Ryan Kelleher '24 has questions — and he isn't afraid to ask them.
Just three weeks into his first year at Brooks, the third-former created a podcast that features one-on-one interviews with fellow students about their experiences at Brooks, and reaction to COVID-19 restrictions and Black Lives Matter efforts on campus, among other of-the-moment topics. And Brooksians are listening. Already, hundreds have tuned in to the episodes, hosted on Buzzsprout and available directly at Brooks Talk or on podcast players, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
"I think that the podcast is a new, growing industry and an interesting way to get to know someone," said Kelleher, who usually conducts his interviews in an empty teacher's office in the academic building on campus (below on left) and spends up to two hours putting each episode together.
"I started this to practice talking and meeting new people," he explained. "And to also help people learn about Brooks . . . and what it has to offer."
It was actually a new offering among the school's fall afternoon activities that gave Kelleher the opportunity to create his podcast. He participated in Leadership Lab — a program providing students the chance to "develop and practice core leadership skills," according to the enrollment listing — two days a week. (On the other days, Kelleher played tennis and soccer).
"Early on, he made the decision to start this podcast and I've been so impressed by his hard work and the talent he has for interviewing people," said Leadership Lab advisor and English Teacher John McVeigh. "It says a lot about Ryan that he had the courage to start this in his first year at Brooks. . . . He's done a terrific job."
So far, Kelleher has aired interviews with six student guests from the classes of 2021 and 2022. "I just try to find interesting people, whether they are athletes, artists, or just students," he said. "I don't have a wish list [of future guests] right now, although I have certain people I would like to interview. I am open to interviewing anyone: teachers, students or alumni."
Athletes, however, hold a special interest for the aspiring sports journalist/broadcaster. "I have always loved playing, watching and talking sports," he said. "I'd love to have the opportunity to be in the sports industry, and the podcast is a good way to practice [for that]."
Kelleher will keep up the practice heading into 2021. Though not on a weekly basis, he said he plans to try to do more interviews during Thanksgiving break and going forward.
The podcaster has an audience now, after all. "I am really looking forward to watching him continue to build and grow his podcast," said the student's original fan, McVeigh.
The main motivation for Kelleher, though, continues to be having fun. "I have really enjoyed interviewing all of the people," he said. Through this project "I have learned [a lot] and met many new people," he added, "and I'm surprised about how interesting some are! I love to get different perspectives about Brooks from them."
To listen to any of the seven episodes already aired, visit Brooks Talk.
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