On October 12, I’ll give a presentation at a big conference in Atlanta, Georgia, called She Podcasts. It’s named for the online community that supports and encourages women in podcasting. With thousands of members globally, She Podcasts helps women from all walks of life bring their stories to the world.
I’m the only speaker at the conference who’s a Catholic sister. What a great opportunity to talk about podcasting and nuns! My topic is “Podcasting as a Spiritual Adventure.” Other speakers will cover a wide range of subjects such as creating a podcast business, audio storytelling, technology, building a global audience, and lots more.
In the presentation, I’ll share key things we’ve learned at A Nun’s Life in over 10 years of podcasting. We’ve done well over 1,000 podcasts, most of which we broadcast live with video and a chat room. That way, people can see us, hear us, and “talk” to us via chat.
One of the biggest things we’ve learned is about the power of community. Although I’ll talk about community in the presentation, I’ll share here some experiences from our earliest days of podcasting, when Sister Julie Vieira and I were just beginning.
We originally wanted to have a program on the radio because we were huge fans of public radio. But because we had zero training or experience in broadcasting, it seemed highly unlikely. We turned instead to the internet and technology, where new developments were making it possible to broadcast online.
I recall thinking: “That sounds like fun!” and “How hard can that be?” Turns out, it is a lot of fun, and it’s also a lot of hard work.
Our initial steps were to build a podcasting studio in the convent and to create a show. These things were quite challenging due to our lack of experience. But we were energized by the mission of A Nun’s Life and had a deep belief that other people would help us. And they did.
When we reached out on the internet, the early podcasters in the evangelical Christian community helped us find equipment and build a broadcast “studio,” which at the time was on the convent kitchen table. The local public radio station heard about A Nun’s Life and helped us with audio engineering, show formats, and much more. People made donations to help pay for expenses like internet service and equipment.
Our listeners offered encouragement and support. This was greatly needed because we were learning as we went along. We were amazed at the vast number of things that could (and did) go wrong!
Very early on, we realized – with some dismay at the time – that we’d never be perfect podcasters. We soon also learned that our community of listeners and supporters didn’t want that anyway. They wanted us to be who we are and to embrace the adventure that is podcasting.
As I continue to prepare for my She Podcasts presentation, I do so with enormous gratitude for everyone who's been part of the podcasting adventure at A Nun's Life! I'll also be posting on social media during the conference to give you the scoop on what's happening there. Stay tuned!