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Podcast Kits for Check-Out: In Time for the Circuit Breaker

By Robert Nelson


Robert J. Nelson here. As head of Media Studios at the Marriott Library, access to the Audio Studio – located in the Faculty Center – has been a prime resource for students, faculty, and staff at the University of Utah. The lion’s share of usage in the soundproof space has been for the creation of podcasts.

Checkout a podcast kit at the Level 2 Desk before the library closes on September 26th.

Covid-19 has necessitated changes for Audio Studio users.

  • Unmediated user access has been suspended. Tap-cards will not gain access to the locked Audio Studio.
  • All studio reservations will take place between 9AM-5PM; Monday through Friday.
  • All reservation requests submitted to
  • No drop-in requests allowed.
  • Media Studios staff will ensure that the Audio Studio is properly sanitized one half hour before recording.
  • Bookings need a half hour between sessions for proper sanitization.
  • Media Studios staff, with limited exceptions, will record the session in the Control Booth.
  • Audio Studio patron remains in the Performance Space.
  • Patron and Staff will wear masks in the setup and completion of recording.
  • Sound file will be exported in a contact-less delivery fashion via Ubox, Google Drive or Dropbox, etc.
An image of the audio studio podcasting set-up

Temporary Podcast rules:

  • One person recordings will use a microphone, with a disposable cover, without mask.
  • Two or more person recordings will need to be distanced at six feet apart. ALL will be required to wear their masks during recording.
  • Two person podcasts should expect that one person is in the Audio Studio while another calls into the Audio Studio phone-line.

So, a month in, how are things going?

Nothing. What was once a bustling space, which could accommodate trained/approved users 7 days per week – all hours the Library was open – has flat lined.

In my month back to campus, Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have observed how few people are physically in the Library. There are issues of convenience if a normal two or three person podcast require masks to have a discussion. Even though I have offered a phone call-in arrangement, so far no takers. (Covid-19 was an opportunity to upgrade our analog studio phone to a VOIP digital one.)

If people are working remotely, they have no reason to come to campus. Five months of quarantine has allowed people to adapt to a work from home productivity routine. Maybe experienced podcasters have traded professional recording for “pretty good” home production.

I know that during the lockdown, I had advised people on how to podcast from home. Enough requests that I crafted a LibGuide:

The Snowball USB mic is the microphone I used for home broadcasting for KRCL during the Spring shutdown at the local community radio station. I like it because it is on a tripod and has less “moving parts”. It is a decent mic for a two person recording.

Until we “return to normal”, if you want to demo the Snowball for your homebound podcast production, I have ordered and placed four microphones for check-out at the Knowledge Commons Desk on Level 2. It comes in  a sturdy plastic case with instructions.

Faculty/Staff can check out a kit for 3 days. Students can have one for 30 days. Spend the two week Circuit Breaker producing media at home.

In the meantime, the Audio Studio still has relevance: Teaching and Learning Technologies is using the studio for online course development.

Robert Nelson | Head of Media Studios
Creativity & Innovation Services / Media Studios

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