Communication studies faculty member Francisco Suarez won the international 2022 Silver Signal Award for his video podcast “From Suarez’s Basement,” where he goes in depth on the behind-the-scenes of visual storytelling.

Suarez said he started his podcast during the COVID-19 pandemic and it has grown significantly since. He has had special guests such as Paul Hirsch, a film editor and Oscar winner whose projects include the “Star Wars” franchise; Deborah Riley, production designer for “Game of Thrones”; John Hoffman, the co-creator and writer of “Only Murders in the Building,” and many more. 

“I started my podcast for the necessity of keeping my mind creatively working during the pandemic,” Suarez said. “Also, the need to keep my students engaged in their careers.”

Suarez often invites his students to co-host with him. He does this so students can build connections with successful people in this field. He thinks it is important for them to be involved in the conversations. 

This podcast has benefited Suarez’s relationship with his students. He feels they respect him more because he is putting in this extra effort, and he is open about the entire experience.

“I think when students see somebody who has the passion and the love for what he or she or they teach, the connection is there,” Suarez said. 

Educational value

Suarez uses his podcast as a bridge between his students and the experts in the field. Suarez said he always makes sure his conversations with his guests have an educational value.

“One of the things I always ask them about is rejection, for example,” Suarez said. “When you talk about people who have been successful in what they do, I think rejection is something they all deal with. I think it’s very important that we can talk about that.”

The process of getting someone to agree to come on his podcast can be a long one. However, when guests realize it is only 20 minutes of their time, they are much more likely to agree.

“I want to be sure that the people who are on the show are there because they really see the value of the time that they are going to spend with us,” Suarez said. “I think that is important.”

His dedication to educating people and the content led to this Silver Signal Award in the Educational Podcast category. More than 1,700 candidates apply for these annual awards, which “honor and celebrate the people and content that raise the bar for podcasting,” according to the Signal Awards website.

“The awards are like the cherry on top of the cake,” Suarez said. “It’s the recognition. I love it and it’s really cool that I’ve been recognized.”

Suarez said he does not do this for the recognition but for his love of spreading information on visual storytelling.

“You don’t work and put in the effort because of awards,” Suarez said. “For me, I put in the time and the effort because I believe in the value of the show.” 

To learn more, check out the “From Suarez’s Basement” website. 

–- Written by Gabrielle Kroeger of the Class of 2023