Listening to podcasts is a growing trend among college students across America in the past decade. These spoken-word specials have a spectrum of different genres intended to spark an interest for anyone. Many students have taken the initiative to go beyond listening to their favorite podcasts to starting a podcast series of their own.
Students at California Baptist University who host their own podcasts say they believe that their experience with podcasting expands their worldview allows for networking opportunities and provides them with a unique creative outlet to share their voice.
Allison Weaver, junior English major and host of The Locals podcast, said that the inspiration to start her podcast was ignited when she would listen to podcasts regularly during a summer internship.
“I listened to a lot of podcasts when I was an intern over the summer of 2019,” Weaver said. “I would be working at my desk listening to a lot of podcasts then I had the idea that I wanted to start a podcast myself. It was sparked by my enjoyment of podcasts but also by the fact that I wanted to meet people, whether it be meeting more people at CBU or meeting people who inspire me outside of CBU like on social media. It was sparked by my passion for people.”
Jacob Cook, senior psychology major and host of the Post-Credits podcast, said that his inspiration was found from an exterior source.
“I have a podcast where I talk about movies and TV shows,” Cook said. “My barber gave me the idea, and I enjoy movies and could talk about it for a long time, so I decided to do it.”
Since podcasts generally fall into a certain genre, the hosts typically express an interest in the genre their podcast falls into. Dr. Mary Ann Pearson, professor of communication and co-host of The Professor and the PIO, was inspired to launch her own podcast with her colleague, C.L. Lopez, because of their passion for communications, public relations, and media.
“We both love all things media,” Pearson said. “I listen to many podcasts myself, as does C.L., and we were doing many speaking events, like speaking at different universities. We would talk to students about preparing to get out on the field and certain areas of community inspiration can be drawn from many places for podcast hosts to continue their passion for the projects to which they devote time. Both Weaver and Cook said that some of their inspiration for their podcasts comes from listening to other podcasts.
“I listen to so many podcasts,” Weaver said. “I love the ‘Real Reel’ by Natalie Barbu. I feel like we have a similar format for our podcasts and I would say she was the biggest influence for me to start my own podcast.”
“My inspiration comes from other podcasts like ‘Armstrong and Getty’ and the Ron Burgundy podcast,” Cook said. “I just want to make my show funny and interesting.”
Cook said his favorite part of hosting a podcast is the opportunity he has to be his authentic self and talk about his interests.
“I enjoy just being able to be myself,” Cook said. “I get to make jokes and talk about things that I enjoy and I like seeing that others enjoy it too.”
Podcast-making provides the host with the opportunity to talk to people they would have otherwise never thought they would be able to connect with. For Pearson, one of her favorite aspects of having a podcast is the ability to make those connections with a diverse group of people.
“You can reach people from all across the globe,” said Pearson. On our podcast, we have had interactions with people from Russia, Paris and more. I like the idea that anyone anywhere can be exploring and listen to us. I have learned so much from my students about podcasts and I love hearing what they love to listen to as well.”
Podcasts allow for a community to flourish digitally. For Weaver, her favorite part of having a podcast is connecting with others and allowing different voices to be heard through her podcast.
“I love that I can network,” Weaver said. “For example, I get to see who I follow on social media and decide to have a conversation with them. It is awesome to have a platform to amplify voices that may not have an outlet to speak their mind.”
Starting a project that requires commitment and time, like a podcast, requires investment. Weaver said that it is good to be patient, invest both time and money and keep yourself accountable.
“It is going to take time,” Weaver said. “It is smart to invest in equipment. I had to save for a good microphone that I love to use for my podcast episodes. Also, stay consistent with your podcast. If you want to have a co-host, make sure you know your co-host is always going to be there for you. If you want to have a solo podcast, make sure that you keep yourself accountable.”
Pearson had specific tips for anyone who wanted to start their own podcast.
“It is so important to do your research,” Pearson said. “In public relations, the RPIE model is research, planning, implementation and evaluation. Explore what others are doing in your genre of interest. Create your own space within the area you want to specialize in.”