UTC Podcast Lab’s “Tennessee Valley Crossroads” To Debut On WUTC-FM

  • Monday, May 13, 2024
  • Chuck Wasserstrom, UTC
UTC students Dixie Edmondson, left, and Andrew Meert discuss the effects of technology on Gen Z and Gen Alpha during the first episode of the “Tennessee Valley Crossroads” podcast series
UTC students Dixie Edmondson, left, and Andrew Meert discuss the effects of technology on Gen Z and Gen Alpha during the first episode of the “Tennessee Valley Crossroads” podcast series

A series created and produced by UTC students in an honors-level “Storytelling with Podcasts” course shows that “with conversations and sharing stories, you find the humanity in each other.”

“Tennessee Valley Crossroads,” comprised of seven edited conversations between UTC students of differing viewpoints and backgrounds, will debut on Monday on WUTC-FM 88.1—the National Public Radio station on the UTC campus. The project brought UTC classmates together to have candid, unscripted conversations, fostering empathy and breaking down barriers between students from different cultures and backgrounds.

To listen to the podcast on WUTC, tune in to “Morning Edition” on Mondays at 7:45 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. and “All Things Considered” at 4:29 p.m.

Under the direction of UTC Podlab Manager and course instructor Will Davis, the students came to the UTC PodLab and opened up about their lives, sharing stories of their families, politics and hopes for the future.

“With conversations and sharing stories, you find the humanity in each other,” he said. “You’re looking for similarities. If it’s a debate, you’re coming from a place of division and disagreement.”

Mr. Davis said he saw the value in a podcast that could connect students with one another.

“We’re trying to create a culture of empathy and understanding among students—and that’s what this is about,” he said. “It’s a David and Goliath battle but the idea is that it’s one small step.”

The first episode on WUTC features a conversation between communication student Dixie Edmondson and entrepreneurship student Andrew Meert, who discuss the effects of technology on Gen Z and Gen Alpha.

When the recording sessions had concluded, Mr. Davis said he noticed a change in his students.

“After they had done the recordings, the students told me that when they would come to class, they put their computers and phones away,” he said. “They came in and would talk to each other and be present with one another.”

According to Mr. Davis, the inspiration behind “Tennessee Valley Crossroads” was StoryCorps’ “One Small Step,” a 2022 initiative. The UTC Podlab was one of six sites nationwide selected to host a project that brought together two strangers with opposing political views for a 50-minute discussion about something other than politics.

To listen to the podcast, tune in to the WUTC-FM 88.1 “Morning Edition” on Mondays at 7:45 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. and “All Things Considered” at 4:29 p.m. Click the link here to listen to previous episodes.

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