“What the heck is a ‘podcast’,” said nobody under the age of 30.
If you don’t happen to fall into that digitally-savvy group, read on.
In brief, podcasts are self-contained audio programs, often 30 to 45 minutes in length, that are available 24/7 and that live on in the ether forever.
Podcasts aren’t a brand-new phenomenon. Their antecedents were called “audioblogs” way back in the 1980s. Their current name was coined in a British newspaper article in 2004, and they experienced a quantum leap with mushrooming access to the internet and the introduction of smartphones. Today, podcasts can be found on topics from aardvarks to ZZ Top.
Not surprisingly, HealthLinks has staked out a key position in finding new ways to tell stories from its well-established bimonthly magazine and informative weekly e-newsletters to include a substantial and growing library of podcasts on a wide range of health and wellness topics.
As HealthLinks Publisher Cullen Murray-Kemp put it, “The focus for these podcasts mirrors that of our popular magazine and newsletter – solid health and medical information with a local perspective. They represent an additional way in which we offer our Lowcountry audience wellness information they want in a convenient, digital format.”
Or, as the HealthLinks website states, “HealthLinks Podcasts are your one-of-a-kind resource for staying informed about your health care options here in South Carolina.”
The publisher noted that since HealthLinks Podcasts was launched only two years ago, they have been downloaded more than 10,000 times.
“Best of all,” Murray-Kemp stated, “like our print publication and our newsletter, our in-depth podcasts are free of charge and bear the ‘seal of approval’ of our respected HealthLinks brand.”
At the helm – or the microphone, in this instance – of HealthLinks Podcasts is James Crawford, a veteran interviewer whose byline appears regularly in the pages of HealthLinks Charleston magazine.
“I became interested in the medium of radio as a child,” Crawford recalled. “When I was 6 or 7, I would tape record music, then play it back adding my own quips and commentary between songs.”
Life intervened, and Crawford never experienced his dream of becoming a radio phenomenon. Luckily, he had a backup career aspiration, to become a published writer, and that goal he reached handily. In fact, while interviewing a physician for one of his incisive HealthLinks Charleston magazine articles, that proverbial light went on. He realized that the audio recordings he made of his conversations with doctors and other health care professionals would make appealing and informative mini-radio shows.
With Murray-Kemp’s enthusiastic agreement, Crawford embarked upon a new journey as the voice of HealthLinks Podcasts.
To date, Crawford has produced and hosted more than a dozen HealthLinks podcasts, on topics ranging from eye care to skin care, mental health, the special homeless veteran and even the physical and mental benefits of martial arts training. Asked if he has a favorite podcast, Crawford tactfully suggested that he considers them all to be important. However, he admitted he is particularly proud of his podcasts on melanoma, prison reform in the age of COVID-19 and his interview with Dr. Thaddeus John Bell, founder of Closing the Gap in Healthcare, Inc. In addition to being a prominent local physician, Dr. Bell was one of the many young civil rights advocates jailed after events related to the infamous Orangeburg Massacre.
“I’m a naturally curious person,” Crawford said, “and I believe that trait helps me augment the factual information conveyed in our magazine. There are just certain topics and emotional content that you cannot convey as thoroughly in print as you can in an audio format.”
Murray-Kemp added, “HealthLinks Podcasts offer a new and different way to access health and medical information with a local perspective and accessibility wherever and whenever the listener chooses.”
He noted that the podcasts are available on iPhones, iPads, Android systems, personal computers, smart speakers “or even in your car.”
“We would like the growing number of Lowcountry residents who regularly turn to HealthLinks to consider themselves members of the HealthLinks family. We welcome your feedback and are always open to suggestions for articles that fit within our health, wellness and the medical arts objective,” he said.
Weekly podcasts are accessible at HealthlinksPodcast.com and where podcasts are available.
By Bill Farley