CHID's Cassie Hoeprich to co-host a podcast called “The Bark & the Bite”

Submitted by Comparative History Of Ideas on

Cover photo: Rachel Solomon (left) and Cassie Hoeprich (right)

Enter UW students Rachel Solomon and Cassie Hoeprich. The pair co-host a podcast called “The Bark & the Bite,” which Solomon also produces. Drawing inspiration from radio programs like “This American Life” and “Radiolab,” the monthly podcast focuses on the stories and experiences of UW students.

“With such a big school, there are people who have really amazing life stories,” Solomon said.

 The genesis of the project came in January this year, when Solomon was home, sick and listening to the radio constantly. She was puzzled as to why the UW lacked a story-driven radio program, so she took it upon herself to start one, taking a radio class at Bellevue College and interning at local radio stations KUOW and KPLU over the summer to get the skills she needed to produce the show.

With the idea for a radio show firmly in place, Solomon contacted people who she thought might have a similar interest in radio. One of these people was Hoeprich, whom Solomon had met in a journalism class. And while others balked at the time commitment required to put together a radio show, Hoeprich was hooked.

“People were interested, but no one had the time,” she said. “But I really, really enjoy radio. When [Rachel] said that it was going to be like ‘This American Life,’ I was sold.”

Solomon and Hoeprich communicated via e-mail over the summer, and eventually worked out a format for the show. Each episode is around 30 minutes in length and contains three or four stories based on a general theme. And although the theme of the first episode, “So This Is College,” was the college experience, future episodes won’t relate to college life as explicitly.

“It’s not just college stories,” Hoeprich said. “In our next episode, we have an individual who’s not from UW, but it’s about a topic that’s of interest to students — disability.”

In general, Hoeprich sees “The Bark & the Bite” as a way to tell stories that are engaging to the UW community.

“I think the goal of what we’re trying to do is to give a platform for those stories around campus or in the community,” she said. “There’s a narrative underneath everything. [We’re trying to find] the underlying narrative of UW and its students.”

Besides telling stories that pertain to the UW, Solomon and Hoeprich both stressed the importance of taking full advantage of their chosen medium — as they put it on their website, “find[ing] different, innovative ways of using sound to create great radio.”

This can mean anything from adding sounds of packing and zipping to enhance a story about Early Fall Start, or playing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” as a long-time UW employee recalls Nirvana’s infamous performance at the HUB.

“Using sound, you can paint a picture,” Hoeprich said. “It helps not only to tell the story, but to enhance it.”

Solomon’s experience has been helpful in this regard. She has considered a career as a producer, and the project is giving her ample experience. She couldn’t give an exact estimate of how many hours she spends on the show, but described the experience as time intensive, yet fulfilling.

“If someone listens to it and they enjoy it and get something out of it, it’s absolutely worth it for me,” she said. “If it made them smile or laugh or think about something differently, then it’s worth it to me.”

Best of all, she said, people are starting to listen. The first episode got 260 hits the day it was posted, and a possible partnership with RainyDawg Radio is in the works.

Solomon will graduate in the spring, and Hoeprich will next fall. For the time being, however, “The Bark & the Bite” will continue to tell stories that otherwise may not have been told.

“I think everyone’s curious about other people and other people’s life stories,” Solomon said. “I want this to be a way for people to share those experiences.”

If you have a story that you’d like to have told, or if you’re interested in being a contributor, contact “The Bark & the Bite” at To hear the podcast, visit

Reach reporter Andrew Gospe at

By Andrew Gospe
December 2, 2010
Photo by Patrick Riley.