Stony Brook Southampton Keeping Up With The Curve

Kathleen Russo. Photo by Christian McLean

In the past five years, the number of podcasts has more than tripled to over 300,000. And with them come more listeners, more fans and a growing need for editors, writers and producers.

That is where Stony Brook Southampton comes in.

In August, a new one-year Audio Podcast Fellows program will launch at Stony Brook Southampton/Manhattan, in association with producing partner WSHU Public Radio — the first advanced program of its kind in the United States that allows students to develop their own podcasts, from proposal to pilot to pitch, while receiving training in all aspects of podcasting.

“Audio podcast is not only tied to the future of broadcast radio, but also increasingly aligned with the future of storytelling and intellectual discourse,” according to Robert Reeves, the associate provost for the Southampton Graduate Arts program. “That makes it a perfect fit for our programs’ existing interests. And building exciting new partnerships, such as with WSHU,means we can offer students experiential learning opportunities that can’t be matched anywhere.”

A maximum of 12 serious students will spend their first semester in the classroom at both Southampton and Manhattan locations, where they will learn all phases of podcast production — including in-studio and off-site sound recording, and mixing stories — from a faculty of leading industry professionals, headed by Kathleen Russo, producer of Alec Baldwin’s “Here’s the Thing” podcast. Topics will include storytelling and narrative construction, writing for the ear, adapting writing for broadcast, and editing the spoken word, as well as strategies for marketing and distribution.

During the second semester, the fellows will head into the field, developing ideas for innovative programming, shepherding those ideas through the proposal/pitch process, and finally creating a soup-to-nuts pilot ready for market. Students will also have a range of internship options, allowing them to collaborate on actual programming with some of the country’s leading artists and cultural institutions.

“We’re excited to partner with Stony Brook Southampton on this innovative new program,” WSHU Program Director Tom Kuser said. “This collaboration allows us to do two things that WSHU is really committed to: deliver compelling new content to our community; and provide unique, hands-on learning experiences to a new generation of creative content producers and storytellers.”

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