Christopher Swope was GOVERNING's executive editor.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I've just spent an hour listening to various governors' podcasts. I wouldn't normally fill my mornings with such masochism. But ever since my optometrist squirted that pupil-dilating stinging juice into my eyes earlier this morning, my sight's been too blurred to read anything printed in less than 20-point type. So I've been looking for interesting things to listen to.
I'm not sure that I've found any. Perhaps that's a good place to start. I doubt that I'd seek out any of the governors' podcasts when I'm not stricken by temporary blindness. If my eyes looked glazed over before, you should see them now!
But at least one of the governors' podcasts was good.
If you still don't know what a podcast is, it's basically a radio show that you download from the Internet. If you've got an iPod or other portable music player, you can listen to the show while walking, driving, exercising or riding a train. You can also listen right from your computer, as I've been doing today.
The easiest place to find podcasts are at Apple's iTunes music store. On iTunes, I found this week's podcasts of six sitting guvs--five of them Republicans. (Is the RGA pushing its members to do this?) A smattering of '06 candidates have got podcasts, as does one former guv (and '08 presidential hopeful), Virginia's Mark Warner.
Some of these guys are taking the podcast thing more seriously than others. Minnesota Guv Tim Pawlenty's comes off like a crisp public-radio feature, albeit one that quotes the same source (Pawlenty) again and again (and again!). There's also cheery lead-in and fade-out music. Contrast that with Tennessee Guv and notorious non-blogger Phil Bredesen, whose podcast launches abruptly into a 50-second speech on land preservation.
Similarly, Indiana Guv Mitch Daniels' podcast cuts straight into a press conference. No intro, no context. Worse, the clip is 20 minutes long! That's not a podcast! It's an assault on my hard drive!
My most anticipated podcast was California Guv Arnold Schwarzenegger's. Alas, this week he turned the show over to state Sen. Chuck Poochigian, who bravely came out against violent crime. I can't argue with his stance, but getting Poochigian rather than the Governator felt a bit like going to a Broadway show only to see the understudy on stage.
The best podcast I heard today was Arkansas Guv Mike Huckabee's. I was skeptical at first when I heard the Guv's press secretary, Alice Stewart, introduce her boss in her best radio voice. But of all the governors, Huckabee, who goes over the details of the no-soft-drinks-in-schools agreement he helped negotiate last week, has the most substantive things to say. And he gets the job done in under four minutes.
I wonder how many people actually listen to these things regularly. Do any of you?
MORE FROM GOVERNING: Government to Go
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.