🔥 Hot podcast host fan fic 🦆 Daffy Duck's brain damage 🏠 Flowers in the Attic improv 👸🏽 drag queen dating show 👩🏻❤️👨🏽
🍭 👂 You're in for a treat! 🌈 🤸♀️
Today is Monday, June 27. Arielle Nissenblatt is organizing a massive pre-roll campaign for podcasters in opposition to the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade. Click here.
ps If you are pleased with Podcast The Newsletter, please spread the word.
👋q & a & q & a & q & a👋
What inspired Bodies?
The inspiration for Bodies came from my own medical mystery story, which I tell in the first episode of Bodies, “Sex Hurts.” As the title suggests, sex became painful for me and I couldn’t figure out why. It took a number of doctor appointments, a lot of frustration, and eventually, a suggestion from a friend before I figured out that birth control was causing the pain. And along the way, I learned firsthand a bunch of the ways that our healthcare system lets us down and all the information about our bodies that we just don’t know. I wanted to create a show where people could get information about their health and that would help people feel less alone and less shame when going through a health challenge.
How has Bodies changed since it began?
In the first two seasons, we stuck pretty closely to a medical mystery story format. In season 3, we broadened the format. This allowed us to cover stories that didn’t necessarily have a “medical mystery” story structure, but were still character-driven stories about bodies and the ways that race/class/gender/etc shape our health. I’m thinking about our episode “Do Less Harm,” which is about the opioid overdose epidemic and the leader of an underground harm reduction organization and “Not Your Average” which is about a controversial new treatment for people with achondroplasia dwarfism.
What has making Bodies taught you about the world?
When we interview our main participants for Bodies, we really go deep. And going deep with people has shown me again and again how so many people have been through hard stuff. And a lot of that suffering is because we live in a system that can be downright brutal for women, marginalized genders, people of color, disabled people — you name it. At the same time, one of the great privileges of making Bodies is also getting to see people actively make meaning from their struggles and share that meaning-making with our listeners, so that other people feel less alone.
What are the elements to a perfect Bodies story?
Because Bodies is so character-driven, one of the most important elements is a great main participant (aka “main character”). They need to be willing to “go there” and be vulnerable, reflective and self-aware. They also need to be good at telling their own story. A Bodies story must also investigate and/or critique an aspect of our healthcare system (e.g. racism in the beauty industry, ableism in big pharma, shame and STIs), so we look for personal stories that can illuminate those structural issues.
Do you have a favorite episode of Bodies?
It’s really hard to choose one favorite, because all the episodes and the people in them have become special to me…BUT, if I had to choose a few: “Not Your Average,” “Do Less Harm,” “Not Tested on Human,” and “Not This Again.”
How do you write and report your stories?
We spend a lot of time researching, reporting and pre-interviewing potential participants before we decide to move forward on a particular story. For example, for season 3, we wanted to do an episode about STIs and after preliminary research, we decided that we wanted it to be about an older adult and herpes. From there, reporter Kalaisha Totty reached out to people on social media and Reddit, and then we pre-interviewed 5 people. From there, we decided on a person named Kelly (who is hilarious, wonderfully self-aware and a great storyteller). Since this was pre-vaccine COVID era, we mailed Kelly a recorder (the tiny, but mighty Zoom Hn1) to record herself. Over a couple days, we interviewed her in 2-3 hour chunks. From there, we pulled selects (the best tape) and started writing narration around the tape. Simultaneously, we were reading studies about herpes and interviewing experts for background information. The rest of the process was all about making drafts and getting many rounds of feedback from our story editor and over the course of many, many drafts, honing in on what the story is and how best to structure the story. This became our episode “Something Extra.”
🚨If u only have time for 1 thing🚨
Caroline Criado Perez has spent years investigating the gender data gap, how gender bias exists, and what impact it has had on the world. (This used to be one of my favorite segments on The Waves: Are locker rooms sexist? Are voicemails sexist?) Her new show Visible Women seems to be born from a grudge. When Caroline was plugging her book Invisible Women on Christiane Amanpour’s show in 2020, Dr. Sharon Moalem called her take on how PPEs were designed for men “morally indefensible.” She shut him down on the show but isn’t done…this show is all about shutting Moalem (and people who think like him) down one issue at a time. Episode one is about PPE, but episode two, about how the sexist way we build playgrounds make girls mentally and physically unhealthy, is even more interesting. The whole problem with gender bias is that not enough people are researching it, but Caroline is. Repeat after her: women are not tiny men!
