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Podcast Festival 2022 focuses on stories of survival

Advancement Apr 8, 2022
six people pose in front of a red backdrop
six people pose in front of a red backdrop

KOKOMO, Ind. – Storytelling through the medium of podcasting was celebrated for the second year at Indiana University Kokomo during Kokomo Podcast Festival 2022. 

Open to all members of the IU Kokomo community, as well as Kokomo residents and members of the IU  system, podcasts were developed to run between 10 and 20 minutes, featuring a personal or shared narrative connecting to the 2022 theme: “Stories of Survival, Overcoming, and Renewal.” 

Podcasting can serve as a more accessible avenue for telling a story, according to Paul Cook, associate professor of English and Director of Writing.

“Podcasting, as a medium, is easier for people in some ways than putting pen to paper or staring at that blank Microsoft Word page,” Cook said. “People can compose, they can write, they can still tell their stories through podcasting.” 

The theme for 2022 was inspired by the difficulties many across the country may have felt during the COVID-19 pandemic, from small business owners who had to close their doors to students taking classes through remote learning. 

“We had this opportunity to recognize the enormity of what has been going on for the last two years, but we also didn’t want to make it all about the pandemic,” Cook said, comparing it to walking the ‘razor’s edge.’ 

“How do we pay respect to this thing and give people a chance to talk about the pandemic and their experiences with it, without making this all about the pandemic,” he added. 

The creation of a more general theme, “Stories of Survival, Overcoming, and Renewal,” allowed participants in Podcast Festival to talk about the effects of the pandemic, but also share their stories of difficult experiences or obstacles in their path, and how those moments were overcome. 

Podcasts in this year’s festival rose to meet the definition of the theme as it related to the pandemic. Topics included a look at the survival of a small business during the pandemic, the Indianapolis restaurant industry, as well as the impact of the pandemic on the wedding industry and a family florist shop. 

Personal stories of survival were also shared, including “Surviving Teen Pregnancy…Twice,” a podcast by Brenda Grimm that told her and how she rose to meet the challenges of familial pressure and the stigma of teen pregnancy. 

“We had some really great podcasts,” Cook said. “You give people a theme and you let them run with it, and you see what they can do with it. In doing so, you allow that creativity to really flourish.” 

Podcast Festival will return to IU Kokomo in March 2023. 

Podcast Festival 2022 Winners: 

Best On-Theme Podcast: “Surviving Teen Pregnancy…Twice”, Brenda Grimm

Best Student Podcast: “A Slice of IU Kokomo History”, Kaylee Hartman

Best First-Timers Podcast: “M&M in a Bag of Skittles”, Mikey White

Best Collaborative Podcast: “Cultural Chat”, Paola Cubides, Hannah Ruckman & Hayley Castillo 

Best Series Podcast: “It’s Worth It!”, Dan West feat. Gwen Sunkel 

Best Wildcard Podcast: “Passion Makes Perfect”, Alex Carie

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.

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