The Monarch Creative Studio Member Spotlight
R. Brandon Long and Todd Oberndorfer are the voices and founders of The Banyan Collective, Ogden’s very own podcasting group that covers art, music, and outdoor adventure in northern Utah. The Banyan Collective hosts the Nine Rails Arts Podcast, First Friday Van Sessions, and many others, which are recorded in their retro camper-turned-recording-studio, dubbed “Banyan1,” inside The Monarch.
Long and Oberndorfer have designed their Monarch studio with multiple podcast recording options for live audience viewing, including interviews and music performances. They’ve also made it an inviting space with indoor turf, picnic table, and deck that surrounds Banyan1.
“Our vision for our Monarch studio is to act as a space where the community feels at home,” says Long. “We invite everyone to hang out with us and get to know more about the arts and adventure worlds, while having a good time and feeling like one big family.”
The Banyan Collective’s Monarch studio is an exciting step for Long and Oberndorfer to secure a permanent location after nearly eight years of producing podcasts for our community. The two Ogden locals started recording together in 2010; at the time, Long was a DJ at Weber State’s radio station, KWCR 88.1, while also working for the Weber State Outdoor Program. What initially started as a specialty program to market the Outdoor Program on KWCR evolved into what is now Banyan’s flagship podcast – the Ogden Outdoor Adventure Show. “The station manager at the time taught us how to upload the radio show to a platform called Podbean, which then could be listened to anytime as a podcast,” says Long. “We had to explain what a podcast was for many years.”
While the term “podcasting” was coined in 2004 and added to iTunes in 2005, it didn’t gain the popularity it has now until 2014 with the release of “Serial,” NPR’s investigative journalism series. Four years prior, the first episodes of the Ogden Outdoor Adventure Show aired, which today has over 330 episodes and more than a hundred thousand downloads. The Banyan Collective now produces a total of five podcasts, which, in addition to the Ogden Outdoor Adventure Show, the Nine Rails Arts Podcast and Van Sessions, include LITerally and Leaky Waders.
Before acquiring their permanent home, Banyan’s shows were all recorded in the their mobile studio, a 1987 Dodge Xplorer camper van lovingly referred to as #TanVan. #TanVan continues to make appearances for Van Sessions, a live performance podcast series with local musicians occurring every First Friday in The Monarch. Two to three bands offer a 4-song,-semi-acoustic set with intermingled conversation for an intimate experience with the artists. “Join us for a unique live audience and music podcast with talented artists bringing you free entertainment as you explore The Monarch’s Creative Studios for every First Friday Art Stroll,” states the Banyan Collective.