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Writers for the Ke Alaka'i team to feature staff and students in their new podcast

Michael Kraft talks to Olivia Hixson in the recording studio.

Ke Alaka’i writers Olivia Hixson and Michael Kraft said they started a podcast to appeal to students and to foster greater connections between staff and students.

Hixson, a freshman from California studying hospitality and tourism management, said everyone has a story waiting to be shared. “What we want to do here at the Ke Alaka’i is be a platform to share people’s stories. We believe everyone has a story here, and we believe everyone needs to share their stories so we can connect and be unified.”

Kraft, a sophomore from Washington, D.C. studying communications, said podcasts are great for those wanting to delve beyond their written articles, “When I interview people for the magazine, I can’t put everything we talk about into the article, but people should still hear these stories I can’t fit into 500 words.”

Bruno Maynez, a senior from California studying communications, works as a copy editor at the magazine and a producer for the podcast.

Maynez explained the format of this podcast allows for a more intimate look behind the faces you see every day in the classroom. “I wanted our podcast to be a more casual conversation with professors and fellow students, ut still have fun with it too. There might be a topic, but there is no script.”

Besides the quality of the conversations, Kraft explained the quality of preparation and equipment adds life to their podcast: “[A podcast] seems pretty simple because it is just people speaking, but it takes more effort than that. We go into a nice studio with nice microphones, and we have Nikita mixing everything in the booth and making sure all the levels are good.”

Nikita Shchankin, a junior from Texas studying biomedicine, works behind the scenes at the Media Production Center to produce a sound he described as “clean.” He explained, “The most important thing for podcasts is everyone is at the same volume. I master the podcast as well, meaning I make it as loud as possible.”

Nikita Shchankin works in the Recording Studio during the podcast.

The students said every episode provides something interesting because no matter who is being interviewed, they have a story to tell. Kraft said, “It is nice to hear people talk [while] hearing different opinions and different stories. It is like learning about people through conversation, even if you aren’t technically part of the conversation.”

Hailey Huhane, a junior from Utah studying communications, shared how podcasts can provide that connection conversations generate, “I think it’s fun listening to the podcast because as BYUH students, we’re able to sit and listen to our classmates, friends and professors talk about interesting topics.

“I found myself being able to listen to my friend Bruno and my favorite professor (Mason Allred) sit and talk about movies. Because our campus is so small, it feels very personal and relatable,” said Huhane.

Each episode is about 20 minutes long, and Maynez explained their podcast is perfect for college students wanting to get to know their professors and fellow students in the time it takes to eat their lunch.

Members of Ke Alakai: The Podcast stand together with an interviewee in the Recording Studio.

Hixson added, “I love that by interviewing people for the magazine or podcast, awkward small talk is cut out. I have a purpose in talking to you. I really want to talk to you, but I am ultimately doing this so we can feature you.”

Podcasts from the team can be found at or