Roger Weber: Podcasting revives an old art form -- pure storytelling

Voice of 'Mismatch' discusses benefits of podcasts

Roger Weber, the voice of Local 4's "Mismatch" podcast.
Roger Weber, the voice of Local 4's "Mismatch" podcast.

As I try to sell you on the benefits of listening to podcasts, including my own, consider this irony:

  • My smartphone confounds me. 
  • My desktop confuses me. 
  • My laptop enrages me.  

I’m nearly convinced that touching the wrong button will activate the nuclear launch code. One stupid move and some unfortunate part of the world will be left in smoke and ruin.

I used to be able to get computer help from the nice IT experts at work. Then I retired. The other go-to guy was my son. But he now has a wife, a challenging job, and better things to do then helping his old man figure things out. 

In spite of that admission, I’ve joined the burgeoning ranks of podcasters.  

When I use the word “podcast,” most people under 40 know what I’m talking about.  On the other hand, my fellow baby boomers often react with a puzzled expression. They either don’t know what podcasts are, or they don’t know how to get them.

Before I tell you how—and it’s ridiculously simple—here are a few reasons why podcasts can be totally worth your time.

Convenience. You can listen anytime, anywhere.

In the car.

At the gym.

On the walking trail, or at home.

It’s also a safe bet that you can find a podcast to suit whatever topic interests you.

Here’s another bonus: Though podcasting is a new technology, it revives an old art form: Pure storytelling. While news stories on commercial radio are crammed into 30 seconds, podcast stories can go 30 minutes, or whatever amount of time is needed. So we can treat you to an audio adventure with plenty of twists and turns along the way.

But which podcast should you choose?  Time for a shameless plug. 

You should definitely, undoubtedly and absolutely listen to “Mismatch,” which is being launched by Graham Media. In my 40-plus years as a TV news reporter, I realized that the most compelling stories feature some element of a mismatch. People who don't line up with each other, or with their circumstances, or even the era in which they live. Square pegs in round holes lead to complications and consequences.

The Cliff Notes version of a few “Mismatch” episodes will show you what I’m talking about.

A guy is contacted by the family which gave him up for adoption 38 years ago. He’s from Michigan. They’re from West Virginia. They coax him into attending a reunion down in “the holler.”  The party is awkward, and at times wild. It’s a pure mismatch of cultures, though something positive emerges.

The Daniel Dodge story is one of my favorites. The heir was worth about $10 million, and that was in 1938 when money went a lot farther. He wasn’t supposed to fall in love with a telephone switchboard operator—a young woman with no claim to money or high society. Their wedding shocked a lot of people. The way their marriage quickly ended was even more shocking.

Mismatches even occur in the animal kingdom. Isle Royale, a remote island in Lake Superior, has too many moose (1600), because only two wolves are left to hunt them. We hit the trail with Rolf Peterson, a renowned researcher who has studied the wolf-moose dynamic since 1970. Rolf is a story in himself, living a spartan existence in a rustic cabin in the middle of nowhere.

We have many more stories to share with you. 

So how do you hear them? Take some simple advice from your friendly technological dinosaur:

Just go to our website:  Hit the play button, and you suddenly plunge into the unbridled joy of hearing our podcast.

If you like it, hit subscribe. New episodes will automatically be sent to you. 
It’s important to remember that all of this can work on your smartphone. iPhones come with a podcast app, where you can easily find “Mismatch.” If you own a droid, you can download an app like “Stitcher” to accomplish the same thing.

One more note: I retired in 2015 and was settling into a leisurely life of travel, tennis, golf and gardening. Last summer, my former bosses sprang the podcast idea on me.  I have to confess that the notion of entering that part of the digital world was intimidating. I said yes when I realized something:

The technology isn’t an obstacle. It’s a gateway to great story telling.

So come on in!