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A Visit to Third Coast Audio Conference

By: Adam Mizner

When I first started graduate school at Northwestern University in the MA in Sound Arts and Industries program, I was under the impression that I already had a complete plan for my life when I finish. But that wasn’t exactly true. I never really thought of “podcasting” as a viable career choice until it became something I did much more research on. And I can’t count how many times someone has told me that the radio industry is dying and there are no longer sustainable jobs in the field; however, it is not dead – it is reinvented. The podcasting industry is taking the reins with an incredible amount of varying content and an immense amount of subscribed listeners with each show.

I had never heard of the Third Coast Conference until I started my MA program in Sound Arts and Industries this year. But I am so glad that I did because I don’t think I’ve ever attended a conference before that had such welcoming guests. It was clear that everyone in attendance had some kind of correlation with public media and broadcasting, whether they were producers, talent, or even distributors of the technology that helps make all these various ideas become a recorded reality. The biggest draw for me though was just how friendly every single person was. I met with people from all over the United States as well as others traveling from out of the country. Each one of them was very open about sharing their ideas and making new friends along the way.

Of course talking to everyone wasn’t the only thing to do at the conference. There were also sessions during the day that expanded upon all kinds of various ideas. These allowed all attendees to hear and learn about various tricks or experiences from someone in the industry that may benefit them in the long run with their own media. A couple of my favorites were Tim Hinman’s “Blockbuster Sound” and Eleanor McDowall’s “Under the Skin”. With every session I had attended though, there was a discussion where I would have said to myself “I wish I brought a notebook so I can take some notes!” (but of course the conference provided everyone with notebooks upon entrance, so they covered that too!)

Overall, I think that the Third Coast Conference is something that should not be missed. For anyone with an interest in public media, journalism, radio, or even fictional narrative storytelling, there are numerous people in attendance that would all love to talk with you about your work, their work, or any questions you may have. This conference is an opportunity to expand connections and understand ideas from all walks of life. I highly recommend this event for anyone who is pursuing or participating in a career among the media arts.