Podcasts: 47 and Counting
McCallie Communications Office
Asst Head Kenny Sholl, Head of School Lee Burns '87 and Sumner McCallie in the podcast studio


Podcasts Stories from the Ridge and Tornado Talk enjoy a new sound studio and another strong season.

This is the number of Stories from the Ridge podcasts that have been produced so far at McCallie. Since the spring of 2019, McCallie has interviewed alumni, faculty, and students about their time at McCallie. In addition, Head of School Lee Burns often talks with experts in raising boys, education, gaming, and other topics related to the growth and development of boys. 

One of the most popular series featured in Stories from the Ridge this year included a discussion with members of each academic department talking about how they helped boys learn their discipline. These episodes share how the curriculum and the teaching styles of faculty members are balanced between the strong traditions of McCallie and the changing global environment in which McCallie boys will enter as adults. While boys are comfortable at McCallie, “it is the McCallie teacher’s role to make them uncomfortable,” shares Dean of Curriculum and Faculty Sumner McCallie. “Doing this with care and intention, unsettling what they think they know in order to deepen their understanding is how they learn,” he explained. 

Tornado Term, Pep Band to Handbells, Rivalry Week, Baseball memories, Squash, Duck Day, Pranks, and the history of music at McCallie are all topics of past episodes. Listening is a fun way to connect with one’s own memories of McCallie and to learn what is going on at McCallie today.

In addition to the alumni-targeted Stories from the Ridge, Director of Video Brandan Roberts began producing Tornado Talk, a student perspective on McCallie, during this school year. Tornado Talk, which was hosted throughout the school year by Wes Spykerman ’23 and Elijah Senior ’21, features student happenings and interests on campus. 

Episodes this year included conversations with students about being an RA, tips for freshmen, seniors talking about their time during the pandemic, explanations of the difference between Canadian and American football, keys to successful roommates, and much more. 

Tornado Talk hosts Jacob Belisle '22 and Wes Spykerman '23 with guest Zach Chari '24

On average a new episode was released every three weeks. These podcasts are enjoyed by students, faculty, and alumni. In addition, they are shared with prospective families who have expressed an interest in McCallie. David Moseley ’23 will serve as the host of Tornado Talk for the 2022–23 school year and they hope to increase production by releasing a new episode every week.

Producing these podcasts became both stylish and high-tech during the middle of this school year. Space was found behind the stage in the Chapel to create a relatively large production studio with video capabilities and waiting area. “Having this studio to work in,” Stories of the Ridge producer Bill Steverson explained, “Makes production so much smoother. Before we were transporting mics to different locations, fighting background noise, and having to constantly rebalance and recalibrate everything before every conversation. Now,” he continued, “It is more or less turnkey which makes the whole process high quality and more enjoyable.”  

If you haven’t had the pleasure of listening to McCallie’s podcasts, subscribe today.

Listen to Stories from the Ridge at McCallie.org/podcast.

Listen to Tornado Talk at McCallie.org/TornadoTalk.