DAN VOELPEL; THE NEWS
TRIBUNE Published: October 16th, 2005 12:01 AM
Want to know
why a wave of something called podcasts will take over the Internet?
You need only download from the Internet the opening repartee
between self-described TV fan and interviewer Dana Greenlee of
University Place and Jennifer Love Hewitt, star of the new CBS TV
show “Ghost Whisperer.”
“You were so cute up there” at the screening of the show, Dana
begins. “You were giggling the whole time.”
“I know,” Hewitt offered. “I’m terrified to speak in public,
which I shouldn’t be, obviously, the business that I’m in. But I am.
So the only thing I know how to do is tell a quick joke and laugh
and then leave – and feel like I’m going to pee on myself.”
Dana and Rob Greenlee record a podcast in their
home studio in University Place.
late great CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow could never have gotten that
kind of disclosure out of his interviews with, say, actresses
Elizabeth Taylor or Marilyn Monroe. (On second thought, Marilyn
Monroe might have confessed to something like that.)
“That’s what grass-roots podcasting is all about,” said Rob
Greenlee, Dana’s husband. “It’s two people sitting in front of their
microphone talking about something they’re passionate
So last month at Studio 33 – where the game show “The Price is
Right” is taped – at CBS Television City in Hollywood, professional
radio broadcasters from 10 major U.S. markets got time with more
than 30 stars, directors and producers of the CBS fall TV
So did superfan Dana Greenlee.
CBS picked her from several hundred podcasting wannabes who
responded to an advertisement on the CBS Web site. Who better to
introduce the CBS stars to their fans on the Internet than a
“They gave me no parameters whatsoever,” Dana said. “They just
told me, ‘Do what you do.’ It was all hands-off, which was a little
disconcerting but a little freeing at the same time.”
To call Dana an amateur, however, isn’t true.
She has a degree in radio and television. She worked for a time
in the broadcast business in LA. She runs a fan Web site for the ABC
drama “Boston Legal” and has a weekly online interview show
following each episode.
Most importantly, Dana and Rob
get credit in the online
encyclopedia Wikipedia for being the first traditional broadcast
radio hosts to begin podcasting to the Internet in September 2004 by
posting downloadable audio files of their Web Talk Radio
Since then, podcasts have stormed
the news and entertainment world. Just last week:
• The Wall Street Journal reported in a front-page
story that mega-radio station owner Clear Channel, Walt Disney Co.,
ABC News and National Public Radio have started to sink money and
energy into podcasts – offering listeners subscriptions so they can
download programs into their Apple iPods or other portable MP3
While Big Media struggles to find ways to profit from the podcast
business, independents like the Greenlees continue presenting niche
content for free.
Consider that CBS flew Dana and Rob – as her producer – to
Hollywood for the interviews. The network didn’t pay her for her
on-air or editing time. “It’s an avocation,” Dana said.
Instead, the Greenlees make their living in part through Web Talk
Radio but mostly by consulting in the high-tech field and operating
a network of servers that host online broadcasts and podcasts for
If you haven’t heard of podcasts before, don’t feel bad. Dana
made it part of her interviewing routine with the TV stars to ask
“The younger actors were all over it,” Dana said.
Rob Morrow of “NUMB3RS” downloads podcasts on philosophy.
Jeff Probst, host of “Survivor,” downloads conversational
podcasts on filmmaking.
But Henry Winkler and Stockard Channing didn’t know a thing about
podcasts. Winkler – best remembered as The Fonz from the 1974-1983
comedy “Happy Days” – and Channing star in the new comedy “Out of
Practice,” about a family of physicians with not much in common
except their jobs.
Dana will remember Wink-ler’s “sense of fun.” She’ll remember the
stand-up comedy humor of Jon Cryer from “Two and a Half Men.”
Most memorable of all, perhaps, was the screening of “Ghost
Whisperer” the night before the interviews. CBS reserved space at
Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The Greenlees and other guests passed by
the grave markers of Hollywood legends such as filmmaker Cecil B.
DeMille, screen idols Rudolph Valentino and Tyrone Power, gangster
Bugsy Siegel and Looney Tunes voice Mel Blanc, whose epitaph reads,
“That’s All Folks.”
The opening episode of “Ghost Whisperer” played on the large
white wall of a mausoleum. And, thanks to Dana Greenlee’s podcast,
we all know what almost happened to Jennifer Love Hewitt.
podcast (noun) – a digital recording of a radio
broadcast or similar program made available on the Internet for
downloading to a personal audio player. Podcast derives from a
combination of the words “broadcast” and “iPod.”