Groundcover Speaks: A New Voice in Ann Arbor

Photo provided by Richard Retyi.

In the heart of Ann Arbor, a unique collaboration has emerged to create a new podcast featuring the full text of each Groundcover News issue read aloud by the authors themselves. 

Richard Retyi, communications and marketing manager at Ann Arbor District Library said, “AADL and Fifth Avenue Studios are partnering on a new podcast called Groundcover Speaks, an audio archive of Groundcover’s print edition.” 

The genesis of a collaboration

Many of you may be familiar with Groundcover News, a local nonprofit aimed at creating opportunity for and giving a voice to low-income people while taking action to end homelessness and poverty. The journey began when they sought ways to make their well-known street paper more accessible to readers with specific needs. 

Recognizing the potential for a broader reach and greater inclusivity, they approached AADL for assistance. This meeting of minds led to the birth of an idea: a podcast where Groundcover authors could lend their voices to their stories. This would not only make the content more accessible but also add a personal touch, allowing listeners to connect more deeply with the authors and their narratives.

The role of Fifth Avenue Studios

Photo provided by Richard Retyi.

Fifth Avenue Studios, an integral part of this partnership, is nestled within the Downtown Library. Groundcover authors regularly come to the studio, where they read and record their stories under the expert guidance of the AADL production staff. The AADL team then takes on the mantle of editing and producing each episode, ensuring that listeners receive a polished and professional podcast every two weeks.

“Fifth Avenue Studios was established to foster original audio content, from podcasters, musicians and audio creators,” Retyi said.

Photo provided by Richard Retyi.

But, it is more than just a recording space; it’s a hub of creativity and innovation. Since its inception, the state-of-the-art studio has been dedicated to nurturing and promoting local talent, providing them with the tools, guidance, and platform to bring their audio visions to life.

Sustaining the voice

Ensuring the sustainability of such a project is paramount. AADL’s Fifth Avenue Studios team, the library’s audio incubator, is at the forefront of this endeavor. Comprising staff from various departments within the library and members of the library’s production team, this group is dedicated to supporting audio creators in Washtenaw County.

“The Library helps fund the project and also compensates the authors who read their pieces for the podcast,” Retyi said.

Groundcover News also plays a pivotal role in ensuring the longevity of this partnership. As a non-profit organization, they are funded by generous donations from readers and businesses

Where to listen

The first episodes are now available, with more to come soon! While the podcast is hosted on the AADL website, it’s also available on all major podcasting platforms.

In conclusion, “Groundcover Speaks” is a true testament to the power of collaboration and the commitment of local institutions to serve their community. As it continues to grow and evolve, one thing is certain: the voices of Groundcover authors will continue to resonate, telling the stories of Ann Arbor, one episode at a time.

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