☎️ Laura! have your people call my people 🚲 Kids on bikes 🍔 ketchup packet mystery 💔 sisterhood of the traveling divorce 📚 books, exploded💥
🍭 👂 You're in for a treat! 🌈 🤸♀️
Today is Monday, August 8. There are 58 days until I go on my next Disney Cruise and there are 14 days until Podcast Movement. In case this email is too long, an exploration of kids on bikes here, Ian Chillag’s ketchup packet mystery here, how remote work is fucking up Mexico City here.
ps If you are pleased with Podcast The Newsletter, please spread the word.
👋q & a & q & a & q & a👋
Describe Beauty Translated in 10 words or less.
A Podcast that Celebrates the Beauty of Southern Trans Individuals.
Can you tell us about the NextUp program? What was it like, and how excited were you when you found out you were accepted?
The NextUp program was created to teach creators from marginalized groups basically EVERYTHING about making a podcast. The NextUp program did just that, we had 2 weeks of classes that went over everything from creating a format for a new show, marketing & sales, audio engineering, mixing, mastering, editing, it even guided us through creating our pitch decks. The program was like a dream come true, I kept asking myself if it could really be happening. I was so excited I quit my job as a teacher 2 months after being accepted!
Did you develop friendships with any of the other people in the program?
Absolutely, having lived in Georgia my entire life has made me feel very sheltered. I have created a bond with each member of the program that I will cherish for life! When we all traveled to LA in February to shoot our commercials for our Toyota sponsorship, it felt like meeting friends I had known for years. Each of the amazing individuals in the program has taught me something and ultimately helped shape my vision for Beauty Translated.
How has the show changed since the moment you made it to what it is now?
It has changed A LOT! The rough draft idea I had for Beauty Translated before it even had that name, was to recreate the experience of the skin therapist-client by conducting the interview recording while I actually give the guest a facial, the more I thought about that idea and all of the logistics, I realized I was thinking way too literally about the beauty concept. And it has strayed from conversations of beauty to bigger conversations on Trans visibility, Trans rights, the experience of Trans people in rural or conservative areas and even spirituality and religion. So it really does end up feeling like the types of conversations and relationship building that I was doing with clients in the treatment room, when you listen to the episodes. And I am hoping to have more conversations with transgender professionals in the Beauty and Wellness world.
Were you nervous about being so open on a podcast?
This was one of the biggest challenges for me in making the show. In my day to day life prior to creating this podcast, I was a teacher at a beauty school and being trans is not something I ever felt comfortable talking about openly with students or even clients in the treatment room, so at first it was hard for me to talk so openly about the trans experience. And even tell people I know that I am making a podcast about being trans, as prior to creating this show I was not out to a lot of people in my life.
dot com: The Hacking
Last week I wrote about dot com’s series The Hacking, which deciphers the complex world of Russian ransomware, mapping out the key cyber gangs behind these disastrous attacks and delving into the impact of ransomware on everyday people’s lives across the globe. Host Katie Puckrik is speaking to hackers, cybersecurity experts and victims to unravel some shocking stories that might keep you up at night. It’s dark and complicated, but Katie makes it seem fun, somehow. She’s an excellent guide to this twisted tale.
🚨If u only have time for 1 thing🚨
Marissa Tandon of Tandon Productions (they produced That Vampire Show) launched You Are What You Love, a show I’m very excited about—partially because it’s a great idea, partially because Marissa interviewed me for it and my episode is coming up soon! Marissa talks to people about the pieces of media that made them who they are. First up is the voice of Kat Wright on That Vampire Show Lauren Grace Thompson, who talks about Supernatural. Speaking as someone who has been interviewed for this show, I can tell you it feels like a therapy session—Marissa dives deep into our memories and psyches about how life-changing media can be, and why exactly that is. It’s a love letter to fandom, celebrating the things we might get made fun of but that we stan anyway, because they bring us so much joy. Who would we be without these things? Was there a unique way we consumed them that added to their specialness? I love the angle on pop culture this show takes, and Marissa is a wise, warm host who guides guests to discover a lot about themselves. Sign up for the newsletter here.
I AM ALSO SHAMELESS
Two weeks ago I featured Shameless Acquisition Target, the show about podcast acquisition that is itself on a mission to be acquired, as my “if u have one thing to listen to this week” selection, and it continues to be brilliant, entertaining, and informative. Laura Mayer is bored by the podcasting playbook and is trying to make something new, but will she make money? How much sameness can the industry stand? I truly, truly appreciate her financial transparency (she’s currently in the hole $14,722.06) and part of me died when I heard that she sunk $5K into TikTok marketing. Laura DID YOU KNOW that Podcast Marketing Magic is here to help you? Arielle and I are willing to provide one free hour of Podcast Therapy to help in your quest to monetize your show. We'll throw in a Podcast Therapy t-shirt. Reach out if you’re interested. I want to be part of this project! To everybody else, listen here. Oh and Laura was on The Daily Zeitgeist today, and I urge you to listen to that.
