Month: October 2012

TCND #001: Reboot!

TCND_001In this episode Greg and Jennifer talk about transitioning from podcasting to radio and back again, jumping off cliffs, becoming self-employed, and purity of intention.

This episode sponsored by eCatholic – Catholic websites made easy. Support TCND by visiting eCatholic’s website and as a listener you’ll save $50 off your first year of the Premium Package or $20 off your first year of the Essential Package!

How We Landed a Sponsor for Our Podcast

Since 2008 my wife, Jennifer, and I have hosted a 3-hour-a-day talk show on SiriusXM’s The Catholic Channel called The Catholics Next Door.  Prior to that, for several years we hosted the award-winning Rosary Army Catholic Podcast, which was the first husband/wife Catholic podcast.

Both shows were a tremendous joy for us and I believe with every ounce of my being that I’m a better person today than before I started those endeavors.

But because of family obligations and her inability to continue hosting the show in the afternoon (right when the kids got home from school), last July Jennifer had to step down from the show to step back up to being a full-time mom, and for the past three months I hosted the show solo. We knew when we made that decision that there was a good chance that in the long run, our show would no longer air on SiriusXM, and understandably so.  They have a channel to run, and though the show was still great (if I say so myself), it just wasn’t the same without Jennifer.

Last Friday (October 19, 2012), we hosted our last broadcast of The Catholics Next Door on The Catholic Channel, and it was obviously a bittersweet experience.  But we knew that because so many people had benefitted from the ministry of The Catholics Next Door, that we needed to find a way to expand it new and exciting directions that weren’t always possible with radio.  It had to continue.

We actually knew for almost an entire month that our show was going off the air, and in that time we did a lot of praying, crying, laughing, hoping, and discerning.  Part of that discernment process lead to the decision to focus my creativity, passion, skills, and experience towards producing more great audio and video content, while also helping others to be more productive and effective in their organizations and endeavors, both in faith-based initiatives, as well as more business and IT related companies.

In the midst of that, I got a little bold.  I told Jennifer that if we were going to relaunch The Catholics Next Door as a podcast, that we’d need to have a sponsor for the show from the very first episode.  If I was going to try to support the family as a freelance contractor, I couldn’t give up a day each week to do a show that would make it impossible for me to do work to support the family.

In fact, I didn’t just tell Jennifer, I told God, “Lord, if you want us to do this, You’ve got to bring us a sponsor and You’ve got to do it right away!”

Then I threw in a few caveats, just for good measure.

I can’t lie.  Just can’t do it.  If we’re going to have a sponsor, it has to be one I believe in.  It has to be one doing some level of good.  And it has to be one who gets what my wife and I try to accomplish in all of our various media endeavors.  What we do in video and audio is unique and different and we wanted a sponsor who “gets” that.

We knew our last radio broadcast was quickly approaching, and people would be asking us to start a podcast, or if we’d be moving the program to another network.  We needed an answer before our final show.

I said a prayer, wrote down some details, sent off a couple emails, and within 24 hours, we had our first sponsor for the first 12 shows: eCatholic – Catholic Websites Made Easy.

Given the geeky nature of so much of what we do, combined with our love for new media and new evangelization, God brought us a perfect first sponsor.

And while that in itself is great, what’s even better is how excited our sponsor is to be a part of a brand new, relaunched The Catholics Next Door.

Even though the first new show doesn’t launch until October 29th, our sponsor has already created a fantastic deal for our audience and friends.

But it doesn’t end there.  I just found out that not only are they sponsoring our new show (click here to subscribe for free via iTunes), but they’re running a contest this week for you to win a free copy of our book, The Catholics Next Door: Adventures in Imperfect Living!

Click here for more information on how you can win!

We’re so excited for the relaunch next week.  Our plan is for the new show to be a combination of the best of our old podcast, with the best of our radio show, all mashed up into something unique and awesome.

Oh, and if your company or organization would like to be a sponsor, drop me a line.  I’d be happy to discuss the possibility.

A Dose of Reality

The National Catholic Register just posted a kind review of the book my wife and I wrote, “The Catholics Next Door: Adventures in Imperfect Living” (Servant 2012).

Go check it out here.

Reviewer Nick Manetto called it “A Catholic-Style Dose of Reality,” which is a pretty accurate summation not only of the book, but how we should handle all of our transactions and interactions with others.

When we produced the Rosary Army Catholic Podcast (the archive of which is still popular on iTunes), so many listeners branded it the world’s first Catholic reality show that we actually appropriated that tagline into the opening credits of some of our later shows.

In a gluttonous world that can’t get enough of reality shows, the idea of being real has become abhorrent to some.  Some people see reality — or just being transparent, open, and honest —  as a sign of weakness waiting to be exploited.  And many have tried to exploit desire to be open and honest for their own gain.

I look at it this way.  Living my life honestly, by often (but not always) throwing all my cards on the table for all to see, not only allows me to live my life in an upfront and responsible way, but it also more easily draws out the negative personalities of those who wish to exploit that honesty, as well as the positive personalities of others who have similar mindsets and goals in life.

And for me, that’s a quick way of knowing who the people are in my life that I want to work with, and to have a clear knowledge of the people I want to avoid.

Does Your Organization Need a Social Network?

Despite having a Twitter account since 2007, I once gave it up for well over a year.

I used it frequently, but it began to feel like an exercise in narcissism, with each tweet doing nothing but placing a huge magnifying glass on my life for the world to see in 140 characters or less.

“At the store buying coffee.  Again.”

“Sitting on the back patio drinking coffee.  Again.”

After getting fed up with myself, I dropped out from Twitter and soon found myself talking about myself on Facebook and elsewhere.

What brought me back to Twitter was the realization that talking about myself did nothing for anyone, but responding to others did a tremendous amount for others.  It wasn’t that my comments were so incredibly witty and thought-provoking that I was changing lives, but that by simply acknowledging and responding to the queries and observations of others, Twitter (and by default other social networks) were no longer one-sided conversations, but opportunities to develop relationships, and not just grow lists of followers.

In an organization, the same rules apply.  If all you do is talk about your company or what you’re doing or what your needs are, you’re having a one-sided conversation that is anything but social, and the opposite of networking.

Networking implies a two-way street.  You may have the greatest service or product in the world, but if you’re not offering value within a genuine relationship, if you’re not willing to use the network to find out what someone else actually needs or can offer, as well, then your social network will be nothing more than a one-way mirror.

So when you’re asking if your company needs to jump in and start using Google+, Twitter, Facebook, or whatever comes next, think about your involvement like you would a new next door neighbor.  Are you willing to build a relationship with your connections, or are you just interested in seeing what you can get out of someone else?  

If it’s only the latter, don’t expect others to be very interested in what you’re doing online.

Radio Archive #144: Why Do People Leave the Catholic Church?

In this episode: Why do people leave the Catholic Church?

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Radio Archive #143: Fr. Roderick Vonhogen and 2012 Catholic New Media Conference

TNCD PodcastIn this episode: Fr. Roderick Vonhogen from joins us from the 2012 Catholic New Media Conference in Dallas, Texas. This podcast is courtesy of SiriusXM 129 (The Catholic Channel). You can get a full three hours of The Catholics Next Door, Monday through Friday from 1 to 4PM EST, only from Sirius/XM. Sign up today!

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