These days, it seems like everyone’s got a podcast. That kid who lived in Yates with you freshman year and you haven’t spoken to since? The guy who won’t shut up about Nietzsche even when philosophy is over? The girl who listened to Serial once and hasn’t shut up about true crime since? They all have podcasts, and it seems impossible to open Facebook without seeing the self-promotion.

It’s not hard to see why. The entry barrier to podcast production is low, and there’s a podcast for everyone’s taste. Experience with the rule of thirds or a DSLR camera isn’t necessary. While some more experienced podcasters use more advanced editing software, a recording device on a smartphone works just fine. And while some podcasters edit their conversations, others just leave their conversations unfiltered and upload them to the internet.

The podcast craze has not left the College of William and Mary untouched. The proliferation of the downloadable audio form has resulted in the creation of the Podcasting Network, a club dedicated to furthering the understanding and interest in the podcasting medium, as well as creating, producing and sharing student and faculty podcast audio and video.

The officers of the Podcasting Network — Jakob Cordes ’20, Blake Phillips ’19, Ryan Walter ’20, William Moore ’20 and Vincent Tandaw ’20 — host the club’s flagship podcast, Talking TWAMPs, where they discuss domestic and international political topics. But it doesn’t end there — the Podcasting Network also aims to promote other podcasts on campus. And podcasts at the College as as idiosyncratic as its student body.

I Did What?

Anna Campion ’19 and Rosie Rubenstein ’19, the hosts of this comedy podcast, became friends after taking a class together their sophomore year. Campion heard Rubenstein had some experience with podcast production because she had previously made a podcast about women in leadership, and she saw an opportunity for a fun project.

“At the time, I was a newly declared film and media studies major, and I was looking for a creative outlet for content, to see what I liked and what I didn’t like,” Campion said.

“At the time, I was a newly declared film and media studies major, and I was looking for a creative outlet for content, to see what I liked and what I didn’t like,” Campion said.

What started out as an idea for a podcast where people would share their drunken mishaps broadened in scope to become a podcast for Campion, Rubenstein, their friends and listeners to share any and all embarrassing stories from their life. Their first episode focused on embarrassing “firsts,” from first kisses to first parties. Since then, their episodes have covered topics from flirting and dating apps to Mother’s Day.

Campion and Rubenstein’s snark-infused back and forth style recalls one of their podcast inspirations, the true crime show My Favorite Murder. Between the two sharp-witted juniors, Campion is Karen Kilgariff and Rubenstein is Georgia Hardstark.

“Rosie’s my straight man,” Campion said.

Campion said sharing these stories is also therapeutic. Even a memory that felt like the most shameful event in one’s life, once shared with others, can sting a little less.

Rubenstein is studying abroad this semester in Italy, but while the two can’t record together, Campion has invited guests to fill in the hosting duties. Over spring break, the two women reunited when Campion visited her cohost in Italy and recorded a podcast with stories about Rubenstein’s Italian escapades.

Two Pod Dudes

Podcasts can also be a great outlet for students involved in the comedy scene at the College. At the helm of Two Pod Dudes is the co-hosting team of Charlie Parsons ’21 and Hannah Caffacus ’19.

For Parsons and Caffacus, it was platonic love at first sight when they met through the Sandbox Improvisational comedy group. One day, they decided to get together and record an episode. They began as a comedy podcast, inspired by hot!, the comedy podcast hosted by their friends Rachel Coughlin ’19 and Caroline Pellegrin ’19.

“Hot! fathered this podcast,” Parsons said. “They’re our hot dad.”

Two Pod Dudes features an array of Caffacus’ recurring characters, including a social media influencer, a PTA mom who leaves passive aggressive voicemails and an obliviously misogynist cowboy trying to reform his sexist ways.

They’ve been learning as they go, with plenty of technical difficulties and failed recording sessions since they began. However, they were able to get past the learning curve to be able to create something fun that captures their personalities and allows them to have fun doing what they love to do — talking.

Caffacus and Parsons listen to podcasts like The Liturgists Podcast, 99% Invisible and Yeah, But Still, and while these all have different styles, they inform the kind of deep-dive conversations the two hosts said they hope to spark on their show.

“It’s definitely made me more comfortable being myself in any social situation and being like, ‘Hey, what was the best part of your week?’ instead of just, ‘How’s life, how’s school?’” Caffacus said. “… It’s been something that’s very positive in my life and I’m trying to figure out how I can keep doing it forever, until I die. Even if no one listens.”

Jaret and Jarrett

It’s not just humanities majors who love to hear themselves talk. Jaret Anderson ’20 and Jarrett Heckert ’21, teammates on the Tribe football team, originally bonded over their phonetically identical names and decided to start a podcast of their own: Jaret and Jarrett.

“We don’t like to keep it about sports, we like to keep it very encompassing,” Anderson said. “We like to keep it very personable, so you get to know us without having to actually meet us.”

Anderson and Heckert began their podcast spring 2017 and meet every week during the school year to record. Each episode, which keeps things short and sweet at around 20 minutes, tackles current events topics, news and, as befits the two student athletes, sports. They approach their podcast with a fun and lighthearted spirit.

“We don’t like to keep it about sports, we like to keep it very encompassing,” Anderson said. “We like to keep it very personable, so you get to know us without having to actually meet us.”

But Anderson and Heckert avoid staying solely within their comfort zone when it comes to the topics they address.

“We’ve interviewed a sorority girl about sorority stereotypes and misconceptions, we’ve talked about personal issues, embarrassing moments, social interactions, different things going on in the sports world,”  Heckert said.

They said they weren’t expecting it to get as much traction as it did, and they are happy with how people have responded to their content. Sometimes the stories in the podcast have an impact on their personal lives. Once, after Heckert discussed an awkward date on the podcast, the girl who he had gone on the date with reached out to him and they ended up going on a second date.

Their podcast inspirations include Pardon My Take, Barstool Sports and the similarly cleverly named Mike and Mike sports-talk radio show on ESPN. Jarrett and Jaret is available on iTunes and SoundCloud.

While neither of them had technical backgrounds in audio production, they said the Reeder Media Center in the Earl Gregg Swem Library was incredibly helpful in helping them get started, and that’s where they record their show every Monday night.

They can Podcast and so can you

The hosts of Jaret and Jarrett exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit of beginner podcasters. The medium of podcasting, as opposed to video production or visual art, is uniquely accessible, both from a technical and financial perspective.

“I record it on my iPhone,” Campion said. “You could theoretically record it on your iPhone, do no editing, and just upload it.”

Students also say they like the comfort of being able to listen to a familiar voice in whatever topic they might be interested in.

“Almost everyone I know listens to some type of podcast,” Parsons said.

It’s a medium that lends itself to solo listening and it doesn’t require one’s full attention.

“I think people like podcasts because you feel like you’re in on somebody else’s conversation and it feels both intimate and performative,” Caffacus said.

“I think people like podcasts because you feel like you’re in on somebody else’s conversation and it feels both intimate and performative,” Caffacus said.

In a world where it is increasingly easy to get distracted by the sheer number of options, podcasts provide an incredibly customizable experience.

“You could go on iTunes right now and type in a topic and there would probably be a podcast about it or close to it,” Campion said. “It’s very appealing to want something specific that you can engage with, and I think that’s the appeal of making, but especially listening to, a podcast.”