The University of Chicago: How (& Why) to Build a Podcast Network

[00:00:00] Jennifer Lee Gunson: Welcome to Continuing Studies, a podcast for higher education podcasters. In each episode, we talk to a university podcaster to ask some questions, get answers, and share tips and ideas about higher education podcasting.
[00:00:16] Hi, I'm Jennifer Lee. I'm a radio broadcaster and a podcaster.
[00:00:20] Neil McPhedran: And I'm Neil McPhedran. I've come to podcasting after 25 years in the digital agency world. Together, we've hosted, executive produced, and launched seven, and counting, higher education podcasts. Please remember to follow Continuing Studies in your listening app of choice and drop us a rating and or a review. We'd love to hear your feedback. While you're at it, also join the University Podcaster Network on LinkedIn.
[00:00:48] So today we are talking with Matt Hodapp. And Matt is the Assistant Director of the podcast network at University of Chicago. This was an awesome conversation. Now, Jen, another great university podcaster that you and I met at Podcast Movement recently in Denver.
[00:01:10] Jennifer Lee Gunson: This time around it was really fun because obviously we met each other at the very first one that you and I attended and now this time around we made lots of friends in the university and higher education space and Matt being one of them.
[00:01:22] Matt is a fun guy, but he also does something a little bit unique because you and I don't come across it too often where it is their sole position is to work as the university podcaster. And he has created the University of Chicago Podcast Network.
[00:01:41] Neil McPhedran: It was great to sort of dig into how the network was built, how the different podcasts work together, the benefits of being part of a network. And we really dug into that.
[00:01:50] Jennifer Lee Gunson: Yeah, we also learned to be cutthroat from Matt, how he vets all the podcasts that are in the network. So, I feel like, he, we could take what he does for vetting podcasts and take it into like the editing sphere as well and just be ruthless. Just cut, cut, cut. Only gold.
[00:02:06] Neil McPhedran: Only gold. And then we end with a really great conversation around the larger ecosystem of higher education podcasts. And I think there's some good nuggets in there. Okay. So, let's get into our conversation with Matt. So, Matt, why don't you just start off with a quick introduction for yourself, please?
[00:02:30] Matt Hodapp: Yeah. My name is Matt Hodapp. My title is the assistant director of the University of Chicago Podcast Network. There is no director, I'm sure the people listening to this knows how university titling goes. So currently the assistant, someday the director.
[00:02:46] And I oversee basically four shows for the University of Chicago Podcast Network and then lightly oversee three other shows. So, we have seven shows that are part of the network. I originally come from the NPR [00:03:00] world. I graduated from college with a creative writing and history degree and like most creative writing history degrees, had no idea what I was going to do and fell butt backwards into my local NPR station right when Serial was happening. Um, and they were like, hey, just give, uh, podcasting to this intern guy. This isn't going to be a real thing. Um, and it became a real thing. And then I worked for a lot of NPR stations all over the Midwest, uh, doing various different kinds of podcasts. Started my own podcast organization in Kansas City while I was there. And yeah, it's been podcasting ever since college.
[00:03:29] Jennifer Lee Gunson: Tell us a little bit more about your University of Chicago podcast network?
[00:03:33] Matt Hodapp: Yeah, so. You know, there's seven shows that are part of the network. There was a theory put together when I came to the university around doing a network, which was essentially looking for the podcasts around campus that have a similar mission, a similar goal and similar quality in terms of production, accessibility for some wider audience. So, like, you know, [00:04:00] shows that are created, whether explicitly or inexplicitly for like five chemists to listen to, those are not going to be part of the network. All the shows that are on the network explicitly have the mission of trying to reach some sort of wide audience, trying to play in the wider industry in the same way that any other, you know, media entity would take itself seriously trying to be successful in the podcast landscape.
