Read & Respond week 11 – Audio

When we think blogging, we tend to think writing, but these next two weeks will emphasize sound over sight. We’ll focus specifically on podcasting. Podcast listeners have shot up recently, so let’s see what all the fuss is about. Over the next several classes, you’ll listen to some podcasts and plan out one with your group to record in our own studio here in the Media Innovation Center. Read on, and think about what you might have to say.

What’s a podcast?

You could think of a podcast as an audio blog post. Instead of reading, you can download and listen, which is helpful if you like to do your “reading” while exercising, cooking, or doing something else. The process can be simple or complex, but it boils down to a few basic steps:

  1. Plan
  2. Record
  3. Convert/Upload
  4. Promote

This guide from DigitalTrends gets into more detail, but at minimum you need a theme (and usually some guests), a topic, a mic, and a (free) copy of Audacity; anything more can give a cleaner, more polished product, but high-end equipment absolutely isn’t necessary.

Some Appalachian examples

A past guest of this class is Trey Kay of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, host and producer of the “Us & Them” podcast. Check out some of these WV-specific pods:

The best part is, you don’t have to sit at your computer for this assignment. Cue them up on your phone and go for a jog (or brisk walk)!

Want more?

Audiences listen to podcasts via apps such as Stitcher (free), iTunes, or just listening to them streaming online (the NY Times has a great guide for getting into pods). If you’d like some examples beyond the WVPB ones above, consider these examples of the form:

Your response this week should be enjoyable: Listen to some podcasts, especially if you never have. Pick some from the links above, or find some of your own. How do these (and Briggs’ other audio subject) inform your work? Have you now decided blogging is dead, and you’re going to become a podcaster instead?

In addition, what’s a subject (ideally one relevant to your group blog) you could see running an approximately 10-minute podcast on? Would you have guests, or would it just be you and your groupmates? What are some questions/topics you can set up in advance to avoid the dreaded Dead Air? Post your responses by 11:59 p.m. Monday, March 25.

13 Responses to Read & Respond week 11 – Audio

  1. I really enjoy podcasting in the sense that it’s so much easier to make it sound conversational because it’s basically live. To me, podcasting is the blogging of broadcast journalism (where blogging is the podcasting of print journalism). When I worked at U-92, I did several podcasts on the #MeToo movement and gender inequality. In the process, I worked with professionals from the WVU Womens’ and Gender Studies Department, and what I really enjoyed about it . is that it didn’t feel like an interview, like where I was the only one asking the questions. Podcasting makes it feel more like an open-ended discussion, where the journalist is both the reporter of the news (for timeliness purposes) and a voice of opinion.

    In regard to podcasts that I listen to in my free time, I tend to listen to true crime podcasts. I’ve listened to Serial, like you mentioned above, and I listened to Mared and Karen: The WVU Coed Murders–this podcast talkes about the murder of two WVU freshmen who were murdered in the 1970s. What I liked about the podcast is that it tied in the norms of 1970s culture, and it talks about specific locations throughout Morgantown that we’re all familiar with like, Sunnyside and the Metropolitan Theatre. It’s pretty weird to hear them mention stuff like the Sunnyside Superette, since I walk past that sign on my way to school every day.

    My favorite podcast at the moment is called Milemarker 181, and it covers the mysterious death of Jaleayah Davis in 2011 in my hometown of Parkersburg. What I really like about it is that the story is still timely, because the case was so fuzzy when it was closed. It hits close to home to me because I know people connected to both Jaleayah and the the girl who is accused of being her killer. It’s such a strange case, and that’s why the podcast is so riveting. The new discoveries that have been made through the podcast are worthy of national news, in my opinion.

    I think I enjoy podcasts so much because you can take a local issue or news story and make it feel like it’s on a much larger scale. For our group blog’s podcast topic, I feel like we could discuss how the political spectrum in West Virginia contrasts the typical political spectrum of art culture, and how that might be a factor in why the art culture is not as prominent in rural areas like our state. I don’t think we necessarily need a guest to discuss this, but we could talk with someone in the Art History, Theater, or any other art-related department, as well as maybe someone in the Political Science Department who specializes in the analysis of political parties. We could ask questions like

    “Why do we not have a strong art culture in West Virginia?”
    “How can art have an influence on politics and society as a whole?”
    “What do these art hotspots have in common?” The link below lists the top 10 art communities in our state, so we would discuss why these areas attract the artistic community.
    https://wvexplorer.com/2014/03/14/top-10-arts-communities-2014/

