By Stephanie Ciccarelli
January 15, 2007
How did the worlds fastest talking female adapt to podcasting? Fran Capo, Guinness Book of World Records Worlds Fastest Talking Female, tells the tale of her first foray into podcasting.
I remember when I got my first computer, to me it was a glorified typewriter. I remember typing in a book I was working on, didnâ€™t know anything about the stupid save button that you should use every few minutes and lost 80 pages of my bookâ€¦just like that. I cried, I cursed, I swore I would never use a computer again.
Eventually I mastered the document aspect, and realized a computer was a heck of a lot easier than using wite-out. Then the Internet came along.
At first, I was scared to even do email because I thought if I pressed the wrong button, Iâ€™d wipe out everything on my computer. But I took a class and was told about all the wonderful things a computer and the Internet could do.
Wanting to jump on the bandwagon, I even had a website built for meâ€¦you know back in the day when youâ€™d write http:// and a whole long description to get to your site.
To this day I still know only a fraction of its uses. But in the interest of business I try to move along and somewhat keep up with the times, and when all else fails I call on the help of my son, Spencer. (Jeez, it reminds me of when my mother couldnâ€™t figure out how to use the answering machineâ€¦I was totally baffled at thatâ€¦now I know how my son feels.)
As time went on I learned how to build a buddy list, send IMâ€™s, put links in my emails, burn a DVD and do the basics to communicate.
Now, four websites later, I'm feeling pretty confident. I'm happy doing my emails and business on the web. One day my son turns to me and says, "So mom, how come you donâ€™t use AIM instead of email?"
"AIM? AIM at what? Whatâ€™s wrong with emails?"
He rolls his eyes and explains. "AOL Instant Message."
"Oh, I do that instant message thing."
"No this is different, you can send whole videos instantlyâ€¦blah, blah, blah."
I tune him out. I know I'm going to keep doing the emails.
Then I hear about â€œmy spaceâ€ so I look at it, see a bunch of teenagers posing for each other half naked and wonder, why the heck do I need a my space site? My son lovingly says, "Ma, trust me, you do". So for my birthday he builds me a myspace site. Now I'm thinking that's it. I've got it all.
Of course, can the Internet ever stay still.
So in enters, the new crazeâ€¦BLOGS are all the rage. I'm still figuring out ways to promote my website, now I gotta write a blog! For the life of me, I canâ€™t figure out why Iâ€™d need a blog, or how people know to go to it. Isnâ€™t the marketing the same as with a website? Why not just write a journal on your website?
Soon I see articles written about blogs. I hear blogs mentioned on the news. People are quoting blogsâ€¦Blogs, blogs, blogs!
So I speak to this very successful friend of mine, Nik Halik, who I meet while on the Titanic expedition. He says, â€Fran you need a blog.â€ Again with the blog. He takes me to a computer on the ship, sits me down. He goes to some website and sets one up for me. He has me write a paragraph about my expedition. â€œThere.â€ he says proudly. â€œYou now have a blog.â€
I never go there again, because in my mind I donâ€™t see the value of it yet. In my mind you can have the greatest product but if there is no way to market it and let people know it exists, then it's useless.
A few months later, the WBâ€¦yes, the wonderful guys and gals at MySweetConnection.com come along and said, â€œHey Fran would you like to write a blog called Franâ€™s World?â€
I take it as a sign from God, and jump at the opportunity.
Why? Because a blog on their site makes sense to me. They have a way of letting people know that the blog exists. I even do a promo commercial for it.
Which makes even more sense. So now I think Iâ€™m set. I got my new website, my emails, my MySpace.com/FranCapo, my blog and I even got a digital camera (I was still using a 35 mm camera up until July of this year-what can I say old habits die hard.)
Then, just when you think you got it all figured outâ€¦I start getting emails from a couple of places.
â€Hey Fran would you like to do a podcast for us?â€
What on earth is a podcast? Sounds like a fishing expedition that would take place in the movie "Cocoon."
I look it up on Google. â€œPodcasting, a portmanteau (whatever that means) of Appleâ€™s â€œiPodâ€ and â€œbroadcastingâ€, is a method of publishing files to the Internet, allowing users to subscribe to a feed and receive files automatically by subscription, usually at no cost. It first became popular in late 2004, used largely for audio files.â€
I still donâ€™t get how I do one. Do I record it on a tape recorder and then just post it somewhere? Is there a file called a pod? How will people know this podcast exists? Is this an MP3, a DVD, or an IUV? I donâ€™t even own an iPod!
I am put in touch with this guy Richard Arfin, he hosts a radio podcast out in the Hamptons. He has a place called, Podarama studios. We talk. Heâ€™s tells me heâ€™s looking for unique, creative, content, like New York underground music or something.
