Since starting as the inaugural podcaster-in-residence at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford campus on January 23, Avery Moore Kloss has found her weeks booked up helping people with their podcasting projects. That’s on top of acting as founder and CEO of Folktale Studio, an audio and podcast production company, and hosting her own podcast, Grown Up, where she interviews professionals from a variety of fields about how and why they chose their careers.
Ms. Moore Kloss, an award-winning radio documentarian and a former radio documentary instructor at Fanshawe College, was initially uncertain of the sort of journalist she wanted to be when she started at Carleton University’s journalism program in 2005. That all changed after she was introduced to audio.
“Audio is such an intimate medium and you kind of strip back all the expectations that come with something like video,” she says. “You kind of forget that there is an audience there.”
Ms. Moore Kloss adds that podcasting is a good way to both bring audio stories to life and to connect with people.
Her office is located at a brand new podcasting studio in the Creativity Hub, Laurier Brantford’s community workspace for creative media projects. The studio also serves as a pilot project.
“We’re using this space as a way to test the model … for a very much larger project that we’re hoping to get off the ground over the next year,” says Tamara Louks, a coordinator for the Creativity Hub.
The decision to build a podcast studio resulted from a consultation process that involved over 450 people and stakeholders ranging from students, faculty, local community members, as well as creative-industry professionals.
“Through that interview process, it was the number one studio and creative medium that people were most interested in learning first,” says Adrian Beam, a fellow coordinator at Creativity Hub.
According to the Canadian Podcast Listener-A Landscape Study , published in 2017 by the radio advocacy organization Radio Connects, over 12 million Canadian adults listened to podcasts at some point, and those who attended university are more likely to listen to podcasts.
Ms. Moore Kloss mentions that podcasting offers opportunities for people to reach out to specific communities. “I think it’s a really beautiful art form that allows someone from any community, marginalized or not, to have access to a storytelling tool,” she says. She also says that podcasting can be beneficial to faculty and researchers to further their research and to go “beyond the traditional essay.”
Since its grand opening to the public last November, the podcast studio has brought a lot of attention to Laurier, both within and outside campus. One person even came from nearby Simcoe, Ontario, to talk with Ms. Moore Kloss about a podcast project.
When she is not engaging in her own creative projects, Ms. Moore Kloss uses her time as the podcaster-in-residence to host office hours on Thursday afternoons, where she offers tips on specific projects, helps users learn about the studio, as well as guides them through making a mock podcast of their own.
“It’s truly a center for everyone and not just the Laurier community,” she says. “It’s really nice to see this kind of vision from a university, the vision to invest in the stories of not just people who are within their own community, but people who come from the community outside of their campus.”