Yesterday I mentioned that I’ve recorded 21 podcasts this year, including a limited-run series with Amy Poppinga called Pandemics and the Liberal Arts and new episodes of my sports podcast with Chris Moore and Sam Mulberry, The 252, and Nothing Rhymes with Gehrz, the odd little show in which Sam and I simply talk about words that have nothing in common past the fact that they don’t rhyme with my last name.
Today you can update my podcast count for the year to 22, since I had the honor of contributing two segments to a special production of Sam’s Channel 3900. Both to provide what he called “a Whitman’s sampler” of what we do and to document this historic year, Sam invited everyone on the network to contribute to a collective 2020 time capsule that would drop on December 31st.
After an introduction from Sam and his Tweet Victory and Avatar with Academics co-host Annie Berglund, our time capsule starts with a Nothing Rhymes with Gehrz mini-pod. While I stuck with pandemic, the noun that Merriam-Webster named its word of the year, Sam suggested an adjective that I’d blogged about earlier in 2020, normal. As usual, our non-rehearsed show’s slender conceit ended up supporting an interesting, unpredictable discussion that took my mind everywhere from World War II to the revolutionary meaning of Advent. It was another reminder of Sam’s insight that “the very core” of podcasting is “two people having a conversation.”
The 252 makes its appearance near the end of the episode. Chris, Sam, and I each agreed to bring to our recording an iconic 2020 moment from the COVID-ridden year in sports… but we also declined to tell each other what we had in mind. So color me shocked that all three of us turned to America’s (but not our) favorite sport: football. Chris reflected on a college football game that wasn’t played, Sam on one that was, and I mused about the power — for better and worse — of an unusually intimate NFL draft.
And my contributions make up only a small slice of a nearly two-hour production. On a network advertised as ranging “from the sublime to the ridiculous,” highlights run the emotional gamut, from Election Shock Therapy‘s ominous assessment of American politics and society to the more lighthearted conversation about watercolor painting, fried chicken, boredom, and friendship that resulted from a crossover between Sara Shady (Public Philosopher) and my Pandemics and the Liberal Arts co-host.
It’s all worth your time. For whether you’re a longtime subscriber or a new fan, the Channel 3900 time capsule for 2020 is both a lively look back at a year we’re all tempted to forget and a great way to sample the innovative, insightful podcasting work being done by Bethel faculty.