[00:04:28] There's, you know, caveats to that and every show, their mission is wider or more, more confined. Every show is a little bit different, but there's a general consensus amongst the shows that they're trying to do that, and they all reach some sort of level of quality that my team, you know, makes a judgment call on basically.
[00:04:49] Neil McPhedran: So, Matt, Jen and I met you at Podcast Movement in Denver recently. You know, one of the things that we were chatting about, and I think is a little bit different than I think maybe anyone else we've had on the show here. Well, actually we've had one other person, but you're fully engaged in a podcast production, managing the University of Chicago podcast network. Is that right?
[00:05:11] Matt Hodapp: Yeah, I work, uh, full time, uh, on production of the University of Chicago Podcast Network. It's also not only me, but there is also another assistant producer under me that is full time, exclusively podcast production. So, like, we don't do the social media website, any of that. We are strictly working on audio production. And then my job also entails oversight, editorial of all the different shows on the network, but also thinking about strategy for all the shows and the network as a whole.
[00:05:40] Neil McPhedran: And truthfully enough, like so many of the folks we interview that if this is 20, 30, 40 percent of their job, wish that they had full time engagement in the podcast realm, it just is sort of the most exciting part of their role. Curious, just for others out there who are wanting to sort of get fully engaged versus they're part of their role. Was this a role that was created, and you were hired into?
[00:06:03] Matt Hodapp: Yeah. So, there's an interesting story behind it. Um, essentially before I got to the university, there were three different departments on campus that were already producing mildly successful podcasts. So central comms was producing a show called Big Brains, and they had, much like you were describing, they had one person on staff that was basically working 30 percent on it, and they wanted to see how much more they could get out of it. There was a show at the business school, specifically the Stigler Center at the business school, called Capitalisn't, hosted by Luigi Zingales, who's an economist there, and now hosted by Bethany McLean, who's a former Vanity Fair editor. But they were working with a freelancer.
[00:06:41] And then there was a show at the Harris School of Public Policy that, actually, in my interview for the job, I told them if they hired me, I would kill that show. Make them make another one because it was terrible. Um, but they were making a show...
[00:06:52] Neil McPhedran: Don't hold back.
[00:06:52] Matt Hodapp: And you can leave that in, I've told them that story. Well, they know the story, they were there. They were also, I think they were doing some sort of mix of a freelancer and someone on staff who was working 30%, but they were paying some amount of money out of their budget for extra freelance work on it. And essentially, they very smartly just got together one day and cross communicated and said, we're all paying money, we could just pool this money into a pot, hire somebody full time. And so, that's essentially how my role got created there were three different departments that all paid into a pot to create a full-time role. And then as another show from the law school got brought onto the network, they added to that pot. So, they're paying into that pot as well, an amount of money for production work and that allowed us to hire my assistant producer.
[00:07:35] Neil McPhedran: Do you think that's helpful in sort of putting forth sort of how to, uh, structure and fund, uh, you know, one or two full time roles then?
[00:07:44] Matt Hodapp: You know, it's interesting. The network, they didn't like come up with the network and then come up with the job. They came up with the job, hired me, and I came up with the network. So, it was actually two years into my role that we actually, it's such a simple thing. I think sometimes people overthink this stuff. They're like, oh, creating a network, and it's [00:08:00] just creating one over brand and putting that brand on all products. And that's like the baseline version, you could make it more complicated than that, but it doesn't have to be. It's literally just a brand you invented out of nowhere and you tell people that it exists. And so, I think the network was helpful long term in hiring that assistant producer and possibly even, you know, more people down the line.
[00:08:20] So, everything always comes down to money, but because we have this network the whole campus community knows that it exists, they know that there are some resources that they would like to tap into. And that starts a conversation with us where we can tell them then, okay, you know, people are paying for this, so you do need to come up with some amount of money.
