Podcasts and Mass-mediated Fellowship

Bethany Keeley-Jonker

Bethany Keeley-Jonker
January 10, 2017

In some ways, the community built around our favorite podcasts resembles the fellowship of the church.

January 10, 2017

Enjoyed this piece, Bethany. I agree with your inkling that podcasts can be a way of inviting listeners into a kind of intimate fellowship that, admittedly, runs only one way for certain listeners who lack the means to interact with the hosts. I immediately think about the implications for reaching out to prisoners. Not many of our facilities would allow access to the kinds of media devices capable of downloading and playing podcast episodes, but many facilities do allow access to radios, and Christian broadcast ministries that work on AM stations in the rural areas where many of our facilities are located are doing an amazing work reaching those who otherwise have no meaningful access to Christian fellowship. Most local churches couldn't afford the resources to broadcast on radio, but even the smallest congregations have access to basic technology that would allow them to podcast their weekly worship services. Which is why I would really, really love it if our prisons made that kind of technology available to inmates in the same way that radios are now.

January 11, 2017

What a great article! It serves as a great reminder that we are all connected, even in ways that might not be initially considered. Thank you for such a thought-provoking read!

Kevin Mulryne
January 23, 2017

Thanks for the article. As a podcaster of over 5 years' experience, I do indeed recognise what you are describing 'from the other side'. It depends on the topic and type of show, of course, but I have definitely built up relationships with many listeners across the globe and I would describe a number of the most dedicated listeners as close friends now. I would never have 'met' them without the podcast.

I also recognise the parallels to Church attendance, particularly as I am a member of the choir at my Church and have been for many years. Similar in- jokes and comfortable relationships build up in both circumstances and perhaps that's an inevitable consequence of this kind of human interaction. The surprise is that this still happens remotely and without the majority of the usual real contact. Podcasting is an amazingly intimate medium!

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