Penn State University’s podcast on shoestring budget sounds first class

The school’s U Report hits all the right notes and wins best podcast in Ragan’s Employee Communications Awards.

Penn State University’s U Report is as cross-departmental as it gets. Created, hosted and managed by three staff members from different departments, the podcast mirrors school culture more than any departmental strategy.

The diversity of faculty, students, administration and others on a major campus provide the hosts with tremendous fodder. The hosts sound natural—nobody reads off a script—and enthusiastic.

We’re pleased to name U Report Best Podcast in the 2011 Ragan Employee Communications Awards.

Looking back over the show’s archives (maintained on the free blogging platform, Posterous), the producers have interviewed organizers of the largest student-run philanthropic event in the world, a food science professor about a course in ice cream, members of the university’s Paranormal Research Society, the head coach of the men’s basketball team, and many others.

Hosting the show on a blog—considered a basic in podcasting circles—is great, but using the free, public Posterous site (which also plays any audio through its own player) avoids the hassles of dealing with University IT. It also lets the hosts share visuals in addition to audio, and allows listeners to easily join the conversation through commenting.

Community engagement doesn’t exist only on the blog. The group has a Twitter account and Facebook page, where listeners can interact with one another.

The show itself is produced on a small budget (staffers aren’t paid). A Mac and a USB microphone cover the hardware (except for pictures, shot with an iPhone). This show has attracted the attention of the mainstream university media.

If only organizational podcasts with budgets could be as entertaining, thought-provoking and engaging as the U Report.

Co-hosts: John Dolan, Christina McNeill and Shannon Ritter

To view the winning work please click here.


View More Employee Communications Awards 2011 Winners.

Visit Ragan.com/Awards to learn more about awards opportunities.