🎙️I did a hell yeah when I saw a new episode of Richard’s Famous Food Podcast in my feed. This time Richard is exploring a mystery surfaced by Ian Chillag of Everything Is Alive—what had to fall through the cracks for Ian to receive an air-filled ketchup packet with his Goldburger order? Ian “does not want to live in a world where there are people completely unmoved by an empty ketchup packet.” Is he alone? Richard drops everything to find out how this kind of thing would happen in a ketchup factory, and locates a woman named Eva who also received one of the packets. I admire Richard’s dedication and cracker-jack reporting, and like all of his work, the piece is a musical adventure and feels like an episode of Pee Wee’s Playhouse for your ears. It’s funny, weird, and wonderful. Listen here.
🎙️The Athens Lunatic Asylum is a beautiful piece of land in Ohio that contains three cemeteries where approximately 1900 patients who weren’t claimed by their families when they died, and on Who Lies Beneath, Cheri Russo is introducing us to these people and their stories through interviews with their loved ones and first-person style accounts using voice actors. Archivist Doug McCabe is along the ride to give context necessary about the history of women’s rights, mental health, and Appalachian culture, to help explain how this happened. On the first profile we meet Viola Rapp, who suffered from postpartum after giving birth to her daughter and was thrown into The Athens Asylum against her will. Cheri and Doug track down her granddaughter, who has her own story to tell. This podcast is a museum for your ears. Listen here. [If you want another great podcast that stars a rockstar archivist, check out A Bintel Brief.]
🎙️Rough Translation tells the story of Emily Sachar, editor-in-chief of the Red Hook Daily Catch, which reports on super local news and events in the area. When she posted a job opening for an editor, she received an application from Pavel Kuljuk, a journalist in eastern Ukraine who had never been to the US but impressed Emily with his skills in analyzing data. (He pitched a piece on dog licensing in Red Hook, a story Emily passed on. But she saw something in him.) By giving him a chance, she not only made an interesting connection, but found a writer who reported on his life in Ukraine in a way that bonded him with readers of The Daily Catch. Most journalists ask themselves “why should my readers care?” before writing, and though Pavel’s stories didn’t have anything to do with Red Hook, the way he invited them into his world to discover the terrifying silence of living in a war zone, his every day routines, and how he digs into data of other places to travel virtually, lets us see the unusual way a man processes his loneliness. Listen here.
🎙️Before we saw kids on bikes pedaling away from monsters on Stranger Things, artist Cliff Chiang had co-created the comic book series Paper Girls, about four twelve-year-old newspaper delivery girls in 1988 suburbia who get caught up in forces that can break space and time. Kids ride bikes in so many classics—IT, Goonies, Stand By Me, Now and Then, and Super 8. Do we have a genre here? On Imaginary Worlds, Eric Molinsky talked to Cliff, Paper Girls screenwriter Stephany Folsom, and game designers Jon Gilmour and Doug Levandowski about why putting kids on bikes is such a great trope, and they debate whether or not this idea can be applied to modern times, when kids have cell phones and are more heavily surveilled by their parents. There is something powerful about the idea of a kid on a bike—zooming around, vulnerable to outside forces, and free. It really makes you think about all this 90s nostalgia in general. Listen here.
🎙️Unfortunately for Becca Sherman, her (now deleted) tweet urging people to move to Mexico City for remote work both did not go over well and will live forever on the internet. I feel kind of bad for her because while the backlash was huge (many people spoofed the tweet) there isn’t just one Becca. There are thousands of people just like her, moving to Mexico City, thinking it is cheap and beautiful and magical, but not coming with any curiosity about the people who actually live there, or any desire to become a part of the community. Their remote-work coffee shops are shutting down historic landmarks, the entire city architecture and design is being built around them. They get angry when people don’t speak English and they are gentrifying the city. Nothing is Foreign has the story. “It’s like witnessing colonization,” says Cara Araneta, a creative consultant living in Mexico City. Host Tamara Khandaker talked to Tamara Velasquez, PhD student in Global Urban Studies at Rutgers University, about how we can measure gentrification, what’s at risk for Mexico City, and how the idea of a digital nomad has changed. Digital nomads used to go abroad to explore the world outside the system. Now they are bringing the system to Mexico City, and living “free.” Listen here.
🎙️Criminal has a fascinating, well-crafted two-parter that starts in 1895 New York City with a murder and ends with a trip to The Divorce Colony in Sioux Falls, where wealthy women between the end of the 19th century and the 20th century would flee to get divorces due to South Dakota’s lax divorce laws. If you couldn’t make it to Sioux Falls, it was nearly impossible to get divorced, even if your husband was a murderer. (It wasn’t until the 1970s that we started to lean into no-fault divorces.) April White (author of The Divorce Colony) tells the story of this strange sisterhood that developed in Sioux Falls, and how The Divorce Colony revolutionized marriage and established the opportunity for some women to be free. Listen here and here.
