Podcasting is a wonderful medium. The content is evergreen, and when people listen to an episode, it’s as if you’re speaking to them in the moment. It’s also friendly. Listeners put you in their ear, and trust you to entertain and/or educate them.
As a listener, I feel like I know the hosts. I listen to them every week and get to know their personality. As a host of I Know Dino, which I co-produce with my husband Garret, I’ve gotten to meet and get to know many of our listeners via emails, messages, posts, tweets, and even voicemails. These listeners have gotten to know us via our podcast and have reached out to share their awesome stories with us. It’s incredibly gratifying, and amazing that we’re able to connect with so many different people.
Podcasting is growing. According to Edison Research, last year an estimated 57 million people in the U.S. listened to podcasts each month. Most of them listened to shows on their smartphones or tablets, and they listened at home, while commuting, and at work.
Garret and I started podcasting because of a shared passion for dinosaurs. Both of us grew up with the Land Before Time and Jurassic Park, and have loved dinosaurs since we were kids.
Somehow, neither of us realized this shared passion until we were living on the east coast together—a couple years after we started dating. One of the perks of my job in New York was free admission to the American Museum of Natural History, and it became one of our favorite places to visit.
Fast forward a few years and we had a dinosaur themed wedding, complete with dinosaur centerpieces, an Ankylosaurus and Brontosaurus cake topper, and a photobombing T-rex named Duncan.
So we could continue our obsession with dinosaurs after the wedding, we decided to start a podcast. We wanted to learn more, and share what we’d learned with other dinosaur enthusiasts. We also had a great excuse to talk to paleontologists and other people in the paleontology world.
We’ve learned a lot about podcasting along the way. Below are the seven steps we follow each week to publish a new episode: Continue reading →
In 2012, I got to interview Hugh Howey, a hugely successful indie author, who worked harder than pretty much anyone else I’d met at that point to please his fans. He filmed himself doing silly dances in Times Square. He drove 3 hours out of his way in North Carolina when visiting family to meet a reader in person.
At the time I couldn’t fathom putting that much effort into my writing or the side projects I was working on.
“Yes, I love what I do,” I told myself, “but that sounds like too much.”
Then, in January 2015, my husband Garret and I launched our dinosaur podcast, I Know Dino.
We both had full time jobs, but we also both have a huge passion for dinosaurs (we even had a dinosaur themed wedding). We grew up watching Jurassic Park and Land Before Time, and couldn’t get enough. So we thought, how could we turn this into something productive?
Flash forward 1 year and 10 months, and we have 200+k downloads, awesome supporters on Patreon, incredibly engaged fans on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, and a few people on Reddit even recommended us — which was amazing to see and, as we like to say, made us feel very warm and fuzzy inside.
I still work full time but I have found that I Know Dino consumes all my free time. And I love it. Now I understand what Hugh Howey was talking about in 2012.
I get to meet the coolest people all the time — paleontologists who are making new dinosaur discoveries pretty much weekly, paleoartists who shape how we all view these fantastic animals, writers who go in-depth to explain everything we know so far about dinosaurs. Not to mention the fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, friends, cousins, and more, who all enjoy learning about dinosaurs together.
“Understanding the past is key to understanding what this Earth is capable of and what we’re going to face at the present and in the future,” he said.
I love all of it. I spend my mornings before work and my evenings after work researching the latest news and reaching out to our dinosaur fans and fellow dinosaur enthusiasts. I spend my lunch hours prepping for our next episode. Garret and I also record episodes after work. I interview people on the weekends.
One of the best parts is getting to know our listeners on social media and via email, and seeing the awesome links and photos they send us.
And we aren’t just confined to our home office. The week of July 4, my company had a mandatory vacation week so Garret and I asked ourselves, how can we make the most of this?
Garret planned an amazing road trip for us and we spent 10 days on the road, traveling 67 hours and 4,000 miles from California to Alberta, Canada, to Montana, and back. We even made videos of our trip.
We met some amazing people at the museums and research centers we visited and really got the royal treatment. They let us tour the museums and even showed us some behind-the scenes research.
Paleontologist John Scannella, an all around cool guy who we interviewed on our first dinosaur road trip in episode 90, recommended we go, and we are excited to meet Victoria Arbour, Emanuel Tschopp, everyone we’ve only interviewed via the phone, and pretty much everyone else who will be there.
We’re not the only ones crazy enough to follow our passions on the road.
After months of researching, interviewing, and polishing, we have finally launched our long-awaited I Know Dino podcast (part of a larger I Know Dino project, which involves blog posts, books, and more)!
Our first episode features Pete Larson, president of the Black Hills Institute in South Dakota. Pete is a T-rex expert, and one of the main people in the documentary Dinosaur 13:
When Paleontologist Peter Larson and his team from the Black Hills Institute made the world’s greatest dinosaur discovery in 1990, they knew it was the find of a lifetime; the largest, most complete T. rex ever found. But during a ten-year battle with the U.S. government, powerful museums, Native American tribes, and competing paleontologists they found themselves not only fighting to keep their dinosaur but fighting for their freedom as well.
For those who may prefer reading, see the full transcript of our first episode here.
And our second episode features Dr. Anthony J. Martin, a paleontologist who specializes in ichnology, which according to his website, is “the study of modern and ancient traces caused by animal behavior, such as tracks, trails, burrows, and nests.”
It seems like at the beginning of every new year (at least for the past three years), I suddenly get sick of the way my websites look and spend a week or two obsessively redesigning. Well, it’s that time again, and I’m proud to say I have a few new websites in addition to some prettier websites–hopefully these will help out anyone interested in my work!
So here’s a little more on what I did, and what you can expect from me this year. Hint: it involves ebooks and dinosaurs. Continue reading →
Photo by Josh Landis, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Turns out that the bands scientists have been attaching to penguins for 50 years to study them has been doing more harm than good. Because of the bands, penguins are producing fewer offspring and have a lower survival rate–probably because the bands impede their swimming abilities, which makes it harder to gather food. Still, the success of the penguins help indicate climate change, so it’s important for scientists to continue to study them. How? They may switch to microchips.
Paleontologists have discovered a new dinosaur! Discovered in northeastern Argentine, its name is Eodromaeus, and at four feet long and 10-14 pounds, it would have made for a cute pet. This dinosaur lived around 230 million years ago, just a couple million years before theropods such as the T-rex existed (it probably evolved into a T-rex). Eodromaeus is similar to another dinosaur that lived around the same time, called Eoraptor. Both could run on two legs and were small in stature, but Eoraptor was probably an ancestor to sauropods (like Apatosaurus).
Thousands of birds have been dropping dead out of the sky lately, and many of those deaths were caused by the birds colliding with buildings. A 2009 study found that at least 9,000 birds crash into buildings in New York City each year.
Science is constantly changing and scientists are always learning new things. This week, my focus is on the prehistoric, unsolved deaths, and green tech.
Recently, researchers have reported that an extinct Jamaican bird, from the ibis family (but flightless), used its handbone as a clublike weapons. The fossil was discovered in 1997, and the bird became extinct around 12,000 years ago, but scientists still have many unanswered questions.
Time Magazine has published some interesting lists. Inspired by the sudden death of thousands of red-winged blackbirds in Arkansas and 500 blackbirds in Louisiana last weekend, Time has compiled a list of ten of the strangest mass animal deaths.