[00:08:38] But you know, if there was some famous professor on campus that showed up and said, hey, I got, you know, $60,000, I'd like to make a podcast, we would just hire another person. And then the network would become three full time people. So, I think it's helpful in that branding sense for your own internal community to know, hey, there's a thing that the university is doing and they're taking it seriously enough to put a brand on it, they're taking it seriously enough to have someone working on it. And so, your departments should also take this seriously.
[00:09:06] If you are beginning to think about a podcast, it forces you, because this network exists, you can't just think like, uh, we'll just sort of like, you know, you can't just like mess around and say like, oh, we'll see what will happen with it. You have this stressor of there's this official thing and we need to either live up to that or not. And maybe it means you don't make the podcast, and if you don't, maybe you weren't supposed to make it in the first place. But it at, least creates that pressure across campus for people to think more seriously when they're thinking about podcasts, and to create that infrastructure.
[00:09:35] The hard thing I think is getting the person, right? Because like, the whole thing is built on me being a full-time person already, like, that's the legitimizer for so much of it. And it's hard to think before you have that person, before you have that role established, how do you get there? But it could be as simple as like, you know, if you have three departments on campus all making podcasts, just do what they did get together. Say, let's put some money into a pot and maybe we hire a person or transition one of our people into that role.
[00:10:02] Jennifer Lee Gunson: So, Matt, because I love this idea of a network, because a lot of people that we've talked to in the past, because these institutions are so big, they don't actually know that there are other podcasts on campus. So, all the podcasts in this network, are they the only ones or do you have outliers, or do they all have to be part of your network to be on the university roster?
[00:10:23] Matt Hodapp: No. So, any show that's going to come into the network is going to meet the same mission. So, it's going to have, we're trying to get some sort of large audience, we're not just speaking to four law professors out there. And we're investing to make it of equal quality to the other shows, whatever that means. So, I've been doing it for a long time. So, the shows that I'm producing directly are going to have high quality. And that sort of sets the benchmark.
[00:10:48] Now, some of the shows on the network, you know, I don't produce full time, and they also don't hire a freelancer. They have someone who is just really good at this for whatever reason in their department, or someone they know, or that they have shopped it out to a freelancer, but they're doing some other production format other than working directly with me to create a show that's of quality. And then I just have to listen to it, make sure it's okay, and they can be part of the network as long as it meets the same mission.
[00:11:16] Are there other shows created on campus? Yes. And do they all want to be part of the network? Of course, they do. And that's sort of just the hard job of being the bad parent in the room that's like, you have to change your show to fit what we're trying to do with the network or be okay with the fact that you're just going to be separated. But we do promote them still.
[00:11:34] So, like shows will still get promoted even if they're not part of the network by central comms. There's a little bit of separation of church and state between the network and what central comms is for many political reasons. Because of my full-time role, there's like a little bit more leeway to think about what we do and don't do. But on the university website, they do promote other shows around campus, even if they're not part of the network. And also, we have, if you go to the network page, there's like a break and then under that it says other shows around campus. So, all of the shows, if you're a show producer at the University of Chicago, you get listed there. It's just, if you're going to become part of the network, you have to meet, you know, one and two, the mission and the quality.
[00:12:12] Jennifer Lee Gunson: I'm disappointed. I thought you'd go around the campus and shut down, like, rogue shows. Like, they all had you for the network, I thought that was your job.
[00:12:21] Matt Hodapp: I mean, that's a big part, though, of, like, that's another big part of the branding. Like, you know, all the shows that are part of the network have UCPN on the cover. If a potential listener ends up stumbling, maybe they're an alumni and they search University of Chicago podcasts and the first thing they hear is like a philosophy show about a tablet and it's 10 hours long. Like, they're like, this is not for anybody but two other people. They're probably never going to listen to a University of Chicago podcast again, because that's what they're going to associate with the University of Chicago. And so, that branding is also an exercise in trying to signal the listeners between like, I like NPR, but sometimes I want to go deep, but I don't want to go as deep as, [00:13:00] uh, science podcasts. Is there like a middle ground where they're going to cover stuff in a way that's as compelling as an NPR show. I don't think we're like attracting people that are listening to comedy podcast, but there's some middle ground and that's where we try to play.
