Introducing the California Frontier Podcast, dedicated to the people and stories of the California mission and rancho eras.
For some months now I have been promising to launch a California Frontier Podcast. Well, as they say in Spanish, Lo prometido es deuda (“A promise is a debt”). I owe you a debt, and it is one I am happy to pay.
What is a podcast? A podcast is basically like a radio show, except that, instead of listening to it over the air at the time it is broadcast, you listen to a podcast over the Internet, at the time and place of your choosing. “Podcast” is a play on the word “broadcast”: the first podcasts were probably meant to be heard on an iPod, hence the “pod” in “podcast” (by the way, does anyone still have an iPod?). So you don’t have to worry about missing a show, as you would on the radio.
The convenience factor means that more and more people are listening to podcasts. You can listen to a podcast while driving, mowing the lawn, washing the dishes or running on a treadmill. And there are literally thousands of them, covering every topic imaginable: news, sports, politics, music, history, ham radio… you name it. According to the Pew Research Center, 21% of Americans over 12 have listened to a podcast in the last month, a number that has tripled in the last several years.
But other than the popularity of the format, why launch a podcast? My passion for the subject of the Spanish and Mexican eras in California has led me to meet some extraordinary and fascinating people, from archaeologists to artists, from to reenactors to historians, from artisans to descendants of Native and Spanish people. Each of these persons has a story to tell, and I want to share their voices with you, to let them tell their story. And storytelling has been an oral medium since as far back as humanity can remember. So what better than to use technology to let us hear the actual voices of the people telling the stories?
The story of the California frontier is first and foremost the story of people’s lives. And hearing people’s stories is the best way to counter what archaeologist David Hurst Thomas calls “the grand narrative.” The grand narrative is one that focuses on the clash of civilizations: good guys vs. bad guys — however you define the good guys and the bad guys. But real people are complex, and can’t always be divided into good and bad — that’s what makes them interesting, and what makes history fascinating. So I am confident that this podcast will help to expose and explode some myths and clichés about the culture and history of Alta California.
I release episodes approximately once a month, or more frequently if I have a special topic to share. The best way to find out about new episodes is to suscribe to this website or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or another podcast provider. You can listen to episodes of the California Frontier Podcast from your computer or phone, just by going to this website and looking under the category “Podcasts” or by visiting iTunes or any of the other podcast feed suppliers. If you like what you hear, please give the show a rating, and most of all, tell your friends.
Finally, if you have suggestions for episodes or interviews, please let me know by sending a comment through this website.
You can listen to episode 000, my introductory episode, here.