Colorado State University Pueblo’s student-run radio station Rev 89, recently celebrated 10,000 podcast downloads. The radio station began producing podcasts in the Fall of 2018 which quickly included sports, local public affairs, and other topics of interest generated by students in the Media Communication department.
“I remember the first chair meeting in the Fall of 2018 and we were all sharing wins across the department and the university, and we shared that 100 downloads had taken place. That was a big accomplishment, so to be here now at 10,000 is amazing.”Chair and Professor of Media Communication, Sam Lovato
Lovato shared he believes the number of downloads and interest in podcasts, specifically in Rev 89 Productions is a validation in the second coming of audio. Although podcasts have been around since 2004, the market began to emerge in 2017-2018 which is when Rev 89 first began producing content. Rev 89 Productions emerged as an affiliation of the student-run radio station but is branded separately to include podcasts.
Rev 89 Station Manager, Jenna Lovato worked to bring podcasts to Rev 89 through student development, department support, and ultimately the visionary outlet of the students. The additional technology needed for podcasts with equipment like microphones and software investment was accomplished over a relatively short time to build Rev 89 Productions. This was necessary to bring the new digital audio format to the curriculum offered to students.
Jenna Lovato acknowledged the work of the students as the driving force of this recent achievement. “Our students worked together to figure this out,” said Jenna Lovato. “Blake Lotter, alumnus ’20, really had the talent and natural ability to lead us in 2018. Then Ben Cason, alumnus ’20, and Jacob Sandoval, alumnus ’19, got the video podcasts off and running. I think it goes back to the spirit of the department and the creative freedom we allow our students to have,” said Jenna Lovato.
Brandon Samora, junior media communication student and podcast director at Rev 89, shared his experience with podcasting and excitement of achieving the 10,000 downloads milestone. “When you think of 10,000 downloads you think of TikTok with 500,000 views, but this is different and it’s exciting because it’s student driven,” said Samora. “This is because we want to do this. There are podcasts going back from students a few years ago and this is a culmination of the culture,” said Samora.
Samora continued to share about the difference of radio experience and podcasting with the story planning, interviews and production process. He said the work at the station and within the building of podcast content, includes a collaborative opportunity. “Although I have the title of podcast director, it’s not only support from me, it’s a collective support group at Rev with students and with the staff of the department.”
Samora also mentioned how crucial podcasting became for the students at the station during the Fall of 2020 with the pandemic and shift to remote work and learning. With no live CSU Pueblo football to cover, no Colorado State Fair, very limited high school football coverage which drives much of the live broadcasting content normally featured at the station, podcasts became a large focus for Media Communication students. In the fall, students produced up to six shows a week including public affairs “T-Wolf Talk,” a public affairs show, “Mostly Tech” and several sports-focused podcasts.
Rev 89 Productions partnered with the Pueblo Bulls junior amateur hockey club to create the podcast “Bulls Ice” produced by freshman media communication student, Michelle Wells. Jenna Lovato credits the student’s professionalism for these outward-facing relationships, “We have current students working together to make these productions come to life.” Also launched during the pandemic was the alumni-focused podcast, “Leading the Pack,” done in partnership with Tracy Samora, director of Alumni and Community Relations, and produced by Jenna Lovato.
The Media Communication department has added podcasting to the curriculum of the newly formed School of Creativity and Practice, which includes art, music, and media communication. First year students and students new to the department gain hands-on experience by producing an eight-minute podcast as part of the coursework. This is just one way students can use their unique interests to reach an audience.
“I want our department to stand out nationwide and I want people to know that if you want to study creative media, this is where you come.”Jenna Lovato
Rev 89 Productions can be found online and all podcasts can be streamed through most streaming platforms including Apple, Spotify, Podbean, Alexa, Android, Google Podcasts, and more.