Some of those who have been enrolled a bit longer with Front Range may recall a podcast that was run a few years ago called WolfCast. It was a weekly podcast that provided information about events for Front Range students, the occasional interview, and sometimes an overview of the articles The Front Page would publish.
It was going smoothly, releasing an episode every week and getting all kinds of interviews and topics to discuss on the podcast. Then, along came the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought many necessitated changes to the world around us.
It also brought a change to the WolfCast – its unfortunate decline. Its weekly schedule was disrupted completely due to COVID-19, and between the onset of the pandemic in March 2020 and February 2021, just two more episodes of WolfCast were released before it ended.
The WolfCast may have been over, but it is now being replaced with a brand new podcast in its place. This podcast is known as Up Front.
This new podcast has brought many changes to the table. Most notably is the new format: WolfCast was an audio-only podcast before, but Up Front uses both video and audio (although they are recorded separately). As to be expected, some things do stay the same. Up Front is still similar to what WolfCast had been even with the new changes.
“The podcast revolves around student life as far as student news, covering student events, major topics that are going across campus – here on the Westminster campus,” Isabel Delgado, the main host of Up Front, explained. We mainly focus on things going on with Westminster campus students and giving the students a voice.”
Up Front’s co-host Alex Ziemek remarked something similar.
“In a nutshell, it’s really about what’s going on at Front Range, whether that’s the events side of it, or if it’s about, you know, the problems that we have here at Front Range, or the construction or anything that’s being added that’s new to Front Range,” Ziemek said.
But who are Isabel Delgado and Alex Ziemek?
Isabel Delgado is the main host of Up Front. She is a Latina engineering major at Front Range. She has an interest in engineering, mathematics, and technology, and she is, in her own words, overall “very passionate about education.”
She plans to transfer over to the Colorado School of Mines, is fluent in Spanish, loves to travel and enjoy all kinds of cuisine, and also loves to read. Her favorite authors are Paulo Coelho and Matt Craig.
Alex Ziemek, the co-host of Up Front, is going for a business degree, planning to transfer to the University of Metro Denver for it. This current semester marks his second semester here at Front Range.
“I’m pretty much an active person … playing sports was, like, always kinda my thing,” Ziemek explained, adding he played soccer before going to Front Range.
As far as Ziemek’s hobbies go, photography is one of his biggest interests, he also likes to play video games, and he likes making and listening to music on top of that.
But why start up another podcast, and why did these two want to be the hosts?
“Well, I have had my own podcast for about two years now, and podcasting is something that I really enjoy doing,” Delgado explained. Aside from teaming up with Alex to provide insight into what student life is like at FRCC, the podcast “seemed like a fun way to deliver news, and hot topics, and like, cover important stories that are happening on campus.”
Ziemek, meanwhile, felt that “had the voice to, kinda, do a podcast. I did a few podcasts when I was in high school, and one of those being my final project. And I’m pretty sure I ended up getting like a 91% or a 92% on that podcast.” He also felt drawn to doing the podcast because “it’s just such a good way to kinda get the voice out to the students and, at the same exact time, it’s also a good way to kinda bring students [onto the podcast and get their stories].”
Aside from these motivations, there was more going on behind the scenes. Seth Ciancio, the editor of Up Front as well as the current managing editor of The Front Page, designed both the logo and picked the name of FRCC’s newest podcast.
“They were both inspired by a staff newsletter that was run in the 1980’s that we have in our [The Front Page’s] archives,” Ciancio explained. “It was called Up Front, and it was meant to, like, update staff members about what was going on. And the logo is sort of based on the old logo from that staff newsletter, and obviously the name is, too.”
Any great podcast has its hosts establish relationships with each other, whether it’s a positive or negative one. Fortunately, Alex and Isabel have a highly positive one.
In discussing Delgado, Ziemek remarked that “I think she does a really good job as the host … I think it’s definitely her thing because she seems like she always knows what she’s doing when it comes to the podcast, and it’s really about, like, you know, at least having another person there.
Delgado felt mutually, putting it bluntly: “I like working with Alex. It’s cool! Sometimes, we go off on tangents, like you can tell in our podcast episodes. But it’s cool: we work together pretty well!”
Ziemek stressed the importance of having multiple people on a podcast: “the best thing with having two people is you can kinda just bounce off of each other with ideas and just go back and forth talking about one subject. Where instead most times when I see people doing just a single one-person podcast, they say one thing and then they just don’t know what to say afterwards.”
As with any podcast, there are not only great things about the process of making it, but some challenges that its hosts have to endure.