⚡️News from Sounds Profitable⚡️
On Sounds Profitable, Caila Litman is here with her #GoodData report, this time digging into podcast discoverability tactics—what we know and don’t know, what’s working, and how can we use the latest data and insights to inform audience growth strategies. Read here. Listen here.
🎙️Alert, alert: I have a must-listen no brainer for you! Mariah Smith, who gave us academic coverage of reality TV for a season of Spectacle, is back for a season about true crime. If you’re less of a true crime fan and find yourself more curious about culture and the world, this is for you—Mariah will be covering the why of it all and all the elements that it is made of—the rise of social media sleuths, serial killers who became sex symbols, catfishing and conman stories, celebrity trials, “missing white woman syndrome” and more. The first episode takes a look at Truman Capote’s 1965 true crime novel In Cold Blood and the In Cold Blood of podcasts, Serial. It will both make you nostalgic and let you view the show with a new lens. Listen here.
🎙️Drag queens sing, dance, do stand-up comedy, and look fantastic doing it, backwards and in heels, and now Jujubee of RuPaul’s Drag Race has a blind date game show podcast, Queen of Hearts, with games and challenges for singles looking for love in attempt to make a match. Jujubee is having a lot of fun and her guests are, too, so it’s a blast to listen to. The contestants are all LA based for this season, so they’re not the typical NPR-listening New Yorkers we hear on so many podcasts. These people are animated and offer a real look at the modern dating scene. If you had been trapped in a bunker or cult for 20 years and were just entering the dating scene, this would be a great way to learn app language and culture. It’s like the R-rated, glitter-bombed version of This Is Dating. One contestant immediately confessed to shitting her pants within the last week, and [SPOILER ALERT] she was selected, if that gives you any idea what the vibes are here. I love it. Listen here.
🎙️On I Love a Lifetime Movie, Naomi Ekperigin and Megan Gailey are doing something super fun and special—they’ve invited the improv team Wild Horses (Lauren Lapkus! Erin Whitehead! Mary Holland! Stephanie Allynne!) for some Flowers in the Attic comedy. I don’t think any of them have watched the Lifetime movie or read the book (I have done both several times each) but they start segments off with readings from the script and start riffing, using their improv techniques to make the story even wilder than it already is, and that’s saying a lot. This is one of those audio projects that feels made just for me, I want to roll around in it. More episodes are coming up about other book-to-movie renditions from the VC Andrews universe. Listen here.
🎙️Hosted by journalists Tamar Haspel and Mike Grunwald, Climavores is a podcast about about eating with the planet in mind. Mike writes about the environment but is concerned about the way we eat, Tamar writes about food with consideration for the environment. They come together to try to answer the unanswerable questions about how to eat for the health of the world. In the first episode they discuss the role our food system plays in fueling climate change, and in episode two they get into the pros and cons (there are cons) of eating local. This is a great mix of talent and topics, and the best part is that Tamar and Mike don’t always agree. They actually argue! Which is fun to hear, and proves how complicated eating for our environment is. Listen here.
🎙️Call Bethel is The Telegraph’s year-long investigation into abuse within the Jehovah’s Witnesses, exposing secret documents and conversations that prove it’s not just the Mormans and Catholics who have skeletons in their closets, and that Jehovah’s Witnesses might be doing a better job covering things up. Those Catholics document everything, but when someone at the Telegraph got an email about a hidden database of alleged abusers, they set off to learn more. In episode one they talk to Victim A, who identifies the sexual abuse she experienced in the church and the complicated system created to protect the people at the top. Listen here.
🎙️I felt seen listening to Ali Schouten-Seeks on Feeling Seen, talking about When Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got Mail. With host Jordan Crucchiola, Ali points out the differences between these Meg Ryan films and is able to identify what exactly makes When Harry Met Sally one of the best films of all time, and it’s Sally. Sally knows exactly what she wants the whole film, she is unchanged and unafraid to be who she is. She is the anti-cool girl, she has no chill. This conversation had me thinking of the movie in an entirely new way and cheering Sally on in my head—I actually think the film should be called Sally, and I will be calling it that moving forward. Sally is a film that uses basic rom com stuff at the highest level. Listen here.
