Podcasting Class Provides Opportunities for Enthusiastic Students

As daughter of Jeff Berggren, Director of Arizona Operations for Huntington University, my word may not be very believable when I praise HU. However, my extraordinary perspective does lend itself to an interesting view of the classes here on campus. After seeing this building renovated from the ground up, I was accepted into Huntington’s early entry program. This program grants high school students the opportunity to partake in college-level classes as well as be treated as just another college participant. Currently, I am taking a Podcasting course, which is part of the greater Broadcasting major, though any student is permitted to take it.

My professor is NPR professional Jimmy Jenkins, who is a team member of the National Public Radio station here in Arizona. His class is hosted each Tuesday evening at 7pm, which is partially why I chose the class; it’s a little difficult to arrive at a daytime class when I have high school to attend. I have only four other classmates, not including myself and Professor Jenkins, making for a very intimate and personal classroom experience. This small community is ideal for sharing work, accommodating the students’ busy lives with schedule changes, and adjusting the syllabus to meet the requirements of individuals.

Specific course projects tend to be linked through a gradually increasing difficulty curve, though it remains fair throughout. When class began in February, the assignments were mostly overviewed with copious examples before sending us to record our own based on loose templates. We created simple features, such as “News Voicers” and “Audio Postcards,” both of which contain basic concepts which appear regularly in radio broadcasting. As time went on, however, our assignments became more complex and specific, requiring us to pool our newfound knowledge to create specific features that focus on one of many popular news topics: entertainment, business, and sports, all of which include subtle structure changes in order to convey the feeling associated with the topic at hand. Our time to complete the assignment is then increased for these larger projects, and Professor Jenkins is very forgiving when it comes to technical difficulties, which he addresses and offers advice for after we present our pieces.

The final project for the class will be our own personal podcast of any form and variety we choose. Free reign is wide for this assignment, allowing us to use all previously gathered knowledge in a new way twisted creatively into whatever we want, which is the ultimate goal of any creativity-based course. Due to the nature of the project, nearly every one of my peers is going a separate direction, bred from the individuality among us five. Personally, I am planning on recording an unedited, raw and lengthy podcast that features new guests each week, while two others are coming together and doing an edited, fun-loving co-host show meant for any audience.

As audio-savvy creators, this class offers nothing less than exactly what any of us had hoped for from a Podcasting class.

Aricle by Rachel Berggren, broadcast student. (Published in The Filmstrip, March 2017 edition.)