Delgado provided insight into some of the trials and tribulations she has to face while making the podcast.
“The most challenging part about the podcast for us right now because it’s so new is a specific schedule, I want to say. … Also, trying to stay up to date with all of the events,” she explained. “Like, there are times where we’re in the middle of a recording and there’s an event that I want to talk about, but we either run out of time or I just forget.” To solve this dilemma, Isabel compiles a list of events to talk about on each episode, especially the ones that are most relevant ones.
Ziemek has his own frustrations to deal with, too! “I will say the worst part about it is definitely, like, the technology side of it. … We have two mics, and you have to plug it in and then you have to use a separate, you know, channel for the audio and then you have to save it. And a lot of times, Isabel with her Mac – it just doesn’t want to save the audio and upload it.”
It seems the upsides far outdo the downsides, though.
Ziemek remembered positively the social experience of recording: “I think the best part about it is … just seeing everyone in general in the room, like, their ideas just come to life [and everyone has a say].”
Like two peas in a pod, Delgado thought similarly: “Our episode with Seth was hilarious. Like, it was hilarious! And it’s always a good time, you know, we’re always laughing and it’s laidback. It’s pretty cool, yeah, it’s like catching up with friends.”
Seth, who is the aforementioned editor of the podcast, described his editing experience in a nutshell: “It depends on the episode, so, you know, we’ve only done three [episodes] so far*. And each one has been pretty different. … For the first one – the editing was pretty easy, and, you know, I enjoyed that.”
Seth then recalled editing the second episode, which not only had a new filming location, but a new guest: himself. As Up Front records audio and video separately, Seth being on the second episode necessitated the use of a third audio track.
Seth explained that “it is surprisingly much more difficult to sync three audio tracks than it is to sync two. … And the second one [episode] was also a lot longer than the first one, and, by the end, you know, there were issues with the audio syncing up between the speakers.” He went on to recount Isabel’s mic picking up more audio than was wanted and thus creating an echo in her feed, so he ended up solving this problem by cutting out her audio feed when she was not talking.
He also looked back on editing the third episode. As with the second episode, it had three audio tracks to edit, but it was also shorter than that episode. The third episode also introduced a second camera feed that was focused on that episode’s guest Maddie Stallman. Seth expressed relief about the introduction of it: “I’m glad we had that [second camera] because … the main camera was Isabel’s phone, and the recording mode that Isabel’s phone was on sort of created a sort of Bokeh effect where it would automatically blur the background. And in a lot of the shots, when Maddie was talking, she was blurred out on the main camera.”
While the episode was recording, Seth had also been in the room pacing back and forth as he waited to record his episode (which became episode two of the podcast). However, his pacing around the recording room – that is, a large conference room located within the SOC – unintentionally created a reflection onto the TV. This was something the camera picked up, so Seth had to be edited out via a clipping mask around Maddie – something he called “VFX magic”. Seth even cut to the second camera to avoid the reflection. Alex, who was in the room at the time of the interview, laughed at the story.
Seth expressed hopes at the production of each episode going by smoother over time: “I think the fourth episode is gonna be easier than the third episode, and the fifth episode is gonna be easier than the fourth episode, and I think, you know, eventually it’s just gonna be like, you know, we’re gonna be naturals at it.”
“We’re gonna be putting out six episodes a week!” he joked. Alex was not happy with that prospect.
But what’s in store for the future of the podcast? How are the hosts on Up Front going to keep the energy flowing?
Delgado was hopeful, to say the least: “Well, the podcast, we hope to grow and hopefully it becomes a new source for students, something that they know they can rely on cause it’s definitely for like the most up to date news. In the future, we hope to have faculty on, hopefully some other FRCC students, and cover stories like different FRCC students’ stories.”
She also expressed hope for students relying on the podcast for different purposes as well: “being a student is already, like, really hard on its own, but, like, you know, what if your story can help someone or like, you know, be some sort of inspiration for someone out there?”
Alex had something in mind for the immediate future of the podcast: “What we plan on doing is getting the president in for at least one podcast which could be the finale [of the first season of Up Front, which will be released at the end of the semester].”
To put it in simpler terms, Ziemek enthusiastically responded that “there’s really gonna be [an] infinite amount of things that we can really do with [Up Front].”
“It’ll be fun!” Delgado remarked.
You can learn more about Up Front and see its newest episode here: https://thefrontpagefrcc.com/up-front/
*At the time the interview with Seth was conducted, there had only been three episodes of the Up Front podcast that were released.