[00:13:15] Neil McPhedran: Yeah, that's great, Matt. And we'll drop a link to the network website in our show notes, because I would encourage you to go have a look. I think it's really smart how you separated it out. I really like how that UCPN watermark is on the cover art for the shows that are sort of central to the network. I also think it's like, it's fantastic for discovery. Like you must see that by having that watermark on there, someone stumbles across one of those podcasts, they see, oh, it's part of a network, they can go and check it out. So how do the shows support one another? I mean, I just mentioned some organic discovery, but like what other ways do the shows support each other?
[00:13:56] Matt Hodapp: Yeah, so there are rules on the network that go beyond just, uh, same mission, same quality, those are the ways to get in the door. Once you're in the door, you have to agree to a set of rules to remain part of the network. The main rule, the biggest rule obviously is having the UCPN logo on your cover art, but then the second biggest rule is that essentially every episode of your podcast has to share an advertisement for another UCPN podcast.
[00:14:22] So all those seven shows, every single episode, they're running an ad for another show that's part of the network. So, the idea is essentially to lift all boats as much as we can and to spread the audience around. So, let's say you come to us through Not Another Politics podcast, if you come to us through that, you're going to get advertised for Entitled, which is a show about human rights. And then you go to that show, you get advertised for Big Brains, which is a show about research. And then you go to that show, and hopefully we're moving everybody around as they come into the network through different points.
[00:14:52] But then we also have quarterly get togethers as the network where basically, people can just come up with ideas about what are ways we can pool resources. And it's not always super centralized, I don't have like a separate University of Chicago Podcast Network budget. And it's not a very top-down thing where I'm directing people and telling them what to do, mostly because I think a lot of people who work at a university to know this, it might fall apart if that was the case. Like it is very democratic, and it needs to be that way. And it's an opt in, um, we don't own these shows, so when you come to the network, it doesn't become our show, it's still your department's show, you're [00:15:30] just opting into the network. And that has its drawbacks and benefits, but, uh, you know, sometimes shows can get together and say, hey, you know, maybe no one else wants to do this, but we want to pool budget to buy some advertising on the subway or on Vox or the Economist.
[00:15:45] Or just last year, everybody decided that we wanted to do like a festival, so everybody pooled resources. Like I said, I don't have a separate budget, but because this team was going to donate the theater, and this team was going to donate, um, money to make posters, and this team was going to do the design of the posters. Everybody could contribute, and we could put together this festival with zero budget, just as the network.
[00:16:11] And so, there are other opportunities to be, and that's always available, whether people take advantage of them or not, like, because that network sensibility is there, anybody could at any time if they have an idea, reach out to anybody else to do something together.
[00:16:25] Jennifer Lee Gunson: Festivals are a lot of work and you already have so much on your plate. Why did you want to create more work for yourself or a festival?
[00:16:34] Matt Hodapp: Well, again, it's not like, honestly, it's not my choice. Like they got together, and they decided to do it. And they're like, I could have stepped back in a sense and said, you know, I'm not going to, uh, and there would be no, like, there's no job description that they could tie me to where I have to do something. But, like, I wanted to because I believe in these shows, and I like these shows and I'm happy to do that extra work for them. But also, I didn't honestly have to do that much. Like, it was very stressful to think about [00:17:00] having to do it. But if you look at the end of the day, the amount of hours I had to put into it specifically, it's very small. Because it's all diffused amongst the different shows. I kind of just had to make sure everybody was doing their own individual jobs. Um, and the, uh, the festival kind of put on itself. It was no different than just producing an episode that week for those shows. It wasn't some giant, like we didn't sell out, you know, tens of thousands of seats for this thing. Um, but it was well attended, and it was well attended amongst the university community, and I think a lot of people saw success just in the fact that we were able to pull it off and put it together.
