💎 Cuban baby bling 👶🏼 improvised mega church ⛪️ stories that shouldn’t have been made 🗑 the podcast that sells itself 💸
🍭 👂 You're in for a treat! 🌈 🤸♀️
Today is Monday, July 25. There are 72 days until I go on my next Disney Cruise. In case this email is too long, the podcast that sells itself is here, the last podcast I couldn’t subscribe to fast enough is here, I am getting way too invested in this.
ps If you are pleased with Podcast The Newsletter, please spread the word.
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Amy S. Choi & Rebecca Lehrer
Amy S. Choi and Rebecca Lehrer are creators and executive producers of the new show Love and Noraebang. They are also the founders of The Mash-Up Americans. Follow Amy on Twitter here. Follow The Mash-Up Americans on Twitter here.
What is a Mash-Up American and what does it mean about the way they inhabit the world?
A Mash-Up American is a person navigating multiple cultures. We are rooted in traditions while creating the future. We are first generation and married/partnered with people from other cultures. We are living in a culture different than the ones are parents are from. And the Mash-Up community includes the culturally curious community we live in - the rich and beautiful fabric of a multiracial democracy. The Mash-Up Americans is a creative studio and media company. We have a newsletter, podcast, and website.
How has the audio world changed since you started The Mash-Up Americans?
Rebecca: That’s a big question! Before starting The Mash-Up Americans I was the very first Director of Business Development at WNYC / NY Public Radio from 2009-2013. Looking back on it, iPhones had JUST come out and WNYC was really thinking through a robust digital strategy. Obviously the landscape has changed dramatically, but what remains the same is that it is still a very relationships-driven business and that there is still SO much room for innovation and independent creators. It’s still a baby industry! We’re excited to be part of making more space for more creators in all parts of the business.
How has The Mash-Up Americans changed since you started The Mash-Up Americans?
Rebecca: Our mission at Mash-Up — to define a new demographic, demonstrate a new perspective on who and how to tell stories, and prove the power of a diverse audience that blurs demographic verticals — has been remarkably consistent. What’s changed nine years down the line is the world is much more ready for us! So we can take on bigger, more expansive projects and experiment with form and audiences. We like to think we had a small part in making that change happen.
What does the podcasting industry need to get better at?
Discovery and Rewarding engagement - how deep an audience is engaged - rather than only volume of listeners. There are many many many medium sized independent creators who are overlooked despite having thousands of engaged listeners.
Which project are you most proud of?
Amy: Us! The Mash-Up Americans is a project in progress that we breathe life into every day and that we have been breathing life into for 9 years! Sometimes forcefully pump life into, if I’m being honest. But seriously, this company, our leadership, how we work with our team, and each one of our stories is an act of imagination that we are revising and building on every day. It’s critical for us to remind ourselves that our organization is itself a project that we choose every day.
Describe Love and Noraebang in 10 words or less.
The k-drama telenovela romcom LA love letter of our dreams.
What’s different about Love and Noraebang? Why will people like it?
We redefine the who and the how of a classic romcom. Where else are Spanish, Korean, English, salsa, jimjilbang, pozole, and noraebang the tentpoles of a love story? Only in a Mash-Up universe. Also, if you need a place to be happy for a few hours — and who doesn’t — we got you.
Fill in the blank: you will love Love and Noraebang if you like ______.
Kimchi tacos! Scream singing in your car! Kai Ryssdal! Mexico City! Seoul! LA! And love, of course.
How did Love and Noraebang change from the moment it was envisioned to the final result?
We originally conceived the show to have more conflict, more drama, more kimchi slaps and classic telenovela nemeses battling it out. Ultimately we decided the world we wanted to inhabit was a little bit softer and less tense. Jaesun and Ana face some very real world challenges – eviction, military enlistment, miscommunication and poor communication – but we needed more joy in our lives, and that’s the story we created.
What’s something nobody asks you but you wish they would?
We have opinions about everything. Just try us.
