Anchors of Local Podcast Huntsvillain Hosts Patriot Path on Podcasting


Zachary Johnson and Payton Gloschat

On Wednesday, local podcasters John O’Brien and Ben Jobe came to Bob Jones to host a patriot path on podcasting, and acted as guest speakers for the integrated US History and English 11 class. O’Brien and Jobe work together on a local podcast named “Huntsvillain”. The duo, invited by Mrs. Dauma, helped advise and expose students to podcasts, a rising medium similar to radio shows.

“There’s a very low barrier to entry. Really, it’s just, you keep doing it and being creative, and you’ll end up with your own radio station. I got a book deal, and another guy got a TV show,” O’Brien told one class.

“What’s nice about podcasts is that, as opposed to live shows, if something gets wrecked, you can always go back and do another take,” Jobe continued.

“I grew up listening to a lot of NPR and radio stations, and podcasts can be just as in depth or shallow as you want them to be. Some podcasts have two or three researchers per episode, and some are just two guys talking about a dogman. To me, it’s like the new frontier of journalism,” Ben Jobe, Huntsvillain’s Co-Host stated. Jobe also hosts his own podcast, the Spicecast, which just surpassed 175 episodes. Spice Radio, the local podcast station that Huntsvillain is hosted on, features a myriad of different shows from local music reviews to interviews with cultural influencers around the southeast, and is operated by Jobe.

In their own words, “[Huntsvillain] uncovers the stories of Huntsville, Alabama, the first township of the Alabama territory and the site of the region’s oldest archives. Based on court cases and primary sources of the time,  Historian John O’Brien and Co-Host Ben Jobe guide you through the bizarre, surprising, and sometimes deeply troubling records that make up Huntsville’s history.” The podcast, which began its second season on the 21st, is quite popular, with over 300 likes on Facebook and listeners from Huntsville to New York, from Ecuador to the US to Sweden.

Episodes of Huntsvillain are released approximately every month, and each episode requires quite a bit of research.

“So, when I first started, I was just looking for really wacky stuff, but as I kept going and rechecking, I found other amazing things. One of the only reasons I’m able to do this in Madison county is because [of] the people before me digitized everything. [The court scribes] are some of the most detail oriented, fastidious people, which is why they got that job. They write down everything, so it’s really impressive how well preserved the history of this county is,” O’Brien continued.

“It’s funny because you find, like, notorious people. There’s like five assault cases from this one guy, like, what was he doing?” Jobe added.

Listeners across the globe have quickly taken to podcasts since the format was popularized in 2004. While audio shows have been around for a little over a century, they’ve never been quite so portable.

“I think the advantage of podcasting is that it’s intensely mobile. You can tell a story that isn’t tied to a screen or a car. So I can learn something while performing an otherwise rote task,” O’Brien said.

“I listen to podcasts because I can do other things while listening. When I went down to Florida to help clean up trees and things, I listened to Dungeons and Dragons podcasts while hauling tree branches to the curb, and I also listen in-between classes and while driving,” Kylee Henrie, a senior, added.

O’Brien (left) and Jobe (right) discuss podcasting with the integrated US History 11 and English 11 class.

With the recent rise of podcasting, many students here at Bob Jones becoming increasingly involved in the medium. For a short time, Patriot Pages even had its own podcast, the PatPod, a movie review podcast.

“I am planning on starting a D&D podcast called “Roll Initiative” soon. I want to make something to share my love of the game and it felt like a perfect opportunity. We’ll see how it turns out, but I’m looking forward to it,” Henrie stated.

Podcasts are well known not just for their portability, but also for the diversity of their subject and format. Whether you want a six hour, intensely in-depth look at major historical events like Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, a review by New York Times bestselling author John Green of things like the Canada Goose or the Taco Bell Breakfast Menu, or maybe even a three part musical about falling in love, podcasts have got you covered.

“I look for a story that can pull me in, something new. I love to experience the world in new ways. When you find a really well done podcast, then a new story opens up in front of you,” O’Brien commented.

Podcasting may just be the next big medium. According to Edison Research, as many as 44% of Americans have listened to podcasts, which is almost 130 million people. If podcasts continue to grow at this rate, maybe podcasters will be just as famous as musicians.