Everyone has a story, and the Denison Podcast-a-thon brings them to life.

Good storytelling is at the heart of the fourth annual Podcast-a-thon at Denison University.

The friendly competition among faculty and students at the liberal arts college in Granville was launched four years ago by the Journalism Program faculty. This year, the contest expanded to the entire campus and the community beyond Denison’s campus.

If you’d like to try your hand at producing a short audio story, you’re invited to get in on the fun. The deadline to submit a story in an MP3 file is noon on Wednesday, March 2. You’ll find more details below.

Journalism professor Doug Swift, who teaches visual and audio storytelling at Denison, said that the Podcast-a-thon helps fulfill part of the mission of an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant that supports the Journalism Department, which is to push good storytelling beyond journalism courses and into other disciplines and the community.

“The goal is to expand the reach of the work being done on campus and provide opportunities to tell stories for and about the community,” Swift said.

The Podcast-a-thons encourage professors in all disciplines to incorporate audio storytelling into their courses, and the Journalism faculty recruited radio and podcast professionals and professors to serve as mentors to the students in their classes. And then they square off in a friendly competition for “The Buzzy” trophy, which is displayed by the winning department for the following year. To date, it has been won by teams from Geosciences and English.

Up to two winning Community Participant entries will be played at the event finale – a Pod-a-Palooza 2022 – alongside those of participating Denison classes starting at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 4, in Burton Morgan Hall lecture hall 113.


To Enter:

Upload your MP3 file via this Google form by noon on Wednesday, March 2, 2022. 

Here’s what we’re looking for:

  • A five- to seven-minute audio story. A conversational narrative makes any subject compelling. Real voices – your voice, the voice of your subjects. (If you’re reading from a formally written script, you might want to reconsider.) 
  • Subject matter that is important to you, and close to you. If you’re thinking big and general, like world peace, you’ll have some trouble. If you have an accessible subject, like the neighbor who is a devoted recycler, you have a subject.
  • Good editing. We don’t expect perfection, but it does take some care to edit a story, get the levels even, and provide smooth transitions.
  • Music. It’s a good idea to use music in audio storytelling. Original music is best. You can find music with “creative commons” licensing. Use of professionally licensed music is not OK. 

About the competition:

  • Community Participants will be eligible for special prizes and raffles, but the circulating Buzzy trophy will be reserved for a Denison departmental class winner.
  • Former WOSU NPR All Things Considered Host Clare Roth – named the best radio host in the state of Ohio 2020! – will MC and judge the selected entries. Winners will be announced at the event. You do not need to be present to win, but you’ll have fun if you’re there.
  • You will be notified by noon on Friday, March 4, if your entry has been selected to be played at the final event. You are welcome to attend the event, if vaccinated and masked.

All Journalism programming is made possible by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and a gift from Sue Douthit O’Donnell, of the Denison class of 1967.

February 18, 2022