Podcasts and radio have only recently become a constant in my life. I began listening to podcasts regularly my senior year of high school. I found the show “Serial” on NPR and instantly became hooked on the intriguing storyline of a convicted murderer and discovering whether or not, in fact, he was charged correctly. Every morning as I rushed to get ready for school, I would learn more of his story and come up with conclusions for myself. Coming to college, I found that more and more of my friends were equally interested in podcasts. The exchange of podcast recommendations became a staple in daily conversations. As I became more familiar with different shows, I began to realize the popularity of podcasts. Some of my favorite Youtubers and comedians had podcasts that usually involve content that spans out of the genre they’re known for. The scale to which who could or couldn’t have a podcast seemed inexistent, there was no requirement or level of education that needed to be accomplished. Podcast culture was also completely autonomous, you could create a show about whatever you wanted and simply post a recording of yourself talking on any type of social media/audio streaming website.
I initially became aware of the growing popularity of podcasts through my high school economics class. My teacher wanted us to listen to a podcast on currency exchange as a teaching mechanism rather than lecturing in class. I previously hadn’t listened to podcasts, and while the podcast he recommended wasn’t particularly interesting it was my “first” introduction to the form of media. In recent years, I have had experiences with teachers using podcasts to supplement homework assignments; just last year my sociology professor required us to listen to a podcast on the economics of college acceptances across income levels. It was an effective way of supplementing what we were learning in class. Additionally, I had noticed that now iPhones were automatically uploaded with the Podcast app, just another testament to the rising popularity of the audio streaming media.
Radio, also considered an audio streaming media, is considered to be on the decline. There’s been an inverse The first semester of my sophomore year, I became a host for a show on Emory Radio. I found the process of creating a show extremely fulfilling. We were allowed to express our opinions concerning “brown” women in the media as well as our personal lives on the air. We played music we liked and encouraged people to tune in. As time went on, we saw viewership and engagement grow. Occasionally, we would have people we vaguely knew talk to us about topics discussed on the show or just express their support in the show.
Being a feminist, and living in the current political climate, the show became a tangible way for us to document our time to navigate through college and our opinions on the current nature of politics. We got to showcase black and brown female artists on the air and represent our music taste. It has become one of the most fulfilling activities I’ve done on campus, I was manifesting an idea I was extremely proud of and receiving reciprocated engagement on topics discussed on the show.
Below, I’ve posted the logo for my show, Brown Girl Rock. Creating this logo represented a literal manifestation of the idea I’ve worked hard to create. I hope to continue Brown Girl Rock outside of the immediate Emory circle and I think the next step would be to make it a podcast. With the increasing prominence of podcasts, I think it would be beneficial to study the correlation between what makes a podcast better than a radio show and what would it take to easily transition to a podcast. How would the lack of licensed music affect the quality of our show? I hope to continue to research these questions through my final project.