🎙️On Fan Query Theories, Lara Williams, Spencer Williams, and Michael Sewell scour the internet (mostly Reddit) for the wildest fan theories about the pop culture we love, from its most obsessed fans. They’re not Disney experts or Scooby Doo experts or LOTR experts, they’re just internet experts, so they come to us as unbiased reporters. I love the show because each episode offers a few fan theories, there’s probably at least one that will catch your eye. Time stamps would be nice! A recent episode was about the characters of Gilligan’s Island representing the seven deadly sins (is Gilligan SATAN??) and Daffy Duck’s possible brain damage. I skipped the middle segment (something something Avengers) but probably should have listened. When I don’t skip, I always find that I’m interested anyway. Listen here.
🎙️I’m sure it was difficult to decide what to run for the final episode of Reply All. Maybe it was too sensitive of a task to ask Alex Goldman and Emmanuel Dzotsi to do. The episode, which ran last week, ended up being Emmanuel accosting someone on a run and Alex having a conversation with his dad that I think we are supposed to find cute, but both segments were underwhelming. I would have appreciated something more heartfelt about what happened to the show, but maybe there is no right way to do this. The end of the episode finishes with an interview with Breakmaster Cylinder, the mysterious musician who has made the music on Reply All so good. It was a nuanced reminder of the amazing things that Reply All did, what it was, how it carved the path for so many others, and its distinct ability to make us feel the pulse of the internet over the years. Maybe it was a fine way to end the show, after all. Listen here.
🎙️My husband gets up like 6am on the weekends to watch soccer (he’s an Arsenal fan) and I try, I try to watch it with him. I know football is important and deeply fascinating. But you’d never know watching the game. Sometimes nobody scores! And they all just go home! When I watch sports, I want lots of people scoring and I want someone to WIN. (Justin reminds me this is incredibly American of me.) I don’t get it. But I do get storytelling and intrigue. On Lords of Soccer, Conor Powell is cracking open the mysterious entity that is FIFA, and in episode one, introduces us to Chuck Blazer, one of the most powerful men in the sport and a really weird guy who can be blamed for much of FIFA’s corruption. When stopped by two federal agents confronted him about his shady dealings, they offered him a deal—spill the tea on FIFA’s secret world of bribes and money laundering or go to prison for tax fraud. Blazer took the deal, setting in motion the largest international corruption investigation in history. The story behind Blazer and FIFA—that’s where the drama is! Early Saturday mornings from now on, while Justin is watching Arsenal with a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, I’ll be breaking out the popcorn for the juicy story of FIFA on Lords of Soccer. Listen here.
🎙️Normal Gossip was about sexy podcast host fan fiction. Listen here.
🎙️In the early 1990s, gay men around the world were dying of AIDS, and The Village is exploring how in Montreal, they were dying of homophobia, too. Their beaten and/or lifeless bodies were found in hotel rooms, city parks, even in their own homes, and while the aimless police were convinced there was a serial killer running rampant, the queer community knew better, and joined to find the root of this hatred, which shifted the city of Montreal and the entire world. The story is led by investigative reporter Francis Plourde, who is plugged in to the Montreal queer community, which makes the storytelling feel extra close. Listen here.
🎙️Seriously advertises itself as “the most interesting thing you’ll listen to every week,” and it often is. For the 50 year anniversary of David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, it released an episode celebrating the Ziggy Stardust persona as a meticulously planned concept that allowed David Bowie to open up about his bisexuality, a radical move that struck a chord with so many fans by talking to Bowie’s friends, Ziggy Stardust co-producer Ken Scott, a music exec, singers and more. We also hear studio outtakes that even the biggest Bowie fans have never heard. I sent this episode to my dad, the hugest Bowie fan I know, and thought he might be underwhelmed but he was blown away by this thorough and emotional tribute piece. Listen here.
🎙️LAist Studios’ Imperfect Paradise is a longform narrative podcast showcasing California stories with universal significance. We’re about half-way through the season The Forgotten Revolutionary, an investigative look into the untimely death of Chicano activist and college radio host Oscar Gomez. Adolfo Guzman-Lopez is a host with a personal connection—back in the 90s, Adolfo was also a college student, radio host, and active participant in the movement. But Adolfo survived the moment, Oscar did not. This is a story about Oscar’s mysterious death but also Adolfo’s experience reporting on something so close. The production is great, and if you haven’t started, you have some fun catching up to do. Start here.
