The Digital Media Club has been working to find ways to produce material during the pandemic and distance learning. The club knew that whatever they decided to produce had to be able to be worked on separately at home, which presented challenges for each club member. They decided to make a monthly podcast called Piocast.
“My favorite part in creating the Piocast is a close tie between editing it and hearing everyone’s ideas for segments. I really enjoy our brainstorming sessions as we get to talk about what we think would be interesting to do an episode on. But I also love editing because I get to hear everyone’s finished segments and put them all together into one big finished product for all the listeners to enjoy,” junior Spencer Jones said.
The club has eight members, including: President and Program Director senior Katie Fisher, Editor, junior Spencer Jones, juniors Wade Fisher and Sydni Hill, freshmen Lucy Gilchrist, Zuleimi Guzman Santos, Elle Schreiner and senior Saben Schulfer and is supervised by Digital Design teacher Andrew Schaffer.
“We knew [to make a podcast] because we couldn’t do the normal things our club would do, so a podcast was our best option. It was just a matter of deciding what our podcast should look like. I think the segment design itself went well so that we get to hear as many of the members as possible. And this way each of the producers has their own segment to work on,” Katie Fisher said.
When producing the podcast, it takes three weeks to record and edit and a new episode is released every two weeks. In the first two weeks in the production process, the club members choose the theme and segments for the episode.
“In the third week, our host for the episode writes and records the intro, outro, and transitions, and then our editor takes all of the segments and edits them together into the final show. During this third week, the producers begin developing the next episode. For instance, episode three isn’t even out yet, and we’re working on episode four! We’ve got a big special episode planned for May, but you’ll just have to tune in and find out what that is,” Schaffer said.
The producers then write each of their individual segments and have the other members make suggestions. The second week is when the producers record and edit their segment to send to the editor.
“It usually takes me a couple days to edit an episode of the Piocast usually around two or three days. The most challenging part is making sure everyone’s audio sounds pleasant on the ears and choosing what music I want to put in the background,” Jones said.
The Digital Media Club has also been working on merchandise designs for SHS, getting prepared for live broadcasting future sports, and entering film competitions with SkillsUSA. The club doesn’t just focus on one media outlet, but explores so many different types of media which allows the students to learn how to do many different categories of media.
“My favorite part of the club is getting more freedom to do things that we can’t do in class. We get the opportunity to do a lot of really fun things that we wouldn’t be able to do if we just took the normal classes,” Fisher said.
Even during distance learning, the club continues to work on content, but this obstacle has just made the students work harder and become more involved. The producers of the podcast have been doing all of the hard work Schaffer said, only coming to him for advice as more of a ‘“silent producer.”
“The skills of our producers have improved dramatically even just after three episodes. They’re really able to see what it’s like to be on a deadline, and they are relying more on each other than ever before, which increases collaboration and tends to produce better work. Overall I’m very proud of them all and excited to see where we go next,” Schaffer said. The club is trying to engage their listeners too as they asked listeners to send in voice memos of things they collected for their most recent podcast. On the @pioneerdigitalmedia Instagram page, Google forms will be posted for listeners to get involved along with their linktree page for links to the podcast.