Hoosiers take to the mic to spread their niche messages
By Britta Loucas
Similar to radio shows of decades past, podcasts today occupy a realm of escape, entertainment and education. A podcast, if you are less than familiar, is an episodic series of spoken word digital files that a user can listen to on a personal device, such as a phone, tablet or computer. Formats may vary, but podcasts are typically helmed by one or more recurring hosts and often feature guest discussions or stories. Podcasts allow audiences to listen to discourse around any particular topic or event that might strike their fancy. Similar to an audio magazine, podcasts offer niche entertainment; the ability to zoom in on specific interests has hit home with audiences the world over.
According to Podcast Insights, there are more than 1 million podcasts globally; of course, a portion of that number is made up of folks from the Hoosier state. Here, a few homegrown podcasts to get you started down the podcasting path.
Shift Drink Postcast
With Tiki culture, decor and design bursting back into popularity throughout the past decade, it’s likely you’ve seen the tropical drinks appearing on menus in your neck of the woods. Created by Ed Rudisell and Arthur Black, Shift Drink began as more than an ode to their shared love of drink culture. It was created as an opportunity to escape the toil and tension of working in the food and drink industry. In production since 2017, the Indianapolis-based Shift Drink podcast showcases interviews with the world’s finest bartenders, restaurateurs and Tiki cocktail experts.
“It’s been a real wild ride, being able to meet and talk to people I really admire,” says restaurant manager and Tiki bar owner Rudisell.
Hosted with humor and a contagious curiosity, Shift Drink introduces you to the world of cocktails and niche drinks like a sometimes raucous, often thoughtful, hip friend. Intended for cocktail connoisseurs and beginners alike, Shift Drink offers a welcome respite from the daily grind, whether you’re looking for a laugh, a way to artfully blend your favorite rum or simply to learn something new.
Through Shift Drink, Rudisell — who now operates the podcast as the primary host — has had the great fortune to interview some incredibly cool characters. One such episode features an intimate chat on sustainability in the food and drink industry with award-winning Singaporean bar owner Vijay Mudaliar. Another episode offers an eye-opening course in urban Tiki archaeology with German cinematographer Sven Kirsten, and yet another (and perhaps their most listened-to episode) is a hilariously intoxicated interaction between Rudisell and American restaurant owner, author and historian of Tiki culture, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry.
Shift Drink can be streamed on iTunes and Apple Podcasts, and more can be found at the website, shiftdrinkpodcast.com.
Interesting Indiana Podcast
There is so much more to Indiana than basketball and sugar cream pie. This is the message Interesting Indiana host Paul Nelson — a self-proclaimed “Indianaphile” and passionate spokesman for the Hoosier state — wants to get out. Throughout the podcast, Nelson weaves together Indiana history and local pride into a collection of fascinating and diverse podcast episodes.
Munster-based Nelson, a writer and documentarist, created Interesting Indiana as part of an ongoing and overarching project in which he aims to document the true majesty of the state and its people. “Interesting Indiana is just the latest iteration in my mission to act as a cheerleader for Indiana,” says Nelson.
“Everything I do fits into that.”
He is resolute in his devotion to Indiana and his desire to share that enthusiasm with others. “People from Indiana, I want them to recognize that they come from the same state that a lot of great things have happened in and that a lot of great people have been brought up here,” he says. “I want people to have pride and to be able to articulate that pride to people outside Indiana. I want to put that out to the people.” The podcast takes history lessons in an entirely different direction than one may expect. Episodes feature interviews with living Hoosier heroes, such as astronaut Jerry Ross and Olympic athlete David Neville, as well as conversations with groundbreakers and trailblazers, such as Nobel laureate Dr. Ferid Murad and the people behind Evansville’s innovative recycling company
Green Tree Plastics. Nelson also dives into and dissects Indiana’s geography, its industry and its diverse ecology.
Designed for all listeners, Nelson hopes that Interesting Indiana will appeal to a younger crowd who will tune in and hear something that ignites their curiosity about this great state. His listeners currently include students and teachers, history buffs and novices alike.
You can stream the Interesting Indiana podcast on iTunes or Google Play Music, as well as at interestingindiana.com.
Autism Rocks and Rolls
Sam Mitchell is breaking barriers and shattering molds with his podcast, Autism Rocks and Rolls. The podcast began as a creative outlet for the Owensburg teen, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 4. He felt his first inkling for his love of podcasting while working with ThunderCast, a podcast run through his high school’s media program. Inspired by his passion for podcasting, Mitchell’s parents encouraged his newfound interest, giving him recording equipment for his 16th birthday. He has been recording ever since.
Initially intended as a travel and adventure podcast, Autism Rocks and Rolls quickly evolved into a firsthand account of living with autism. The ’cast offers Mitchell an opportunity to educate and connect with listeners as he sheds light on both the obstacles and triumphs of living with his diagnosis.
And connect he has. With listeners as far abroad as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Indonesia, Canada and Sweden, the podcast has boosted the teen’s confidence. “I can now be me, as I am,” he says. Before creating the podcast, Mitchell says he struggled socially, which affected his life in countless ways. His mother, Gina Mitchell, confirms the boost in her son’s outlook thanks to his platform to spread a confident message.
“There is nothing ‘wrong’ with an autistic person,” she says. “They are not ‘broken’, they don’t need to be ‘fixed.’ Sam is Sam.” Both Sam and Gina have found themselves outspoken proponents of and advocates for neurodiversity. This message has clearly already been resonating with Mitchell’s listeners, many of whom have been diagnosed as autistic themselves. His subscribers also consist of parents and guardians of autistic children, and adults, teachers and a widespread and diverse community of people for whom his message of understanding and kindness hits close to home.
Mitchell’s podcast can now be found on numerous platforms, including Podbean, iTunes, Spotify and YouTube.
Keep on ’casting: more Hoosier podcasts
Now that you’ve had a taste, get to streaming and or downloading. Here, more Hoosier conversations. Want still more? New podcasts start every day. A search on your podcast service will get you listening to your new favorite podcast.
Open in Indiana Podcast: This growing podcast shines the light on Hoosier entrepreneurs, with interviews with local business owners. peninindiana.com/smallbizindy.
Million Dollar Plan by Pete the Planner: Get advice from Carmel-based author and financial planner Peter Dunn. petetheplanner.com/category/million-dollar-plan.
Crime Junkie: Since 2017, this wildly popular Indy-based podcast has unraveled true crime stories from around the world. Crimejunkiepodcast.com.
Locked on Pacers: Daily Podcast on the Indiana Pacers: No podcasting list would be complete without a mention of a beloved sports team. Tony East and Adam Friedman bring you daily updates on Indy’s NBA team. lockedonpacers.com.
Talking Hoosier History: Produced by the Indiana Historical Bureau, this monthly podcast features the people, places and events that shaped Indiana. blog.history.in.gov/talking-hoosier-history.