Students share their voice through podcasts

Freshman Elle Riva edits her podcast, Write That Down, after finishing a recording session in her studio.

Josie Lorenz | The Chronicle

As they gear up their microphones and sound boards, Mason High School (MHS) students get ready to cast.

Freshman Elle Riva started her podcast Write That Down in May of 2020. The cast consists of Riva interviewing teachers and authors and discussing everything from relevant authors to new reads. Riva said she found her start in the podcasting realm after experimenting with some news equipment that her dad brought home.

“My dad is a news anchor, and one day he brought home a soundboard, microphones and everything you need to create a podcast,” Riva said. “I had so much fun with it.”

Riva has been writing her entire life, and the desire to share her words with others has developed her love of podcasting. Currently, she is writing her own novel and co-writing a dystopian novel. Riva is not only putting her words on the page, but on any podcast streaming platform she can, including Spotify and Apple Podcast.

“I love words, and I always have,” Riva said. “That interest has always kept the podcast going, and I’m glad I get to share my voice with the world.”

In the future, Riva dreams of becoming an author and owning a bookstore.

Recently, she interviewed JM Clark, a budding science fiction author based in Cincinnati. Riva said she uses these interviews as motivation and inspiration to help her accomplish her goals.

“I have so many authors that I would love to interview and get to know,” Riva said. “I want to be able to inspire people and have other people look at me and see that I can do it [so] they can too.”

Although she is proud of her podcast, Riva does not try to advertise it. Instead, she knows she is reaching people through her work when they discover her podcast on their own.

“I don’t tell a whole lot of people [or] go around screaming ‘Hey, I have a podcast!’” Riva said. “When people figure it out, they seem to be in shock that I’ve been able to accomplish so much [and] put my voice out there.”

Similar to the conception of Riva’s podcast, the idea of a podcast came quickly to Freshman Daniel Pennetti. His podcast Queen City Cast is run with his partner Andrew Little and covers all things National Football League (NFL).

“One random day in English, I thought ‘I might as well just start this little thing [and] try something new,’” Pennetti said.

Before starting the podcast, the duo utilized social media to gain momentum. They both had time to get a hold of the ropes of podcasting and ease their way into the unfamiliar situation.

“We’ve been [utilizing] social media like Tiktok and Instagram,” Pennetti said. “Before we started the podcast, we built a following so that we wouldn’t have to start from the ground up.”

Podcasting has given Pennetti a newfound confidence. He hopes his experience with podcasting and the growth it has given him can help guide him in the future, perhaps giving him opportunities in internships within his desired field.

“I want to go into sports media after high school, and I believe this podcast will be a strong tool for my future,” Pennetti said. “I am an awkward person, but I can talk in front of a camera and be myself [which] is pretty special.”

Freshman Blaire Blomeke started her podcast Sincerely, Blaire in January 2023, however, the idea came to her long before she started recording. Fearing backlash from her peers, Blomeke waited two years before uploading her first episode to Spotify.

“I was scared of what other people would say or think,” Blomeke said. “But I stopped caring [and] decided that I wanted to do it.”

Blomeke’s podcast targets teenage issues because she believes raw conversations about these topics are scarce. By addressing difficult topics such as mental health and eating disorders, Blomeke hopes to reach her peers and create a community of support.

“I talk about things teenagers go through,” Blomeke said. “I want people to know that they’re not alone, that they aren’t the only ones going through what they’re going through. It’s nice to give that a voice.”

While she loves to reach and converse with others through Sincerely, Blaire, she holds her enjoyment above all else. She said she does not care about fame, but hopes to find herself through the podcast while helping others find themselves.

“I really do it for myself,” Blomeke said. “I love doing it and trying to help other people grow as I did.”

Photo by Chris Riva