[00:17:37] Jennifer Lee Gunson: So, when you're creating a podcast festival, because obviously podcasts are for listening, like, what is it? Is it like a virtual festival? Is it something that I go to a booth and get, like, merchandise? Like, a popsicle, like the Disney booth did at PodMovement? Um, tell me about it. I want to know, is there free swag that I can get?
[00:17:58] Matt Hodapp: There's lots of free swag, obviously, always free swag, everybody wants free swag. I don't know what it is with professors and, like, having their stuff on a t shirt they find it so magical, that they get very very excited about it.
[00:18:10] I'm a big believer in you produce the medium for the medium So, like I think a lot of people and we especially heard a lot about this a podcast movement, everyone's like we need to figure out video and podcasting. I'm like a big believer in like if you're making a video you're making a video, if you're making a podcast you're making a podcast, if you're making an event, you're making an event. You should do those [00:18:30] things as well as those things need to be done for that medium. And you can use the same brand to create like brand equity, but there's no way to turn it off like, what do we even mean when we say video podcasts? You're just talking about it, it's not possible. An event is an event, there are people there physically, it's not a podcast.
[00:18:51] I think with events, the thing to think about is you have to produce it as an event and do it the way you would if there was no podcast involved at all. Record it because maybe it's good enough to make it to the podcast, but like you need to entertain the audience you're actually dealing with in that moment the way that people expect to be entertained. You know, we had a lot of production resources. There's a lot of different things you can do. There was that period, I don't know if it was like two years before COVID, where like every podcast in the universe was going on and then everybody stopped, so I guess it didn't work very well. But like they were putting on shows, there was like theatrics and video and dancing and lights, and it was a whole big to do. I think that's [00:19:30] probably the way to do it if you want to do it well. Um, like I said, the fact that they stopped doing it, maybe it wasn't worth the money they were putting into it, but you know, the biggest thing I think is probably like guest selection. You know, so like one of the biggest attended recordings of the festival was the one we had Steven Leavitt from Freakonomics at. So, I think with events, like you need to be thoughtful about who's going to be a draw and why are they going to be a draw and maybe it's just a draw to your audience, like whoever you're speaking to, but it needs to speak to them.
[00:19:59] Neil McPhedran: I totally agree. I think it, it really speaks to the relationship we create with the hosts, and I think that live event is for that connection opportunity. So, Stuff You Should Know for example, those two guys were selling out rooms because people listened to that show in droves and we wanted to meet them, right? I know my wife wanted to attend one of those events.
[00:20:18] Matt Hodapp: And that's another thing specifically for university podcasts to think about too, is student access to people. I mean, Steve was gracious enough to stay, but he was like bombarded by students afterwards. Like, hey, I got this project, who can I talk to? Hey, I'm working on this thesis, like, what do you think of this? And like I said, don't force your professors to do that if they don't want to, they'll hate you, but, um, he was gracious enough to do it. And that was, you know, maybe as special a moment as the actual, just like conversation on the stage itself. Like you're creating an event for specific space for a specific group of people that all have specific desires. Thinking through that strategically is worthwhile.
[00:20:58] We'll probably keep doing this just because I think people were excited about it and people are willing to contribute, but I think it'd be interesting to think about like, uh, something beyond just the UCPN. Like university podcasting in general. What if, you know, Yale and UChicago and Stanford could all pool their resources to put on something a little bit bigger. I think that would be something kind of interesting to at least start a conversation on.
[00:21:21] Neil McPhedran: Let's open up the aperture to the wider higher ed podcasting network, that's something that the three of us talked about a bunch, and we've had a couple of conversations about. There definitely is an appetite for it, every single guest we've had on, uh, so far has talked about it. Maybe just generally, I'd love to get your thoughts overall. So, like you've talked about it as an, almost like an advocacy and a voice for the genre, if you will, which isn't monetized and it's not a branded podcast, it's totally its own genre. So, maybe you can just sort of peel back the onion on that one for us a bit.
