‘The Source’ for sports podcasting on campus: Inside Sam Hiller’s passion project
Senior’s podcast is pushing his interest in sports media to new heights
From the Newsstands: This story appeared in our December 2021 print edition. You can find the digital version here.
For many American University students, politics and “Hillternships” are the biggest conquests of their college experience. But for Sam Hiller, it’s sports.
Hiller, a senior in the School of Public Affairs, is the co-host of a sports podcast called “The Source” which covers sports games, including predictions, outcomes and breakdowns. Hiller not only cohosts the free podcast, he also built the website — a new challenge for him. With no school and no sports during the coronavirus pandemic, Hiller and his friends decided to take their lively debates over sports teams and turn it into a podcast.
“I think with no sports on [during the pandemic] that was kind of like a driving force of people to our show, like, hey, at least you can listen to these guys talk about it,” Hiller said. “And so I decided, after about two months and 500 followers, that if we’re going to grow, we need to fully invest into this point.”
Hiller co-hosts with fellow sports fanatic Job Goddard, a 2020 AU graduate.
According to Hiller, they are taking things one month at a time, creating goals that will then increase as time goes on. For example, they wanted to reach 4,000 Twitter followers by the end of the month, and are now trying for 5,000 by the end of next month.
“We have a few guests that we want to have on, we want to have a certain amount of articles flowing per week,” Hiller said. “So we have a lot of things we want to get done, but I think we’re also trying to make sure that we keep everything in focus.”
Although Hiller is majoring in Justice and Law, he wants sports — particularly football — to play an integral part of his life after college. He also said he’s strengthened his interest in sports media with the help of a sports journalism class in the School of Communication.
“I want to work in a sports organization, whether it be my most likely choice, which is football, working in data analytics,” Hiller said. “I spent the last two years working on a predictive game model that I’ve been sharing with people that’s been, I’d say about 58 percent successful, which is a pretty decent rate in the industry.”
Hiller’s main goal is to be a scout and get to watch college players and evaluate who would be best for what team. Hiller said that scouting is what he “lives and breathes.”
“The running joke in the NFL for people who are 20 years old working in scouting is called the 2020 Club. Because you’re 20-something-years-old, making 20-something-thousand dollars a year, and it’s s--- work,” Hiller said. “But you do it because you love doing it, and then hopefully you can move up into the player personnel and more general management front office kind of world.”
Hiller’s podcast is a continuation of him doing what he is passionate about and forging his path in life.
“I’m a very firm believer that we have one life, and you gotta live it to the fullest for yourself,” Hiller said. “And that means trying to do what you’re passionate about by almost any means necessary.”