to suggest a reach of one or two basements. The technology to make a podcast is readily available. Whether or not it is any good depends on the creators.

My new favorite podcast is Elevate Maryland, which is, as they say, "the podcast with Maryland focus and Howard County roots." I just listened to their most recent episode, with guest Ian Kennedy of the Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission. If you haven't yet started listening, I'd recommend starting with this one. The rapport between hosts Candace Dodson-Reed and Tom Coale  has beèn good from the start (this is Episode 8) but in this one you can feel that they've definitely hit their stride in working together. They're really getting this thing to fly.

(Photo credit: HoCoMoJo)

If you have any questions about where the DAC ("the first C is silent") fits in with Merriweather, the Downtown Columbia Partnership, and the Inner Arbor Trust, this is definitely an excellent place to start. Kennedy does a masterful job of describing all the layers and how they are related. I was amazed by how much information was relayed in such an engaging manner, without a sense that anyone was clutching notecards or prepared remarks.

My favorite part of this episode was a moment when the conversation tuned to how getting people out of their cars and onto bikes or simply walking around town can contribute to valuable moments of community building. When you are out and about, and bump into friends and acquaintances, those chance encounters are little moments of bridge-building. They reinforce our connection to one another. It almost felt like one of those old-timey radio songs in which the crooner waxes rhapsodically about:

The people that you meet
Walking down the street

Podcasting may be the result of highly sophisticated modern technology, but I think you'll find this particular episode to have a distinctly hometown feel. Once you hear this one I think you'll want to go back and listen to the rest.

Elevate Maryland, with hosts Candace Dodson-Reed and Tom Coale, is recorded bi-weekly at Joe's Place Deli and produced by Ilana Bittner of HoCoMoJo (and Pixel Workshop.)

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