Lee professors produce unique podcasts

Lee professors produce unique podcasts

Professor Dan Buck, co-host of podcasts “Project SSA” and “The Punnery,” in his studio.

Photo by John David Clark, Photography Editor

Podcasts have blown up in the past couple of years, and Lee is no stranger to the trend.

A handful of Lee professors share a common passion for producing podcasts, and although they do not create podcasts together, they each express this passion through one or more unique productions.

Associate Professor of Theatre Dan Buck co-creates two podcasts called “Project SSA” and “The Punnery.” The former is a serial podcast telling a true story over eight episodes.

Buck’s friend Rob Alderman came to him at the beginning of the summer of 2017 with a Craigslist ad from a man “seeking adventurers.” Buck and Alderman contacted the man behind the ad, known only as George, who explained that he feared that secret and sinister activity was present in the Chattanooga area. George, a Chattanooga native who has since moved away from the area, needed people to research that possibility.

Buck and Alderman took him up on the adventure and described their experience in a podcast.

“We spent ten weeks solving puzzles and finding clues hidden in places like abandoned public parks projects or cemeteries,” Buck said. “The clues would bring us to certain places in the area where we would find pieces of the overarching puzzle, like glass vials with notes in them and things like that. ‘Project SSA’ tells the story of what we discovered on the journey and how it all went down.”

Buck co-runs his second podcast with his friend and adjunct theology professor Michael De Backer.

“The Punnery” is a biweekly podcast about puns, wordplay and interesting facts and observations about language.

The podcast is like a game show with a variety of segments. One segment, called Headlines, consists of the two reading bizarre news stories on the internet and coming up with funny, pun-incorporating (or “punny,” as Buck described it) headlines to describe the stories. The best headlines are voted upon by members of the show’s Facebook group: The Punnery Playroom.

Similarly, a segment called Signs and Wonders explores punny church marquees. Either Buck or De Backer must guess if they are a sign or a wonder, meaning a real sign or one made up by their co-host.

Buck said the podcast is pure fun in contrast to “Project SSA,” which is filled with intrigue and mystery.

On the other side of the podcast coin, Professor of Communication Dr. Megan Moe researches and writes for a podcast substantially darker and more pensive than “The Punnery.” Moe is involved with the production of “Targeted: True Crime Domestic Violence,” meant to inform listeners to better help and support those afflicted by domestic violence.

“[The podcast] investigates cases of family violence using academic research to help interpret the events so we can become better advocates,” Moe said. “Each season, we take a particular case and research the actual violent incident. We tell the story while also including academic research and studies that are informative about domestic violence.”

The first story covered in the podcast was the 1976 story of a little girl named Melisha Gibson from Cleveland.

Gibson’s stepfather forced her to march around their house all day without resting and without water as punishment for wetting her bed. If Melisha tried to stop, her stepfather would hit her. He also gave her hot sauce to drink instead of water. This abuse eventually killed her.

The trail that followed is a landmark case that made child abuse a potential felony, instead of merely a misdemeanor.

The podcast covers disturbing but important material, like the Gibson case. Additionally, the “Targeted” team said they strive to stick to the facts and research without emotional embellishments.

Moe said the podcast also holds an educational value seldom found outside of higher education.

“[‘Targeted’ covers] ideas and concepts you don’t usually learn outside of a college classroom. These are topics you would cover if you had a college class on the psychology or communication of domestic violence,” Moe said. “There’s so much we can learn from all of this. It can help us understand what’s going on with people around us today.”

Along the same vein, Associate Professor of Communication Dr. Luis Almeida runs a podcast that is not narrative-driven or strictly for entertainment but educational and practical.

Almeida calls this project “Dr. A’s Podcast.” According to Almeida, the podcast is dedicated to life-coaching and delves into a combination of research and experience.

“It’s about helping students navigate life and understand the lessons that a 44-year-old man has learned throughout his life,” Almeida said. “It’s the sort of advice your father gives you. The content also comes from a number of leadership books. It’s not just coming out my head.”

Almeida covers a variety of topics, including dealing with failure, loving enemies, practical uses of journaling and how to handle a crisis or stress.

The podcasts themselves are “pocket podcasts,” as they are quite short and compact. In fact, Almeida’s podcasts are generally only one minute long. He posts at a minimum of once a day, offering a quick piece of daily advice to listeners.

Almeida’s podcasts are available on iTunes or at his personal website. Buck’s and Moe’s podcasts can be found on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast and other major podcast applications.

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Professors share their passions with students through specialty courses

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