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Hear All About It: A Podcasting Symposium

By Adrianna Burton

In the spirit of UCI’s interdisciplinary focus, the Podcasting Symposium on Friday, Oct. 26 was organized and moderated by Professor Jonathan Alexander and co-sponsored by the UCI Office of the Campus Writing Coordinator, UCI Humanities Commons, UCI Illuminations, Department of English, Department of Film and Media Studies, and Department of Asian American Studies.


This massive amalgamation of resources and dedicated planners resulted in a day-long event, along with a complimentary continental breakfast and lunch. The main goal of the day was to explore the emergence of podcasts in the context of the societal-historical framework of radio, and its relationship to news reporting, storytelling, genres of narrative, social and political activism, and forms of digital cultures.


While various workshops discussed theory and included guest speakers who presented  their own personal insights and academic research, many workshops were aimed at aiding students in designing and developing their own podcasts.


Key speakers from the podcasting world included: Oliver Wang (CSU Long Beach), Karen Tongson (USC), Jim Lee (UCI), Isaac West (Vanderbilt), Fran Tirado (co-host of “Food 4 Thot”), Newman and Medaya Ocher (LARB),  Allison Perlman (UCI), Bambi Haggins (UCI), Sarah Florini (ASU), Mike Gravagno (host of “Writers’ Block;” Co-host of the “Super Hero Hour Hour”), Ryan Haley (host of “The OC Disorder”; Co-host of the “Super Hero Hour Hour”), and Rod and Karen Morrow (hosts of “The Black Guy Who Tips”).


The “Guest Podcasters: The Trickle Up Effect: How to Succeed in Podcasting While Trying Really Really Hard” panel was replaced with a later scheduled event, “Why Study Podcasting?: A Discussion” with hosts Allison Perlman, Isaac West, Bambi Haggins, Sarah Florini, and last minute addition Jim Breslo due to a presenter that did not show. One topic discussed was the presentation of politics and its mediation with corporatization in podcasting. Assistant Professor Sarah Florini described how podcasters who work with corporations or institutions are often under the grip of money, and that “everybody makes compromises. We are all in the system of capitalism.” Professor Bambi Haggins added to Florini’s point, saying “the way you make money in podcasting is by being outlandish in a particular way.”


Podcasting originated much like YouTube did, as a free platform for people to share their thoughts. The Podcasting Symposium focused on this similarity and the upcoming changes it faces.

As podcasting increases in popularity as a form of mainstream media, the future of discourse will change. The next UCI Illuminations event, also in the vein of exploring mediums of art, is the International Film Club Special Halloween Zombie Film Screening: “Train to Busan” (Yeong Sang-ho 2016) on Wednesday, Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. in the McCormick Screening Room, followed by a light dinner and discussion.



Photo courtesy of UCI Illuminations