UW News

February 18, 2020

Campus podcasts: UW Tacoma, architecture, science papers explained

UW News

It’s the year 2020, and where two or more are gathered, it seems, there is a podcast. Given the level of creativity among University of Washington faculty and staff, it’s no surprise that many high-quality podcasts are now being produced on campus.

Here’s a look at three podcasts being created by UW departments or people, including a couple that have been underway for quite a while.

UW Notebook will occasionally report on campus podcasts and ask a few questions of one producer or host each time.

Paw’d Defiance: The UW Tacoma Podcast

Logo for Paw'd Defiance, a podcast being produced by UW Tacoma This podcast name plays in part on the word “podcast” linked with Tacoma’s Point Defiance and a Husky Dawg’s paws. The name also reflects a philosophy of telling interesting stories about people, research, initiatives, community partnerships and other issues related to UW Tacoma and higher education.

Launched in April 2019, the podcast is produced by Eric Wilson-Edge, a writer for UW Tacoma communications and hosted by students. Maria Crisostimo hosted in the last school year, then Katherine Felts filled in over the summer and now the podcast is hosted by student Sarah Smith.

The first season’s 16 episodes discussed topics including the indigenous history of the Tacoma area, building connections from prison to college and the dangers of microplastics in Puget Sound waters — even two faculty members’ love for the movie “Jurassic Park.” A second season is underway. The theme song was written by Nicole Blair, UWT senior lecturer. The podcast has been downloaded about 3,000 times.

How long does it take you to record and produce a single episode?

Wilson-Edge:  We rent space in a small, locally owned recording studio called Moon Yard. Doug Mackey owns the studio and is one of the co-creators of the City of Tacoma’s Channel 253 podcasts. We book the space for an hour to conduct the interview. Most of the recordings take about 45 minutes. From there it takes about two to four hours to edit the show. So, anywhere from three to five hours per episode.

Who is your audience? Is the podcast finding its audience?

W-E: Given our focus on external communication, our audience includes alumni, donors, future students and their parents, community leaders, UW folks outside of the Tacoma campus — and, of course, our own faculty, staff and students. We aim to reach parts of these audiences that may not engage with us via our website or social media.

We do think we are reaching that audience, although we’ve learned it takes time to grow the listener base. A key to that is consistent quality and a broad range of topics so that if someone doesn’t care much for one episode, they might be really drawn to another.

What episode might be the best for a newcomer to listen to first?

W-E: “Generous and Welcoming” is technically the first episode. It’s with Danica Miller (social and historical studies) and her dad, Puyallup Tribe Vice Chairman (he was chairman at the time of the recording) Bill Sterud. UW Tacoma sits on traditional Puyallup land so we thought the first episode should be about the Puyallup and the indigenous history of the area. Read more at UW Tacoma.


Other ongoing UW podcasts:

The Paper Boys: Science Papers Delivered Weekly

Hosted by James Rosenthal and Charlie Kelly

Logo for The Paperboys, a podcastRosenthal is a doctoral student of electrical and computer engineering and Kelly a doctoral student in aeronautics and astronautics. In each episode of this podcast the two friends battle science misinformation by “unraveling” research papers behind the latest headlines in science. Topics over 77 episodes include “Does Europa actually have water plumes?” and “What’s the difference between vegetarians and meat-eaters?” In each episode, one host studies a paper in depth and explains it to the other, who asks questions, and they alternate roles. For those new to the podcast, the two suggest episode 16: “Can you prove you’re human in one word?” About 22,000 downloads. Read more on the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics website.


Vikram Prakash


Hosted by Vikram Prakash, professor of architecture

Prakash is an architectural historian and practicing architect and as well as a professor. “ArchitectureTalk,” now with almost 61 episodes, takes up cross-disciplinary questions of the built environment with architects and UW faculty members. His wide variety of topics includes architecture in global history, urban development, the Islamic world, Seattle and its history and more, as well as considerations of famous architects. There is an episode featuring UW Dance Department chair Jennifer Salk discussing “Architecture and the Moving Body.” Over 75,000 downloads. Read more at UW News.

  • In the next podcast roundup: “Crossing North” from the Department of Scandinavian Studies.

UW Notebook is a section of the UW News site dedicated to telling stories of the good work done by faculty and staff at the University of Washington. Read all posts here.