Student-Run Podcast Hones in on Campus Life
Grace College provides students with several mediums to present their ideas and thoughts, including this blog site. But have you heard of The Spark Plug? It is a new bi-weekly student-run podcast. The host is Elizabeth Mattia, a second-year student studying communication. I chatted recently with her about the new venture.
“Spark Plug is a production of the communication program,” Mattia explains. “It started after Professor Loebs shared his vision with me. We want to make this podcast a tool for students to communicate their stories and ideas.” Dr. Patrick Loebs, assistant professor of communication at Grace College, helped Mattia launch the podcast about six months ago. Since then, Mattia has spearheaded the project, taking it upon herself to find interviewees, develop thought-provoking questions, produce and edit the podcast.
Before sitting down at the microphone, however, Mattia taps into the campus climate. “I stay mindful of what students are interested in,” she says. “I want to present topics they care about, including controversial topics and things that might not be discussed enough.” In the coming weeks, Mattia plans to interview Student Involvement directors and John Sloat, resident director of Beta Hall.
After settling on an interviewee, Mattia researches the individual and tailors her questions accordingly. “I don’t want to just brush over things,” she says. “I try to ask questions that I’d want to hear the answers to.” At the end of the interview, Mattia’s work is far from over. “It’s my job to put the most interesting parts of our conversation together in an appealing way,” she explains. Mattia does most of her work from an office in Philathea Hall, but she’s ready to branch out. “I want to try different areas of campus to create different moods. The background noise in Jazzman’s or Alpha Dining would provide great ambiance.”
With every podcast, Mattia challenges herself to create a feeling of the relationship between her guest and the listener. “It’s all about getting to know them on a personal level as if you’re part of the conversation,” she says. Mattia added that Spark Plug is also for Grace College student alumni, parents and friends. Anyone interested in Grace College is welcome to listen.
The next Spark Plug podcast, featuring students involved with the Council for Diversity and Inclusion at Grace College, will be posted on Saturday, Sept. 23. Check iTunes or Sound Cloud to listen to it and past podcasts.
By Abby Phinney, a senior at Grace studying journalism