People looking for a weekly glimpse into the outdoors industry have a new resource, thanks to a new podcast from Utah State University.
USU’s outdoor product design program is 10 episodes into the Highlander Podcast, a weekly interview with figures in the outdoors industry from Cache Valley to international brands.
“It’s just a lot of local stories about the importance of the outdoor industry here,” said Chase Anderson, who works in industry relations for the outdoor product design program. “Whether you’re more on the outdoor recreation side, or you’re a brand producing the products, we just want to tell stories why that’s important to the region.”
Anderson interviews the names behind Cache Valley events and organizations like the Cache Gran Fondo, Beaver Mountain and Stokes Nature Center. But when the outdoor product design program brings a guest to campus, they stop by the podcast studio for a quick interview. Outdoor manufacturers interviewed range from the local, like Smitty’s Fly Box, to state and national brands like REI, Cotopaxi and Keen Footwear.
“There are so many really cool stories up here that I don’t feel that are told as often as they could be, or told at all,” Anderson said.
The podcast is an outgrowth of Highlander Magazine, a student-produced publication examining the same topics. Student editor Mady Koller said the staff is getting ready to put out the second print issue, and response so far has been good.
“It’s really something that I’ve heard so far has touched people,” Koller said. “And I want to get that out to more people.”
Although the magazine, like the podcast, focuses specifically on the outdoors industry, it also aims to be accessible to a more general audience, especially in Cache Valley.
“We have such a strong pull to the outdoors on this campus,” Koller said. “We’re right next to Logan Canyon, there’s so many opportunities to be involved with the outdoors at USU, so my hope is that Highlander can continue to be a way to connect people — and not just people who are already involved with the outdoors, but connect people who are maybe intimidated by the idea of being outdoors and doing these outdoor things.”
The magazine publishes online as well, so online articles and podcast episodes help Highlander reach audiences more frequently and with current content. Koller said she hasn’t had the chance to do so just yet since both the magazine and the podcast are so new, but in the future she’d like to see podcast highlights written up as articles for the biannual print edition.
“They are, really, one in the same,” Koller said. “They’re reporting on the same things.”
The podcast is available as “Highlander Podcast” on iTunes and other podcatching software, and episodes and articles are available at https://highlandermag.usu.edu.