Podcasting: one student’s quarantine project


Michael Bekele and Yoftahe Hailu sit at their podcast recording setup. ““I spent a lot less money on mics and equipment, which was another reason I chose podcasting over Youtube,” Bekele said.

At the beginning of quarantine in March, students were trying all sorts of new hobbies and projects.

 From learning a new language to starting a business to beginning a new sport, the newfound free time had provided students with the opportunity to do anything they’d been holding off on. Even though everyone is back to virtual learning now, there is still a good amount of time to begin something new.

Junior Michael Bekele decided to take advantage of that and started his own project, the ABOL podcast. 

“During quarantine, I tried a lot of projects and this was one of them that stuck,’’ Bekele said. 

The idea to create a podcast began after he was elected student body president for AHS Class of 2022. Bekele wanted a way to communicate with his peers, and he found that in the form of podcasts. 

“After I got elected class president, I thought a podcast was a great way to interact with students at AHS,” Bekele said. “People are posting Instagram videos and YouTube videos, but I thought that podcasting was an easier and more unique way to reach my targeted audience.”

His friends were quick to support his new idea. 

“After Michael told me, I kind of envisioned it to,” friend and ABOL guest Yoftahe Hailu said. “We already talk about some serious stuff all the time so why not with a mic in front of us to share it with the world?”

Even though the podcast is the biggest and his primary focus, Bekele is active on other social media platforms like Instagram and even a YouTube channel. While starting his channel, the biggest part, other than coming up with content, was choosing a name. 

ABOL, the name Bekele settled on, was picked to symbolize the tone and content of the show. In Amharic, abol means the most unfiltered part of coffee. As the name suggests, the podcast is chock full of honest opinions, controversial topics and candid discussions between Bekele and guests. 

“I want to be unfiltered and talk about my perspectives with viewers honestly.” 

So far, there have been episodes on the impacts of social media, racism, problems within the American school system, college from a high schooler’s perspective and other interesting topics. 

Bekele’s honest and straightforward approach to talking about some of these difficult subjects has drawn hundreds of listeners worldwide and garnered 10,000 downloads.. 

ABOL was even ranked in the top five international podcasts on Apple Music.

 “The growth was incredible. I think it was because of my audience, which was mostly people from my home country, Ethiopia,” Bekele said. 

Though time consuming, he hopes to continue to grow and work on the show, and is working to get more guests on to create lots of new content for his viewers all over the world. 

“I see myself continuing the podcast into college as of right now, but it has been getting pretty stressful,” Bekele said.“I think it’s worth it though, I feel like I’m getting a lot out of it.”

Season two of the ABOL podcast was just released and all episodes are available on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and Podchaser.