Headliner Highlight 007: Ted Fox – With a Side of Knowledge

For Headliner Highlight number 007 we hear from Ted Fox. Ted works at the University of Notre Dame where he hosts and produces a podcast called, With a Side of Knowledge. It gives you the chance to get to know a fascinating scholar or professional through an informal conversation about their work.

Tell us about your podcast

My name is Ted Fox and I work at the University of Notre Dame where part of my job  is hosting and producing a podcast called With a Side of Knowledge.

I like to describe With a Side of Knowledge as if you took NPR’s Fresh Air and added brunch to it with the caveat, of course that the hosting talents are far inferior to the incomparable Terry Gross at NPR. But basically, what I do is I find interesting people and I take them out to brunch or to coffee and I interview them for a 30 to 35 minute episodes. 

About 1/4 to 1/3 of my guests are people who work at Notre Dame. Often, though not exclusively, faculty members, but the the majority you might guess are people who don’t work at Notre Dame, people who are external to the university who have come to our campus to give a keynote address at a conference, to give a lecture, they’re visiting for some other reason, and those are probably about 2/3 or 3/4 my guests. I’ve been doing the show since May 30th or May 31st of last year. So we’re about a month and a half short of our one year anniversary.

Why did you start podcasting?

I did have a background in radio before I worked at Notre Dame. When I was a student here I did sports radio. I did broadcasting for the football team and the men’s basketball team, and I worked in radio for a little bit on and off after I graduated, but it’s been a while since I did anything consistently broadcast-wise, so this is been fun to be able to get back into that. 

I started podcasting in part because even though I hadn’t done radio in a long time, I always liked my time in it and it seem like a cool way to get back into that. But of course that isn’t the kind of thing that I could pitch to my boss as a reason for me to do a show. So I think in in terms of why I started doing it in my role as an academic communicator at Notre Dame. I work in our Provost office, and I work in communication, and I’m work on academic communication specifically in trying to spread the reputation of Notre Dame as an academic institution.

I look at it as an opportunity to try and do a show at a university that we could do in a way that would be interesting to people who weren’t  from that university, or who even weren’t really in the higher education space in general. I really want to do a show that anyone could pick up and find the conversations interesting from a strategic communication standpoint at Notre Dame. We hope then that if you find the show interesting, you associate it with what we do there in a broader academic sense, and that it’s  building our academic reputation. 

What do you do to share & promote your episodes?

One thing that I really try to do is every time I have a guest on is to think of as many different connections as possible that person has to organizations or other individuals who might be interested in sharing that episode.  If I have a faculty member on who has written a book, I would go to the publisher of that book. I would go to any organization who has given that person an award for the book.

It’s certainly not a case that everyone you approach is going to share the podcast. But, I really try to get as many people as I can who might be interested in sharing it and of course, you know, you always hope that the guest that you have on, if they have a social media presence that they will be interested in sharing as well. For the most part, I found that people are are very willing to share the episode that they appear on, which is great for us and it hopefully helps spread the word about the show.

I’ve heard others mention that the real key is trying to get invited onto other people shows as a guest. I don’t think I have any great secret to that. I mean, it sounds simple, just get invited on someone else’s show. I recently did my first appearance on someone’s show on the Higher Ed Social podcast with Jackie Vetrano and Logan Bishop which was a lot of fun

Why do you make Headliners?

I kind of came across Headliner really because I was trying to figure out how to make videos more accessible on Twitter by captioning them, and Headliner offered me the ability to caption my video so that people with hearing impairments or anything else that prevents them from being able to access the audio, that they’re able to know what is going on in the video.

I’ve since branched out to doing audiograms, and have done what I like to call my own version of those “Now This” videos. I do it because it makes the posts so much more dynamic. It makes it stand out from other things in people’s timelines. And it’s really simple to use. 

Current podcasting setup?

  • Blue Yeti
  • Garageband

What is something you think is overrated or underrated in podcasting?

Overrated: How much you need to invest in your equipment setup. Every now and then I feel self conscious about how simple my setup is, but it’s really worked well. 

Underrated: The writing that goes into every episode, the questions, the interview prep, the intros for the guests. You can make your show feel a lot more professional if you do a really good job with the writing that you use to package it.

If someone was to only listen to one episode of yours, which one would you send?

On Science Podcasting and What Didn’t Happen to the Dinosaurs — Elah Feder and Annie Minoff, Undiscovered”

Do you have a favorite podcast?

I listen to a ton of podcasts, I really love them. Undiscovered, the one I just mentioned, so it was really cool to get to talk to Elah and Annie for my podcast.

If you are into conspiracy theory type things, I highly recommend The RFK Tapes.

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