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President Lovell launches new podcast

Photo by Matthew Serafin

Photo by Matthew Serafin

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Every so often, University President Michael Lovell pays a visit to Independent Studios downtown. But he’s not recording a movie or an album — Lovell’s latest project is a podcast about Marquette’s role in the Milwaukee community.

Titled “Marquette in Milwaukee,” the podcast started this semester as a collaboration between staff members in the Office of Marketing and Communication. The first one was released Nov. 1, via marquette.edu/podcasts.

During each recording session, Lovell is joined by guests from the community to tackle specific topics.

So far, these talks have included the Marquette athletics game plan and education in Milwaukee.

“In the past, people have referred to the ‘Marquette bubble,’ and it’s really important for us to highlight the ways that Marquette is trying to make our community better and interfacing with our community,” Lovell said.

Chris Jenkins, the podcast’s moderator and senior writer and editor at OMC, agreed that the podcast goes against the notion of a Marquette bubble.

“Our students do such a good job of community service; our faculty do, too. We just want to — without bragging — tell some of those stories and make the case that we’re connected to Milwaukee in hundreds, maybe thousands, of ways,” Jenkins said.

Although podcasts are new for Lovell, he said his experience with radio as University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s chancellor helped prepare him for the hosting role.

Lovell said what spawned the idea for a podcast was getting the story out. “If I’m interviewing for the news or newspaper, it’s just in sound bites. It’s very short things,” Lovell said. “I miss the idea about telling the longer stories about ways that things are going on with the university.”

Lovell said he hopes the podcast makes listeners excited about the community they live in. He said he hopes listeners take away ideas to explore amazing things going on in Milwaukee.

“I’ve been here 10 years … I’ve never seen as much growth as we’re seeing now,” he said. “I also want them to realize how Marquette is also making a difference. The people on our campus are committed to making the city and making the region better.”

Tim Cigelske, the producer of the podcast and OMC’s social media director, said his experience as a journalism major at Marquette — paired with his self-characterization as a “podcast nerd” — got him into the producing role.

“We live in a world where you try to get seconds of attention before people scroll by and just quickly click through, and it’s just such a luxury to be able to tell your story in a half hour,” Cigelske said.

Jenkins has worked in sports journalism, does some broadcasts for Marquette’s soccer teams and was previously co-host of another podcast.

Jenkins said he admires the podcast set-up at Independent Studios, where the Marquette in Milwaukee podcast is recorded.

“It’s more informal. You’re not sitting in a conference room,” he said. “I think just the space and kind of the beat-up old chairs, it kind of convenes a more … casual conversation.”

There will be a total of four podcasts this semester, with two already posted and two coming up, Jenkins said. The third podcast was recorded Nov. 9 and is expected to be released sometime before Nov. 28, Cigelske said. The last podcast of the semester will be recorded Dec. 1.

“We’ll assess how those went, and we’ll look at it again next semester,” Jenkins said.

The upcoming episode’s working title is “Transforming the Near West Side,” Cigelske said. Jenkins and Lovell were joined by Ted Balistreri, the family co-owner of Sendik’s Food Market, and Keith Stanley, the executive director of the Avenues West Association and the non-profit Near West Side Partners.

“You heard both of them talk about our students and how amazing they are,” Lovell said. “And I see it every day, so it’s just a matter of getting that message out.”

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