The next story your child hears could come by way of the Internet, read by a stranger in Fridley, under the direction of a man from Plymouth.
Two months in, with nearly three dozen StoryCub episodes uploaded to the iTunes Store, the podcast has begun to draw attention. The show was displayed on the iTunes Store's podcast home page at one point, which is a bit of a coup.
Swerdlick isn't sure how the podcast will pay for itself over the long haul, especially since he is insistent about not charging listeners a dime for the downloads. He has been investing his own cash in the project while pondering how he might get grants, sponsorships or venture capital.
He has stiff competition in the storybook space, such as a recently released Reading Rainbow app featuring LeVar Burton of public-television and "Star Trek: The Next Generation" fame.
One of Swerdlick's challenges: convincing authors and publishers to let their titles be used on StoryCub episodes.
Selections so far include "Roscoe's Deep Sea Adventure" by Debi Toporoff, "Bella's Birthday Surprise" by Katie Mueller and "Cabo & Coral Go Surfing" by Udo Wahn.
"If a child loves one of those stories, he or she will want to watch it over and over," Swerdlick said. "Parents get high-quality content. And since we let them know where they can purchase the books," the authors also win, he added.