[00:21:58] Matt Hodapp: Yeah, I can only speak on behalf of my role, but my view of the thing is academic podcasts have a very difficult road, which is, not everybody loves universities. That's one reason why people may never listen to your show, maybe they would love it, but they're never going to click on it because they don't like universities. Or they think I like universities, but it's going to sound like a lecture, it's going to be really boring. Why would I expect the University of Chicago to put out a really compelling product that's, you know, equally as interesting as Radiolab. And so, I think university podcasts have to find some sort of ways to overcome that. And that's probably going to have to happen together long term.
[00:22:42] And what I mean is like, so much of, you know, listener acquisition happens because of what Apple and Spotify do. You know, so many people, when they find a new show, they find it because it's on the Apple homepage or because Spotify served it up to them. Um, you know, a lot of it is word of mouth too, but there's not much you can do for word of mouth, short of hypnotizing people and brainwashing the public, which we don't yet have that ability, maybe someday.
[00:23:07] And so I think, how do you get Apple and Spotify to start recognizing this niche as something they're interested in promoting. So, let's say I get the university on board, and I get the university as the University of Chicago to go to Apple and say, hey, we would like to be featured on your homepage. They say, "Oh, okay, that's fine, you know, they got a lot going on. How many listeners do you have? Okay, whatever, yeah."
[00:23:31] But if the University of Chicago and Yale and Stanford and Harvard and Cornell and Princeton all get together and go to Apple and say, look, we're all creating this content. It's good. Can you give us like university podcasting you should be listening to, academic shows you should check out. Get some sort of buy in from them to be promoting us. I think that's going to be, um, like a huge source of working on this listener acquisition problem.
[00:23:58] But then also cross promoting amongst the universities. I mean, like, we have a fairly large audience that we're very, very proud of. And maybe like an X university or Y university wants to tap into it. We do cross promotion with them, and we get, you know, their couple extra thousand listeners, but that grows our numbers. I think you need to create some sort of ecosystem, university wide, uh, to move people around.
[00:24:24] And creating some sort of like recognition amongst the public that this is a thing that exists. I mean, you think of something like Andrew Huberman, right? He's at Stanford, but how many people think of that as a Stanford show? I don't think that show is creating the idea of the university podcast. It's creating the idea of Andrew Huberman. Um, and so how are universities going to get together to try and create like, the idea that this is a worthwhile section of podcast land that people should be paying attention to or trying out if they are afraid.
[00:24:56] Like academic podcast, that sounds boring. It sounds like I'm not going to understand it. I'm on the outside, why am I going to even bother listening to this thing when really, we put in so much work to the shows that we do to handhold. And any NPR listener could pick up any one of our shows and be fine getting through it. And so, how do we signal to those people that, hey, we're, we're here, it's not scary.
[00:25:19] Jennifer Lee Gunson: I don't know, but I have to say you have the best titles of some, like I was looking at, uh, the Brains podcast and it says, are we worse people than we used to be? I was like, definitely want to check that out. I feel like that's relatable right there. Uh, but, uh, you come up with a unique perspective, Matt.
[00:25:37] I always still think that, like, it’s letting the door into people that wouldn't necessarily be able to go to those institutions like Stanford or Yale. Like Think Fast, Talk Smart, Matt Abrahams, when I've listened to it, people are calling him around the world and ask him questions that wouldn't maybe be able to necessarily get into Stanford. So, I do think that it's kind of breaking [00:26:00] boundaries in a way for that as well. I just think they're a unique thing that really can't be put in a box because also when Neil and I work with clients in this space, I just find that a lot of them are using it as teaching tools too and unveiling a lot of their learnings in there. Also too, we've been in this realm for the last so many years where anybody can be a teacher on YouTube and they don't necessarily have the schooling in it, they have huge followings. So why can't university podcasts also go that route?
