US Presidential Politics vs. LISTen

I have a wee bit to say relative to LISTen and US Presidential Politics. On the day I began writing this, we have seen election contests across the United States relative to selecting each major political party's candidate for this November's general election. There has certainly been quite a bit of coverage.

As far as I can see at this hour, the picture painted is inconclusive. Who will win each party's race to secure a majority of delegates? For at least one party that is a question with no concrete answers.

I am shooting for LISTen to start its first regular season next week. I have been diligently trying to get guests lined up to appear. With some luck we may have guests from New Zealand bringing us perspectives on librarianship from the other half of the planet. We must not forget the first "A" in AACR2r which refers to "Anglo-" prior to the second "A" that refers to American practice.

I make a more general call at this time for interested librarians and students of library science to contribute to LISTen. As we did not make it to the goal post for fundraising (we only received USD$15) we cannot have a dial-in number for anybody to reach us at. To establish a single phone number within the United States that potential contributors could simply call from their cell phone would cost us USD$60. Considering the size of the audience outside the United States one must add USD$60 per nation to set up dial-in numbers. To establish single telephone numbers in the United States, Canada, and New Zealand would cost USD$180 that I simply do not have and won't be able to secure through other means. The cost of those lines is a single up-front payment each year. It would be more expensive to drag such out over a period of months due to the minimum period for securing a line being three months at a cost of USD$18.

How can you contribute to LISTen? The first step is to send an e-mail to listen@lisnews.org. In that e-mail please introduce yourself and tell us what you are interested in talking about. At this point I am not particularly interested in hearing views of folks relative to the current federal-level presidential candidate selection process. This point in the process is one of heat and not light. What I am interested in hearing about is how things are being handled on the "front lines" of librarianship. What are you doing locally to improve literacy in your community? What are you doing that is unique and innovative to fit your local circumstances? What challenge did you or your library encounter that was resolved in a unique way? What does it mean to "be a librarian" where you are?

If you are unsure about whether you have something sufficiently interesting to talk about, please send an e-mail. E-mails sent to the production team are indeed read. Please do not fear that we will be ogres in replying to you. The rule of thumb we are taking for now is that, if the matter is something that catches the attention and interest of both myself and the audio engineer, we will try to schedule it. We have a limited amount of time available per episode so we have to juggle things around.

Please be clear in what you write. I have worked in many public school classrooms. It is somewhat a habit that I give the worst possible construction to something that appears unclear. This comes from some of the reporting aspects involved in teaching, I suppose. If we seek clarification from you, please regard what is written with a spirit of charity and grace. We are not out to attack but are merely trying to understand things better.

After an idea has been considered the submitter would hear separately from the presenter and the audio engineer. Two separate e-mails would be received with one coming from my own GMail account and one from the audio engineer's personal Yahoo account. My e-mail would relate to content. The engineer's e-mail would relate to how to get you in the loop and scheduling a session to record. Although it may appear confusing, this is part of a division of labor on our parts here in Las Vegas.

From that point we would then schedule an appearance. The most cost-effective way for such to happen right now is via Skype or AOL Instant Messenger voice chat. We have tested both now and have found such to be usable. Any potential contributor would need to have a microphone and headphones to participate in a recording session. The e-mail from the engineer initially talks about this and how to make it happen most easily.

As to US Presidential Politics I consider time insufficiently ripe for that to appear on the podcast. As LISTen talks about library and information science I want to focus on policies under consideration for libraries and the information science community. The only time discussion will become germane on LISTen to discuss what each candidate thinks of in library policy is going to be after the two major national conventions select their candidates and adopt party platforms. In terms of dates this means that the first day that both conventions will be done transacting business will be September 5th. The next possible episode would be on probably September 8th and I doubt enough primary source documents will be out in time. I will be willing then to have two guests talk about what each party's platform has in terms of likes and dislikes in library policy.

Many calls for sponsorship have been sent out. Nothing has been received in return. Although a challenge was made it has not been met so far. The cost month to month for podcast production is $1,500. While that may sound like a lot, $1,500 is the amount that would "buy me out" relative to my day job and allow me to work on the podcast and other such projects. Such would allow for more show prep as well as more flexibility in arranging recording sessions crossing many time zones. Although the new format may be enjoyed, it is not easy or quick to put together. Much goes on behind the scenes in getting an episode out under this format.

To sponsor LISTen for one year for one-tenth of the cost of operation, one can sign up by clicking this button:

If ten people were able to take that challenge on for a year then LISTen would then become my job day to day. In many of the podcasts that I have seen become successful in the broader world a shift like this is required to achieve excellence. Handling a podcast in addition to work requires a ton of effort that is very hard to sustain. I have seen seemingly dead podcasts in the iTunes Music Store and do not want LISTen to end up that way.

For intrepid souls or libraries with funds to expend, a way to contribute one half of podcast operating cost per year is found following the button below:

If one is outside the United States, PayPal handles the currency conversion at a cost far less than would be had if I received a check in the mail and took it to the bank. Any funds received are graciously accepted. A page of buttons for donating in various currencies also exists.

I must also note that libraries and vendors can also sponsor LISTen. Ads can be run, too. An e-mail sent to listen@lisnews.org will be forwarded to a third person on the team in Las Vegas who can discuss such with you from their own e-mail address.

Quite a lot has been said. It feels almost like the podcast is being born for a second time. This is not nearly as easy as it felt the first time around.

Comments

Free phone numbers

Have you considered something like K7.net to get a free phone number? People can call the number and their message is delivered to you as a .wav or .mp3 (at least, that's how it worked when I used it for Open Stacks).

Voice Mail?

Greg, thanks for the tip. At this point in the format shift I am not looking at taking voice mails and then replying on-air. In some respects that just does not fit the direction that is being moved towards. I also do not feel comfortable replying to voice mails simply because LISTen does not have that dynamic. Buzz Out Loud from c|net makes it work but they have a vastly different dynamic running compared to LISTen.

I say we do not have a call-in number established. That does not prevent us from dialing out from here ourselves. If you listen to the episode dated February 1st, the inclusion of Heidi Landskroener was accomplished by means of giving her a call using Skype. As far as I can tell nobody had trouble hearing that. Consider the amount of downloads and plays by the 24 and 36 hour measurement markers, that sort of format appears to be something that works well for the audience served.

If somebody is a Skype user on their computer, has a headset or other apparatus used for making calls, and wants to contribute then such is possible. There is no connection cost on either either for using Skype although Internet access still has to be paid for. The production audio engineer can help any potential contributor get set up with their audio. For podcasts such as those produced by Leo Laporte this works well

I do have a screen name established for the show if people want to contact us via AOL Instant Messenger voice chat. AIM is a free download. The headset needed can start as inexpensively as $15 and keeps moving up. We did a test last night and found that the audio we obtained via AIM was quite usable. In the end this is low cost but still requires an Internet connection.

Having a dial-in number would be the easiest way to go. That does not mean, though, that a lack of such would hinder things drastically. It does raise the bar for contributing to LISTen for anybody not located in the Las Vegas metro area. From our end here in Las Vegas we can try to help potential contributors in terms of equipment and suggest locations to purchases headsets.
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Stephen Kellat, Host, LISten

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