🦇 Bat problems 🍕 Boboli 👨🏽🍳 a sonic tour👂 unmissable true-crime 🔍
🍭 👂 You're in for a treat! 🌈 🤸♀️
Today is Monday, January 3. There are 155 days until I go on my next Disney cruise.
This week we’re getting to peek into the listening life of Claire Tighe, an independent writer and producer currently making projects for Audible and a few other shops, previously at NBC News/MSNBC and Pineapple Street. She also teaches audio journalism at New York University and Salt Institute.
The app I use: Big Purple! (Apple Podcasts) As a producer, it helps me understand the experience the majority of listeners have when they download my work.
Listening time per week: At least 6. I’m up to my elbows in raw tape for work these days and ear breaks are really important, so I’m listening to podcasts less than usual.
Recommendations: NHPR’s Outside/In piece called “The Acorn: An Ohlone Love Story,” La Brega, Resistance, The Experiment, The Line, 9/12, Making Gay History, West Cork, Where is George Gibney?, Constellations, BBC 4’s Shortcuts, On Being, and Field Recordings.
Queued up on my podcast nightstand: Tokitae and Hillary Frank’s Here Lies Me. 2022 cannot come soon enough. I am SO ready for Canción Exploder.
How I discover: I take a pretty curated approach but like most podcast listeners, word of mouth is my primary source. Twitter is definitely a part of that. I rely a lot on other producers sharing what they make. I do love traditional media so I dig Rachel Larson and Rachel Syme’s reviews in the New Yorker and will generally make my way through the annual “best of” lists from The New York Times and everywhere else. Students I work with through NYU and Salt help me stay relevant and I’m grateful for them.
Anything else? I’m so pumped about the future of this industry. I truly believe we are just at the beginning. More audiences are turning to podcasts by way of other formats and their interests are pushing us forward all the time. If you’d like to pick my brain more, please hit me up! I’d love to hear from you. And if you’re itching to roll up your sleeves and make some audio, I’ll be teaching a four-part online workshop with NYU in January. You can register here.
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👋q & a & q & a & q & a👋
Twila Dang is the founder and CEO of Matriarch Digital Media. Her BIPOC in podcasting survey is here. Listen to her on Ethnically Ambiguous here. Follow Matriarch on Twitter here. Follow her on Twitter here.
What does the power of audio mean to you?
Audio is deeply personal to me. When I tell a story, the focus is on my words, their meaning and what I hope to provide for the audience. In a world that constantly tries to define me externally, audio is internal. My voice is a powerful tool. Without visual distraction, you focus more on my intention. Often, my audience is seeking support with issues that make them feel vulnerable. Audio is a safe space to explore, seek answers or just feel connected in a way with complete anonymity.
What is Matriarch doing that is different from what other media companies are doing?
I think the thing we’re doing differently is speaking to women with unconditional love and support. We love women exactly the way that they are. And we will support them exactly as they are whether they want to make changes in their lives or not. Too often, traditional media aimed at or for women pushes a “your broken but fixable” narrative. When women find our content, I want them to feel valued.
You ran a survey for BIPOC podcasters. What was the most insightful thing you learned?
Biggest takeaway - we are have two very different understandings of how BIPOC functions in our industry. When we asked what the biggest issue facing podcasters is, our BIPOC participants spoke of lack of access, lack of pipeline, lack of training and descrimination. Our white participants overwhelmingly cited audience growth… Imagine what this means when productions are coming together? When we are hiring. If the issue isn’t an issue for the group in the majority of power-wielding positions, how will we ever make lasting progress?
What should companies and big orgs do to be more inclusive? What steps should be taken to hire more BIPOC creators?
I have A LOT of ideas. But I no longer feel comfortable just giving them away. Creating the BIPOC Women Podcast Survey has highlighted for me the need to pay people for their emotional and intellectual rigor. Often, employees from marginalized groups carry the weight of highlighting, fighting for and implementing systemic change. Often as an added, UNPAID, set of duties that accompany their jobs. It’s unfair and honestly, lazy on the part of those in leadership positions. The satisfaction of knowing that you helped make a difference in your workplace (or industry) is NOT ENOUGH.
I was struck by the inequities your survey unearthed. What are things podcast listeners (like me) can do to support BIPOC creators? Or does it only come from the top?
Here’s the thing, we all have power that can be used to make our system better. You need to look at what you have the capacity to do and then do it. Do you mentor? Do you recommend your talented BIPOC colleagues for jobs (and not just the jobs that are focused on BIPOC narratives). Do you build teams with diversity in mind? (and not just racial/ethnic diversity - age, ability, size, class, experience diversity!) Do you build budgets for pay equity? There is a ton you can be doing. Don’t wait for someone to ask.
