It is no surprise that podcasts have captured the attention of many students and faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (UWGB). One reason could be that podcasts fit the busy lifestyle. It not only saves time for people but allows them to catch up on news and events, learn about certain topics, and provide entertainment.
Podcasts serve multiple purposes and can be listened to in multiple ways. According to Podcastinsights, 49% of people listen to podcasts at home, and 22% do while in the car. “I mainly listen to podcasts when I am in the car with my partner, and we listen to “Last Podcast on the Left,” which does deep dives on certain serial killers. I listen because the topics are of interest, and our tastes in music are very different, so podcasts are a nice middle-ground for us when we go on long drives,” said Wynna Bonde, Senior at UWGB.
Additionally, podcasts help people learn a second language. Joseph Yoo, Assistant Professor of the Communication department at UWGB, said, “I came to the U.S. in 2011, and I started to listen to podcasts in 2016. For me, English is a second language, so I have to practice English continuously.”
While many students and faculty listen to podcasts, there is a handful who create them. Ryan Martin, Associate Dean and Professor of Psychology at UWGB, started Psychology and Stuff to promote the department. “Psychology and Stuff started intending to be an internally focused show for our majors and minors to get to know our faculty and learn more about opportunities in the major. Within the first couple of episodes, though, I realized that it had appeal outside of campus. Our students like it, but it’s developed a lot more listeners who aren’t our students,” said Martin.
Megan Roshak, Senior at UWGB, started Megan Till Midnight in March of 2019. Her podcast discusses life, career, style, beauty, and more. “The name Megan Till Midnight comes from my on-air time in radio. I had a show at a music station that was 7 p.m. till midnight. I was inspired by my love of radio to create my own show,” Roshak said.
Is now the right time to start a podcast?
Podcasts are continuing to grow at a rapid rate. Recently, Edison Research conducted a survey that found that listeners consume an average of 6 hours and 45 minutes of podcast content per week. Additionally, it found that podcasts are reaching almost 100 million Americans every month.
Since COVID-19 has hit, more companies and students are launching a podcast. Megan Roshak said, “If you have a passion for something, go for it. Start a podcast in a niche that allows you room to have fun and grow.”
UWGB alumna Raquel Lamal helped launch a podcast with her job, called Sole Source in March of 2020. Sole Source shares stories that are influencing the world today. Raquel may be the podcast’s voice and face, but she said the podcast is a team effort. Lisa Cruz, the owner of Red Shoes Inc., a local public relations agency, wanted to launch a podcast to create an outlet for her team. “Podcasting is definitely a lot of fun and is a growing medium. There are thousands of podcasts out there with an international reach, so if you choose to get into the podcasting world, make sure you will stand out,” Lamal said.
Things to know when starting a podcast.
- Research before you start recording. Raquel Lamal said, “There are a lot of components that go into starting a podcast and making sure you know your audience, have the right equipment, have a good topic and know how often you are going to publish an episode is critical to its success.” When looking for a host for a podcast, Megan recommends using Anchor because it’s free and good to get ads.
- Creating a podcast. Once the research is done, now it’s time to figure out the name of the podcast, design artwork for it, write a bio about it, and plan out a month’s worth of content. Sarah Mikutel said, “Most podcasters quit after less than ten episodes. Why? Because podcasting has a lot of moving parts. We’re recording, interviewing, editing, publishing, promoting one episode, and all of a sudden it’s time for the next one… But, we can overcome this overwhelm and maintain control of our shows by planning ahead.”
- Record a podcast in a quiet spot. It’s important to reduce background noise, so one can capture quality audio. NPR’s A Guide To DIY Podcasting During Coronavirus, states that one should set up a studio that does not have many hard surfaces around them. “ You can do this by building a pillow fort or throwing a blanket over your head. In your house, you have a lot more options for sound-proofing than in a classroom,” said Sequoia Carrillo, writer for NPR.
- Have modest expectations. Martin said, “There are so many shows out there, and people don’t have time to listen to them all.”
Podcasts will continue to see exponential growth in listenership, according to Podcast Insights. That is how effective podcasts are. Before starting, Martin said, “think about what you really have to offer that’s different than what’s out there so you can find that niche.”
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