Podcasts at UNSW Australia

Podcasts are radio shows you pick and choose from the internet, to create a radio station that’s tuned just to your interests. No subject is too niche, as long as the hosts are passionate and engaging. We’ve discovered some fascinating shows being produced on campus and spoke to the producers to find out what is involved in producing a show, and how you can get your own podcast started. 

Carla Treloar and Annie Madden produce the podcast SpeakEasy. Treloar explains the goal of the show “is to promote some of the cutting-edge and high quality social sciences research that many of our colleagues are undertaking as well as encourage discussion about important concepts and practices within the field of blood-borne viruses and illicit drugs such as the importance of community engagement, the role of peer-based approaches and the future of drug policy in Australia.”

We asked Treloar the inspiration for the podcast. “We were inspired by some other women who podcast – Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb, and our great colleague Kate Seear with her AFL-focused podcast, The Outer Scantum. We felt that we had something useful to contribute and that people would be interested in hearing from us!”

“We have had great assistance from the Technical Resource Team for equipment and editorial tutorials and in producing our signature musical intro. Our in-house comms person, Jo Holcombe,  has developed her skills in using Audacity to edit out any complete stuff ups.   It is great to have the support of UNSW behind the series as it would have been much harder to get the ‘SpeakEasy’ series up and running and so many shows ‘in the can’ in a relatively short space of time.”

Simon Trevaks of the Faculty of Arts Technical Resource Centre is happy to help.

“The Media Creation Studio has been used for podcasting and screencasting since its inception in early 2015.” Trevaks explained. “Originally the room had a Rode Podcaster microphone and Audacity. When Carla approached us about the Speakeasy Podcast we needed to accommodate live interviewees as well as international and interstate speakers. In fact Annie, the co-host, broadcasts from Melbourne. We installed a mixing desk, two microphones and a 3.5 jack for the phone (soon to be redundant) and a headphone amp all running through an MBox mini (photo attached). Skype audio is used for the phone. It’s quite a sophisticated setup, but still pretty straightforward to use.”

“I’d be happy to speak to people interested in doing podcasts. I can offer advice, loan of a Rode podcaster or possibly training in the studio.”

“Simon and Krisjoe really helped in terms of setting up the recording equipment,” says Joanna Holcombe, who helps produce SpeakEasy. “Training Carla and I on how to use the equipment and training me in using the editing software (which is free to download and relatively simple to use). They also helped us take the podcast on the road – Carla recorded both in Melbourne and offsite in Sydney as well.”

Treloar adds; “Our favourite thing about making podcasts is the opportunity to learn new things about the people we interview and share that with your listening audience. As we get more experienced, we look forward to finding new ways to promote the show, draw out the ‘best’ from our guests and try out new formats!”

Siobhan O’Sullivan is another academic taking advantage of the The Media Creation Studio. She produces the podcast Knowing Animals, a regular podcast about all things related to animals and ethics; animals and the law; animals and politics; and animal advocacy.

“I always really loved audio, including podcasts. I really wanted my own podcast so I just decided to make it happen. I decided to focus it on academic issues as that is what I know best. I have been podcasting ever since. ”

“At first I was not sure that I would be able to produce a regular show. However, I quickly proved to myself that it is possible and Knowing Animals now comes out every second Monday. The format is an interview with an academic about a piece of their work. So I have to contact academics and invite them on the show. Some people are not enthusiastic about sharing their research and I find that a little frustrating. When they do so ‘yes’ it is wonderful. But it does take time as I have to read their paper/book and prepare questions. So I guess making the time is important. But I love it and it is always easier to make time for fun things. ”

“I’m a big comedy fan so I enjoy a lot of comedy podcasts. Some of my favourites include ‘The Dollop’; ‘Little Dum Dum Club’ and ‘I love Green Guide Letters’. But I think that podcasts are a really good way to share academic knowledge also. I always try to set podcasts for my students throughout the semester.”

If you’re not in the Faculty of Arts, you can still get assistance producing and hosting your podcast idea. Brad Hall, Senior Online Producer at UNSWTV says the organisation can help schools and faculties with production assistance, to help get a podcast off the ground. The team can also provide a space to host your podcast on the official UNSW Soundcloud page. Contact the UNSW TV team for assistance.

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