  2. Holly Fry says:

    Most of what I know about podcasts is that a lot of the YouTubers I follow have one to make extra money and it’s also a more comprehensible way to get out their content. They don’t have to edit as much, because it’s most likely a conversation between two people and is just enjoyable to listen to. Other podcast experience I have is these two kids from my high school created one and though I only listened to one episode I know they had one. Having taken journalism and storytelling classes, I had a lot of notes, but we weren’t that close in high school for me to just comment on it now. I have seen a lot of popular ones on Spotify where they bring on guests and they comment on popular things in the world. I know there are a lot of political and hard-hitting journalism stories as podcasts and I know that is the best way for those stories to be told. I created a podcast in my capstone class (it was more of a 5-minute audio piece) but we added music and audio to a level that I liked to have officially called it a podcast. I’ve never been one to actually listen to podcasts because when I listen to things, I would rather listen to music and when I want to hear a story, I would rather sit and watch a video in a humorous way on YouTube. But I do understand the appeal that others like about podcasts. If I were to create a podcast for our Arts in Appalachia blog, it would probably feature music from Appalachian artists and maybe have some history read through it to kind of give some context about the music. You could learn while also enjoying the music from the region so it would suit many peoples style of listening.

  3. I think there is a place for blogging and podcasts in various situations. I feel some topics may come across better in one or the other medium depending on how the audience member feels. What is nice about podcasts is their ability to be listened to while doing other activities. In today’s society, we don’t always have time to stop and read something, but most people have time to listen to something while they cook, clean, or while driving to a destination. Podcasts are able to have a wide range of themes and levels of maturity whether that be more news focused with a serious tone all the way to a conversational laid back tone about an off the wall topic. Either way podcasts make you feel like you are getting an inside look to the conversation rather than being an outside reader (like with reading blogs).

    I recently have been interested in podcasts by YouTubers that I commonly watch. It has become very common for many of these YouTube content creators to have their own podcasts. It is an additional side job and way to get out their desired content. I feel like if you find a good topic and can be a talkative person in an interesting way, then anyone can be a podcaster. However, despite the few podcasts I have listened to in the past, I don’t regularly listen and would not say I am a huge fan of them as a listener. But I do enjoy a few radio shows from back home that are just mini segments kind of like a podcast in between music brakes.

    Some relevant topics for the Arts in Appalachia group blog that could be done into a podcast could be the idea of what makes Appalachian art stand out and why is it even its own category. Maybe we could even do a podcast on a certain art form and just dive deep into that topic such as music, painting, or photography for example. I think it would be very interesting to add in an interviewee that has a professional or personal opinion on our topic if possible. But I think if we find the right topic it could be a possibility that it just be our group of 5 discussing a topic within Appalachian Arts.

  4. Podcasts are a great resource and there is something for everyone out there. Personally, I enjoy podcasts and feel that they are enjoyable, but also informative. On long car rides, I put on a podcast to pass the time and learn something new. Usually these podcasts are about health and well being or the fashion world. These podcasts help me relax, laugh, or think about something new. It’s a great outlet when you are tired of listening to your same music playlist. What is also great about podcasts is that there is a podcast subject for everyone and you will never become bored because of the various options.

    Blogging might be in fact almost dead and podcasts are the new thing. I am a listener so I would rather listen to a podcast about a specific subject than read an entire blog post about it. More and more people are starting their own podcasts and it is taking off. A subject that my group and I could produce a 10 minute podcast on could be about how WVU nightlife has changed over time. My mom and a few other family members went to WVU and I could have them speak on my podcast about the shifts in nightlife. Some questions I could ask would be “Explain how the look of High Street nightlife has changed since you were a student here”, “What are some of the old popular spots in Morgantown that do not exist anymore and why you think that’s the case”, and “Why do you think the Greek life at WVU is going so down hill?”

  5. I love podcast. While training for my first half marathon, I found that listening to a comedy podcast was the best thing to run to. The conversation and jokes distracted me from the fact that I was running 8-miles in the middle of winter and made the act more enjoyable. I also listen to podcast for long car rides that I drive by myself. It’s a great way to not feel alone while driving on a long high way back to school. My favorite podcast is on Spotify called “Mile Higher Podcast” where they talk about true crime and conspiracy theories.

