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Catalyst: Landing the Job and Podcasting Post-Grad

Have you listened to Catalyst: A Creative Industries Podcast? Did you know that each episode is hosted by our very own CCI students? Well, it’s true! Students in our CCI Podcasting class are working on the Catalyst podcast every semester and the newest season is coming out soon.

Not only do students come out of the class having worked on Catalyst and produced their own podcast shows, but the class might also help you land a job post-grad. It did for Kate Churukian (‘19).

Churukian graduated in December of 2019.

Churukian, a public relations and advertising major and media, culture, and society cluster, knew she wanted to work in the entertainment industry after graduating, but was looking for more direction when she stumbled upon the Center for Creative Industries podcasting course, CCI 304 CCI in Practice taught by faculty member Ryan Haley. While she had no previous experience recording a podcast, she liked listening to, she liked listening to them, so she thought she’d give it a chance. Not only did it end up being a great experience, but everything she learned has helped her on the job.

“First of all, it was a great course. Ryan makes it really fun, and I’ve been able to use a lot of what we learned in our classes,” Churukian said. “I would say the way we practiced in class, being the host or the guest with different topics, was beneficial. Students get a feel for how a podcast works and the structure that you would want to use. It also taught us how to adapt to the unpredictability of podcasting. Even if you prepare to a T, you can never predict exactly what will happen or what someone will say. But that is also what makes it so fun! Ryan’s teaching style is very hands-on. In my opinion, that is the best way to learn.”

Churukian had just finished the class, when a contact reached out and asked if she had any podcasting experience. Luckily, with some new knowledge under her belt, she felt confident that she could help a new podcast get off the ground.

“A local theater was shut down because of COVID; they wanted to do a podcast to keep the energy up and involve people a little more and say, ‘Hey, we’re still here. We’re not going anywhere,’” Churukian said.

Churukian currently acts as a producer and editor for the podcast, and is helping the company shape its vision for the show.

“It took a little bit of learning to figure out how to manage everything because I’d never been the producer for an official podcast before,” Churukian said. “It was an interesting process, and it has been really fun! Everything I learned in the class was helpful. I would literally just bring my class notes to our meetings.”

Pruneyard Cinemas look forward to reopening when COVID-19 numbers recede in Santa Clara County.

Pruneyard Cinemas, a staple of the Los Gatos community, was unable to keep doing regular business at their theater during the pandemic, but still wanted to find a way to pivot and connect with their community. That’s where their new podcast Lights, Cameras, Queens came in. The podcast currently focuses on discussing movies, tv, and media, with a little bit of news.

“I think it definitely helped increase engagement with the theater,” Churukian said. “And I feel like it’s a good way to have other conversations. You show movies at a theater, but there is no discussion about the movies or other entertainment news. The podcast was a good way to bring the two together and create more dialogue about what’s happening in the industry.”

Churukian never thought that she’d be doing podcasting straight out of college, but now she can see herself continuing to do it for the foreseeable future. She said that because it’s such a diverse industry there are so many exciting opportunities. Her advice for undergrads is to take any classes at all that seem remotely interesting because maybe they’ll help you find your passion. As for trying to get into podcasting post-grad, she says:

“In my experience, start with a smaller company and hang onto your notes! Starting your own podcast is a good way to show experience too. That’s something you do in Ryan’s class, and I encourage everyone to continue what they started. In addition to getting experience, it’s a fun, creative outlet, which is especially important during these crazy COVID times!”

If podcasting seems like it could be your thing too, take a listen to the newest season of Catalyst coming out this month and sign up for the CCI podcasting class next semester!

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