Ravencast Podcast – Interview with David and Sandi Carron

CHRISTOPHER BLACKWELL

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As Pagan/Heathen religions grow and develop, we find that other cultural needs develop as well. In past issues I have interviewed Pagan/Heathen authors, musicians and even cartoonists, but there soon comes a need for media as well to let the community and the public know about the growing traditions and offshoot cultural development. In researching background information on Hauk, I came across my first exposure to Ravencast Podcast. I asked David and Sandi for an interview and they gave me a bit of their time.

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David: Thanks for the opportunity here, I appreciate it.

Christopher: David and Sandi how long have you been a Heathen and in what part of the country are you in?

David Carron

David: Over ten years, as card carrying members of the East Coast Asatru community. We have been in the New England area for all of our lives but these days we live in Connecticut. We have a very strong connection to our geography and the land. I am strong believer that living in an area that has four real seasons really has a significant impact upon ones spirituality.

Christopher: What kindred do you belong to and how long has it been around?

David: Raven Kindred North and it has been around for sixteen years or so.

Christopher: Dave, How are you involved in your kindred?

David: Our kindred operates without single leaders and wholly by direct vote. The person who is leading the ritual is the ritual leader for that particular event.

Christopher: How did you get to know each other?

David: We met at UMass at Amherst. We were together for almost ten years before our friends forced, er… helped us to get married.

Sandi: We met at Umass Amherst as students, lived together for 9 years then married in 2002.

Christopher: I note that Sandi has taken part in the podcast since the beginning. Does she help plan how it goes together? How do you divide the work between you on getting a podcast ready.

Sandi Carron

Sandi: It all really started with my getting an I-Pod and being exposed to other pagan podcasts. Dave then got interested in listening to podcasts and when we found out how it was done we kind of looked at each other and said “We can do that!”

David: The podcast is a joint effort. We do everything equally with the exception of the editing which I do. If I do my job right then you won’t hear our mistakes and “word noise” of the “ahs, ums and ya knows” in most of our conversations. Every minute uploaded has about three minutes of work put into it.

Sandi: We bounce ideas off each other and the ones that keep coming up or are the most interesting to us are the ones we podcast. We have also gotten some great input from our audience. Dave does most of the editing, I do most of the website design and posting, we share the recording as equally as possible.

Christopher: So why a podcast and and was this your first one that you had done?

Sandi: Again, when I got an I-Pod I became enamored of the podcast format and from there it just grew.

Christopher: When did you launch Ravencast Podcast?

Sandi: Two years and 3 months ago.

Christopher: How often does it air on line?

Sandi: Once a month and sometimes we add extra “101” casts.

Christopher: Is this one of those things that you learn as you do it?

Sandi: There certainly is a learning curve. Particularly if you really have no computer experience, which I didn’t.

David: Ha! Please, please do not judge us on our first few podcasts. Sandi is a Luddite and hates tech. But with a taste of what the potential medium could offer, she learned on her own how to do what was needed. We tried to pick up some books on podcasting, But in the end, trial and error was the best teacher.

Christopher: What has it taught you?

Sandi: Certainly computer skills and public speaking skills. You also learn a lot about what you think or believe by interview a wide range of people who might not look at things exactly the same way as you do.

Christopher: How has the Heathen community reacted to Ravencast?

David: Quite positively. I am shocked as to how well received it has been. We are a divisive lot and everyone has an opinion – if not more then one. And yet Ravencast is quickly approaching 75,000 downloads. Considering that I doubt there are more then 10,000 Asatruar in the world, that number is mind blowing. You can see the response yourself from the many comments on the website.

Sandi: Pretty positively. You can’t please everyone but we try to have enough variety that a wide group of people might find at least a few episodes of interest.

Christopher: Any idea which ones have been the biggest hits with your audience?

Sandi: I would have to say to series of episodes on National Orgs. got the biggest reaction.

David: After the first one, episode 3.5 on music with John Cyr and Dave Hawkins. The Asatru 101 on Blot and Ritual has also be very popular, unsurprisingly. Each with almost three thousand downloads.

Christopher: Which one did you enjoy doing most doing?

David: Actually, the Episode 13 interview with Heimgest was the most surprising for me. We spent a very enjoyable few hours interviewing him over the phone, late into the night. After we were done I still seriously wanted to hang out and have a beer with him. I totally did not expect that kind of reaction.

Sandi: WhiIe I should say one of the more intellectual episodes it it’s “Yule ‘Casts” I love doing. We’ve done three so far and they really just make me happy.

Christopher: How and why did you start your second podcast, Spoken Lore Podcast?

David: Spoken Lore is our labor of love. Both Sandi and I were frustrated at the hour commute to work that each of us have and wanted more regular podcasted material. Also we just could not find any such Sagas that could be downloaded. We just felt that it was criminal. After all, these are part of an Oral tradition. The words come more alive via the spoken medium.

Sandi: When we started Ravencast we had also heard about a project to record the Poetic Edda. When we found out that the project wasn’t going to get off the ground we decided to pick up the idea.

Christopher: When did you launch it and how often does it air on line?

Sandi: We launched that about a year and a half ago and it’s a weekly podcast with a break of a week or two between different sagas.

David: We starting it about a year and a half ago and are on Episode 89 of the weekly podcast. We have already read Njal’s, Volsung, The Saga of Grettir the Strong and the Jomsvikings. We are currently working though the Poetic Edda.

Christopher: Now where can our readers find out more about your two podcasts? And what about your kindred?

David: http://ravencast.podbean.com – The Only Asatru Podcast.
http://spokenlore.podbean.com – Weekly Saga Readings.
http://www.ravennorth.org – Raven Kindred North
http://www.thetroth.org/ – The Troth

Christopher: Anything else you would like our readers to know?

David: My bit of wisdom is that everyone should read the lore and then think upon the material. Rinse and repeat. You will gain much insight into yourself and the world around you. (Or I’ll give you your money back.)

Sandi: The questions you’ve asked were quite thorough so, no, I don’t have anything more to add other than thank you for this opportunity.

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This interview was first published in  ACTION, the official newsletter of the Alternative Religions Educational Network (AREN)

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