🚨If u only have time for 1 thing🚨
Beginning January 1, tens of thousands of recordings made before 1923 entered the public domain for the very first time. (Podnews asks, What might you find for your podcast?) Thanks to the Music Modernization Act, we get to some of hear them. On this episode of Radio Diaries, Chris Hoff and Sam Harnett from The World According to Sound to bring you a sonic tour of some of the audio from the collection. Hear the very first recorded sound, and the creative ways people started using audio to document their lives. This episode feels like a treasure you might find in a time capsule.
🎙️For 31 days, Hark Audio asked podcasters and people in the space to recommend a podcast moment that they loved from 2022. Hear why Jad Abumrad recommends Everything Is Alive, why Ian Chillag recommends The 11th, and why Anna Sale recommends Vice News Reports. [Full list here.]
🎙️I asked people in the podcast marketing space to offer their predictions for podcast marketing in 2022. Read what they had to say.
⚡️News from Sounds Profitable⚡️
If you’re reading this, there’s a huge chance you should be subscribed to Bryan Barletta’s Sounds Profitable podcast and newsletter. In the upcoming months I’ll be distilling the week’s biggest takeaway or two from Bryan, but you should follow Bryan and Sounds Profitable so you can gobble up all his content on your own. (Here was a favorite 2021 episode of the show.) And in the “I don’t know how he does it” category, Bryan has started, with Evo Terra, The Download, a series that tells us the what and why of podcast business related news every week, in 10 minutes or less. It’s living on the Sounds Profitable feed…for now. First three episodes are here here here.
🎙️On The Pod Club, Chuck Bryant recommended a very old (in podcast time, from 2012) Judge John Hodgman episode about two brothers who are living with a bat infestation. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Jesse Thorn laugh so hard, and I was laughing along with him. The brothers are subtly hilarious and Judge John Hodgman accentuates the story’s ridiculousness by being the funniest version of himself. Listen here. Listen here.
🎙️I never would have listened to this Recipe Club episode, Boboli, but it’s in the Bello 100 and I am making my way through each selection on Twitter. I can’t believe how much joy it brought me, I felt invested in the competition, I laughed, and I want to go buy a Boboli. I think you’ll be surprised to hear what David Chang does with his Boboli and how much he likes it. This is a true celebration of delicious, crappy food. Listen here.
🎙️Sam Dingman (Family Ghosts, The Rumor) was on Marcy Jarreau and Betsy Sodaro’s A Funny Feeling to talk about an odd experience he had that he’s not sure was real, and it opens up a great conversations about dreams, ghosts, and belief. There were a few eye-opening moments about our consciousness that changed the way I think about dreams. And because it’s Marcy and Betsy, it’s funny, too. Listen here.
🎙️I am recommending The Witness: In His Own Words for a few reasons. It’s an interesting story—Joseph O’Callaghan was 18 years old when he became the youngest person to go into witness protection in Ireland. But the treatment of this show is unique. It’s basically a 5-hour sit down with Joseph—you feel like you’re getting a beer with him as he tells in great detail how he got a job on a milk truck that ended up making him the victim of a violent drug criminal. It’s unrushed, there were times I considered skipping ahead but inevitably couldn’t. I wanted every piece of the story. It would make for excellent bedtime listening if it weren’t so disturbing. Joseph has a poetic way of talking, it’s very much like if Pádraig Ó Tuama was reading you poetry about drug deals, manipulation, and murder. Listen here.
🎙️Sprawled out on a yoga mat with my cat curled around my head, I listened to the Felinology (CATS) episode of Ologies and it felt like a therapy session. (He knew we were talking about him.) Dr. Mikel Delgado explains how to woo a cat when you walk into a stranger’s home, how to get your cat to stop jumping on countertops, what cats will love more than catnip, whether or not cats are domesticated, and whether or not cats would eat your dead corpse if you died inside your apartment. (They would. But who wouldn’t?) Listen here.
🎙️With so many podcasts on break, I pounded a bunch of Dateline episodes and I don’t regret a second of it. I was drawn to episodes called Too Fat to Kill, Horror at the Lake, and The House on Murder Mountain, and more. I would listen to Keith Morrison say anything, and he must know this because ICYMI he release an entire episode of himself reading The Night Before Christmas. I like a man who knows his strengths. Could this be the next Phoebe Reads a Mystery? Listen here.
🎙️The teikirisi women are back with two personal, fun episodes about Cuba—one about sugar, and one about Celia Cruz. Both episodes exhibit Fryda and Carmen’s ability to masterfully juggle things like politics, identity, family, immigration, and friendship. I think that this show is really about their friendship. (That’s why I love it.) Listen here.
