‘I Yell At Strangers’: Nell Fitts ’18 Connects With Other Students Through Podcasting

“What I know about [you, Andrew Wang ’18] is that you have glasses, run track, yup, that’s in his Facebook profile. And also, when I was talking to [Amanda Li ’18], she mentioned that I should refer to you as ‘Humanities Boy?’ ” said Nell Fitts ’18 to Wang during the second edition of her podcast, “I Yell At Strangers.”

In her podcasts, Fitts holds unscripted and candid hour-long conversations with students she has barely interacted with during her time at Andover. Her first guest was Eastlyn Frankel ’18, and Wang was featured in her second installment.

Fitts said, “The podcast medium can really enable me to get closer with some people that I otherwise would’ve just heard their name mentioned over a lunch table and said, ‘Oh yeah, I think I heard that kid is cool,’ and never gotten to know them any better.”

Wang said, “We bonded over space and the possibility of multiple universes and just how grand our universe is. I’m really into space and all that stuff, so it was interesting to talk about. We also bonded over rock music.”

Fitts developed her love for radio shows and podcasts due to influence from her parents. Since a young age, Fitts grew up hearing her parents listen to radio shows such as NPR, and she soon became immersed in the world of radio, podcasts, and audiobooks.

“I just continued to go down that path of audio media like Audible. I listen to a lot of audiobooks, and podcasts are really just a fun way to receive information and can go very in-depth into things that you normally wouldn’t think to go in-depth on,” said Fitts.

Fitts first got the idea for her podcast when she was listening to an episode of the podcast “Gilmore Guys,” where the hosts were able to interview a cast member from the show “Gilmore Girls.”

“I loved the interviewer’s style, and I was thinking, ‘I should totally start a podcast,’ ” said Fitts. “So then I was thinking, ‘What might I do for a concept?’ Suddenly, ‘I Yell At Strangers,’ which is the title of my podcast, just popped into my head.”

Hosting a podcast has challenged Fitts by pushing her to find ways to make her guests feel comfortable. According to Fitts, since some students are more natural speakers than others, she strives to ask a wide range of questions to encourage students to open up about their interests and experiences.

Wang said, “The podcast was an interesting experience. I’ve never done something like that before where I sit down for an hour with a complete stranger. I’ve never actually known Nell just by being with her for three years at Andover. It was interesting to have questions thrown at me in the frame of ‘I Yell At Strangers.’ ”

Diva Harsoor ’18, a friend of Fitts, said, “I think Nell is a super fun conversationalist, and she’s great at making people feel comfortable, so this podcast is a really good fit for her.”

Fitts also hopes to encourage empathy with her podcast and enable her listeners to acquaint themselves with people that they, too, might have never met.

“It’s very easy to judge people you’ve never spoken to and never heard their perspective on things, so this podcast really gives a voice to the person you pass on the path. That can really open people up to being more like, ‘Wow, I never really knew that that person was like that, but on Nell’s podcast, they were talking about how they were a sock collector or something.’ That’s pretty cool,” said Fitts.

“I Yell At Strangers” is currently being streamed on SoundCloud and iTunes as well as on two podcast-hosting sites, Stitcher and Blubrry.

Feb 23, 2018