Music department orchestrates student-run podcast

By Julissa Sanchez, Feb. 2, 2021

The Department of Music just launched its first podcast, #CPPMusicCouches, on Jan. 25 through its YouTube channel. Aiming to connect students remotely, the semester-long podcast invites familiar faces from the Cal Poly Pomona music community to ignite pre-pandemic nostalgia.

The podcast is part of a new student internship program created to highlight individuals within the music department’s community —including faculty, staff, alumni, students, guest composers and performers. Through the program, the selected internship recipient is not only given the opportunity to host the podcast but is also tasked to develop, plan, release and promote the series.

The program was brought to life by three key members: Teresa Kelly, the founder and program supervisor; music lecturer Sarah Wallin-Huff, the podcast’s theme song producer who also oversees the production process and fourth-year music industry student Henry Ly, the host and internship recipient of this year’s program.

Kelly organized the internship program last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic as an effort to remotely connect the music community and to offer a new internship opportunity focused specifically on tech students within the department.

In alignment with Kelly’s main objective to highlight the music program, Ly had the opportunity to select his guests for the season as long as they stayed within the music department’s community.

Tom Luer, a part-time faculty at the department and podcast guest, shared his excitement about tuning in to the upcoming episodes.

“I think it would be fascinating to hear some interviews with maybe some of the music students who have graduated and seeing what their music lives look like post Cal Poly,” said Luer.

As for the podcast name, Kelly shared that it was created as a tribute to a sacred place to those within the department.

“Our student couches have been a lounge area for the last 20 years, and students and alumni know it as ‘the couches,’” Kelly said. “That is where the name comes from. With all the memories there, we wanted to make it look like you were at the couches talking to someone.”

The podcast’s theme song was also made to reflect students’ emotions when hearing the name, “the couches,” Wallin-Huff added.

According to Wallin-Huff, the team took careful consideration when selecting the podcast platform to ensure inclusivity. Due to its popularity, easy handling and accessibility, YouTube was chosen as the ideal platform, but most importantly, the team believed it was ideal for those in need of closed captioning.

Though the team accomplished to organize the podcast on schedule, the virtual production process came with a couple of challenges, mostly related to technical difficulties and coordinating schedules.

Fourth-year music industry student Henry Ly, the host and internship recipient of this year’s #CPPMusicCouches program, organized and developed the podcast episodes from home using his own software and equipment.

Ly and his mentors created the podcast from the safety of their homes by utilizing the software they owned.

“The interviews were conducted and recorded through Zoom, but we did have to communicate with everyone who was a guest that they should have their own microphone of some kind that we could use to record their voice with,” Ly said.

The process included Ly scheduling, hosting and recording each session through Zoom before editing the clips. Wallin-Huff then reviewed all audio material received by Ly and proceeded with the second round of edits, cutting out unnecessary portions or editing out distractions like lawnmowers in the background.

The final clips were then assembled through iMovie along with the cover art created by Kelly before uploading them onto the department’s YouTube channel. All episodes were pre-recorded during the fall semester to prevent scheduling conflicts with both the guests and the airing days.

New episodes of #CPPMusicCouches air every other Monday throughout the spring semester.

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