Mackenzie Dessin also contributed to this story.
Podcasts have become increasingly popular among many and are a growing way to get information out to the public.
The Weber Podcats, made up of members of the Honors 4920 podcast class, have been working to produce their second season, which will include topics related to connection.
The season will air on March 26, and will have topics on mental health, race and other topics of connection that coincide with the Center for Community and Engaged Learning’s (CCEL) engaged learning series.
Andrea Baltazar and Melina Alexander co-teach the class while combining their skills to help the students succeed in producing, editing, writing and interviewing. Baltazar said that they give the students a “crash course” in all the mechanics of production and then let the students lead on how to interview as well as which topics are featured on the podcast.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the production of the podcast has been experimental and its been vital to discover new ways to collaborate. Having to conduct many interviews over Zoom leads to many scheduling and communication conflicts. Many students, such as Samantha Plum, a senior at Weber State University, have found the class to be difficult under such conditions.
There are 14 students currently in the class who all work on the podcast and split the load. Samantha Plum said that she personally prefers to work on script writing or proofreading, but her and the other students swap roles depending on what episode they’re working on.
“It sounded like an interesting experience. It’s a little more challenging. Too many rules,” Plum said.
The class’s goal is to reach the community and give a voice to underrepresented groups. Each episode focuses on different topic that has the overlying theme of connection.
Jazmyne Olson, another student in the class, said that she often learned something new from each interviewee and got advice that she had never thought of before.
“I think that even if you know a lot about something. There could be another episode that surprises you,” Olson said.
She said that there will always be something to learn and that getting someone else’s perspective through these podcasts is something that she enjoyed seeing.
Baltazar strives to make the class challenging, hoping it will push the students and even the listeners out of their comfort zone.
The class is for juniors and seniors, as it’s a 4000-level course. However, it’s available for all majors. Getting majors from all over the campus allows for unique and different approaches to each episode. It helps “create discipline subjects,” Baltazar said.
Olson added that she is looking forward to listening to the episodes that her classmates have worked on and learn more from their guests. There are six episodes this season. The podcast airs on Spotify and Apple podcasts as well as Soundcloud and can be found under the name Weber Podcats.