A guide to podcasts from UA students and faculty

Emilee Boster, Contributing Writer

Meet the students and faculty at The University of Alabama who produce their own podcasts with topics ranging from business and sports to history and religion. 

“Bama Means Business”

Cole Stevens loves to talk to people. He is a senior majoring in history and has enjoyed meeting passionate professors and peers throughout his last three years at the University. 

In 2021, Stevens started to record these conversations on his “Bama Means Business” podcast. 

“I just wanted to help tell their stories,” Stevens said. “The basis of it was to tell really cool stories and to inspire people about Alabama, but also to shed light on the really cool opportunities that people have in the business school but also across the University.”

With seven team members, over 2,000 episode downloads and new high-quality recording equipment, “Bama Means Business” features alumni who have created small businesses and others who work for companies like Meta and Microsoft. The podcast also highlights student experiences and professors’ research in the Culverhouse College of Business. 

Stevens said students have not only gained advice from these interviews, but they’ve also networked with the alumni and professors. He said some students have met with professors to further discuss the stories and passions they shared on the podcast. 

“It’s knowing that I can have one person listen to the podcast and change their life,” Stevens said. “Maybe they’re trying to decide what to do for the rest of their life. They hear an inspiring story and reach out to them.”

“Bama Means Business” is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Simplecast.

“Softballing with Us”

Three students within the college of communication and information sciences, seniors Jennaya Lazenby and McKalyn Crabtree and master’s student Martha Glen Sease, watch every Alabama softball game, Each week, they discuss the games on WVUA’s podcast “Softballing with Us.”

“I feel like women’s softball deserves so much more attention,” Crabtree said. “Alabama softball is just dominant. It’s just a fun team to watch, and it’s such an underrated sport.”

In each episode, the hosts detail Alabama softball games from the previous week. They discuss specific plays and players who impacted each game, and they mention any influential wins by other teams that may affect Alabama. At the end of the episode, they preview upcoming games, give score predictions and speculate how the games will go. 

Crabtree said she hopes the podcast will encourage more people to support Alabama softball and attend the games. 

Episodes detailing the Tide’s current season are available online, and they plan to release more episodes about the rest of Alabama softball’s season, which runs through May. 

“Archives and Communities”

The Society of American Archivists Student Chapter at The University of Alabama documents the stories of archivists and the communities they work with through their podcast “Archives and Communities.” 

“We try to touch on so many different communities, because everyone has a voice and everyone has an interesting story,” said Nick Wantsala, podcast manager and a graduate student studying library science and information studies. “We engage various communities that may feel they are not represented well or just have an interesting story to tell.”

Student members of the chapter host the show and interview archivists who are working to preserve these interesting stories and communities. This year, the show has featured archivists who are documenting stories from incarcerated individuals, Jewish women and Arab Americans.

“I can’t even tell you how cool it has been to interview some of the people we have interviewed,” said Laura Daly, the chapter president and a graduate student studying library science and information sciences. “They have a drive to represent underserved voices.”

“Archives and Communities” is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and YouTube

“Study Religion”

The Department of Religious Studies at The University of Alabama started their podcast “Study Religion” in 2017, and they have since interviewed professors and students about the department’s work and other academics outside of the University about their research.

Michael Altman, an associate professor of religious studies, is the main host, but other students and professors host episodes as well. This year, “Study Religion” has discussed songs by Lil Nas X as well as  the department’s project Uncivil Religion, which traced the origins of the Jan. 6, 2021, events at the U.S. Capitol.

“It’s grown to be a podcast where we can show how the sort of research our faculty and graduate students do can apply to the larger world around us,” Altman said. “The podcast gives us a space to share how religious studies is relevant beyond the classroom or the halls of the academy.”

“Study Religion” also presents series throughout the year. Recently, Nathan Loewen, a professor of religious studies, hosted “Teaching Philosophy of Religion,” a series where he spoke with academics involved in a grant project. Loewen’s podcast was part of this grant project. 

“Study Religion” also hosted the series “1-800-REL-HELP” last semester where various experts answered caller’s questions about religious topics.

“Study Religion” is available on Apple Podcasts

“Brain Matters”

After counseling people through her private practice and at the UA Counseling Center, B.J. Guenther started a live radio show to answer students’ questions about mental health. The first episode of her show, “Brain Matters,” aired in 2013 as the first live radio show on WVUA 90.7 The Capstone. 

In her weekly episodes, which air on Tuesdays from 6 to 7 p.m., Guenther interviews professionals on mental health topics ranging from habit changes to the psychology of fear to ghosts. 

“If it’s a college student listening to the show, I hope they will feel more comfortable maybe with even reaching out for help if they feel like they need it,” Guenther said. “My goals are education and relatability and to try and get people more help if they need it.”

At the beginning of each episode, there is a disclaimer: “This show is not a substitute for professional counseling.” The disclaimer urges listeners to contact the UA Counseling Center if they are in need. 

Guenther said that throughout the show, she tries to identify herself as a therapist at the UA Counseling Center so students can know where to go if they need mental health help. She said students who listened to the show have visited the Counseling Center for individual or group therapy. 

“Brain Matters” is available on Apple Podcasts so students can listen to Guenther’s live interview of professionals anytime and anywhere. 

Questions? Email the culture desk at [email protected].