    Podcast are great for informing work because they are a conversation. Unlike hard hitting news and even some articles online, you can listen in on someone’s conversation and gain their opinions. It’s a more relaxed way of research in my opinion. I think podcast are easier to enjoy than blog post because you just have to listen. You can play one while doing anything. Unlike a blog post where you have to sit down and read it. The downside is podcast can be long. Majority of the ones I have listened to average to be an hour and 15 minutes.

    I think something my group could sit down and talk about for 10 minutes would be simply the topic of our blog. What can we brainstorm as ways to be greener and what are ways we are doing it already. I think just my groupmates would be fine, but maybe having a geography student or professor that knows more about what people are doing could be useful. Topics that we could bring up could be, reusable water bottles, the plastic straw ban, and recycling.

  6. deanmarrazzo says:

    I personally really enjoy listening to podcasts. I find it to be a better way to spend my time in the car, in the gym or walking to class. Because of how easy it is to listen to podcasts (people talking) it does seem that they have/are going to make blogging a bit of an ancient practice. But blogging will always have its place and purpose. Because a podcast, barring watching on YouTube, is primarily audio it is difficult to satisfy everyone and thing.

    Right now I regularly listen to “The Joe Rogan experience,” “Congratulations: with Chris Delia,” “Hot Boxin: with Mike Tyson” and a few others. What I find to be great about podcasts today is how easy it is to do. This makes it possible for a large variety of figures to have one. With some podcasts they have the host and then different guests. This brings someone or some topic closer to home because you already hear the hosts every episode. Because the host can help to make the listener more comfortable I find podcasts to be more informative at times. In a way you feel like you are a part of the conversation.

    I think a good podcast idea for our group “Arts in Appalachia” would be to have a different guest, from a different art form, on each episode. Having guests is difficult, so maybe highlighting a different artist, from a different art each time (within reason). There are so many different forms of art in Appalachia/in general that we could really shine some light on some great, unknown, talent.

  7. haileyspicer says:

    I actually started listening to podcasts this past year and I really enjoy them. I prefer listening to people talk about stories and news going on in the world rather than reading about it. I think this goes for most of my generation hence why I believe podcasts are becoming very popular recently. I also believe they are becoming more popular because of how easy it is and something you can enjoy on the go. I usually listen to podcasts when Im driving to work or walking to my classes to help get my mind going.

    I currently listen to “call her daddy” from Barstool Sports and Ted Talks Daily. Since most of us are attached to our phones all day long, Podcasts are quickly taking over the virtual world and hence why we are more likely to listen to a podcast then read a blog. Along with that, podcasts seem fairly easy to set up and edit, the hardest part is creating content that people want to hear.

    I think a good podcast for our group, “Morgantown Bender” would be to talk about the “truths of college” and what its all about. We could have guest speakers come in from different age groups to get their take on college and the do’s and don’ts through out your four years at WVU.

  8. Podcasts are something I feel like have become more prominent in the recent year. I truly enjoy listening to podcasts and recently have been listening to them daily for some time now. I classify podcasts as “brain gains” and listen to them when I am at the gym, a few podcasts I enjoy are all things fitness and health I also really like Joe Rogan’s podcast and it makes not working out so bad because I truly enjoy listening to and gaining more knowledge on topics I am passionate about. I believe podcasts are becoming more popular and I some day would love to have my own podcast.
    Podcasts for me are better than music because I feel as if I am bettering myself and learning more by listening to podcasts. They are so easy to just turn on but in your head phones. I really like Joe Rogans podcast and also Nutrition matter, dietitian Paige Smathers takes your understanding of food to a new level.

    I think a good podcast for my group would be to sit down and talk about our experiences with going out in Morgantown and almost do a series with “how to survive freshmen year”, “what to know going into your junior year” and share things we think could benefit other college students at WVU and just in college.

  9. Patrick Downey says:

    I just started listening to podcasts over the past year or so and I have to say they are interesting and entertaining in the right scene. I personally only really listen to podcasts during long car rides and probably wouldn’t any other time. So no, I do not think blogging is dead or even close to being dead. I actually really like listening to podcasts on long car rides, it’s a good alternative to music and a great way to get information without looking at something. The only podcasts I listen to is “Pardon My Take” and some other ones by Barstool Sports. I think it’s really cool to hear the conversation between the different guys on PMT. It doesn’t even sound like its scripted but instead just a raw conversation about sports, which you can get with a blog. I also find it intriguing that pretty much every episode they have a guest speaker who is usually pretty relevant in the sports world. On a podcast you get to really see the personality of these famous sports icons. The guys on PMT ask questions that a regular interviewer wouldn’t which really gets some interesting responses. Podcasts are on the come up, but I think still prefer to look at something to get information.

