☎️ Phone number 🗣 gossip 🇵🇷 Puerto Rican snowball fight ⛄️ sporks 🍽 honky-tonk 🤠 CoolSculpting 👙 The View 📺
🍭 👂 You're in for a treat! 🌈 🤸♀️
Today is Monday, January 10. There are 148 days until I go on my next Disney cruise?
The app I use: Apple podcasts
Listening time per week: 10-15 hours
When I listen: I listen to whatever podcast I am most excited about first thing in the morning while I make my breakfast. Sometimes if I have the time I also take a walk in the morning, and I'll listen then as well. I listen to podcasts when I drive, clean, go thrifting or when I'm at the beach. Basically any free time when I am alone!
How I discover: I discover new podcasts through word of mouth or if podcasts I like run ads for other podcasts that are similar.
Anything else? Working for How to Do the Pot has opened my world up to all the different types of podcasts that are out there and it's truly fascinating and exciting. I am so lucky to work for a podcast that merges three things I'm passionate about- storytelling, women's health and cannabis!
ps If you are pleased with Podcast The Newsletter, please spread the word.
👋q & a & q & a & q & a👋
How did you get introduced into the audio space?
I used to work in documentary television but it requires a lot of money and people to make television—or at least it did back in the 90s when I was doing it. Radio I could do alone, for cheap. So I started the podcast. I had no audience for years which was humiliating but also probably useful because it was not a very good show at the beginning. No one’s show is good at the beginning (which is liberating if you think about it right). Also, spending years making something no one listened to helped me understand that making the show was a kind of ‘life compulsion’. This was useful information.
How do you describe Rumble Strip to people? I find myself always recommending it, but always grappling for the right words to use.
It’s a show about all the living we do between the important parts. Between the births and birthdays and weddings and holidays and deaths. How do people get through, say, 11am? I always wonder this. So I guess it’s a show about miraculous ordinary life.
I’ve always believed that every person I meet knows something I need to know in order to live…do…survive my life better, and this show has proven to me that I’m right. So in a way it’s a show I make for very selfish reasons.
Which episode would you suggest people get started with? (I started with the lawyer one.)
I would probably recommend Finn and the Bell or Fifty: A Phoenix Moment, two shows I love and which are diametrically opposed in tone.
What is the key to a good interview?
I suppose there are a thousand ways to do a good interview. Some interviews are just about a THING and the thing is so interesting that just talking about the thing is enough. But most of the time I think good interviews are as much about tone as they are about content. In other words, there are things said. And there’s the way things are said. And there is a dynamic that develops between the interviewer/interviewee that has a sound to it. In a good interview I’m acutely aware of both subject and sound/dynamic because good interviews are about both.
Additionally. I am always very nervous before interviews…so I guess good interviews involve being nervous beforehand? In a good interview I have no idea what’s going to happen. A lot of times good interviews involve impromptu drives in cars or walks to rivers or visits to relatives. Good interviews almost always feel...mutually cathartic? Sometimes good interviews involve calling the interviewee after the interview to see if they are ok because interviews can be disorienting. At times, good interviews require cutting out some parts because the interviewee didnt mean to share that much. This is obviously not the case for good interviews by investigative journalists but I am not an investigative journalist. Good interviews are as much about what we don’t know as about what we do know. Most important, I think good interviews are always, at their root, about love.
Also, sometimes I thought it was a good interview and it wasn’t a very good interview.
Podcasting can be draining, what keeps you going?
I don’t know. I’m wondering that even today. Certainly being part of a podcast collective helps. I’m a member of Hub and Spoke, a group of independent podcasters who also make their shows for love. I mean they make money too, but their podcasts started much like mine—compulsively, in closets. It is incredibly helpful to have a group of smart, thoughtful people to talk with. But I’m really struggling after Finn and the Bell. That show was a culmination of so many disparate things that I love and am afraid of—things I love and hate about where I live, the mortal terror of losing a child, and the intense challenge of finding a format…or a way that the show moved…that could be worthy of the story. It was a very hard show to make. And now it’s done and I’m trying to figure out where to go from here. But that happens all the time in podcasting, at least independent ones like mine that are ongoing and not series-based. It’s just a long cycle of coming up with an idea, then starting and finishing alone, starting and finishing. Sometimes it’s hard to remember how to start and finish again, or why. I wonder if I’m getting any better at what I do, or if I’ve fallen into tropes and boring, reductive patterns. The show, ultimately, is about me. What I’m thinking about, worried about, wondering about…it’s a way for me to answer my own existential questions. Even shows about deer hunting or stuffed animals—they all answer some question that I can’t quite articulate. But maybe after years and years, my questions will become dull to listeners, my existential concerns repetitive, and how will I know? Who will tell me it’s time to end it? Or maybe the audience will just fall away and I’ll be making the show for myself like I was in the beginning. I don’t know.
