Ohio University

Rise of Podcasting Sparks New MDIA Class

Rise of Podcasting Sparks New MDIA Class

A new class titled “Writing and Producing the Non-Fiction Video Podcast Series” debuted in spring 2020 through the School of Media Arts & Studies, providing students with the opportunity to learn more about the process of creating a successful podcast series. Over the course of the semester, students will explore the process of writing, preproducing, creating, and distributing a multi-episodic video podcast series for client-based non-fiction projects.

The course, MDIA 3705, is designed for 16-20 students who are eager to learn about the medium. The students will make a total of four audio media/podcasting pieces over the course of the semester, ranging from a found sound project to an audio postcard.

The first project of the course if the found sound project, where student use nothing but the natural environment, archival audio and foley to create a scene. Voices can be used, but the student cannot narrate it themselves or interview anybody for audio. The idea behind the project is to develop the audio storytelling fabric and stress that sound is as important as the story itself, it is not just an accompaniment.

Throughout the semester, students will utilize a variety of equipment in both the classroom and studio. Digital recorders and microphones will be used for recording purposes and the lab computers in Schoonover Center will be used to produce the pieces. The students will likely spend time in Podcast Studio I in the Schoonover Lobby as well.

The students will also use Rodecaster Pro, a highly portable podcasting all-in-one unit that can be used to stream live interviews and host a more pre-produced podcast. The unit features eight programmable sound effects pads to instantly provide applause, music, or ads from the simple click of a button and Bluetooth connection to make a phone interview sound like an in-studio interview.

Laura Harbert, a second-year Ph.D. student, is teaching the new podcast class. In her spare time, Harbert is a freelance producer and has contributed to several podcasts. Prior to her time at OHIO, she worked in the public radio industry for more than 15 years where she served as an announcer, music director, program director, and general manager - contributing to her news hosting and production skills.

“It’s super important to remember that podcasting is, in many ways, an evolved form of audio storytelling with roots in radio. It’s a media format with decades of history that is experiencing a renaissance right now for two reasons: the advent of the smart phone and human beings telling each other stories,” said Harbert.