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Vol. LXI, No. 25
December 11, 2009
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Research Radio Podcast Reaches 100th Episode

Joe Balintfy of NIH’s News Media Branch gets ready to record a segment for the NIH Research Radio Podcast, which recently produced its 100th episode.  
Joe Balintfy of NIH’s News Media Branch gets ready to record a segment for the NIH Research Radio Podcast, which recently produced its 100th episode.  

Jan. 1, 2010, will mark the 100th milestone episode of the NIH Research Radio Podcast. The program, produced by the NIH Radio News Service, provides news about NIH research and discoveries as well as information on causes, treatments and cures for disease.  

Launched in March 2006, Research Radio Podcast was one of the first social media tools offered on the NIH web site. The concept was originated by Bill Schmalfeldt, former News Media Branch production manager in OD’s Office of Communications and Public Liaison (OCPL). He came up with the idea after observing large numbers of Metro commuters listening to iPods.

“I did some research and learned that medical- themed podcasts were quite popular—and I went to Calvin Jackson [News Media Branch chief] with the idea,” said Schmalfeldt, who now works at the Clinical Center. “In early 2006, I went to a podcasting training session and before you know it, we had our own podcast on the web.”

“Many people weren’t familiar with podcasting when we initially launched the program,” said Joe Balintfy, OCPL public affairs specialist. “In just a few years we’ve witnessed substantial changes in technology. Social media efforts like podcasting have increasingly become a key way to communicate to the public.”

Podcast subscribers receive biweekly audio broadcasts after downloading podcast applications like iTunes, Juice and Doppler. Each Joe Balintfy of NIH’s News Media Branch gets ready to record a segment for the NIH Research Radio Podcast, which recently produced its 100th episode.episode typically includes three 2- to 5-minute news reports. Past podcasts have featured information about the H1N1 flu vaccine, skin cancer awareness and type 2 diabetes in teens. Often, NIH institute directors are interviewed, for example NIDA’s Dr. Nora Volkow and NIAID’s Dr. Anthony Fauci, as well as prominent scientists such as NIAAA’s Dr. Mark Willenbring and NIA’s Dr. Jack Guralnik.

Since its debut, the Research Radio Podcast site has shown steady increases in visits, receiving 6,000 downloads per installment. The site consistently ranks in the top 20 in the “Science and Medicine” category on iTunes.  

To commemorate the 100th episode, NIH will change the opening theme music and modify the program’s format to include an introductory “news brief” section. Balintfy adds that future topics such as breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease plus discoveries from genetic studies and clinical trials will continue to be covered in an easy to understand and easily accessible format.

To subscribe to the NIH Research Radio Podcast, visit www.nih.gov/news/radio/nihpodcast.htm. —NIHRecord Icon

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