How do you come up with ideas? Do you have a big list?
Sometimes there’s a burning personal question I have that I want to find a way to answer…the Fifty show was like that. I was turning 50 and I didn’t know how to feel about it so I went out and interviewed a bunch of friends of different ages, and my son. And I forced other friends to be in a band so I could record Total Eclipse of the Heart, which seemed like an essential part of the story. So that’s one way. Sometimes people give me good ideas for a person I should meet. Sometimes there is a pressing issue in the national or local landscape that I want to do something about—recently I made a series for VPR about how hospital staff are coping—and not coping—with the latest Covid surge. I think first person stories like these are an excellent accompaniment to news coverage, and I love making stories that inform the news.
Sometimes I have no idea what to make. And I worry. But it usually only lasts a couple days.
What is your relationship with your voice and how would you describe it?
I remember my sister once said after listening to my show, ’that doesn’t sound like you,’ and I felt really embarrassed. But you know what? I turn on the mic and do the best I can. And after years of doing it, I’ve come to some relative peace about the way I sound on the show. It is me. It’s an authentic version of me. And it helps to have awesome, strange, funny, brilliant listeners. I can tell by what they write to me that they know what I’m trying to say or what I mean. They are patient through my failures and they (mostly) laugh at my jokes and write in with their astute observations, so when I’m talking into the mic in my closet, it helps to think of them.
🚨If u only have time for 1 thing🚨
Call 928-563-6257. Just do it. We will talk about it next week.
🎙️Jason Gillikin invited me onto EarFluence to talk about podcast marketing. At the beginning, he reveals the reason I called my company Tink. Listen here.
🎙️I talked to John Luckenbaugh and Matthew Stevens of Podcast Industry Experts about some of the Q’ed Up team’s favorite advice from 100+ podcast marketing tips. Listen here.
🎙️Arielle Nissenblatt was on Rufaro Faith’s You’re Gonna Love this Podcast. Listen here.
⚡️News from Sounds Profitable⚡️
Every single podcaster (and anyone in the industry) should be subscribed to Sounds Profitable’s newsletter and podcast. Trust me—you will have a huge leg-up. Nobody is covering ad tech (and its soooo important) like Bryan. The latest issue of the newsletter offered a view of the year to come. I am most excited to hear that Caila Litman will be overseeing a brand new research project tentatively called Good Data, where she’ll be breaking down the value of every qualified audio study, starting with over 25 from 2021 and keeping up with that flow for all new reports in 2022. The latest episode of the podcast covers the NYT’s purchase of The Athletic, NPR doubling down on paid subscriptions, and Spotify’s focus on digital ads.
🎙️It’s a Christmas miracle! La Brega popped back into our feeds for a holiday treat—the story of a San Juan snowball fight that took place in the 1950s, arranged by the city’s president Felisa Rincón de Gautier. 10,000 snowballs (whatever that means) was delivered via Eastern Airlines, as part of a publicity stunt that brought joy to the children who had never seen the stuff before. La Brega brings us what is an almost perfect story that starts out with this strange anecdote and explains why watching that snow melt to an ugly, gross and muddy mess works as a strong metaphor for U.S.-P.R. relations. Listen here.
🎙️I know that “gossip” is a word that makes people think of pettiness, whispering about people behind their backs, and being the worst versions of ourselves, but Normal Gossip (launched on Wednesday, hosted by Kelsey McKinney) understands something more important about it: it doesn’t have to be bad, and people who love storytelling probably love gossip because gossip is all about people. I mean, storytelling and people…isn’t that why we are all here? The show looks at non-mean gossip, the first is really a fascinating character study and ethical dilemma that you could unpack for HOURS. (“A messy grad school cohort and go on a camping trip with a dog named Pancake.”) The guest on this first episode is Virgie Tovar of Rebel Eater’s Club, so you know you’re for a good time. Listen here.
🎙️When I discovered Crime Show I downed it so fast I almost choked. And I was excited to see another episode lingering in my feed in late December, 2021: The Stories that Got Away. The team gets together in person (for the first time!) to talk about the stories that didn’t get made. They’re all fascinating stories (a man who makes a complete disruption on a plane, a four-year-old who dies in the care of a camp counselor) but the reasons they were not made are even more interesting. I loved getting a behind-the-scenes look at this show, and to hear how the team thinks and the powerful stuff that was left on the cutting room floor. Listen here.
