When I think about all The Drag has accomplished this year, I feel overwhelmed with pride. We released five podcasts: Devilish Deeds, Crooked Power, Planet Texas, the Hi, How Are You Podcast, and of course, season three of Darkness.
Each podcast we create takes more than a year of work. They usually start with ideas scribbled across yellow legal pads or office whiteboards, then we spend months refining them: Driving across Texas to interview sources, recording natural sound on Friday night ghost tours, writing scripts and recording narration and meticulously sound designing each episode. And while you may only hear the voices of one or two people in the final podcast, there are entire teams behind each of these pieces of work: Producers and editors and marketers and graphic designers. And, other than myself and executive director Robert Quigley, every single person who works on our podcasts is a student at UT Austin.
Over the past year, we’ve grown our ranks from around a dozen student employees to nearly 25 paid student workers and interns. We went from huddling together in one shared office to three dedicated workspaces on campus. These students are juggling classes, extracurriculars, other jobs and internships, social lives and the general obligations of college life while also putting out professional-quality podcasts that sound much like the ones you’d hear from any major podcasting network.
The coolest part of this job is watching the students grow. I’ve watched Marissa Greene, who hosted the first season of the Hi, How Are You Podcast, go from an enthusiastic and ready-to-learn interviewer to a smooth sound designer and confident executive producer. I’ve seen Jade Emerson’s journey reporting and producing our upcoming “Lady Bird” podcast, interviewing associates and former staffers of President Lyndon Johnson with confidence and grace. I’ve seen Tamara Rodriguez grow into a creative producer, artist and editor, all while being The Drag’s loudest and most enthusiastic cheerleader.
None of this would be possible without donor support. The Drag is almost entirely funded by individual donations, and on this Giving Tuesday, I’d like to ask you to support the work we do here. If you’ve enjoyed any of the podcasts we’ve put out this year, please help us continue to produce these stories in 2023 and beyond. Every penny goes toward student wages, travel for reporting on our stories or buying these college students a meal every now and then. You can make your one-time, monthly or annual donation here. I can’t wait to share with you all the great things coming from The Drag in 2023!