By Steve Sears
For 16-year-old Livingston High School junior, Jacob Goren, a television show on LTV for the huge hockey fan (“Let’s go Devils!” he says) wasn’t enough. He had a spot where his voice and those of his friends could be heard to discuss the Garden State’s professional hockey team, but what about other voices and their interests?
“The key goal is to give students an outlet for them to express their passion,” Goren says of his newly formed podcast, ‘Livingston Says.’ Goren built it, and they have come. Thus far, about 15 students from 9th through 12th grade have shown interest in participating. “The list of topics keeps growing based on student interests,” he says. Students can do episodes on whatever they are interested in, as long as it’s appropriate per the school. Thus far, auto, food, movies, theater, and travel are some of the topics students have approached Goren with.
Goren’s eventual hope is the posting of fresh content each week. The podcast was launched by Goren and his friend, Ryan Tepper. Their faculty advisors are Martha Ackermann and Marissa Jadrosich-Forget.
Thus far, the main challenges are getting students to submit episodes. “Students are really busy these days,” Goren explains. “It’s not very easy to get them to record and submit episodes. However, I know that once we get a few submissions, it will inspire others. I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with.” Other challenges might be if students submit content that touches on sensitive topics, like politics or religion. Ackermann and Jadrosich-Forget will help Goren and Tepper work through those situations.
According to Goren, who one day would like to work in sports broadcasting or sports management, this is an exciting time for the media world, and that world is very accessible. “It is easier than ever before for someone to express themselves publicly (via podcasts, YouTube, or more) and easier than ever for consumers to find entertainment and sources of information. By creating ‘Livingston Says,’ LHS students have an opportunity to test drive and navigate the new media vehicle, podcasts. Students now have a chance to organize their thoughts on what matters to them, educate others, interview each other, and even get the technical experience of producing and editing content.” Goren encourages creativity for those involved. “They can work independently or in small groups to create their own episodes, all under the umbrella of the ‘Livingston Says’ podcast. Just to compare, LHS has a great newspaper, The Lance, where students can write about a variety of topics. This is similar, but with a broader reach, informal feel, and ‘on demand’ format.”
Goren also credits the Livingston High School TV Production program for bolstering his enthusiasm towards the podcast. “During my freshman year at LHS,” he says, “my friends and I had an amazing opportunity to launch a live LTV show about the Devils, called ‘Puck Drop.’ We are still doing this show. Even through the quarantine, when we couldn’t be in the studio, we produced shows on YouTube. The production of the show, from the pre-show research to the crew coordination to the graphics and on-air delivery, has been a highlight of my high school experience so far. That, combined with the huge amount that I’ve learned from Mr. (Steven) Milano and Mr. (Jason) Daily in TV 1, TV 2 and AM Wired, really inspired me to start ‘Livingston Says.’ In some ways, ‘Livingston Says’ gives all students a tiny taste of the LTV experience.”
“Livingston Says” can be accessed on Apple Podcast and Spotify, and Goren encourages interested LHS students to join. For more information, email Goren at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.instagram.com/livingstonsayspod/.