🎙️Last year some of the Ear Hustle team (not Earlonne, appropriately) participated in the Ear Hustle challenge—a month of eating the same food of Ear Hustle’s colleagues at San Quentin, doing their exercises and wearing the same few things every day. The goal wasn’t to replicate prison life, but to see how constraint shapes the way we experience the world. On the episode Tray, Tumbler, Spork, we get to hear what it was like for Nigel to eat the limited prison menu. Nigel has been talking to incarcerated people for years, and had heard that in prison, “you’ll never starve, but you’ll always be hungry.” And they were right. Nigel was eating meager meals at specific times of the day, and wasn’t allowed to eat anything else. Part of the challenge was to use the same spork, tray, and tumbler provided by the prison. And while it’s an interesting audio diary of Nigel’s experience with the food part of the challenge, there is a surprising ode to these items. Incarcerated people develop a meaningful relationship with the sporks, in particular, and throughout the challenge, Nigel does, too. What does it mean to keep this tiny instrument in your pocket, that is necessary if you want to stay fed? This is a unique look at food behind bars (Nigel even gets to eat inside the prison) that will make you appreciate getting to eat whatever you want, whenever you want it. Listen here.
🎙️On ICYMI, Madison Malone Kircher and Rachelle Hampton explain why you might have seen Elmo trending on Twitter and TikTok last week—for the interesting way he was pronouncing certain words and his beef with a pet rock. It all seems very silly until you hear the break down of Elmo’s language, and how it’s a nod to the Black community. This is a perfect example of what this show does best—break down an internet sensation to distill what was really going on and why it was important. Listen here.
🎙️Donkey Dover, Jr. is a queer southern transplant living in Philly who loves themself some Honky-Tonk, and they joined Nichole Perkins on This Is Good for You with a convincing argument about why the Honky-Tonk scene is one to check out. Donkey Dover explains the rituals at these establishments and what it’s like to be gay line-dancing with tight Wranglers and a belt buckle. The conversation opens up the world of Honky-Tonk, proving it’s more than what we might assume it to be—it’s a joyous ceremony that brings people together. The whole experience is an intimate dance. I was almost convinced that I love country music. That’s the joy of listening to someone talk about something they’re enthusiastic about. It got me one click away from buying an expensive pair of cowboy boots. Listen here.
🎙️Farai Chideya tweeted, alongside this episode of PseudoPod, which tells the story of D. H. Lawrence’s The Rocking Horse Winner, “I’ve long thought of this story as a metaphor for America. We work the longest hours of any industrialized country; get fewer structural improvements/access to basic services; and caregiving resources are crap too.” And I had to listen. It’s a story about capitalism and is beautifully read. Listen here.
🎙️If you’re not listening to Who? Weekly twice a week, can you really say that you understand humanity? Lindsey Weber and Bobby Finger provide volumes of footnotes about celebrities you don’t need to know about, and in case you haven’t listened, I swear the more you do, the more crystal clear the world (and the show’s philosophy) becomes. This week had a profound conversation about the ex-reality star who had to be hospitalized for selling too many farts in jars. (“I over did it.”) Listen here.
🎙️The Daily brought us a series for the history books about the Capitol riots. Part one was particularly gripping. It gives insight to the people who were at the Capitol on January 6th (educated people—doctors and lawyers!) and allows us to hear a reenactment of the transcript of an F.B.I. interview that has been released to the public between the F.B.I. and single dad Maryland resident Robert Reeder, who used to work at FedEx but was facing four misdemeanor charges for entering the Capitol. Listen to part one here.
🎙️I cannot believe more people aren’t talking about the scam that is CoolSculpting, a technology that applies targeted cooling to places on the body to freeze and eliminate fat cells. Slow News brings us the terrifying story of the promise it brings, and the people who were impacted by paradoxical fat hyperplasia, which causes a gradual enlargement of the treated area, causing patients to gain brick-like masses of weight in a way that cannot be reversed. It’s a consequence not easily surfaced, CoolSculpting downplays the risks of the procedure. It wasn’t until former super model Linda Evangelista opened up about her own complications and PFH diagnosis that people started to see the dangers of losing fat the easy way. Listen here.
🎙️Dad I’d Like to Friend was started by Kevin Seldon, who felt totally alone when he became a dad and had a hard time connecting with the tropes of fatherhood. I don’t mean to put words in his mouth, but it seems he felt like he was a mom, too, and not only had a hard time seeing the difference, but felt that many things we associate with motherhood are very paternal. In an eye-opening interview with Nick North, a trans man who gave birth to children as a mom when he was married to a man as a cis person, and is now the father to more children and married to a woman. Nick breaks down what it means to be called “mom” and “dad.” He knows what it’s like to be both, and his experiences on both sides of the gender bias illustrates the barriers we have that allow us to be the best people we can be. It’s also an elegant blueprint for what a healthy, loving family could look like, no matter who “mom” and “dad” are. Listen here.