🎙️In the wake of Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to Taiwan and the threat of Chinese Invasion, Formosa Files dropped an informative, FAQ episode that provides the history we need in order to understand despite the fact this fear is real, invading Taiwan isn’t easy for China or for anyone. John Ross and Eryk Michael Smith cover how Taiwan has protected itself against invasions in the past and the history from 1949 to 2014. I was listening with bated breath—my husband and I were planning a trip to visit his family there and have so many questions. Whether you’re planning a trip or just curious, this is the best piece I’ve consumed about WTF to worry about. Listen here.
🎙️Chelsey Weber Smith’s abortion series isn’t like other girls—it goes back hundreds of years to paint a picture of the origins of the movement. In the first of a two-part episode of American Hysteria, Chelsey takes us through the first anti-abortion laws, the history of abortion on slave plantations, and all the other breadcrumbs that got us to where we are today. Episode two presents stories I haven’t been hearing in other post-Roe coverage—Romper Room’s Sherri Chessen, Margaret Sanger’s fucked up relationship with with eugenics, and Inez Brown Burns, who is worthy of her own TV series. I always say the best podcasters are poets and it’s American Hysteria’s writing that kills me in the best way. They aren’t reading from their research—this stuff is expertly scripted in Chelsey’s funny, charming voice and it comes from a place of true interest and joy, even for and maybe especially for the really fucked up stuff. These episodes should be taught in school as both a history lesson and also how to hone your own voice as a writer. Listen here and here.
🎙️With Susan Orlean, author of The Library Book, Hrishikesh Hirway is launching Book Exploder on the Song Exploder feed, where they will break down books with the people who wrote them in the same style of Song Exploder, taking us through the choices the artist made when they were writing. The first episode introduces us to Susan, who Book Explodes The Library Book, focusing on a passage that beautifully describes the burning of a Los Angeles library. It proves that this is a genius format for a podcast—I am counting down the days for Hrishikesh to produce a show called Podcast Exploder. Listen here.
🎙️Hopefully you read Skye Pillsbury’s excellent piece in The Squeeze about true crime finding its moral center. Allegations of sexual abuse against Murder Squad co-host Billy Jensen wasn’t the first example of toxic behavior in the true-crime space, so what is it about this genre that is a magnet for creepy behavior? On Crawlspace, Tim Pilleri and Lance Reenstierna host a fascinating conversation about ethics and true crime with three of the most talented luminaries in audio—Rabia Chaudry, Celene Beth Calderon Olson, and Sarah Cailean. There are many questions and conclusions, too: one of which is at the very least, true-crime creators need to produce art that does no harm. Listen here.
🎙️Travel + music = Sound of Our Town, which plops you in places all over the country to discover the sounds that shape the culture there and what new sounds continue to define it. True to Double Elvis’ trademark style, each episode is produced in the single-voice narrative style, mixed with select interviews, emphasizing original music to drive the stories. This is a music show if you’re someone mapping out your next festival tour, or a travel show if you like to wander (or just let you mind wander) with beautifully soundscaped stories. There’s nothing like it. First up, Portland, Maine. Listen here.
🎙️From Sonoro and Tenderfoot TV, Ciudad Mágica is a Spanish-language fiction and crime series that follows the disappearance of a young singer in Miami (the titular Magic City) and what happens when a local news reporter tries to find her. The combination crime story / scripted drama element of this show is what makes it a true standout in the genre. I’m not going to pretend I speak Spanish, but if you do (or need some practice) I’m jealous of you. Everything that comes out of Sonoro is worth writing home about, and this story is inventive and the production is totally immersive. Listen here.
🎙️If you can’t get enough of the poetic trial of Alex Jones, tune into Knowledge Fight, which is obsessively following both what’s going in in the courtroom and simultaneously on Alex’s channels. On the most recent episode, Dan and Jordan invited plaintiff's attorneys Mark Bankston and Bill Ogden for kind of a victory lap, to hear their perspective of the case, and the ‘Perry Mason’ moment heard ‘round the world. Listen here.
🎙️I love you!
This week we’re getting to peek into the listening life of Paola Marizan, Project Manager for America Amplified; a community engagement initiative working with 29 stations in the US. In her previous role, she was the local NPR and PBS Bilingual Journalist at WNIN. There she started the bilingual podcast Qué Pasa, Midwest? Paola has been recognized as a Podcast Producer and Host and is currently helping expand the podcast into a bilingual reporting network.
The app you use to listen: Spotify. And sometimes YouTube.
What speed do you listen to podcasts? 1x
How do you discover new shows? Recommended in the app or a colleague recommends it.
One show you love that everybody loves. Code Switch.
One show you love that most people don't know about. Las Raras Podcast.