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The Murray State News

The Murray State News

Racer alumni launch podcast discussing campus history

Episodes from ‘Stories from the Finest Place We Know’ can be found at (Photo courtesy of
Episodes from ‘Stories from the Finest Place We Know’ can be found at (Photo courtesy of

Jill Smith
Staff Writer
[email protected]

“Hey Racers!” is the first thing listeners hear when they tune into the Racer Alumni Podcast: “Stories from the Finest Place We Know.” The podcast gives listeners a glance into Murray State’s history as a way to commemorate its centennial year.  

The podcast is hosted by Carrie McGinnis, director of alumni relations, and Jordan Lowe, a 2019 mass communications graduate. 

Lowe was inspired to start the podcast after his Advertising Capstone class with Robert Valentine, who challenged his students to boost and advertise the Centennial Celebration. Then he presented the idea to his advertising professor, Gil Welsch.  

“The podcast [idea] didn’t come to me until after I graduated in 2019, and then COVID broke out,” Lowe said. “I started listening to podcasts, and then I was thinking, since I just worked out a Centennial Celebration project with the school, it would be interesting if someone could do a podcast with Murray State.”

McGinnis, who has a background in broadcasting, said she was hesitant to start a podcast. 

“I was afraid I didn’t know how to make it unique and stand out among the others, so it was a real leap of faith and a personal risk,” McGinnis said.

The podcast is recorded on the eighth floor of Fine Arts or on Zoom, depending on the guest’s location. 

In addition to being a host, McGinnis edits the podcast together and mixes the sound. McGinnis said with her experience, it can take her two to three hours to edit one episode. 

“While I’m recording, in my head and maybe even on a sheet of paper next to me, I’m thinking about what needs to stay, what may potentially go if we have to cut for time,” McGinnis said. “I have in mind on the front end what I want it to sound like.” 

McGinnis said the podcast is a great way for alumni all across the country to engage with the University. 

 “We spend a lot of time and energy making sure that our events are of interest to a broad alumni audience, and this breaks the barrier of location and allows us to bring in those who maybe don’t live in the area or who haven’t been to campus in a long time,” McGinnis said. “It seemed like a perfect fit for our centennial year.”

McGinnis and Lowe write questions prior to each interview to help with the flow of the conversation and ensure it feels organic. 

“I want to make sure that the flow is there and we’re not talking over each other or asking questions we’ve already asked,” McGinnis said. “If I know where I’m going with a couple of questions, or if he knows where he’s going with a couple of questions, you don’t want the other one to then totally derail the conversation onto something else, so it’s good to have an outline from the beginning of what that conversation should look like.

Lowe said research is an important part of the writing process.

There are currently four episodes of the podcast. Guests include campus administration, like President Bob Jackson and Jeff McLaughlin, director of special collections and exhibits at Pogue Library. Other guests on the podcast are located across the nation – like Jabir Walker, a referee with the National Football League and the National Collegiate Athletic Association and W. Earl Brown, an actor in Hollywood, originally from Murray, Kentucky. 

Lowe said the variety of guests featured will hopefully spark more interest in the podcast. 

“It really broadens our interest in the alumni population and the student population because everyone has a different major,” Lowe said. “Someone who’s a theater major might listen to the actor, and someone who is a biology major would listen to someone who is in the science field.”

McLaughlin said he is confident the interest in Murray State’s history is present among the community. 

“I was helping with move-in last week and just greeting parents,” McLaughlin said. “I couldn’t even count the number of people who said they’re dropping their kids off, and they’re telling me about how they used to live in this building in the 90s, how their parents went here and were intricately tied into the fabric of Western Kentucky.”

McLaughlin said since the book is informative, he thinks it will reach a broad audience. 

McGinnis said it was important to highlight the history of the University in the episodes. 

“It made sense that our very first guest would be the president …. he’s an avid history buff, especially when it comes to the history of this institution,” McGinnis said. “A historian was a great second follow up, and [McLaughlin] had access to some great stories that you wouldn’t know unless you’ve been researching the last 100 years of Murray State.”

McGinnis said this podcast is unique because of its particular interest to all individuals affiliated with the University. 

“We’re going to keep you updated on things that are happening on campus,” McGinnis said. “We’re going to give you an idea of some of the really cool things that your fellow alumni are doing that you wouldn’t know about otherwise.. It’s just another level of involvement in addition to local events, social media, email and all the different ways that we interact with our global alumni population.”

McGinnis said her goal is to produce two episodes a month and reevaluate in a year. 

“I want to make sure that if we’re going to put the time and effort into something that it’s a great product,” McGinnis said. “It’s something that people want to listen to and tell their friends about, and that we’re getting the listenership to return on that investment.”  

The next episode of the Racer Alumni Podcast will air Thursday, Sept. 1 with Nico Yantko, director of athletics, as the guest. 

To listen to the podcast, visit or wherever you stream your podcasts. 


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