University Business November/December 2019 - 18

INTERNET TECHNOLOGY

Podcasting: A voice
of the future for higher ed?
A once-overlooked platform is back, bigger than ever
By Karine Joly

M

y first Internet Technologies
department for University
Business, "The Power of Podcasts," was published in February 2006.
Today, podcasting has entered a renaissance of sorts in higher ed, illustrating
how digital technology can be as cyclical
as anything else. Fueled by the need to
teach artificial intelligence-based devices
to talk the way humans have always
learned-by listening-audio content
is receiving special treatment from the
digital players of Silicon Valley.
Growing market
The "Smart Audio Report: Spring 2019"
(UBmag.me/sar) by Edison Research
and NPR reveals that 53 million Americans (21%) now own smart speakers,
and 55% of them listen more to audio
content every day as a result. Add to this
the digital overload everyone experiences
in front of a screen, and it's easy to see
why 32% of Americans listen to podcasts
every month, according to a recent Edison Research survey (UBmag.me/tpc19).
With 53% of these podcast listeners
having at least one college degree, higher
ed marketers need to pay attention to
podcasting. Many do, as the regularity of
higher ed advertising on podcasts attests.
Lasting relationships
But podcasting is much more than another, less-crowded paid digital channel
that you can use to reach a higher ed
audience. Used organically, podcasts can

UBmag.me/podcast
18 | November/December 2019

Used organically,
podcasts can help
develop and nurture
long-lasting relationships
with loyal listeners.
help develop and nurture long-lasting
relationships with loyal listeners.
"We've all been programmed to believe video and social media are the only
ways to effectively reach our external and
internal audiences, but that's just not the
case," says Billy Liggett, director of news
and publications at Campbell University
in North Carolina.
For Liggett, co-host of "Rhymes with
Orange" (UBmag.me/rwo), the main
goal of his podcast for Campbell U has
always been to share campus stories in a
more conversational and engaging way.
The podcast was designed to complement web, print and video platforms.
Jenna Spinelle, the host and producer
of "Democracy Works" (UBmag.me/dw),
the podcast of The McCourtney Institute for Democracy at The Pennsylvania
State University, concurs on the external
and internal impact of podcasting. "Faculty members have used our episodes in
their classes to spark discussion about
current issues in politics and government," adds Spinelle.
Storytelling
Podcasting is also the perfect channel
for telling an institution's story, in all
its complexity, through the voices of its
constituents. At American University's
School of International Service in Wash-

ington, D.C., the "Big World" podcast
(UBmag.me/bw) "focuses on the part of
SIS's story that's sometimes hard to convey in quick snippets," says Kay Summers, senior director of marketing and
communications and the podcast's host.
This is possible because podcasts
"allow for detailed exploration and discussion of complex ideas and topics in a
way that is still easily accessible for audiences," says Ted Fox, the host of "With
a Side of Knowledge" (UBmag.me/sok).
Produced by the Office of the Provost
at the University of Notre Dame in
Indiana, this podcast helps raise awareness of scholarship while establishing
the position of Notre Dame as a leading
academic institution.
Combining the power of storytelling, conversations, regularity and ease of
use, podcasting finds its strength in what
could be seen as a weakness in a world
relying so much on visual stimuli.
"Audio is compelling because it asks
the listener to be an active participant,
filling in the visual while concentrating
on what's being said and on the sounds
that are setting scenes in motion," says
Craig Layne, assistant director of media
relations at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania and the host of "The Good"
(UBmag.me/tg).
If audio is the next digital frontier,
this second wave of higher ed podcasting
will go much further than the first. Podcasting could become the voice of your
school in the digital future.

Karine Joly is the web editor behind
collegewebeditor.com, and is the founder of
higheredexperts.com.
UniversityBusiness.com


http://www.UBmag.me/bw http://www.UBmag.me/sok http://www.UBmag.me/sar http://www.UBmag.me/rwo http://www.UBmag.me/tpc19 http://www.UBmag.me/dw http://www.UBmag.me/tg http://www.collegewebeditor.com http://www.UBmag.me/podcast http://www.higheredexperts.com http://www.UniversityBusiness.com

University Business November/December 2019

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