Fall 2021

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For more than five decades, Larry Meiller BS’67 MS’68 PhD ’77 has been a mainstay of Wisconsin Public Radio. Each weekday, you’ll hear him chatting about everything from gardening to books to health during The Larry Meiller Show on The Ideas Network.

The professor emeritus shares his on-the-air wisdom with students in the Department of Life Sciences Communications through LSC 360 Information Radio. The course description recently changed to reflect the growing interest in podcasts.

“The basic techniques used to create a radio show are very similar to the techniques used to create a podcast,” Meiller explains. “In the radio class, students learn about how to write in the broadcast style and how to effectively deliver messages to an audience.”

The course teaches students everything they need to create an informative and entertaining audio segment, from conducting a great interview to mixing music, sound effects, and voice using digital audio tools. At the end of the course, students showcase their new skills by producing a podcast or radio program.

Don’t have a semester to spare? Meiller urges new podcasters to consider these three questions before hitting the record button.

Who is your audience?
In his class, Meiller encourages students to narrow their focus. “You might take a different approach to reach a chemistry school student than you would for a student majoring in the arts,” he says. “Even worse is when they say, ‘I’m looking to reach a general audience.’ How do you design an effective program around that idea? Take some time to really identify the audience you want to reach, and you will have a better podcast.”

What is your message?
“What can you offer that is specifically interesting or useful to them?” he says. “You should have recurring themes or ideas you want to convey in each podcast that resonate with the message.”

What effect do you want to have on your listeners?
“What do you want them to think or feel about your message?” Meiller says. “Do you want them to take some action, like getting a COVID vaccination or learn about dealing with stress or something else?”

“You might think these three — audience, message, and intended effect — are pretty simple,” he says, “but many podcasters don’t take the time to think them through, and the end result is not nearly as satisfying as it could have been if they had done those steps.”


Back to feature story, The Podcasters of CALS.

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