Intern Jesse’s Internship Debriefing

This is the paper Intern Jesse (now Associate Producer Jesse) had to turn in to his university to get credit for his rotation with us.  He did a great job, and deserved the solid C+ we gave him for his efforts.  🙂

 

Internship Reflection

“It’s Weird Medicine, the first, and still only, uncensored medical show in the history of radio!”  In the last few months, I’ve heard those words more times than I can count.  That one phrase, along with a hefty majority of the rest of the introduction, is burned into my memory.  I can recite SiriusXM channels, website URLs, promotional codes, and phone numbers without even thinking about it.  I’m not complaining, though.  Not by a long shot.

This semester I had the great fortune to intern with Weird Medicine, an established SiriusXM show and podcast on the Riotcast Network, as an assistant producer.  Each week, I met up with Dr. Steve and the rest of the Weird Medicine crew and we recorded the SiriusXM show for that week.  Once a month, we’d all get together at the studio and record enough podcasts to get us through till the next month.  It could be a lot of work sometimes, but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.

I’m not really sure what I can say that would adequately describe my working with Dr. Steve and the Weird Medicine crew that would also fill up three pages.  Each time I walked into the studio was extremely different than the last.  I had no idea what questions were going to show up that day, whether they be about some devastating illness, the many, many problems that I learned that people can have with their assorted genitalia, or even people calling in just to say hello or to throw in some obscure reference to an Opie and Anthony episode from however many years back that would leave everyone in stitches.  I’ve gotten a lot more practice mixing audio and learning the importance of compressors for broadcast audio.  I’ve screened calls, looked up the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for obscure chemicals, monitored UStream chatrooms during our live tapings, and made multiple “Best Of” shows for both the podcast and the SiriusXM show.  All in all, the entire experience was a lot of fun and I learned so much from it.

One of the things that I learned during my time with Weird Medicine is the importance of the various social media platforms that we have at our disposal.  Dr. Steve has so many people tweeting at him every day that I was honestly surprised that checking the Twitter wasn’t one of my duties.  Still, he manages to reply to almost every single tweet that gets sent to him every day.  The same goes for any questions posted to the Weird Medicine sub-Reddit and any emails or text messages that his listeners send to him.  He’s made it a point to build a community around these shows, and these people are all united in a way.  People are sharing links to different scientific studies, they’re answering each other’s’ questions or helping point them in the right direction.  They have regular listeners that call in frequently and regular listeners that might not call in, but they’re always there in the UStream chatroom for the live recordings.  No one is judging them for asking for help from some random doctor on the radio, and everyone acts like they’re friends with everyone.  Don’t get me wrong, there are also jokes at each other’s expense, but that’s what friends do.  Right?

As someone who looks at podcasting as a possible career choice, seeing the way that Dr. Steve has built this community around these shows shows me just how important social media is.  In fact, I’ve become quite a bit more active on Twitter since I started the internship and have interacted with the Weird Medicine community quite a bit myself.  I even used a lot of their input when I was building the first “Best Of” show that I made for Dr. Steve.  Believe me, there were a lot of people that were more than willing to tell me the funniest thing they’d ever heard on the show just so I could make sure other people got to listen to it, too.

As I said before, the whole experience was great fun and I learned a lot from it.  Not only that, but I’ve also made some connections with some great people.  Aside from the Weird Medicine crew, I’ve also interacted with another couple of podcasters and even gotten a shout out on one podcast for the work that I put in on my “Best Of” shows.  All in all, I’m so glad that I had this opportunity come my way, and I look forward to helping Weird Medicine and Doctor Steve by producing some more things for the show in the future.

Weird Medicine Addendum with Doctor Steve

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