Podcasting has been around for several years now, but it’s starting to pick up steam with companies and organizations marketing their brands across the digital platform. You’ve probably seen the question arise on social media: “What’s the best podcast to listen to?,” or something of the sort. You can find a podcast for just about anything you’re interested in by simply performing a quick search on your smartphone. From health and wellness, arts & entertainment, investigative journalism and more, there’s no lack of inclusion.
At the time of a new technology revolution, Mississippi School of the Arts decided to join the wave back in 2018 with the launch of the Creative Expression podcast series. And as of November 29, 2021, the Literary Arts Department has unveiled the beginning of their first-ever podcast entitled “Human Connections.”
“Human Connections is a new podcast series curated by students in the Literary Arts Department at Mississippi School of the Arts. Episodes contain reflective commentary and clips from oral histories that present to listeners important voices, ideas, and issues of our community.” — That’s the series description you can now see on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, TuneIn, Stitcher, and other podcast directories.
In the summer of 2021, Literary Arts set up a new podcast studio in a corner of the classroom lab. At scheduled times, students can get industry-standard, hands-on experience with this new medium to record interviews, theatrical plays, and voiceovers using the mobile-capable equipment purchased from funds provided by the Mississippi Department of Education. With an included Bluetooth module, interviews can be hosted and recorded remotely, potentially interviewing anyone, globally.
On December 2nd, as part of the launch of the new podcast series, Literary instructor Clinnesha Sibley and literary students welcomed Donnie L. Betts to host a remote guest artist presentation and masterclass to teach students the fundamentals of a good podcast show.
Donnie has many years of experience in theatre, film, radio and video. Betts studied at Yale School of Drama. He is a founding member of two theatre companies in Denver; City Stage Ensemble and the Denver Black Arts Company. He has performed on Broadway in “The Gospel at Colonus” with Morgan Freeman and in many regional theater productions including over 13 seasons at the Denver Center Theater Company. including the very first company production. Betts has also directed many local productions, as well as over 25 additional productions across the country.
His background in theatre enhances his storytelling techniques. He weaves tales from the American South, African, and African American folktales, and also adds drumming and tremendous interactivity between young and young at heart. Donnie produces and directs the award-winning live radio drama series Destination Freedom/Black Radio Days, which tells the untold stories of Black Heroes and Sheroes before the 1960’s movement.
Students were presented with podcast crew member definitions, managing ideas on writing podcasts, technical aspects of the podcast studio and more.
“There are 3.5 million podcasts of different genres, so you really have to find your niche to stick out,” Betts said.
Human Connections is available through our web site or by using your favorite podcast app. Search for “MSA Human Connections” in your podcast app.