🎙️Just wrapped: Slow Burn’s season on The LA Riots, which takes us back to 1992 to really try to understand what led up to Rodney King’s beating and the chaos that followed. It’s not so much about the riots, it’s about two LA cities on the opposite sides of the wealth spectrum and the anger that bubbled over when the cops who beat Rodney King went free. I knew this story but literally could not stop listening. There were small things I’d never tied together (especially about the murder of Latasha Harlins that happened around in Koreatown around the same time) and I was interested to explore the complicated layers of Rodney King’s experience. Listen here.
🎙️It’s no wonder Private Affairs won the the 2021 Australian Podcast Awards for best fiction show and Acast’s Podcast Of The Year—it’s a comedy/drama fiction show that was so excellently written and produced thatI kept forgetting it wasn’t real and was googling the characters. It’s about the relationship between Veronica (Vee), who recently moved to Melbourne, and the hot Aussie doctor she ends up dating. Each episode launches us into conversations about prickly issues like dating between cultures and misunderstandings about race. This is a fiction show that goes there with its sexiness and seriousness. It demands an Insecure/SATC-level treatment of unpacking and discussion. Someone please listen so we can talk about it. Listen here.
🎙️I’m not sure there is a single team that has influenced me more in my listening/watching habits than Crime Writers On… and their year-end review was a total gem, Toby, Lara, Kevin, and Rebecca all give their lists of top 10 true-crime podcasts. I have already listened to every single one of them (because if Rebecca told me to jump off a bridge, I’d probably do it) but if you haven’t, start adding to your library now. Listen here.
🎙️Mumbai Crime shares crime stories from India, and season one, Q&A, is based on a story you might know (it’s the best-selling novel by Vikas Swarup, the story that inspired Slumdog Millionaire) but the format of the podcast is endlessly fun to listen to. Each episode takes you to the set of the Who Will Win A Billion rupee game, where street kid Thomas is trying to win. He nails every question, but not without going through a memory from his life that leads him to a correct answer. There’s a reason he is on the show that I won’t spoil for you. Just know the journey of hearing Thomas’ story is fun, but the last episode is a twist you weren’t expecting. Listen here. (h/t Amber Rose Bulinski…I picked this up from the Bello Collective Best 100.) Listen here.
🎙️In 2001, former monk in training Mykhaylo Kofel killed Sister Michelle Lewis by stabbing her more than 90 times at a religious school in Miami-Dade County. On Sacred Scandal, Chilean-born comedian Paula Barros, who went to school with Kofel, and Chilean-born documentary filmmaker Melanie Bartley, are bringing light to the case by retracing the crime and interviewing Kofel, who is currently sentenced to a 30-year-term after confessing to the murder. Listen here.
🎙️NBA Flashback takes you back to the best moments in NBA history through exclusive archival audio from the NBA vault, along with interviews with the players and coaches who were there. If you’re an NBA fan you’ll revisit the stories you’ve never forgotten and will be served the details and takes you’ve never heard before. And if you hate sports but love storytelling, these are some of the best. I loved listening to host Sarah Kustok talk to Dennis Scott about Scott Skiles setting the NBA record of 30 assists on December 30th, 1990 because Dennis remembers the day with such excitement and awe, it’s hard not go get excited, too. Listen here.
🎙️Derry Girls and Bridgerton’s Nicola Coughlan has teamed up with screenwriter Camilla Whitehill to create a scripted Irish comedy podcast called Whistle Through the Shamrocks, a radio play that takes aim at as many Irish cliches as possible. The podcast tells the story of the O’Flanerhyn family whose home and business are in peril from the schemes of Lord Dumblington. He plans to knock down their home to build a chip factory. However, his plans are complicated when his daughter falls in love with one of the O’Flanerhyn sons. Whistle is meta in the way it pokes fun of fiction podcasts, but is a great, funny audio drama, too. Listen here. (h/t Neroli Price…I picked this up from the Bello Collective Best 100. Listen here.
🎙️I’m so into Erica Heilman that I devours anything she releases on Rumblestrip—she’s an expert interviewer and storyteller and I’m always eager to explore the world through her lens. Awful Sisters Christmas. Pandemic Year Two (a follow up to Problems: The Awful Sisters Christmas Special) is a short, scripted piece that lets us eavesdrop on the cringeworthy conversation between three sisters over the holiday season. It’s funny but so smart that we will be able to listen to it in decades and understand something big about what it was like to celebrate Christmas in 2021. I could have gotten lost in the stories of these sisters forever. Listen here.
🎙️I love you!