Finding My Voice

It’s on iTunes. My eyes were glued to my iPod in disbelief--my podcast was on iTunes. The title Nightlock: A Hunger Games Podcast was illuminated on my screen. I froze in complete shock, my eyes wide open trying to comprehend this reality. After months of struggling to figure out how to produce a podcast, my show was now featured on iTunes. After negotiating a web of confusion on the process of creating the RSS feed required to submit the podcast to iTunes, it actually worked. 

Typically, before taking on a project, I evaluate potential obstacles. In this case, however I was so determined to setup the feed that I jumped right in. I didn't let my fear and lack of technical expertise prevent me from taking a risk. I knew there had to be a way to do it--it was just a matter of investing the time and effort. Immediate answers were not at my disposal, like understanding which microphones were compatible with my recording software. In order to become successful, I had to reach out to resources to acquire a deeper understanding of the production process.

When first exposed, I became ecstatic with the podcasting community. I was immediately engaged when first hearing MuggleCast, a Harry Potter podcast. I admired their witty banter and ability to think on their feet; I became an instant fan. Listening to them was like having my best friends over and when they skipped a week, I missed them. I was in awe when the hosts mentioned how they had tens of thousands of subscribers. When I found out the show was produced by high school students it occurred to me, if they can do it, why can't I?

This project was essentially fueled by my love for literature. It began years ago with a nightly ritual, curling up with my brother and mother as she read the next adventures of our favorite heroes. I wanted to share this passion with others. I am touched to have people express their appreciation for the podcast. It is gratifying when families e-mail me that they bond listening to my podcast together. It has been so rewarding to have younger listeners reach out to me for advice to start their own podcast. I visualize a pre-teen in Israel riding the bus to school listening on an iPod, or possibly a mom carting her kids off to soccer practice in Germany. With 60,000 subscribers, I’ve imagined countless scenarios of fans getting excited about literature.

This experience has boosted my confidence significantly. I used to put substantial thought into what others would think of my opinions, but over time I have embraced my own style. I am no longer overly concerned by how others may perceive me on or off the air. I have developed conviction when discussing my ideas. There have been times on the show when I would mispronounce a word. I used to get so embarrassed by mistakes like that, but now I just take it in stride. Thinking on my feet has been a vital attribute as a host; recording a structured podcast with unscripted discussion has helped me develop this skill.

Once the microphone is live, the headphones are on and the theme music starts to play, I am a bundle of nerves, excitement and joy. My parents sometimes reminisce about a vacation in Bar Harbor when I was so giddy on the swing and said, “The little man inside of me is dancing.” Now when I podcast, that little man is doing an Irish Jig.