17 December 2020
It’s one minute before showtime. She’s ready to go and goes over everything one last time.Then all of a sudden, the lights are not working and the computer is crashing. But that doesn’t stop her. She gets more lights and fixes the computer– all parts of starting and running a successful podcast.
Yara Ayache, a senior at Atholton High School, released her first episode of her new podcast, “The Spirit of Success”, on October 19, 2020 that focuses on inspiring people to pursue their dream or desired careers and to combine service in their work through interviews with accomplished and successful professionals.
For those who don’t know, the Baha’i faith is a religion that emphasizes the oneness of humanity and unity that was founded by the messenger, Baháʼu’lláh. As Yara is a Baha’i herself, the show is Baha’i inspired and many of the professionals who come on the show tie in the concept of spirituality and the importance of their own faiths in their journey to success.
Due to the pandemic, Yara stated that she used this time to develop the podcast and get it ready for publication.
“During this time I was like, you know, I want to pursue this project and what better time than when I am at home and am not running off to school or another activity or something like that,” Yara said.
As per the planning process, Yara began planning the podcast a couple months prior to the pandemic. She got the idea as she was running the Baha’is of Howard County Instagram account. She would research and post about different Baha’i celebrities and how their faith inspired them.
A problem that Yara found with this series was that “the word limit is too little and there’s a lot more that I want to go in depth with and I want to interview these people rather than just research them.” Creating a podcast would allow her to gain a more in-depth understanding of their experiences and their journey and would allow their stories as well as that of others to inspire larger audiences.
Although without the lockdown, she stated that she would’ve still continued because she had already come up with the idea before the pandemic. At the same time, it immensely helped because it gave her another angle at the whole idea. She hoped that “the pandemic would offer a perspective of it reaching a wider audience and adding to the uplifting content that we are seeing more in social media. As well as trying to bring out the best for each other and help one another.”
She also decided to use this as an opportunity to plan better and reach out to larger audiences, such as those who have been negatively affected by the pandemic and are in need of inspiration.
Due to quarantine, podcasts have been slowly starting to get more and more popular. As reported by The Verge, Spotify has announced that due to COVID-19, “the overall podcast consumption has doubled.” Medium, a news site, also mentioned that since a lot of people are staying at home, podcasts have been something people have listened to more and gained interest in.
With the sudden growth in podcasts, Yara thought that it was a great way to reach out to the youth in a way that is ”trendy and liked by them.”
Onto the physical and technical aspects of the podcast, Yara originally didn’t know how to start a podcast and a lot went into making one. Watching other people’s podcasts and really seeing what it looks like has, as she said, helped her to get inspiration.
In addition, one of her own family members had their own radio show called Idea Lounge that was based in Austin, Texas. The show ran for 10 years and was very successful. Yara was extremely grateful that she had this wonderful help and got advice about good interviewing skills, good questions to ask, and other tips. Yara’s mom and sister also played big roles in helping her, such as with the logo of the show.
The hardest part of the podcast was with the graphic design (i.e. the logo) because she had already come up with the idea and for her, “the questions are more natural because they are questions that I have as well.” She assumed that the whole thought process for the idea would be the hardest, due to the fact that it takes a lot of time to think about a topic that would genuinely be interesting to both the creator and the audience.
“If it’s something you don’t have a passion for, people aren’t going to have a passion for it for you,” Yara said.
Reflecting back on the podcast, Yara thought she has definitely learned a lot. It’s been a great opportunity to continue improving on her speaking skills, learning how to ask questions that are “engaging and interactive and meaningful,” and receive inspiration from the professionals she learns about. Furthermore, she has learned how to make a hopefully successful podcast and the steps that go into creating one.
One of Yara’s close friends and a senior at Atholton high School, Charvika Minna, has added that “she inspired me a lot last year and because of that I like grew as a person.”
Her friend showed that Yara has already affected one’s life positively with the mindset she’s always had: to help others. And in this podcast, she wants to achieve the goal of inspiring success in the youth.
For all the lost or soon to be podcast creators, Yara gave some advice that helped her when she created her podcast. She said that it’s highly important to do research about the topic first so that the creator has sufficient knowledge about the information, and to target audiences that would seem to be interested in the podcast. But, that doesn’t mean to change the podcast “so it suits all of those criteria.” It’s there to help as a baseline for successful ideas. Finally, ask for help and it’s always good to “bounce ideas off of other people” and to not be nervous while contacting a potential interviewee who may be hard to reach out to.
Nonetheless, “If you’re so worried about that, you’re not gonna be able to continue forward with it,” said Yara.
Looking forward, some future plans everyone should be on the lookout for are a lot more episodes that will be airing soon.