🚨If u only have time for 1 thing🚨
When I first read Catcher in the Rye (probably too young) and Calvin and Hobbes, I remember being psyched because I thought I didn’t know books could be like this. They both contained fresh voices that felt too much fun to be real. I feel that way about Shameless Acquisition Target, “the podcast that sells itself!” Longtime podcast executive Laura Mayer has created a show about acquisitions in the podcast biz, in hopes that it will one day be acquired. Talking to podcasting, entertainment, and business pros about what is valued in media, she’s trying to wrap her brain around acquisitions, and will sell the show to the highest bidder. (Right now in a very meta way, Bryan Barletta is interviewed about acquisitions and his company Sounds Profitable, is a sponsor of the show.) Laura is doing this all with the hopes of someday buying her dream home. With lots of humor and spice, Laura is pulling the curtain back on acquisitions, letting us in on her journey and the media landscape on the whole. She’s saying the stuff nobody is saying and totally putting herself out there for our enjoyment. (And for someone, a possible investment.) I have been waiting for this podcast for what seems like forever.
🎙️Someone just asked me about the last podcast I subscribed to immediately and I immediately answered The Big Ponder. (This was before I was sure it wasn’t just a big podcast about TH Ponders.) It was mentioned on an episode of Rumble Strip, and when Erica Heilman tells you to subscribe to a podcast you should listen. Her piece The Farm was featured on The Big Ponder, a show that tells stories to bridge the gap between the US and Germany. Her story is a beautiful vignette about a boy on a farm who uses storytelling to live a vibrant life. (It’s in both the Rumble Strip feed and the feed of The Big Ponder.) Over on The Big Ponder, I also listened to a story about mom and pop shops, and how one in Berlin, known as “the living room of the neighborhood,” fought to survive. Words don’t give Rumble Strip justice, and they don’t give The Big Ponder justice, either. Go listen.
🎙️On In Your Hands, Lizzy Cooperman lets listeners map out her life adventure, deciding whether she should get a piercing, work at Cold Stone Creamery, start a workout routine, etc. Then she does it. The unexpected perk of this show is that you learn about us, her listeners, (who she now calls Source-erers) and what they want for her, which I’d argue is not always the best for her. It’s a game—I find myself screaming when I find they decided she should give up sweets instead of wearing finger shoes. Recently Source-erers had to decide whether Lizzy should do some manifesting at the beach or develop a pen pal relationship with someone on death row via a program called Death Row Support Project that matches you up. This week, when Lizzy reveals the results on which task she will commit herself to, she mentions that an In Your Hands listener signed up to be a penpal—that was me. (But Lizzy, if you’re reading, tell Rachel I haven’t received any response and am eagerly awaiting!) We also learn in this episode that not only is it light in an incarcerated person’s life, but often prison guards treat incarcerated people better if they know someone cares about them on the outside. I was so shocked to learn that her Source-erers voted for her to manifest at the beach I couldn’t even focus on the podcast for the next 20 minutes. How could people choose that over writing to an inmate? I felt like I do not understand humanity. (God do you see how invested I am in this show?) Lizzy you still can become pen pal though your listeners have chosen otherwise! Podcast the Newsletter readers, you can sign up to become a pen pal, too! Join me! Listen here.
🎙️Carmen and Fryda start out this episode of teikirisi about Cuban baby bling, how they were nearly born with pierced ears, and how Cuban parents often save their fallen baby teeth and turn them into jewelry. They use the baby teeth stuff to launch into a larger conversation about family, conserving memories, the Tooth Fairy myth, and generational wealth. And because their conversations are so much fun, so much more. Listen here.
🎙️In the last edition of Podcast Marketing Magic, Isabella Way recommended we listen to MEGA, and I listen to Isabella, so I did. It’s a satirical, improvised show hosted by the staff (Holly Laurent and Greg Hess) of the Twin Hills Community Church that interviews community members. (Guest list includes Cecily Strong, Thomas Middleditch, Lauren Lapkus, and Jason Mantzoukas, to name a few.) I went straight to an interview with Chelsea Devantez, host of Celebrity Book Club, who gets into organizing bachelorette outings for the future brides of Christ. The conversations are sharp and packed with deeply funny one-liners, and together they paint a world on this community church. We’re living in time when the Evangelical right is newly energized, but this show isn’t mean about it, it just coyly provides hysterical commentary that honestly might not be so satirical after all. Listen here.
