Not so long ago, there was no such thing as podcasting. Remember those days, when we had to be chained to CDs or the radio, with no control over our content?
Greg Willits is distinctive for a lot of reasons, and one of them is for his part in Catholic podcasting. But he’s not limited to that. He’s an author and a speaker, too.
But most interestingly to me, he’s a husband and a father. From all the other projects Greg has going on (and there always seem to be a cool pile of them), he never loses sight of his top priority, given to him by God. His vocation is the fuel for his creativity, and his love for God is at the heart of it all. It’s impossible not to be inspired and motivated by his brand of crazy.
So let’s see what he has to say, shall we?
Tell us about yourself in five words or less.
Big, tall, bald, Rosary dude.
Of your pursuits, what’s your favorite?
My wife, Jennifer.
When you think of the New Evangelization from your approach as a “Catholic Techie,” what excites you? What makes you want to continue?
I have been thinking a lot lately about the community that formed around podcasting in the early days of the technology. It’s hard to believe that next March will mark 10 years since we launched our first podcast.
And really, between 2005-2009, that’s when the community of listeners and producers of various online Catholic media (including blogs and video) really started to coalesce. The podcasters, for example, needed the audience, and the audiences loved the freedom of being able to listen to content specific to their interests whenever and wherever they wanted.
People are still listening to podcasts, but if you look around, there are not as many active and ongoing Catholic podcasting community listeners now as there were five to six years ago. What excites me as a Catholic Techie is the idea that — if not podcasting — some other technology may burst on the scenes that rejuvenates the community of the Digital Continent.
There is so much loneliness in the world today, and sometimes I think social media (Facebook, Twitter) often feeds into that loneliness rather than extinguishing it. But there’s something about Catholic podcasts and video that is amazing to watch when communities form from within audiences. I hope to see that happen again, and I’m incredibly, incredibly, incredibly blessed to have had a front row seat to have seen it happen when podcasting was first coming onto the scene.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your work?
As I mentioned above, the community around doing any sort of Catholic media is rejuvenating. On our podcast, we always encourage people to call into our voicemail line so we can actually hear the voices of our listeners and include them on our show. If we go a week without voicemail, I’m very demotivated to record a show. And that’s not just because we want to hear things like, “love your show!” but because it gives us a chance to know: 1) Are the topics we’re discussing actually helping to bring people closer to Christ, 2) Are people being fed from the show in other ways, and 3) We often learn new things about our faith from the people who call in. On top of that, though it’s rare, some of our best friends started as listeners. Catholic New Media has translated to some of the best friends we’ve ever had.
In your spare time, what are we likely to find you doing? Do you have a gadget in hand or do you go native and screenless?
I have a love/hate relationship with technology. I love it, but hate feeling captive to it. I’ve been making efforts to curb my tech usage.
In my spare time these days, you’re more likely to find me with a paintbrush or a guitar. When Jennifer and I got engaged, I took up painting and went on a painting spree to fill our first apartment with canvases after we got married. Then we started having kids and I went sixteen years without painting. At Christmas she got my all new supplies and if I go a few days without painting, I start to get cranky. You can see some of the paintings on my Instagram account or on www.GregWillits.com.
Want more Catholic Techie interviews? Here you go.
Copyright 2014 Sarah Reinhard