Chicago Blackhawks marketer, Iowa alum teaching Hawkeyes how to podcast

Journalism and Communication Studies graduate Adam Kempenaar returns to the University of Iowa to teach a podcast course to students studying Sport and Recreation Management.
Friday, March 10, 2023

By Emily Delgado  

For the past nine summers, Adam Kempenaar has mentored students in the world of sports communications from Chicago—now he’s teaching them how to podcast as an adjunct instructor.  

After earning his undergraduate degree in communication studies and his master's degree in journalism and mass communication from Iowa, Kempenaar landed with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Adam Kempenaar
Adam Kempenaar previously worked as a marketing professional for the Chicago Blackhawks NHL team. 

Prior to coming to teach at the UI, Kempenaar was with the Chicago Blackhawks for two decades.  Outside of his work with the Chicago Blackhawks, Kempenaar co-founded a New York Times recognized podcast called Filmspotting, a pod for movie buffs. He’s channeling that experience, combined with his marketing expertise, to teach Hawkeyes how to create their own podcasts.   

"I want to be a mentor, and I want to provide as much help as I can,” Kempenaar explains. 

Kempenaar said part of his teaching will be an emphasis on the need to understand different forms of communication and teach his students how to develop the skills necessary to tell stories through these mediums.  

The course, Podcasting for Sport and Recreation Professionals, is the first time Kempenaar has officially taught at the UI, after years of being in partnership with the university as a host to summer studies. Students in the program identified podcasting as a course they wanted added to the curriculum.  

Dan Matheson, who directs the Sports and Recreation Management program, says Kempenaar’s experience in content marketing is an asset to his students.  

Adam Kempenaar

“Adam is a gifted content creator,” Matheson explains. “Giving him a platform to teach students how to identify and tell stories that lead to compelling podcasts in our program is helping expand what it means to be The Writing University.”  

Anastasia Savich, who took the course in fall 2022, says Kempenaar’s background in media storytelling made him a great teacher. He also has a passion for podcasting, which helped develop her interest.  

“I was able to freely express myself about a topic I was so passionate about with his help. He provided his students with his experience on podcasting, so who better than him [to teach]?” Savich says.  

Students enrolled in the course are learning and practicing communications skills that are essential to the sports and recreation industry. Creating their own podcasts also provides an experiential learning opportunity.  

Savich says podcasts are increasing in popularity, and this class will help her in her future career.  

“Having this class allows students to learn how to create, record, and edit a podcast, skills that current organizations and businesses are using today,” she added.  

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa is a comprehensive college offering 73 majors in the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. More than 17,000 undergraduate and 1,900 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by professors at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all UI undergraduates through the General Education Program, and confers about 70 percent of the UI's bachelor's degrees each academic year.