'Malarkey Mondays' Podcast Provides Serious Hands-on Experience

Untitled design 1

From newsprint, radio, and television to blogging and social media, the communications and media industry is constantly evolving. Enter the podcast, an immensely popular form of audio content and distribution that is now a permanent fixture in Herkimer College’s Communication and Media A.S. program and its longstanding Radio-TV (RTV) Club.

According to Robert Gassmann, Communication and Media professor, RTV Club advisor, and podcast project creator, the student-podcast experience is a natural step in the evolution of media instruction.

“This is an extension of the creative process we teach in all our courses. Ideas are hatched and brought to existence through pre-production (writing), production (recording), and post-production phases (editing and distribution.) Podcasts are a popular mode of media at the moment, and this group has really sunk their teeth into it.” 

The group, comprised exclusively of students, premiered its new podcast series Malarkey Mondays this fall. The amusing, off-beat show is also solely crafted for students.

“I think the spirit of the studio is to make it accessible to any student interested in producing content,” Communication & Media Professor Blake Pitcher said. Pitcher is a co-creator of the podcast as well as an advisor for the College’s student newspaper The General and the award-winning arts and literary publication, Phaethon.

“It also provides a way for students to practice their skills in front of the camera, on the microphone, and behind the scenes,” he said. “Our media programs have a long history of "student-powered" content, and this continues that tradition. I'm excited to see the different podcasts that will be developed as the studio picks up momentum. Our students bring a diverse array of perspectives to the college, and this is an excellent avenue to express themselves.”  

Content creation is also a family tradition for Communication & Media student and RTV Club President Michael DeMars, a sophomore from Herkimer. His father, Ryan Demars ‘98, graduated from the College’s Radio-Television Broadcasting program and was also a member of the RTV Club.  

“We’re a small but close group,” Michael said of the RTV Club and podcast crew. “We’re all excited about how it’s going.”

Demars said he plans to transfer to the University of Buffalo after graduation and has his sights set on a career in the film industry. He already has considerable television production experience working as a part-time newscast director for WKTV, a position he secured after graduating from high school.

“Directing a podcast is basically the same. So, I feel like (my television experience) really helps me out with our podcast.”

Herkimer College has a long tradition of communications excellence with over 40 years of instruction in such mediums as radio, television, digital filmmaking, and new media. Gassman said with the transformation of the program and facilities over the years, they had to get creative in terms of studio space.

“The convergence of those traditional technologies into the digital realm made it possible for us to carve out a small studio in the office area of WVHC-FM where cameras and microphones can capture images and sounds that can be assembled using familiar multimedia software,” he explained.

Last month was the 30th anniversary of WVHC Radio 91.5 FM, the only station of its kind in the Mohawk Valley, featuring jazz, blues, and student-powered programming. WVHC was first established 50 years ago as WHCR, a public address system that was only broadcast inside the Robert McLaughlin College Center.

Both the radio station and podcast offer different experiences for audiences, on and off campus. Malarkey Mondays co-host Rees Trenholm, a Communication and Media major who is focused on photography and videography, said he is becoming more interested in the medium.

“The idea intrigues me more now than it did before, now that I’ve helped produce a podcast,” Trenholm said. “I do like to share ideas, debate, and teach a little; a podcast would be a great medium to do that.”

In addition to Trenholm and Demars, the podcast crew includes hosts Jack Barkett, Chase Everson, and Sam Walz, content manager Sean Noel, and Club members Heather O’Quin and Lyla Williams.

For more information on the Communication and Media program, visit Herkimer.edu/communication-media.