Podcasting from home


Michelle Liu

Student-produced podcasts like “Jock of All Trades” and those created by the Harker Podcast Network are becoming increasingly popular forms of entertainment for students during remote learning.

by Sabrina Zhu, Assistant STEM Editor

Four students crouch in the back of the journalism room, their heads close together. A Blue Yeti microphone is barely visible, hidden at the center of their tight huddle. A voice speaks up.

“Hey everyone! Welcome to the fifth edition of Jock of All Trades.

Jock of All Trades, a play on the phrase “Jack of All Trades,” is a sports podcast hosted by senior Kushal Shah and juniors Muthu Panchanatham, Vishnu Kannan and Saurav Tewari. Each episode, the students discuss current events occurring in both professional sports and Harker sports.

“We just bounce ideas off of each other and talk about what’s going on in the world of sports, including anything interesting that happens and any topics of debate,” Muthu said.

Though the final product is a smooth package of narration, humor and information, the process of making podcasts itself is not an easy one. From writing scripts to recording episodes, just one production can take weeks to finish.

“It takes a week to script and another week to record and edit things together. By that time, anything could’ve happened in the sports world. So, things become out of date and we have to rerecord … it just enforces that efficiency is key. You really need to get things done on time,” Muthu said.

In the future, the team is hoping to make episodes more frequently and follow a consistent schedule. They also want to explore a wider range of sports, outside of just basketball and football.

“A lot of it has to do with our knowledge; we know a lot about the NBA and NFL already,” Muthu said. “I think definitely in the future, we can start learning about different sports and start talking about them.”

Back in the classroom, the students would record with a single Blue Yeti microphone. However, since the beginning of quarantine and social distancing, they have adapted their format.

“Because we’re at home, we usually just record Zoom meetings, and we edit the cuts together and create takes,” Muthu said. The team members all join Zoom meetings together and record them, including not only audio, but also video.

Students of the Harker Podcast Network (HPN) face similar challenges in this coming school year. HPN, a student-led organization, makes business-related podcasts for the Harker community.  

This year, the team wants to add some light-hearted podcasts, which inspired Anya Warrier (11), one of HPN’s Senior Production Managers, to create one with a more humorous theme, highlighting stories from members of the student body.

“[Our upcoming episode is] going to be about embarrassing moments in high school,” Anya said. “Basically, we have a couple of upperclassmen and alumni who are going to talk about their funniest moments at Harker.”

Anya believes that this podcast can be both informational and entertaining for her audience. Even with a virtual format, she expects that it will still be enjoyable and even hopes that people will listen to more podcasts at home.

At HPN, production occurs in teams of two. Each pair will plan out the podcast, thinking about interviewees and stories, before an episode can be released to the Harker community.

However, like the students hosting “Jock of All Trades,” HPN will need to overcome some challenges that have arisen with the pandemic.

“It is kind of difficult not to be able to record with someone in person,” Anya said. “It’s definitely going to be easier to talk to someone face to face rather than online.”

Business and entrepreneurship teacher and HPN advisor, Michael Acheatal, is optimistic that HPN will be able to work through these difficulties.

“It’s just things we have to think about differently and create a new plan for,” Acheatal said. “We’re figuring out new ways to do things, and if everybody stays positive and open-minded and willing to learn new things, we’ll get through it just fine.”