🎙️It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders had an in-depth piece about the TV show The View, and it made me realize I would listen to a whole podcast—not a limited-run series but a weekly deep dive—about the show. The current View as we know it is different than what Barbara Walters had envisioned when she started it, and going through its changes illustrates media, women in power, politics, and America in general. Each host brings something unique and their dynamics are more calculated than I had ever imagined. The women on The View don’t fight because women be fightin’, they fight because they all want to be famous. And we love to watch it. Listen here.
🎙️Attn: fellow basic bitches, Melissa Joan Hart has a podcast. She seems to have evolved since her “this podcast is going viral days!,” expressing improved chops for podcasting and appreciation for the medium in her new show What Women Binge. Listening to the first episode, I was thinking, I cannot believe I’m getting to hear Melissa Joan Hart talk about watching Clarissa Explains It All for the first time! What Women Binge is all about…what women are bingeing, from podcasts to books to charities, whatever. Melissa (and her co-host Amanda Lee) start out with watching Clarissa, something Melissa has never technically done, and for someone like me, who grew up wanting Clarissa’s room and all her clothes, this was a dream. This is a comfort show for me, it might not be for you. Clarissa fans, you know who you are, and you’ll find comfort in this, too. Listen here.
🎙️Sam Sanders was on The Pod Club remembering, after producing hundreds of episodes of it, early episodes of It’s Been a Minute. (He and Lena Waithe sound like babies on the clip that Jo Piazza shares.) He opens up about how the show has grown and what makes it so, just so Sam-my. He kind of puts to words the reason I love it so much. It’s an extension of Sam’s brain, and Sam is one of the best people in audio. If you love It’s Been a Minute, this is your jam. Listen here.
🎙️If you thought fat camps were only minorly bad, think again. Maintenance Phase’s episode on them convinced me they are downright criminal. I kind of thought I knew how destructive they were, but I had never thought about what little sense they made. (Exist on a restrictive diet and exhaustive exercise regimen every day while you are here, then try to keep the weight off when you go home, where your parents are preparing your food.) But that detail is simply annoying. The darkness of these places, which are often positioned as harmless or good things, cannot be understated. This is a rage listen sprinkled with lots of laughing, it’s a balance Aubrey and Michael are experts in striking. Listen here.
🎙️I was revisiting old episodes of Pretend and I stumbled upon my gateway episode, The Cousins. It starts with a woman named Susan Fensten who starts connecting with people she believes are her cousins, relatives that end up trapping her in a world of fear for her life, torture, rape, bondage, cannibalism, and murder. The cousins are not who you think they are. You could guess for 100 years and you’d never get it right. It’s a jaw-dropping story that will hook you onto this incredible show. Start with episode one of the series.
🎙️Blind Landing is an entire podcast about a mistake in the women's gymnastics All-Around final at the Sydney Olympics that had huge repercussions for the game and all of the athletes. The vault was set up two inches too low, something that nobody noticed before it was too late to fix, and although there’s no easy way to fix this, it was a pretty much anonymous agreement that what the Olympic committee did do (let athletes redo the vault but not the other events in the all-around) was a mistake on the original mistake. I liked this big story that all started with a two-inch discrepancy. And ultimately, it’s about something the gymnasts (and many of us at one point) have had to do—live their lives without closure. Can you tell I don’t know how to write about gymnastics? Listen here.
🎙️Kimi Culp talked to Jessica Buchanan, who in 2011, was held hostage by Somali pirates for more than three months, for an hour and twenty minutes and it felt like five. At one point during my listen (which I listened to at 1x speed!) I had to turn it off and I felt alone. I was so into this conversation between these two women. Jessica’s story is incredible but Kimi pulls off a heartfelt, connective interview. Jessica’s everyday survival and her journey of going from “just a school teacher in Ohio!” to a badass is something that never should have happened, but because it did, and because Jessica survived, and because she is so skilled at processing what happened (yay, therapy!) and because she understands something about life that most of us ever will, is a story I really think everyone should sit with for a bit.
🎙️On Battle Tactics for Your Sexist Work Place, Eula and Jeannie tell the story of the day they learned their podcast would no longer be produced by the Seattle NPR station KUOW. Listen here.
🎙️I love you!