A new phenomenon has swept the United States over the past few years and surprisingly, it’s a fascination with listening to other people talk — otherwise known as “podcasting.”
According to a Pew Research Center Study, in 2008, only 9% of Americans aged 12 and older listened to a podcast compared to 41% in 2021. Joining the upward trend, WTBU, Boston University’s student-run radio station, has released several new podcasts this semester.
Sunshine on a Dime
Shandra Back, a freshman in the College of Communication, created the new podcast “Sunshine on a Dime” with fellow COM students, freshman Jessie O’Leary and sophomore Eleanor Stonich, to explain why even full-time students can travel.
Back was inspired by her own three-month backpacking trip to Costa Rica and Panama during her gap year.
“It absolutely changed my life,” Back said. “Traveling opened up so many doors, communicating with other people and learning about the ways that so many different people and cultures live their lives.”
Back said she wants everyone to know the ease and affordability of travel and she emphasized the importance for “other young people to travel.”
“The point of the podcast is to bring to light some of those unknowns that I was able to learn on my travels and give people a sight into all the possibilities that travel can bring,” Back said.
The podcast will feature solo episodes along with guest speakers from around the world, many of whom Back met during her travels and “changed her perspective.” This summer, Back will take the podcast on-the-road through her travels in Mexico.
The Forgotten Artist
After discovering their common interest in listening to many smaller musicians, Helen Roth, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Jonny Leonidas, a freshman in COM, began “The Forgotten Artist” podcast.
“We cover artists who are one-hit wonders or in our generation who are forgotten about,” Roth said.
They’ve covered artists such as Gotye, who sang “Somebody That I Used to Know,” Irving Berlin, a Christmas music songwriter and the band the Cannons. As Roth and Leonidas chat about forgotten artists, they also update their audience with what they’ve been up to and other musings.
“When you listen to [the podcast], it feels like you’re reconnecting with one of your friends,” Roth said.
Roth emphasized that their goal is for themselves and the audience to “enjoy” the podcast.
Tied to the Roots
Sue Kim and Rachel Lin, freshmen in COM, began “Tied to the Roots” to explore their Asian American experience, Asian heritage and to overcome Asian dysphoria.
The podcast covers “niche and specific” topics like Asian superstitions and highlights Asian businesses, artists and others in the Amplify AAPI segment of each episode.
Kim and Lin utilize their first-hand accounts as East Asians, but they also speak about Asian American experiences beyond their own. For their superstitions episode, they used blog posts about South Asian or South East Asian cultures and traditions.
“Even though there’s different types of Asian ethnicities within Asian American,” Lin said. “I found during research a lot of Asian cultures had similar superstitions.”
Lin said the podcast focuses on the “connective aspect” of the differing Asian American experiences and provides a new approach compared to other culture-related podcasts at WTBU.
“A lot of the podcasts aren’t culture or tradition-based, it’s more pop-culture, “ Kim said. “So we wanted to bring that unique perspective into WTBU.”
Despite the podcast’s focus on the Asian American aspect of their identity, Lin said they want to maintain the atmosphere in their podcast that they are just two women chatting.
Night at the Movies
Arnav Gupta, a senior in the Questrom School of Business, and Shrirang Ojha, a senior in CAS, began “Night at the Movies” after finding a shared interest in international films.
Ojha said that people “grow up in a film bubble” whether that be a Bollywood or Hollywood bubble.
“The goal of this podcast is to introduce good quality international cinema to American audiences,” Ojha said.
The podcast features several guest speakers such as BU film professors who are familiar with the specific genre and language of the film.
“[Guest speakers] can give us not just the details about the movie, but the cultural significance of it and what it means to the people who actually watch it,” said Ojha.
After taking several film courses, Ojha emphasized the need to “bridge gaps” and “help people find common ground” through casual discussion.
“In the BU community, there is a lot of conversation about film, but it is with jargon that non-film majors might not understand,” Gupta said. “This is just going to be in layman’s terms from the perspective of film lovers.”