Turning up the volume on ASU student podcasts

ASU students are producing a variety of increasingly popular podcasts

Podcasts as a news medium are taking a growing share of the market and ASU students are following suit, using them for storytelling, spreading messages and getting audiences engaged in what’s going on in the world.

A survey conducted by Edison Research in 2017 shows that an estimated 42 million Americans are listening to podcasts weekly.

"Podcasts are clearly a growing form of storytelling in the journalism world, and I think one of the great things about being a student at ASU is there are so many opportunities to do all different kinds of multimedia journalism," said Jason Stone, an academic associate in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. "It is apparent that all of these students along with many others are taking advantage of all their resources here at ASU."

Sam Brennan, a journalism freshman, Lauren Marshall, a journalism sophomore and Devon Henry, a journalism senior call themselves the motorsports hub of Blaze Radio with their podcast, Blazin' Around the Track.

The team focuses on NASCAR and dirt-track racing. They cover recent events, highlights and provide insight into what they believe will happen next on the track. The majority of the show revolves around conversations with guests from the motorsport world about their careers, future plans and certain races they have participated in.

“My family has been involved in racing for a while,” Marshall said. She said her cousin competed in The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, and her father, Richard Marshall, grew up going to races. 

Listen: Podcasts produced by The State Press here

Marshall said her father shared a love for the sport with his father as well. Richard Marshall has sponsored several race teams through his company Priority Aviation and currently sponsors Shark Racing, which competes in the series his nephew competed in.

Marshall said racing has had “a huge influence” on her life, which was one of the main reasons she created the podcast. 

Marshall said that towards the end of the last school year, Devon Henry came up to her and said, “I heard you’re Richard Marshall’s daughter. We need to do a radio show.”

Marshall said that this podcast helped her develop a broadcast voice.

“That is helpful when you start to climb the ladder at the Cronkite school,” she said.

The podcast quickly took off and was nominated for Best Collegiate Podcast at the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System awards in New York City on March 2. 

“I was very surprised because it was a podcast we just threw together,” Marshall said. She added that this experience has taught her “you don’t have to know everything" when first starting out.

Hannah Ehrlich and Ricky Cornish, both freshmen studying journalism, are the hosts of Culture Club, which is broadcast on the Blaze and uploaded to SoundCloud weekly. 

The show is about culture, society, and controversy, Ehrlich said.They were encouraged by Blaze Radio staff to produce podcasts so they can “get experience right off the bat," Cornish said. 

“At first, I did not know a lot about Audition (audio editing software) or podcasts. … I felt I developed a radio voice, and it’s become my hobby,” Ehlrich said.

“We decided to do it for fun — because why not,” Cornish said. “I think we recorded about two or three and sent it in … and through some miracle the directors at Blaze Radio approved it."

The pair said they want the audience to be engaged and interact with them via email after their show's news segment. 

“You’re not talking at them; you’re talking with them,” Ehlrich said. “What we try to do is talk about the underlying issues. We converse about stories and what our take on them is.”  

Keerthi Vedantam, a senior studying journalism, hosts a podcast for The Downtown Devil with a completely different approach. 

The show she works on, Deconstructed, puts the content the Downtown Devil produces into context and breaks down the production production process for listeners.

“There is something in audio that you don’t get from reading something, like the crack of someone’s voice when they are just about to cry. … It adds a level of intimacy from the story," Vedantam said. "We’ve been able to tell really cute stories about community gardens, and children who face a lot of trauma."

Reach the reporter at @ssaulnie@asu.edu  or follow @SedonaRose_S on Twitter.

Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter.

Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.