We talk and come up with some ideas. But again, Iâ€™m still not getting why this is the next cool wave. Richard says, â€œListen thereâ€™s no FCC rulings with a podcast, just like with XM and Sirius radio. We can look for sponsorship and link onto that website. A 45 minute program can be downloaded in 45 seconds, just like an email or another bandwidth. Nine months ago it was the MP3 files, now we turn them into RSS filesâ€¦itâ€™s an alternative to radio.â€
Heâ€™s so excited I donâ€™t want to stop him, but I am totally lost. He tells me about some Adam guy who is the creator of podcastingâ€¦says that podcasting has the ability to program into iPods and MP3 players in seconds. Says something about computers, mutitrack software, USB portsâ€¦that the Apple itunes firefox feeds through windows media and quick timeâ€¦I phase out.
My pupils look like two large pods.
Fast forward a few months. My good friend, John Basedow tells me he doing a regular fitness segment on my other friend, Donna Drakeâ€™s podcast called, â€œThe After Partyâ€. He sends me his glossy promo banner that he has announcing his podcast. Now Iâ€™m feeling left out.
I call Donna, "Can I come and do your podcast and see what this all is about?"
â€œSure Frannie. Weâ€™d love to have you as a guest our show. We tape the first Wednesday of the month.â€
"Great that coincides with my new book coming out." I hang up happy.
Iâ€™m all set. I call John just to make sure. â€œHey, John a podcast is audio or videoâ€? He laughs, â€œJust video dear, you can dress like a slob if you want.â€
I have an HBO audition later that day anyway, so just in case I decide to dress decently.
I get an email from Donna the day before our podcast.
"We are changing the taping time to 5:15 p.m. and putting more â€œproduction valueâ€ into our show. We currently have 12, 000 hits so far. By the way you can hear the After Party at TheAfterpartyweb.com the most recent interview I did was with Tom Chapin, Harry Chapinâ€™s brother.
The event I did last week with him earned over $30,000 for Long Island Cares and World Hunger Year. Iâ€™m so happy about that!
See you soon.
The great thing about being involved with anything Donna does is she has a big heart and is always successful. She has done so many wonderful things from being a television producer, to doing the voiceovers for John Basedowâ€™s fitness videos, to being a spearhead of the Huntington Arts Council, to pitching television shows at festivals, to creating the annual Laff Off Contest Event (now in itâ€™s fourth year) which is a huge success and of which John, my friend Janette Barber (who works at the View) and I do every year.
I drive out to the studio where they are taping. Itâ€™s a two-hour drive. I get there early. John is sitting in his car in the parking lot. We talk. He hands me a house warming gift heâ€™s been carrying around in his car for month.
We go inside the studio. It looks great. Itâ€™s changed a lot since Iâ€™ve been there last. Itâ€™s very modern looking. The owner/engineer of Waterworks, David, tells me about some of the latest projects. We think maybe thereâ€™s a fit for something.
I go into the room where we will be taping the Podcast.
The room looks gorgeous. A table is set up, complete with table cloth and these retro type plates with pictures of Lucille Ball on them and the likes.
We all have wine and water glasses, crackers and anchovies are laid out. The lighting is very funky.
I turn to Donna, â€œI thought this was an audio thing?â€
â€œIt is, but we are setting the ambianceâ€. She smiles.
â€œThis is cool, I love it!â€
There are four key members in Donnaâ€™s After Party podcast.
Linda Bruno, Steve Strangio, Rob Altman and Donna Drake. John does an exclusive fitness feature. With this setup, I think the segment is going to be an hour long. Nope just a quick 15 minute feature.
We all have microphones in front of us, are given the cue by David.
Donna starts as host. Itâ€™s very casual, as if we are all eating dinner together and I am the invited guest. We talk about my new book, how I broke the world record, the greeting cards Iâ€™m selling to raise money for the African village, etc. etc.
Everyone joins in. Soon Steve Strangio is giving us the two minute sign, then the 30 second sign. I go into warp speed to get everything in.
Steve holds up the wrap up - the end sign which means, stop talking now! I nod to acknowledge the sign, we clink glasses and are out. Done, my first podcast under my belt.
The piece will get edited and uploaded to the Internet on their website and will be there for about a year. The people who subscribe to the service will have it automatically sent to their iPods. Very cool.
I think it's over but as with all recording sessions you always try to make the most of the studio. So they are not only taping my segment today but a few more.
Next up is John's fitness segment. I'm on a roll now. Why do one podcast when you I can do two? So, I stay as a guest on his segment and read the questions from the listeners. I joke with John about our long walks in Manhattan and losing weight. Again, itâ€™s over in no time. I am liking these podcasts very much.
The group is taping a few more segments, and Iâ€™m invited to stay but I have to get to the HBO audition for the Aspen Film Festival in Manhattan.
We all kiss goodbye. I still have no clue how exactly the podcasts get uploaded to the website, then get sent to iTunes then to the peopleâ€™s iPods, but at least I feel Iâ€™m in the updated world now, and can add podcasting to my list of accomplishments.
By the time I get home that evening, John as already sent out his email blast that the new podcast is online. Wow, talk about not wasting any time!
I guess the thing I have to learn about technology is that it moves as fast as I talk, and if I want to keep up, my lips better not be the only thing going at 603 w.p.m.
(the Guinness Book of World Records Worlds Fastest Talking Female)
P.S. To hear my podcast segment on the After party go to AfterThePartyWeb.com.
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