    I think an interesting podcast for my group blog would have to do with something along the lines of getting many different perspectives of WVU’s reputation. I think it would be interesting to get students from different backgrounds and have a little debate over what WVU’s reputation really is. I feel like something like this would be more effective through a podcast because the answers will be more authentic where on a blog words could be altered a little bit.

  10. lyndseymoran says:

    Personally, I have been listening to podcasts since my freshman year of college. For the pasts three years, I have cycled through podcasts that focus on news, political commentary, comedy, entertainment, and lifestyle. I find that podcasts are useful in the sense that they keep up with our ‘fast moving world’. The main advantage with podcasts is the convenience factor; it’s easy to listen to podcasts while driving to work, walking to class, or even getting ready in the morning. In my opinion, podcasts are out performing the blogosphere in that aspect.

    While a podcast is easier to listen to rather than reading a blog/article, I believe they each have their own advantages. Ninety percent of the time, I read blogs for informative purposes, leaving ten percent for entertainment/advice. However, the case is vise-versa for podcasts. For example, I would much rather read a blog that includes graphs and charts regarding voter distribution because the information could be better digested by the reader, as opposed to a podcaster describing the information.

    For the group blog, My Reputation, a topic I believe that has a lot of potential is the WVU Greek community. There are various directions and plenty of topics to cover that would avoid possible dead air. Our group would just need to map out and organize the topics.

  11. Instead of TV killed the radio star, you could now say radio killed the internet star. It seems that podcasts are much more beloved than blogs are—or ever were. Some podcasts like “Serial” and “This American Life” have an almost cult-like following, including my own mother. The question is, however, are podcasts a fad? Because I could certainly see them being one.

    I think a good subject for our group blog, Almost Heaven, Almost Green, to cover would be about how quick/crazy trends that college students engage in impact the environment in ways we don’t realize. We would talk about different issues like how fast fashion pollutes our water with toxic chemicals, and other examples of how we don’t realize what we’re doing is harmful.

  12. Sadie Janes says:

    I don’t listen to many podcasts regularly, but there are a few I really like. I was turned on to Revisionist History a while ago, and I download episodes of that just for when I’m traveling. For this assignment, I listened to a few episodes of Red State, Blue State. I like how these podcasts really are a conversation, which is a concept we’ve been stressing throughout the semester. Our work in social media journalism should be about reporting on the conversation and podcasts seem like a great medium to do that in for a number of reasons. You can easily switch back and forth between speakers, which is harder to do in written blog posts and requires a lot more quoting and attribution. This is a small thing, but I liked how sometimes you would hear someone speaking first and then the podcaster would introduce them, like “That was so and so, and here’s why they’re important.” I can’t put my finger on why, but it was compelling.

    My group blog is about the reputation of WVU and its surrounding communities. Ideally, we could do a podcast where we interview President Gee about what he thinks are the successes and failures of the “culture change” that’s been so important to him throughout his tenure at WVU. It’d be nice to have multiple members of my group engage in the interview because we all have different perspectives – as WV residents and non-residents, as young men and women, and as those involved in Greek life or SGA or other on-campus organizations. We could do this podcast with leaders on campus if President Gee is unavailable. It would be really interesting to have student representatives of all aspects of campus life – SGA, Greek Life, Honors College, athletics, etc. Different perspectives on the same issue would be valuable, as was demonstrated in the Red State Blue State podcast.

  13. I listen to podcasts pretty often, most of the time just comedian’s podcasts. Even though most of the time they’re making jokes, they still talk about current events and issues. Sometimes I even hear about something on a comedy podcast I hadn’t even seen in the news, which is actually something very beneficial I never realized. Also, I realize all the thing’s podcasts have to offer that blogs don’t. Tone of voice and audio in general brings a lot to the table, it brings the opportunity of guests, clips, sound effects, real time interaction, etc.

    For our blog I think we could definitely fill up a 10 minute podcast about WVU stereotypes. We could even have student or faculty guests to ask questions to if we wanted for an opinion outside our group. I feel like most people from West Virginia have a story about getting stereotyped by a person who lives somewhere else, and a podcast is a perfect platform to share stories like that.

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