I have written before about Croncast, but I don't think I've properly conveyed my love for the show.
I've tried out a lot of podcasts, both personal ones (Dawn & Drew, How Much Do We Love..., More Hip Than Hippy) and professional ones (Russell Brand, Definitely Not The Opera, a passel of NPR ones), but none of them have me ensnared like Croncast does. See that last.fm "What I'm Listening To" widget on the sidebar? All it says, all it has said for days (weeks?), is Croncast. That is because I am listening to all of the archives, starting all the way back when the show started in 2004.
Why am I listening to three or four year old podcasts? Because I miss Kris and Betsy.
See, Croncast is over. After putting up 500 shows, Kris and Betsy put it to bed a couple of weeks ago. And since then, air silence. They are actually putting out a new show, Life in the Can, starting any day now. In the meantime, though, I'm going back to the archives to get my fix.
And I am realizing, as I'm getting this fix, learning about how Kris and Betsy got to the point they were when I started listening to the show last year, that I feel like Kris and Betsy are my friends.
I do this. I get involved with people I don't know and who don't know me. Usually, those people are fictional and exist in novels or on television shows, but in this case, they're real, they're just not a part of my real life. Why? Because it's the easiest relationship in the world to have. They talk, they entertain me, give me stuff to think about, make me laugh, and ask for nothing in return. I don't have to give advice, I don't have to provide anecdotes to match their's, I don't even have to smile or make eye contact. Any time they irritate me or I am tired of listening to them, I can turn them off. It's a no-stress relationship.
Before you start thinking that admitting I enjoy a non-reciprocal relationship with people I don't know, consider: isn't that part of what all this internet communication (blogs, message boards, podcasts) is about? Being able to interact with people on your own terms--when you choose to log in, when you choose to read. Isn't being entertained and elucidated without having to reciprocate part of why we all read blogs and listen to podcasts--and for that matter, why we read novels and watch television?
The real question, though, is why do people (for whom it is not a profession) put themselves out to be consumed? Why do we blog? Why have Kris and Betsy spent four years of their lives putting our shows three times a week? What is in it for them?
I have some ideas, but honestly, not any very good ones. So I guess all I can say is this: Kris and Betsy, thank you so much. No matter why you do it, I'm glad you have, and I hope you'll be putting out new shows again really really soon. And the rest of you--if you haven't checked out Croncast, go download some shows and give them a listen. You'll get hooked.