🎙️I got a pitch letter for the new podcast My Cat’s Tale, where Ewan Spence talks to cat owners about their cats. (Most of the cats are influencers.) I couldn’t stop listening. Episode one talks to Emily, the owner of a blind cat named Moet, whose eyes were literally removed after an infection. Emily’s friends are always surprised to see Moet jumping around, acting like a seeing cat, and usually ask something like “are you sure Moet is blind?” The cat doesn’t have eyeballs, so the answer is yes, but it’s interesting to hear about how a cat can expertly maneuver the world without eyeballs. I guess cats don’t need eyeballs. PS I have already emailed Ewan about the show’s cover art and how it does this show no justice. Maybe he’ll change it. Listen here.
🎙️Maybe it’s just true that if you really love your pet, you will listen to anything about them. We are probably so curious to know what our pets are thinking because they can’t tell us in our language. (It reminds me of working at Parenting magazine and fielded frantic questions from new moms about their baby’s poop—what does it mean when it looks like cottage cheese?) But this episode of Atlas Linguae focuses on what verbal and non-verbal cues our cats and dogs are giving us, and I left it feeling actually less intelligent than my cat Monty, something he already knows. He picks up on everything I do, but he ceaselessly surprises me. This episode is fascinating and will strengthen your relationship with your cat or dog. Listen here.
🎙️Up a River is a combination of two things I love—rom coms and cruise ships. After her husband’s death, Lisa Cathcartt became obsessed with the romance novels of Candace Bigbush and goes on a Romantic Rhine cruise, which will visit the places that inspired Bigbush’s The Hero and the Heroine, with 50 people on board including Bigbush herself and a sexy sea captain. Cruises are ridiculous so this will be good funny escapism, especially for people like me who were robbed of a cruise in May and have been daydreaming of going on another one ever since. Listen here.
🎙️Subtitle has a beautiful episode dedicated to the language at the end of our lives and the forms that take over when someone dying cannot speak clearly—noises, gestures, touch, and eye contact. What will our last verbal words be? What will our last digital words be? This is an ode to the final goodbye, which was both beautiful and…I’ll steal from Jeremy Helton, here…haunting. Listen here. (h/t Jeremy Helton.)
🎙️Feed the Queue featured an episode of The Constant. Listen here.
🎙️I love you!
Welcome to Immigrantly: a boundary-pushing, border-crossing podcast that gives diverse voices and stories a home.
Drawing on her own experiences as a rights activist and a first-generation immigrant from Pakistan, creator and host Saadia Khan tackles big questions on race and identity, while challenging mainstream narratives in today’s divided America.
From love and dating to food and faith, each weekly episode explores a particular theme with inspiring guests such as Grammy-winning singer Arooj Aftab; bestselling author of The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini; and comedians Hari Kondabolu and Aparna Nancherla. It’s a true celebration of what makes us unique – and a timely reminder of all that unites us.
This week we’re getting to peek into the listening life of Martha Madrigal of Full Circle with Charles Tyson Jr. and Martha Madrigal. Charles is a black, queer, cis man, and Martha is a white, queer, trans woman, and the two have intersectional discussions that should be more easily found than they are. (They also owned a bar in Philly together for five years.) Martha is also a writer and if her book ever comes out, it will be titled The Worst Gay Bar Ever, a nod to the fact that her little neighborhood bar was often referenced as a gay bar, even though it was never that. She used to say, “look around at all the straight people here! If this is a gay bar, it’s the worst one EVER.”
The app you use to listen: I tend to use Apple Podcasts, mostly because it’s the default in my car, and driving is always a good chance to catch up on podcasts. Otherwise, it’s usually Goodpods at home.
What speed do you listen to podcasts? 1x. Life goes by fast enough, and I’m too easily annoyed to speed it up. And I was today years old when I found out what this even meant. I asked Charles. I’m not the technical one. But I learned a new skill today, so thank you!
How do you discover new shows? Usually? Charles! He is immersed in the Indie podcast community, and constantly finding something new to share. I rely on him for great recommendations. He’s my nerd. Otherwise, almost always by recommendation.
One show you love that everybody loves. The Read! I adore them. The first podcast I followed!
One show you love that most people don't know about. I want to say Full Circle because I do honestly love our show, but I’m also a huge fan of Philadelphia Dance Talk Radio which Charles hosts! It’s been recently resurrected after COVID, with Charles as the new host, and he is doing an amazing job interviewing Philadelphia dance legends twice a month. It’s an important show as our city emerges from shutdown and we reimagine the arts, and I respect all of the folks he’s talking with.
Anything else you want to say…I’m new to podcasting, and I’ve already met truly amazing people along the way. Podcasting is a real opportunity for folks like us who generally have to create our own platforms to be heard at all. I’m just really grateful each day.