Following months of being stuck at home with little to do, many people have turned to creative outlets, including recent St. John’s alumna Samantha Wanderer. A Fall 2020 graduate from the St. John’s journalism program, Wanderer decided to turn to podcasts to express her passion for fitness.
Wanderer launched her podcast, “Fit or Fad,” in January, and it is available on all podcast streaming platforms. New episodes are released every Tuesday and discuss new trends or expose new fads with experts and professionals in their respective industries — some of these experts and professionals include doctors, such as Dr. Kimberly Ratcliffe; personal trainers, such as Long Island trainer Alex Moreno; and authors, such as Desiree Nielsen, author of “Eat More Plants.”
Q: Why did you decide to start this podcast?
A: I’ve loved listening to podcasts for three or so years now. I love news shows like NPR’s podcasts and The Daily, so I’ve thought about doing it myself for a while now. Once I graduated and had some time on my hands I figured I might as well do it!
Q: Did the pandemic influence your decision to start “Fit or Fad” in any way?
A: Kind of, but I started it more because I graduated [and] less because of the pandemic, but that probably helped too. I think people can probably use the advice even more now that they’re stuck at home. They have a lot more time to be on social media too, which is where many of these fads lie so hopefully, the pod helps.
Q: How do you decide what issues to cover in your podcast and what type of guests to have on?
A: I have an ongoing list in my Notes app of all the ideas I’ve generated. Every time I think of something [to cover] or someone I know tells me an idea, I jot it down. I have a lot in there. I tend to gravitate towards guests who have a scientific background or some kind of certification. I don’t want to have unqualified speakers on because that would defeat the purpose of the show.
Q: How much time does it take for you to produce your podcast each week? Do you think this is a feasible feat for anyone to take on?
A: Well, the interviews are usually 45 minutes [to] an hour [and] 15 [minutes] long, and editing can take anywhere from 3-5 hours for me, but I’m also a perfectionist about this stuff. And I’m intentionally making it ‘newsy’ so it’s not just my opinion. And an opinion podcast would be pretty feasible and fun! A better option if you don’t have much time.
Q: What do you hope people will gain from your podcast?
A: I hope people will leave each episode with some applicable information. I also want a variety of people to be able to enjoy it, because I think everyone should be invested in their own health!
Q: How did your experience at St. John’s help you excel since graduating?
A: If I’m being honest, I only had a few really helpful experiences at St. John’s for career development. I did gain practice writing stories and [recording] audio stories, so that has helped with the podcast. Other than that, I really feel like I gained most of my journalism skills in high school.
Q: Is there anything you wish you had done differently while attending your alma mater?
A: Other than wishing the pandemic hadn’t happened, not really. I’m grateful for where I’ve ended up and the people I’ve met. Just wish I could have spent my last semester on campus and my second-to-last abroad.
Q: What tips do you have for anyone who may be interested in starting a podcast of their own? Or any other words of advice for current students?
A: Do it! But make sure you plan it out. It can be fun to create a silly podcast just for you, but if you genuinely want to share information with people, plan it out. Figure out who you’re targeting and try to build a connection with your audience. And do it in your niche. So if you’re a pharmacy student, talk pharmacy. If you love fashion, create a show about fashion. Finding good guests seems to be the best way to make your podcast stand out. It created more interest as well.
Q: Any quick fitness or health tips you’ve learned through interviewing experts that you’d like to share to get people interested in listening to “Fit or Fad”?
A: I loved my episode about growing in our relationship with food. And my most recent one about diet culture. They both tackled how we see food as the enemy, when in fact food is so important for us to thrive! I think those episodes are perfect for most people who struggle to reject society’s notion that food is the enemy.
You can find “Fit or Fad” on all major streaming platforms and keep up with Wanderer via Instagram!