[00:26:30] Matt Hodapp: Yeah, absolutely. Uh, I love that idea of giving people access and It's also, you know, let's say we were talking about people who are at universities and need to make an argument about why they should maybe be a full-time podcaster or why the university should care.
[00:26:45] It's also access to those people. Um, you know, university comms departments, you know, they'll write up a news story and put it out and you get people eyeballing it for, you know, however many minutes. Um, when people are listening to your [00:27:00] podcast, you're in their ear for 30 minutes, intimately, speaking directly to them and creating a voice as well. The University of Chicago is no longer just this amorphous entity, it's Will Howell, who I listen to every week, and Luigi Zingales, and Paul Rand, the host of Big Brains. It's these voices that are in my ear, intimately creating a relationship with me every week, um, for a long time. And you can signal to them in all sorts of different ways. If the university has other priorities, you can Trojan horse those into your podcasts, all in all sorts of different ways.
[00:27:33] Um, but there's also all sorts of secondary things to think about with university podcasting that are worthwhile. Like, you know, for central comms, we're doing these interviews with our professors and they're coming on the show and we're making the best version of their interview. Now, those professors now have a product that when they want to be on the New York Times, they can go to the New York Times and say, look, listen, I've been on a podcast, I sound good. Because as any producer, the first thing I'm going [00:28:00] to think, you know, I'm going to think, is the content good? Sure, the second thing I'm going to think is, are they going to be good on mic as an interview? And if you can come to me and prove that to me, um, I'm much more likely to have you on my show. You know, I think media outreach departments at universities should be interested in podcasts for that reason as well, um, in creating that brand.
[00:28:19] But there are all sorts of reasons why I think universities, even beyond just a total download number, um, should be interested in what podcasting could be doing for their missions, um, beyond just like we want the downloads higher. We have shows that get emails from people who work at the Fed saying, you know, we heard this and it changed the way we thought about this, or people who work in politics, I think universities are uniquely positioned to have an impact that like we can create content for a middle range where if you just trade off X amount of downloads, you can speak directly to very powerful people because they take your brands seriously, and because you have professors that can speak to content in very [00:29:00] interesting ways that you don't often hear in other places. And so, there's all sorts of other mission driven things to think about, I think, as a university.
[00:29:07] Neil McPhedran: Well, this was an awesome conversation. I really liked how you laid out the problem and the opportunity, I think, for university podcasters. This is something that we're really interested in running with. So, reach out to us, folks, reach out to Matt, if you've got sort of thoughts about this mission to pull together this larger network. I know we're going to participate in it, but I think this bigger vision is something we should try to tackle in 2024. Thanks for joining us today.
[00:29:36] Jennifer Lee Gunson: Yeah. Thank you so much. And if you want an honest opinion about your podcast, send it to Matt.
[00:29:40] Neil McPhedran: Yeah,
[00:29:42] Matt Hodapp: I will say like some people have called me the podcast killer and like part of setting up that network is like people who would have started a podcast, they meet with you and they're like, Oh God, no, I, this is not what I want to do when they figure out what it really is going to be like. And so, um, you know, you got to have a podcast killer around, it saves people time.
[00:30:03] Jennifer Lee Gunson: There we go. Don't vet this podcast.
[00:30:07] Neil McPhedran: Thanks for sharing so much and being candid, and I think there's a lot to learn there about this fantastic network that you've pulled together at University of Chicago.
[00:30:15] Matt Hodapp: Yeah. Thanks so much. Thanks for your kind words. It was great to be here.
[00:30:24] Jennifer Lee Gunson: I really enjoyed the conversation. Like I said, really found it unique that he built a festival for podcasting, because when I think of podcasts, I don't necessarily think of festivals as a great way to network.
[00:30:36] I also like that he said the fact that if there was a professor that came and said, I don't want to do this anymore, but I see the potential for my podcast, here's the budget, then they would possibly hire someone to help out and kind of grow the team. So again, a lot of podcasts start as a labor of love and then to move them forward, you need a team behind you.
