By Ross Venhuizen, Communication Department Intern
Graduating from Calvin in the spring of 2011, Jon Tilton faced a daunting task—finding a job in an extremely uncertain job market. So Jon used the marketing and communication skills he had learned through the CAS department to skip the traditional step of applying for a job by submitting a paper resume. Instead, Jon launched a massive Twitter campaign for his favorite podcast host Brian Brushwood, a famous magician whose show Scam School had been named a top podcast of 2008 and 2009 by iTunes. Brian was so impressed by Jon's creativity and networking skills that he hired Jon as his stage manager and associate producer—essentially Brian's right-hand-man.
Jon is now involved with multiple shows on two major podcast networks—This Week in Tech and Revision3. This Week in Tech contains over fifteen different shows, all of which cover different aspects of technology in fun and interesting ways. Revision3 is a massive network, with a wide-reach of show categories ranging from comedies, to news and political shows, to "how-to" videos like Brushwood's Scam School, where Brushwood teaches his viewers the secrets behind deceptive card tricks and street cons. Additionally, Jon recently edited and produced Night Attack, a comedy album based off of another of Brian's podcasts—NSFW (which, ironically is quite tame and "PG"). Night Attack has been wildly successful, peaking at #4 on Billboard's comedy albums, and #1 on Amazon's MP3 albums.
Looking back on his time so far with Brian, Jon says that he has found his liberal arts education to be immeasurably more helpful than he had ever expected. Jon's do-it-all role causes him to feel like he is doing a different job every week. For others who may have had significantly less variety in their college studies, this job might be a nightmare; however, Jon's experience switching from classes in Japanese to religion to psychology at Calvin mentally prepared him for the challenges of this unique job.
While at Calvin, Jon specifically enjoyed his communication classes with Professors Smit, Shultze, and Fuller. In particular, he appreciated the freedom Professor Smit allowed him to explore how the concepts of his North American media class related to his interests in podcasting. He was able to acquire an expert knowledge of podcasting and can now apply the theories he learned in class directly to his work. Jon appreciates the opportunity he has each day to be part of a movement that is changing the way we interact with each other. Podcasting, Jon believes, offers great rewards in its ability to influence others, without a high cost for messing up like other careers have.
As Jon says, at worst, "it's just a podcast," but at best, "it's the future of culture."