Weekend sat down with Matt Bloom, a senior in journalism at IU and executive producer of American Student Radio, about what makes audio storytelling different and his experience with podcasts. Bloom has worked as a reporter for the Indiana Daily Student in the past.
What is American Student Radio?
We are a group of two dozen producers who make a one-hour narrative storytelling program every Sunday at noon, and we rotate the host each week. The host gets to pick a theme, and every story in that episode has to relate to the theme somehow. It’s a student-produced podcast, focusing on narrative storytelling.
What do you do for it, in terms of “Matt Tries Things?”
“Matt Tries Things” is this ridiculous idea I thought of because I was super bored, and I was thinking about life after graduation and how I don’t want it to be boring.
My commitment to myself this semester was trying something new every week and then tell the story on American Student Radio. It’s just me dragging a friend along to go try something new every week.
So this week I’m going to a medium, because our show’s theme is spirituality and religion, so the name will be “Matt Tries to Reach the Dead.”
My friend in the first episode said she doesn’t think people make enough small goals for themselves, and we only see people who are 30 and are super successful. For people who are our age, we don’t necessarily value the little things that we do.
So I knew that was such a good, deep thought, but on the surface it’s just funny storytelling of me embarrassing myself.
The first episode is me trying lobster for the first time, so it’s just me tearing the body apart full-on. It’s so embarrassing, but I’d never done it before and it made me think differently about the way I eat.
What do you like about audio storytelling?
How I’m talking to you right now, that’s what it feels like. From a producer stand point, I can sit down and tell you the story how I would tell it to you, as a friend. I think that’s more entertaining, and more informative to you, in the end.
As a listener, I think you pay more attention when you hear somebody’s voice speaking to you, instead of reading. I could go into a million other reasons, but that is the main reason. You listen more.
What are your favorite podcasts besides American Student Radio?
Definitely “Mortified,” which is people getting up on stage and telling really embarrassing stories about themselves from when they were kids.
As far as a more serious, storytelling one, one called “Snap Judgment,” which does first person, really well-produced stories. And “Reply All,” about the internet, which is hilarious and thought-provoking and relevant and funny all at the same time.
Is there anything else you want to say about American Student Radio?
It’s so new that we aren’t even sure week-to-week what it’s going to sound like, and that’s why it’s so cool. It feels new and it feels exciting, and I can tell that the people here are super nerdy and care about it a lot, which is a good thing.
An earlier version of this story said 2,000 producers, not two dozen producers. The IDS regrets this error.