Stony Brook Southampton’s Audio Podcast Fellows add ‘Word For Word’

Rosenblatt’s Spoken Essays Offer Look At Writer’s Life

Independent/Chip Cooper

Stony Brook Southampton University has introduced a new podcast to its Audio Podcast Fellows program. The college and WSHU Public Radio are linking up to launch “Word for Word,” a podcast series written and recorded by Roger Rosenblatt, renowned author and a professor at the Southampton campus.

“Word for Word” allows the writer to explore and examine the writing life. Rosenblatt began recording new material for the podcast last spring, including readings of a few essays of previously published work, such as those in Time and The New York Times Review of Books. After 23 years of writing essays for the Public Broadcasting Service, Rosenblatt found himself dissatisfied with the format, proclaiming that the audience was more preoccupied by images in a TV format, leaving language as a secondary focus. He needed an emphasis on words, a medium without visual distraction.

“His podcasts are really wonderful to hear,” WSHU Program Director Tom Kuser said of the four- to eight-minute segments, adding that Rosenblatt’s podcasts are “more than just essays.” Topics include a writer’s egotism from a spouse’s perspective, as presented in “The Writer’s Wife;” a writer’s suffrage, as portrayed in “Turn to the Chapter on Obscurity;” and the portrayal of writers in films such as “As Good As It Gets.” It’s an insightful way to a writer’s life in concise, entertaining audio segments, he said.

The inaugural semester of the Audio Podcast Fellows completed with 13 enrolled students, studying alongside program co-directors Kathie Russo and Tony Dec. The two created the program with the assistance of associate provost Robert Reeves. Russo said, “Teaching this talented group of podcasting has been an absolute privilege.”

The Audio Podcast Fellows program offers a year of advanced, hands-on training to introduce students to the most current information on every aspect of audio podcast production, from storytelling and writing, to audio editing and sound, to marketing, production, and distribution.

By this fall, the program expects to accommodate 24 fellows, recording at the new David Rakoff Studio at the Southampton campus, and in Manhattan, at the Center for Creative Writing and Film, at 535 Eighth Avenue, near Penn Station.

The 21 scheduled podcasts are available through iTunes on www.wshu.org.

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