Have you ever discovered an old shoebox of family photos? That experience can feel like striking gold, from the perspective of preserving precious family memories. This was my experience tonight, discovering that many (maybe all) of my iPhone audio recordings from 10+ years ago on the (now defunct / offline) website cinch.fm were backed up / archived by the Internet Wayback Machine of archive.org. Here’s my story of this discovery.
Today I learned Google Calendar supports setting “goals,” and can automatically pick times (according to your preferred schedule) for when the app will schedule appointments for you to accomplish those goals. I need to get back into my “writing groove,” so I set a goal to start writing for 30 minutes each evening.
I wrote for 30 minutes tonight on the incomplete chapter on “Audio Recording” for my book, “Pocket Share Jesus: Become a Digital Witness for Jesus Christ.” I’ve been working on this book project for about 10 years, and I REALLY want to get this finished and published on Amazon. One of the citations in the book is for an audio podcast I recorded with a 5th grade Sunday School class I was co-teaching in November 2011, titled, “How and Why to Pray Radio Show.” That was recorded with Cinch.fm, which as I previously mentioned, went offline at some point before I downloaded or backed up my audio recordings saved there.
In searching for that Sunday School student podcast on archive.org, I discovered the Internet Wayback Machine DOES include about 55 of my past cinch.fm recordings! GOLD!
The first file I accessed was a sermon by former assistant pastor, John Gruel. It was John’s final sermon to our congregation at First Presbyterian Church of Edmond on August 28, 2011. I decided to download the recording and cross-post it to YouTube for posterity, since it’s far more likely to be listened to / consumed by others (and again by me) if it’s hosted on YouTube. To do this, I downloaded the mp3 from archive.org, created a screenshot of the archived cinch.fm webpage, and AirDropped these files to my iPhone. I opened the mp3 file in the free app “Voice Record Pro,” and exported it as a mp4 video file which I uploaded to YouTube.
When I was using cinch.fm (and their handy iOS app) for audio recordings, I created several “channels” including 1 for Christian recordings, 1 for educational technology recordings, and 1 for family recordings. The next archived recording I downloaded was “How to win at Plants vs Zombies.” This is a March 20, 2011 recording with our 3 kids and I, as we drove back from a Spring Break trip to San Diego. At that time, if my calculations are correct, Alexander was 13, Sarah was 10, and Rachel was 7. The kids are now 24, 21, and 18 years old. Needless to say, it’s an incredibly wonderful delight to find this ten year old audio recording has been preserved and hasn’t been lost to posterity. Now, it’s also cross-posted to my personal YouTube channel.
My last thought about this is how WONDERFUL it is to hear young children discuss and reflect on video games they love to play and are excited to share about with others! The same dynamic is happening with some of our 5th and 6th graders at school this year, in large part because of the Minecraft Club I’m sponsoring.
Woo hoo, audio recording and audio podcasting! For more resources about apps and workflows for creating audio podcasts for your family or with students, check out the “Audio Interviews” page of my website, ShowWithMedia.com.
“Audio Interview” (CC BY 2.0) by Wesley Fryer
Also check out my 66 minute recorded webinar from March 2020, “Family Oral History Projects.”
My 6th graders at school just finished up family oral history interview projects. Have you recorded the voices of people in your family, sharing stories or reflections about things they care about? When you choose to preserve the voices and stories of others with digital audio, there’s no telling whose life you might bless and what joy you might bring to someone else… or even to yourself, years afterward!
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