Student podcast looks at disabilities

Jacob Holt, a senior from Franklin, started his own podcast in August of 2016 so that he could interview other students with disabilities and share their stories. He has released three interviews and has a fourth on the way. Kathryn Ziesig/HERALD

Emma Austin

At the beginning of August, Franklin senior Jacob Holt released the first episode of “Ability,” a podcast made up of interviews with people who have disabilities.

Part of Holt’s inspiration came from “The Loveumentary,” a podcast by a man who interviews different couples with a wide range of love stories.

“I really love the intimacy of those interviews and hearing those people talk about their stories,” Holt said. “Because, you know, everybody has a story.”

Holt knew he wanted to have a podcast of his own, so he began brainstorming different ideas until he came up with the idea to interview people with different disabilities.

“That’s something I would want to listen to,” Holt said. “I thought that would be really neat.”

In his first episode, Holt interviewed life-long friend Destiney Dyer. Both Holt and Dyer live with Osteogenesis Imperfecta Type 3, and have been friends since preschool. In the episode, the two exchange stories about what it’s been like growing up with their disability.

“We both lived in Franklin, and it’s a pretty small town, so everybody knows us and knows our condition,” Dyer said. “But, when we go to bigger cities, not everyone knows, and people kind of stare and wonder what’s wrong with us.”

Dyer said something she sees often is parents pulling their children away from her and not allowing them to ask any questions.

“That kind of bothers me, because at that age, it’s best to expose them to these kinds of things,” Dyer said. “With me, and I know Jacob’s the same way, we don’t care if people ask questions. We would rather that than you just sit there and wonder.”

Holt said he hopes “Ability” will give people a new and broadened understanding of disabilities.

“The internet’s existed for a long time, and a lot of people use the internet to enforce their own point of view, their own belief system,” Holt said. “They don’t use the internet in what I think is the proper way, which is to learn new things, challenge yourself, become more.”

In his third episode, Holt interviewed Shannon McCaffrey, who is blind.

“It kind of changed my point of view on life,” Holt said, explaining that he now notices little things when he’s out that would make life harder if you’re blind.

“You know, I’ll see a step that’s not marked and think about how [McCaffrey] would not notice it and just walk off of it,” he said. “So, things like that. I hope that people just grow in understanding and learn a new point of view.”

Holt has released one podcast each month since August and said he plans on continuing the project as long as he can.

Holt said he loves podcasting as a medium, joking he has a “face for radio.”

Holt said he hopes his following continues to grow, offering exposure to a wider crowd of listeners.

“Not every disability is the same,” Dyer said. “We’re not going to get people to acknowledge what these disabilities are unless they get comfortable asking questions.”

Reporter Emma Austin can be reached at 270-745-2655 and [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @emmacaustin.