NEW PALESTINE — New Palestine’s Craig Shank has always been fascinated by the sounds coming out of the radio. Now he’s helping to create them.
Shank and college friend George Drake Jr. are producing a podcast/radio show that explores the role of sound in history, art, science, culture and everyday life.
Their radio show has been growing at a steady pace since they went on the air in late October 2012. It can be heard online at www.everythingsounds.org.
“We just asked ourselves, ‘Why not do the show?’” Drake said. “What would we be losing if we didn’t do the show?”
The program also plays in 12 radio markets through Public Radio Remix and has been heard in 43 states and other countries.
Shank said he and Drake came up with the idea to create the show out of necessity.
“We weren’t really hearing the kind of radio programming that we were interested in, so we decided to do something on our own,” Shank said.
While the two live in separate cities, Shank in New Palestine and Drake in Chicago, they get together as often as possible at various sites around the United States to conduct interviews. They then split up and edit the show each week at their respective homes on an iMac and a laptop computer. Once completed, shows are posted online and sent to the radio markets that carry the program.
“This kind of project would not have been possible for us to do 10 or 15 years ago,” Shank said.
The podcast, Shank said, is a natural progression for both since they have worked in radio for years.
Shank, a drummer since youth, was part of the New Palestine High School Jazz Band before he graduated in 2005. He got his own radio show as a freshman at Indiana University in Bloomington. By his senior year he had become music director at the student radio station.
“We’d both been in radio for about six or seven years, so last summer we started compiling ideas on how we could get this type of show done,” Shank said.
“Craig and I have always had a good time together,” Drake said. “We work well together and this opportunity came about so we just made it happen.”
The idea behind the show is to find out how sound impacts everyday life.
“We all know about sound with music and performances and things like that, but we look at other ways sound affects life,” Shank said.
“The shows are production-heavy and have a sound-rich feel to them.”
Podcast topics have included a deep look into the Babble Machine from the Science Museum of London; the Rhythm Discovery Center interactive museum in Indianapolis; and last week’s interview at the Microphone Museum in Milwaukee.
They’re in the process of planning trips to New York and California, where they’ll be able to create many podcasts from different places in those states.
While it would be a dream to have the podcast picked up in more markets, Shank said they’ve got a little more work to do before that can happen. Most public radio stations, he said, are looking for hour-long programs, and theirs is not that long.
Still, since the podcast is their full-time job, they’re working hard on the production and the business side. They’ve used their savings and frequent-flyer miles to travel to sites to conduct interviews and create solid programming to grow the fledgling business.
“It’s educational and it’s fun,” Drake said. “We’re just having a blast doing this.”
Shank agrees, saying producing and co-hosting the show is probably the most rewarding thing he’s ever done.
“Running a business and producing a show, we’re both developing some serious skills,” Shank said.
The biggest thing they’ve done, he said, is make a dream of their own come true.
“We didn’t have to get permission from anyone to do this,” Shank said. “We just had an idea and made it happen.”