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Six Staples stores in Greater Boston to pilot podcasting studios

Six Staples locations in metropolitan Boston will soon be opening podcast studios in-store.

iHeartRadio is collaborating with six Staples stores around Boston to open in-store podcasting studios available to rent for $60 per hour sessions. ILLUSTRATION BY AUSMA PALMER/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The supply store chain is teaming up with iHeartRadio to pursue this project, called Staples Connect, in a broader effort to revamp its stores into community workspaces where students and professionals can gather.

Spreaker, a company that helps aspiring podcasters create their show, is partnering with Staples by offering discounted access to its services in hosting and distribution.

The soundproof studios will accommodate four people recording at once, and each session will cost $60 per hour.

In an effort to welcome inexperienced newcomers to the podcasting scene, Staples will provide a specialist on hand throughout the session to help with setup as well as proper saving and packaging of the recordings.

Ivey Amburgey, a public relations and media specialist at Spreaker’s parent company Voxnest, said the company is “incredibly excited” about the collaboration, as it will make podcasting more accessible to people in Boston.

“I think what this collaboration is really doing is making the process, from having a podcast idea to actually creating a podcast, so much simpler,” Amburgey said. “Because, of course, as podcasting is growing, more and more people are interested.”

Before Staples Connect might expand the initiative into its stores nationwide, Amburgey said these six pilot podcast studios likely serve as a test market. One studio will open in Boston, while the remaining five will be in the Greater Boston area.

David Yas, founder and CEO of podcasting service provider The Boston Podcast Network, said he celebrates the retail chain’s effort to move into the podcasting world.

“The more podcast studios, as far as I’m concerned, the better. People certainly need convenient locations,” Yas said. “And for aspiring podcasters to be able to go to their local Staples and record something of high quality audio, we think it’s terrific.”

Currently, according to Yas, not many podcasting studios exist in Boston. In fact, the sole studio BPN uses is in the state is in Westwood.

Yas said the pricing Staples has set for its recording sessions will also allow users to create their podcasts in an economically feasible way as it’s not overpriced. Most studios typically charge about $1 per minute as well, he said.

Amburgey said the fact that such a large brand as Staples is dipping its toes into the podcast industry is a sign the trend will probably continue its upward growth. According to research by Voxnest, 2019 seems to be the year podcasting became mainstream.

“I mean, of course it’s been slowly growing over the last couple of years,” Amburgey said. “But last year, 2019, we saw just such an absolute explosion.”

But the public interest in the medium makes sense because podcasting extends to everyday creatives as a simple and effective method of storytelling for any subject, Amburgey said.

Several Boston residents expressed interest in Staples’s new enterprise.

Michael Allen, 32, of South Boston said he is in favor of such a decision to build a podcasting studio inside the retail store.

“I think it’s a cool idea,” Allen said. “People might just come to the store for using the studio and hanging out for a while instead of buying stationary.”

Bee Sununsangthong, 34, of Brighton said he has noticed more people getting into podcasting in recent years.

“People like telling about their story, their experiences and stuff like that in podcasts,” Sununsangthong said. “People can learn from that.”

Christine Lee, 22, of Roxbury said she recently began gaining interest in podcasts herself and listens to them on Spotify.

“If people were able to have access to that through nearby areas where Staples are, I guess that would be pretty nice,” Lee said.

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