🎙️Happy 500 episodes, 99% Invisible! I’m truly blown away that a show with so many episodes can constantly be so brilliantly brain-shattering and unique. To celebrate, and for a two-parter (we only have one so far) Roman talks to his team about how architecture has impacted who we have become with history and nostalgia. From an A-frame doll house to LA dingbat apartments, this is a piece about how the built world has shaped us. Listen here.
🎙️This American Life ran an old episode that is a competition between the TAL staff—they all get story recommendations from their families, usually bad ones, but on this episode they all challenge themselves to make them a reality. Then they voted on the best. This is a funny premise (reminds me a bit of a great episode—Sarah Koenig finds stories based on seven things her mother says nobody should talk about) and some of the stories are good. My favorite, which was actually created by Jane Marie of The Dream, didn’t win. Listen here.
🎙️I have been listening to to Blocked Party with my husband every weekend for months (at least one episode per weekend—we discovered it late and have a lot of catching up to do) and it’s never not funny. Stefan Heck and John Cullen talk to comedians about blocking and being blocked on social media. There’s a great theme song and an even better “Block Tales” segment song, inspired by Ducktales. Stefan and John are sweeties—being nice and funny is hard, but these guys are able to do it week after week. It doesn’t matter what they are talking about (the conversations always stray far from the topic at hand)—it’s hysterical. Don’t you want to know why Jamie Loftus was blocked by The Olympics? Blocked Party is a persistent hit and I envy you if you haven’t listened yet. Start with an episode featuring your favorite comedian and then just start going through the rest—they’re all equally good. Listen here.
🎙️Almost no one has been more battered around by the media than Kim Goldman, sister of Ron Goldman, the guy OJ murdered with Nicole Brown 30 years ago. On Media Circus, she’s taking high-profile cases that made private tragedy open for the public eye, and talking to the people directly impacted by mass media, starting with her own story, her experience as we all tracked down every second of the case like starving wolves. This is a true crime story we were all participants in. (I was like twelve, but I watched OJ’s acquittal with eyes wide, jaw dropped, when my teacher rolled the TV into the classroom.) It’s letting us look at the stories we thought we knew from another perspective. Listen here.
🎙️When people want true crime, the first place they probably turn to is Dateline. Rehashing the episodes in minute detail is the one form of bonding I can enjoy with my mom, grandmother, and aunt at the same time. Spectacle, which is giving us an academic look at true crime this season, has an episode about how Dateline became Dateline. Host Mariah Smith talks to Mother Fucking Keith Morrison himself, and although it sounds strange to hear him talking about himself instead of saying quippy one-liners like, “it was the perfect day…or was it?” it’s a fun lesson about how Dateline set the template for the true crime we are enjoying all over the place today. Listen here.
🎙️Soul Music always, always makes me cry. Each episode is a deep dive into one song and includes a portfolio of stories from people who have been intensely moved by them. (My favorite episode is about a song I love, Fairytale of New York.) These stories aren’t like, “I listened to this on my way to basketball practice every day,” these stories are like “this song saved my life.” And I usually don’t cry just once, I cry multiple times. The stories get you, and will always make you fall in love with a song that you may not have appreciated before. And if you already liked the song, you’ll be cry-dancing all over your house. This episode about Purple Rain shows off Prince’s mastery of music but also the many ways his art has made a huge impact on his fans. Listen here.
🎙️Réunion: Sharks Attack in Paradise: Get in for the shark stuff, stay for the political intrigue. This show takes us to a remote island in the Indian Ocean that has seen a sudden influx in maniacal shark attacks, which is just hard to rip your ears away from if you’re into that sort of thing. But what these shark attacks are doing to Réunion is even more interesting. Shark fatalities can “turn a mayor into mush” and as we hear on recent episodes, Réunion’s mayor is tasked with solving the shark problem and settling the community, some who blame the surfers, and some who blame the sharks—but not doing a great job. (“This is my island!” She yells at protesters on the beach.) This story tells the history of the island, the simmering tension between the Creole and the newcomer French white surfers, and is really about what happens when a town has to solve a deadly issue together, even when they’re coming from a million different places. Listen here.
