First-year football players create Somewhat Student Athletes podcast

Ryan Arnold and Carson Byrd bring people into the lives of student-athletes at Trinity

Everyone knows the typical activities done by first-year college students. First they move in with a roommate that they have likely never met before. Then they have to figure out where their classes are, learn what the best time to go to the dining hall is and start a podcast listened to by hundreds of fellow students.

Wait a second: is that last part right? It is for first-year football players Ryan Arnold and Carson Byrd, who launched their podcast, Somewhat Student Athletes, this January. The podcast — which debuts new episodes every Monday at noon through Anchor — features Arnold and Byrd giving the world an unscripted view of their lives as student-athletes at Trinity right from their dorm room.

“The first podcast was very scripted. We wrote all kinds of notes about it, and we thought it was gonna be the most funny, interesting podcast,” Byrd said. “Then we did the whole 30 minute podcast and went back and listened to it and said ‘This sounds so terrible.’ It was so robotic, so since then we just write a Google Doc with four or five topics and we run through those because we want our podcast to be very conversational and flowing.”

According to Arnold, he knew that Byrd was also on the football team, but they had never met each other before Arnold approached Byrd at Mabee Dining Hall at the start of their first semester at Trinity. From there, they began working out and playing Madden together all the time as they became close friends. Before long, the now-suitemates realized their conversations were worth sharing with others.

“One night we were just sitting there talking and we went on for like hours just talking about random stuff, and then eventually we had somebody come by and say that that was really interesting stuff,” Arnold said. “They weren’t in the conversation at all, they were just listening, so we said, ‘We can make a podcast out of that.’”

Arnold and Byrd had never worked on a podcast before. They had to learn how to do every step in the process, from buying microphones to choosing which software to use. Despite not having all the details ironed out, Somewhat Student Athletes began airing on Jan. 18.

Since then, Arnold and Byrd have recorded and released a total of nine episodes. Their conversations have gotten the attention of not only teammates and fellow students but also several of their football coaches.

“Our coaches definitely know about [the podcast],” Arnold said. “Sometimes they give us a hard time for it, but other times they’ll bring up parts of the podcast and joke about it with us, and our teammates want to be on it.”

The podcast has even earned Arnold and Byrd a new nickname.

“We’re kinda known as the ‘Podcast Bros’ around the team,” Byrd said.

Arnold and Byrd record every podcast episode from their dorm room on campus. Photo by Claire Sammons

Several teammates have already followed through with their desire to join the podcast. Arnold and Byrd welcomed sophomore linebacker Isaac Agumadu to the podcast’s third episode, and sophomore quarterback Tucker Horn hopped on as a guest on March 8.

“If we just kept on talking about our own lives every week, people would just get bored of that, but bringing guests allows us to add lots of nuance, add new stories and get to know a lot of people,” Byrd said.

The first-year football players have also invited guests like sophomore pole vaulter Bailey Dueitt in an attempt to diversify the conversation and accomplish their goal of appealing to more college students beyond just teammates.

“My experience on the podcast was great,” Dueitt said. “I shared my experiences as a collegiate track athlete and then discussed good and bad advice. We shared a lot of laughs and had a good time recording.”

According to Dueitt, she found out about the podcast through social media. After she saw Arnold and Byrd post about Somewhat Student Athletes, she immediately checked it out before eventually being invited to join as a guest.

“Ryan and Carson also interact with their listeners on Instagram, asking questions which get featured on the podcast,” Dueitt said. “Especially in the midst of COVID, the podcast has been a good source of entertainment and keeping up with what’s going on around campus.”

Beyond providing content that they hope brings laughter to people’s days, starting Somewhat Student Athletes has also helped Arnold and Byrd meet new people and make friends during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With COVID, we can’t get to know our teammates as well as we would want to, so by us talking about ourselves and things that we’ve done on the podcast, they come back and ask us about things. They’re getting to know us without us in person telling them about us,” Arnold said.

From debating about which superhero would do best in the National Football League (NFL) Combine, to explaining how practices and games go, nothing is off limits for Arnold and Byrd to discuss.

“I’d like for our podcast to be a place where Trinity athletes and non-athletes can listen and just hear funny stories and hear what’s going on in the athletics program,” Byrd said. “Just kind of build it into a place where all college students can feel like they have a place in our podcast where they can just listen to funny college stories, funny college myths and just have a good time on Mondays.”

People can tune into Somewhat Student Athletes through Spotify, Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts. They can also follow the Somewhat Student Athletes Instagram and Twitter accounts, where Arnold and Byrd post pictures, sell merchandise and give previews of upcoming episodes.

As for why people should listen to their podcast, Byrd kept it simple.

“We’re two goofy guys who enjoy shedding light on Trinity University athletics,” Byrd said.