Hibbing student podcast covers local sports and news – Reuters

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HIBBING – In a few weeks, noted the host of Podcast Ayden McDonald, he and his colleagues hosts Kalin Menara and Harrison Law should obtain their HIBBING HIBBING diploma.

“Are you tired of school? McDonald asked.

“Oh yeah,” Menara deadpanned. “I’ve been sick since, like” – he checked a non-existent watch on his wrist – “seventh year. At least.”

Hibbing High School students Kalin Menara, left, and Harrison Law watch a preview of the show during the weekly production of “Anchor Down,” a student-created video podcast, May 11 at Hibbing Public Access studios Television.

Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

The other two burst out laughing. McDonald and Law agreed that they would miss the people at their school, and Law said that he would miss the good times he had there.

“Not the bad one?” said McDonald laughing. “I’m glad you didn’t miss any bad times.”

Wry, tongue-in-cheek quips like these characterize the trio’s “Anchor Down” podcast, which they host weekly on Hibbing Public Access Television under the banner of the high school’s Bluejacket Career Academies. Public Access staff run the boards behind the scenes, but the show’s content is dictated by Law, McDonald and Menara with the occasional nudge from Mikal Brown, who runs the academies, or Ron Wirkkula, the president of TV channel.

In front of a green screen image of one of the school’s hallways, their podcast reviews school announcements and other news from the Hibbing area. It airs on two of the public-access station’s three cable channels; broadcast from its website or via some streaming services; and recordings are posted on Facebook, YouTube and other social media.

For their 35th episode

May 11

, the hosts discussed their high school’s narrow baseball victory over Duluth East, reviewed the results of recent track and field meets and softball games, and wondered if they were prepared enough for a concert of upcoming choir. The opening of Hibbing Community College, they realized with a false alarm, was scheduled for Friday the 13th.

Hibbing High School Students Get On-Air Media Experience Through Opportunity With Bluejacket Career Academies
Kalin Menara and Ayden McDonald seen through the viewfinder of a video camera during the weekly production of ‘Anchor Down’.

Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

But that kind of high school awkwardness belies their knowledge of the area and their astute knowledge of professional sports. Law noted, for example, that Hibbing’s hockey product Scott Perunovich’s St. Louis Blues were on course to eliminate the Minnesota Wild from the NHL playoffs while, in the NBA, Tyus Jones, an Apple Valley High School alumnus who plays for the Memphis Grizzlies. , had recently helped do the same with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“Minnesota guys,” Law said with a sad nod, “eliminating Minnesota teams.”

Hibbing High School Students Get On-Air Media Experience Through Opportunity With Bluejacket Career Academies
Harrison Law reacts to a question during the weekly production of “Anchor Down.”

Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Other than a brief discussion earlier this year about a Lego minifigure made to look like Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the hosts avoided politics or politically charged topics. (Still, Menara said he would buy the Zelenskyy Lego if it was cheap enough.)

And some episodes feature a guest, like their school’s choir director or members of its softball and basketball teams.

The value the podcast offers to its audience, which is mostly Hibbing High School students and their families, is news and sports bulletins, the hosts said.

“I think we’re just trying to build community,” Menara said. “Get everyone involved.”

They have been recording the podcast for about a year. Early episodes were heavily scripted but, as the hosts got more comfortable, they moved on to looser outlines.

Hibbing High School Students Get On-Air Media Experience Through Opportunity With Bluejacket Career Academies
Hibbing’s Kivana Hill leads the control panel during the weekly production of “Anchor Down,” a student-created video podcast, May 11 at Hibbing Public Access Television studios.

Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

The idea for the podcast came after Brown, the director of Career Academies, wanted to find a better outlet for Law and Menara, who Brown said were doing a “terrible” job managing the program’s social media accounts. last year despite their mastery of these platforms. in general. Law even manages the accounts of amateur football club Duluth FC.

“I wanted to find them something that turned them on a little more,” said Brown, who joked that he had “fired” — or at least “fired” — the couple twice. “You can just tell when a child isn’t interested in something.”

So he and Wirkkula, the station president, presented a podcast to Law and Menara at the end of last school year, and they in turn contacted McDonald about it. The academies aim to help Hibbing High School students discover their future careers before they graduate.

“That’s where his debut came from…how do we find a place where these guys can do their thing and also get our program out there?” said Brown.

Hibbing High School Students Get On-Air Media Experience Through Opportunity With Bluejacket Career Academies
The students wear shorts and sneakers during the weekly production of “Anchor Down”.

Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

All three hosts are avid football fans. Both Menara and Law have released a handful of football-centric podcasts they were in before starting their own. Law liked the idea of ​​a show for people at their school. Menara was drawn to the idea of ​​people watching them on YouTube and other outlets.

“And we would walk out of class,” he joked. “So that’s kind of what brought it all together.”

Law, who spent the early episodes working behind the scenes on the podcast, said he appreciated the chance to try his hand before hitting the cameras. McDonald thinks the podcast helps him talk and talk and provides an experience that could help him with broadcasting — that was part of what appealed to him about the podcast in the first place.

McDonald laughed, however, when asked if any of them had been recognized on the street.

“Not really,” he said.

Hibbing High School Students Get On-Air Media Experience Through Opportunity With Bluejacket Career Academies
Kalin Menara, left to right, Ayden McDonald and Harrison Law on set during the weekly production of ‘Anchor Down’.

Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune


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