As has been traditional, for the 2013 Royal Podcast of Oz Christmas episode, I present my own reading of "The Animals' Christmas Tree" by Jack Snow. You can also find the text here. You can listen and download at the podcast site or use the below player.
You may have noticed that the podcast slowed down during the second half of 2013. I will admit, this was because of some personal reasons that I don't wish to discuss here.
What I do want to discuss is the future of the podcast. Don't worry, I don't plan on ending it, but we had an obstacle.
The podcast has been hosted by Podbean since it began in 2009 and every month since, I paid a monthly fee of about $5 as part of the service plan. Right away, no, I'm not saying that this is a burden nor am I asking for donations (though if you ever want to, I wouldn't turn it down). In 2009, this plan allowed me to store 300MB of data a month, plenty and then some for our podcast's needs.
This has changed. A few months ago, Podbean changed their service plans and pricing. Their similarly priced plan now allows me only 100MB of data a month. (It was particularly frustrating that I was not notified of this change, only that my regularly scheduled payments weren't going through and they almost closed the podcast site because of it.) We export the podcasts at 128kbps. This is a little less than 1MB per minute. (A 53 minute podcast came in at 48.5MB.)
I have already discussed it with Sam, and future episodes of the "Movies of Oz" podcasts will be much shorter. We never were trying to create the definitive article on each film in those podcasts.
However, rather than think we have to end things, I'm a little more interested in revising the podcast format. I have considered that we could do a single, monthly podcast: report on a few bits of Oz news, have an interview, and briefly discuss an Oz movie. We'd still, of course, work in the Christmas and L. Frank Baum birthday specials and Winkie Con reports as separate episodes. The hopeful result would be a faster paced podcast. Perhaps working a little leaner could produce a better podcast.
The alternative would be to continue doing the episodes as we have been, just keeping our time and data usage constraints in mind.
Please let me know your thoughts in a comment or however else you'd like to contact me. I plan to relaunch the podcast in its shorter format (whether as abbreviated versions of its former style or the above "digest" version) in 2014.
Meantime, if you need a little more Christmas, over at my other blog, I've written up a number of blogs about adaptations of Babes in Toyland, and each one mentions how it has an Oz connection. These will be posted every other day through the 13th, and between each one is a vintage Toyland audio treasure. The first one is up right now!