Students discuss societal issues on podcast

Students create pocast ‘Punk Podium’ to discuss hot topics

Podcast cover to Punk Podium (phot courtesy of Taylor).

Podcast cover to “Punk Podium (phot courtesy of Taylor).

Emmerson McLean, Reporter

During the first few weeks of lockdown in March 2020, Will Taylor ‘24 realized the importance of providing a forum for students’ differing viewpoints on current topics or events since so many things have been brought to light this year. 

Taylor, along with co-host Aedan Kuch, an eighth grade student at St. Joan of Arc in Lisle, decided to use a podcast as a creative outlet to discuss both local and national issues, Taylor said. They choose topics for the podcast off of what the public has been discussing in recent days or weeks. 

Their self-titled podcast, “Punk Podium”, is derived from the idea of a group of teens (punks) sharing their views on important issues with the public at large. After trashing multiple drafts of their first recording, Taylor, who edits the podcast, was finally satisfied and posted their first episode, “Pilot/Body Shaming”, on Jan. 11, 2021.  

“[We] are just trying to get as many viewpoints as possible to show people the other side of the story so they can better understand the topics and be more sympathetic towards those with differing opinions,” Taylor said. “There’s a lot of hate on the internet, especially right now, and if people have a better understanding of these issues, they can discuss them rather than fight about them.”

Taylor and Kuch plan on releasing a new 30-minute episode every Friday, Taylor said.  Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, they record their podcasts virtually, with microphones attached to their computers.  During the episodes, they answer prompts pre-written by Taylor to spark the discussion. By using the application Discord, they are able to engage with guests who the hosts’ have invited onto the show to offer their insights on the topic at hand.

“I love being able to share my thoughts and feelings about the issue at hand,” Kuch said. “[Our] goal is to inform people [about] what’s going on in the world or even to educate them on decisions they may make in the future relating to this topic.”

In the past two weeks, they have published two new recordings: the first centered around the universe and philosophical topics, and the second focused on the polarization of political opinions in the U.S. right now, Kuch said. 

They try to find guests who have opposing viewpoints so they can represent everyone’s ideas, guest Hunter Ernst, an eighth grade student at Avery Coonley in Downers Grove, said. 

“Our main priorities are for people to understand different viewpoints and be able to walk in someone else’s shoes to see their reasoning as to why they think what they think,” Ernst said. “Then you can see they aren’t as crazy as you thought they were because you have seen a new perspective on the issue and are able to learn from it.” 

The podcast can be found on Google Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor, Breaker, PodCasts and RadioPublic. In the future, they are planning on recording a religious debate from the viewpoints of a Christian and an atheist, Taylor said. They also have a roadmap for the next five to six weeks and have decided on a three-part series that the hosts are keeping under wraps until it is released. 

“After doing a couple of recordings, I now find it necessary to talk about these [topics] so that everyone’s voice is heard,” Taylor said. “I really enjoy having the discussion even if it is with my friends who don’t agree with my viewpoints because it makes me think back on my perspective and see it through their eyes.”