[00:31:00] Neil McPhedran: Yeah, and that economy of scale. You're pulling together all those disparate resources that are already being paid for, you know, freelancers and whatnot. And you're creating that economy of scale of, you know, gives you your role, basically. You know, we've heard over and over again, a lot of the folks we've talked to and interviewed, it's 20, 30 percent of their job. I thought there was some really good insights there for folks who want to have it be 100 percent of their job. Of how they can proactively try to make this happen. Like, how do I turn my role into full time and sort of look at that bigger picture and look for those efficiencies? Because I think that would be business case that you could make.
[00:31:41] Jennifer Lee Gunson: Yeah. I don't necessarily agree with Matt, I don't think people are like, Oh, well, it's stuffy, it's a university podcast. Like, I think there's many professors that have become celebrities because of their podcasts, they don't necessarily see it as a stuffy podcast. And then not only that, they utilize it as different tools. [00:32:00] So it's not necessarily being a podcast for the masses. I feel like there's many niches to them. So, I do think there is value in having our own type of network or where we can come together and build a community because the other genres are starting to get bigger too. Like who would have thought that we'd have just conferences dedicated to true crime.
[00:32:21] Neil McPhedran: Yeah, I'm going to push back a little bit on this one, actually. I like what he's saying, I think it's tough, there's no genre for it, and I think by advocating together and sort of going to the Apples and the Spotify's to try to get them more to recognize it as a category, it's going to be discovery. Like that's how Apple sorts is using all those categories. And then, you know, when you're looking for things like it feels like there should be a category in there that lives under this higher education.
[00:32:51] I agree with your point that it's less about the stuffiness and I don't, cause I, cause none of the podcasts I work on are stuffy, that's for sure. But I think it's kind of two pronged. It's like this sort of outward looking advocacy for the genre, but to your point, it's like, I think there's so much to be gained by us working together more. And hey, we heard it firsthand from Jessica in our previous episode, oh, I didn't know you guys were out there, and then, I didn't even think to network with other higher education podcasters, even at Yale. So, I think that there's something definitely to be gained sort of for that inward, uh, networking component to it as well, too.
[00:33:33] So let's throw it out there to the audience. Let's hear from you, like our contact information's in the show notes. As we mentioned, we're going to put Matt's contact information in the show notes. And I think in 2024, let's make this as sort of a goal of how do we rally together more and connect more as a category, as a genre. At Podium we're working on a project to create a directory of Higher education podcast, so we'll talk more about that when we've got something to share. Well, let's, uh, let's wrap this up then, another awesome episode.
[00:34:04] Jennifer Lee Gunson: Let's wrap her up, wrap her up. Okay, thank you.
[00:34:09] Neil McPhedran: Thank you. Thank you for tuning in to the Continuing Studies Podcast, a podcast for higher education podcasters. We hope you found this episode informative and inspiring. If you enjoyed the show, we encourage you to follow and subscribe to our podcast on your preferred platform, so you'll never miss an episode. But if you found this [00:34:30] episode particularly valuable, please consider sharing it with your friends and colleagues who also might be interested in higher education podcasts.
[00:34:38] We also invite you to join the University Podcasters Network group on LinkedIn. Just search for University Podcasters Network where you can connect with other podcasters in higher education and learn from others in the field. Thank you for being part of our community, we look forward to continuing to bring you valuable insights and conversations around higher education podcasting. See you in the next episode.

Creators and Guests

Co-host and editor of HAVAN's podcast Measure Twice Cut Once/ Traffic Helicopter Reporter/Social Media & Marketing Manager for Euro Canadian
Matthew Hodapp
Matthew Hodapp
Assistant Director, University of Chicago Podcast Network
The University of Chicago: How (& Why) to Build a Podcast Network
Broadcast by