🎙️Poet/artist Shin Yu Pai is host of The Blue Suit, a show that explores objects that may seem ordinary but proves their special significance with beautiful storytelling. Shin Yu rounds up a red, sparkly chador garment (they’re usually black,) an old record collection left behind by Japanese Americans during their internment, and yes, a blue suit (that was worn by a congressman on Jan. 6) to make us find the humanity and history of each one. Poets make the best podcast hosts, and Shin Yu’s narratives are both gentle and moving. Listen here.
🎙️V Magazine has a podcast with a cool concept. On every episode of V Wanna Know, host Mathias Rosenzweig invites people in music and fashion to interview experts on a subject of their choice. So you get deep dives into niche topics, and you get to learn that Tinashe is curious about the Metaverse, or that Finneas wants to know about gun control. Turning the tables on the stars and letting them focus on something they don’t know much about is a new way to get to know them, and the subject at hand. So there are two layers in each episode—one about fairytales or diet culture or whatever, and another as a study into a famous person who for the first time ever, maybe, isn’t just talking about themselves. (Although Mathias does indulge them a bit at the beginning, sometimes for perhaps too long.) Listen here.
🎙️An episode of Far Flung took us to Iceland, a place being overtaken by the English language, despite the fact that Icelandic has endured there for more than 800 years. (It was also a major inspiration to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.) The Icelandic Language Commission is fighting back (very nicely) by urging people to use Icelandic on street signs and sports jerseys, but the fact that the ancient language doesn’t always speak to young, marginalized people is a problem they’re having trouble solving. Saleem Reshamwala talked to a group of Black teens—one says Icelandic is too outdated for the Black experience, that there isn’t a way to say People of Color. “We have words, but they’re terrible,” another says. The episode isn’t just about the threat of a lost language, it explains how it’s a market issue with a profit incentive problem, and whether or not the Icelandic Language Commission can turn the ship around. Listen here.
🎙️Jim Harold’s Campfire is a great way to get your spooky stories fix. Jim lets gets take the mic to tell their scariest tales. What makes this show different is…well…Jim is absolutely loveable. And he always ties the stories together with other ones he’s heard to find similarities, which always adds an umph to each one. What is going on that people experience such similar things? I was home alone, trying to go to bed and I turned on this “best of the year so far” episode thinking I’d hear something I may have missed. The first voice I hear is my mother, telling a terrifying and strange story that involves me as a ghost. She was recently on the show again. I have turned my mom into a call-in girl, just like me and Arielle. Listen here.
🎙️Suchandrika Chakrabarti (But Is It Funny? and the person who introduced me to The Beef and Dairy Network—I’m still grateful) has launched a podcast, We Miss Amy Winehouse, to tie in with her Edinburgh Festival Fringe show, which she’ll be performing all through August. You can find it on the Spotify/Anchor Music + Talk platform, which allows Suchandrika to include full Winehouse songs, making the listening experience completely unique. Each episode is an interview with an Amy fan from the worlds of music, journalism and comedy about their top 3 songs by Amy, the memories those songs evoke and why they still miss her now, at the 11th anniversary of her death. The first episode features British culture journalist, Emma Garland. Listen on Spotify here.
🎙️I love you!
This week we’re getting to peek into the listening life of Marina Mano, who manages branded podcast opportunities at SiriusXM - home to shows like Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend, NBC's Dateline, Hidden Brain & many more. Some of these look like live podcast events, social campaigns, and cross-podcast integrations. When she's not working or listening, she's out at the beach or trying new restaurants in SF!
The app you use to listen: I mainly listen on Spotify. I like how the platform aggregates both my music and podcast listening. And I'm also here for their new video capabilities.
What speed do you listen to podcasts? Speed? Didn't know I could control such a thing! So I guess the standard 1x for me.
How do you discover new shows? I mainly discover new shows through work or by word of mouth, and I love to hear about what my friends and family are listening to. I'm all ears for podcast recs, and once I get started talking about them, it's hard to stop.
One show you love that everybody loves. Crime Junkie. And rightfully so. Ashley & Brit are incredible at what they do, and they're a dream to work with.
One show you love that most people don't know about. The Sporkful! It's hosted by NY-based, Dan Pashman, a true foodie and lover of Italian food. His team actually just won a James Beard Media Award for Audio Reporting, and he's even launched his own pasta called Cascatelli.
Anything else you want to say…So grateful to be part of this community, and thank you for the spotlight!