Rep. John Hostettler has gone high-tech in his continuing effort to connect with his constituents.
Hostettler, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Indiana's 8th Congressional District, posted the first of a series of Podcasts on his Web site earlier this month. Podcasting is a relatively new form of Web broadcasting which offers pre-recorded audio or video programs for download over the internet, in a format conducive to use on a portable audio device such as an iPod (hence "Pod"cast).
Hostettler said in a press release he hopes the technology will ultimately bring him closer to the people he represents in congress.
"It's an exciting new way for me to keep in touch with my constituents," he said. "With the click of a mouse, this new technology will allow folks in the Eighth District to keep abreast of the important issues facing the House of Representatives and the nation today."
Matthew Faraci, Hostettler's communications director and a former producer of television news, is committed to presenting an enlightening and listenable program. He said the production values of some Podcasts leave something to be desired.
"We've noticed with some Pod(cast)s, they just record a speech they made, and the recording quality is not good," he said. "We're doing this more like a radio program. We went out of our way to make it not only informative, but pleasant to listen to."
The first "show", titled "Confronting Illegal Immigration," is available on Hostettler's Web site at
Hostettler has not yet established a regular production schedule for the Podcasts, Faraci said, but he plans to begin recording them on a monthly or weekly basis through the end of the legislative season and possibly beyond.
Hostettler has encouraged his constituents to contact him via e-mail to suggest subject matter for the Podcasts. He hopes the programs will provoke a dialogue that will better acquaint him with the needs and concerns of his constituency.
"We want to hear what subjects and topics are of interest to the residents of the Eighth District," he said.
Faraci and Hostettler are exploring topics for future episodes and finalizing the format of the Podcasts. He is anxious to learn new ways to use this new channel of communication.
"In the world of Podcasting, there are no rules," he said. "It's kind of like the wild west."
To offer input or suggestions for Hostettler's Podcasts, e-mail him at
and include the phrase "Podcast" in the subject heading.
How it works:
By FRANK PHILLIPS
Podcasting has been available nearly as long as Apple iPods, those little white boxes with the big round dials, have been available.
Podcasts can be automatically downloaded to any computer. Apple's iTunes, a free software package from Apple.com, can automatically search for updated programs and then let you listen at your desk (if you have speakers) or download the show to your iPod or any .mp3 player device.
For more information on Podcasts, go to any Web site and look for information on the site's Podcast.