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“What’s Your Story?” gives Mass Communication recent grad a taste for podcast production

Ryan with camera

Ryan Griffith ’20 got into podcasts shortly after he came to York College of Pennsylvania as a Mass Communication major. He listened to them as he walked across campus and on drives back and forth from his home in West Chester, Pennsylvania. While it seemed there were a lot of podcast options for his interests in sports and technology, Griffith wanted to listen to more conversational podcasts. “Personal stories can be some of the most interesting podcasts,” he says. “I wanted to find more of those.”

During the 2020 Spring Semester, Jeff Schiffman, Griffith’s advisor, suggested he create his own podcast episodes to fill that gap. It would become part of an Independent Study that led Griffith to complete three episodes in a series called, “What’s Your Story?”

The first interview was with Griffith’s grandmother, Wanda Griffith. The 11-minute episode covers where she grew up, how she started her teaching career, and her move to Texas with her high school sweetheart, Sam. The two would move around quite a bit because of Sam’s military career. “It was really eye-opening for me because I’ve spent my whole life living in the same small town,” Griffith says.

His next guest on “What’s Your Story?” would be York College graduate Kevin Slattery. Griffith met Slattery during his internship with the U.S. Naval Academy Football team in the 2019 Fall Semester. Slattery is the football program’s Director of Digital Media. Their 21-minute conversation dives into Slattery’s York College experience and gave Griffith an opportunity to try more narration in his editing of the episode. “I just wanted to learn everything I could on how to create these conversations,” Griffith says. “I didn’t want to control the outcome too much. I was more interested in letting it flow.”

Recording from home

When COVID-19 closed the York College campus, Griffith decided to record one more episode, this time with his parents, Karen and Tim Griffith. His conversation with them focused on their experience following stay-at-home orders. The change didn’t impact his father too much, as he’s been retired three years, although he did have to cut back on golfing and gym workouts. Griffith’s mother, who works for a pharmaceutical company, worked remotely two days a week before the pandemic, but had to adjust to working from home more often.

“I wish I could have done more episodes, which would have been easier if I was on campus and had other people to interview, but I’m happy with what I did accomplish,” Griffith says. “It was a good experience for me.”

Figuring out what’s next

Since graduating in May, Griffith has been looking for the next step in his future. He was hired for a Marketing Manager position with a minor league baseball team, but without a season, the position was no longer available. He’s doing some freelance work for University of Delaware’s Athletic Department, where he can complete some graphic design work remotely.

“I’m not sure what the future holds for me, but I feel I’ve gained some valuable experiences to take the next step,” he says. “I’m not sure if I’ll get back into podcasting, even though I’m glad I explored it for my Independent Study. It’s great to say that I tried it and learned from that.”