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Casting a Wide Net

March 05, 2020 College of Arts and Humanities

Turtle walking with earphones on.

Terp-produced podcasts cover campus, culture, quantum and more.

By Annie Dankelson

Whether you want news or nonsense, sports or serials, wholesome entertainment or utter escapism, there’s a podcast for that. And it might just be based at UMD. 

The idea isn’t new, with the term coined in the early 2000s as a combination of “iPod” and “broadcast.” But now that smartphones have killed off the once-futuristic Apple devices, the downloadable audio installments seem like they’re popping up everywhere and about everything.

More than 750,000 shows and 20 million episodes are available on Apple Podcasts. And with audio’s influence amplifying, the Pulitzer committee decided in December to introduce a category for audio reporting.

“Part of (podcasts’ growth) is the on-demand aspect, the same reason digital publishing became more popular than print,” said NPR senior investigations editor Robert Little, who edits the true crime podcast, White Lies, and teaches radio/broadcast courses at UMD’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism that often feature podcasts as final projects. “(Podcasts) can also be consumed while you’re doing other things. I remember the first time I listened to ‘Serial,’ I did it while I was painting my bathroom. I couldn’t have read a book while I was painting my bathroom.”

Terps have a firm footing in the thriving medium, with students, faculty, staff and alumni creating and hosting dozens of podcasts on a wide variety of topics. We’ve rounded up an earful below. Take a listen.

Read more in Maryland Today. 

Animation by Jason Keisling.