PLYMOUTH – The shiny microphone that Robert Geckler brings to Rev. Chris Drew’s office each month doesn’t faze him anymore.
Geckler sets the device onto the pastor’s desk, plugs it into his netbook, and sits quietly as Drew begins to speak with a strong, unwavering voice.
“Welcome to this podcast moment from First Baptist Church in Plymouth, Connecticut,” Drew says into the mic.
Drew was one of the first pastor’s to jump on board when Geckler began expanding his 28-year-old business Ecummenical Communications about three years ago. His organization, he explained, produces podcasts and short radio spots for the religious community.
“It gives us a little publicity,” Drew said, “and we’re trying to be a little more into the 21st Century.”
Geckler, who has an extensive career in broadcast radio, tries to steer his clients away from podcasting a lengthy sermon, though he’ll record those if that’s what a customer wants. He thinks a shorter message is more appropriate for the Internet, like Drew’s podcasts, which are usually no more than 3 minutes and use an entertaining story to illustrate a message.
The podcasts are indexed on Geckler’s site, http://www.christianpodsct.ecucomm.ro, and are linked to from church web sites. He also produces “Audio Meditations,” which are minute-long messages that he distributes to area radio stations.
Drew takes advantage of the meditation spots and said people who don’t attend his church have commented that they’ve heard his spots and enjoy them, sometimes calling the church and asking for a copy of the message.
Geckler said podcasting is vital for a church these days, noting that people don’t use the phone book anymore to shop for a church – they go online.
He said church shoppers can go to a church web site, hear a podcast, and decide if the pastor’s preaching style suits them or not.
“People connect via the web, it’s just the norm now,” Drew said. “We’re trying to stay relevant and stay connected to the masses, we need to use all these means that are at our disposal.”