🚨 Anne has taken over!🚨 everywhere math 🧮 a pirate musical 🏴☠️ the only horror Anne will do 😱
Do not be alarmed.
Surprise, it’s another guest here taking over and this time you get me, Anne!
Today is Monday, October 10th, and Lauren is finally on her Disney Cruise! I’m beyond jealous, as I would always rather be in Disney, but taking over Podcast The Newsletter is a close second! [Stay tuned at the bottom for the Podcast Riddle Challenge!]
ps If you are pleased with Podcast The Newsletter, please spread the word.
This week we’ve got a peek into the listening life of Tonia Ransom for you! Tonia is the creator of NIGHTLIGHT (a horror podcast dedicated to publishing creepy tales by Black writers and acted by Black voice professionals) and the upcoming Afflicted (a horror thriller podcast launching on Halloween 2022!), and I think it’s fair to say everything she creates absolutely terrifies me… in a good way!
The app you use to listen: Apple Podcasts. I listen mostly when I’m driving, so CarPlay is a must for me.
What speed do you listen to podcasts? Normal speed for fiction, and 1-1.25x for nonfiction, depending on the host and the show.
How do you discover new shows? Mostly recommendations from the podcast listener community. The great thing about having a podcast is that listeners will tag you when they mention your podcast, but they also tend to tag a few other podcasts they enjoy as well. Also the Fiction Podcast Weekly newsletter, and (somewhat selfishly) podcasts that land on lists that NIGHTLIGHT is mentioned on because I have a Google Alert set up for mentions of my podcast and get notifications when NIGHTLIGHT appears somewhere on the web. :)
One show you love that everybody loves: Archive 81. I’m still mad Netflix canceled the show.
One show you love that most people don't know about: I’m really loving Mordeo. It’s not an indie podcast, which is what I typically listen to, but it’s so well done. The sound design is amazing, and I listen to it for entertainment, and to learn new techniques in audio drama. No one I tell about it has ever heard about it, which I find odd, because it’s a production backed by CryptTV, iHeart, and Blumhouse and they have the money for major promotion.
🚨If u only have time for 1 thing🚨
I listen to a lot of podcasts. And I don’t mean that in a “oh I listen to like 10 different shows” way. Working from home, I have a lot of time to consume audio while doing other things because my brain refuses to not multitask and that, combined with my Pocket Casts app set to 1.3x speed with silences trimmed out, means that I get through at least 8 hours of podcasts in a single day. So when I say I have a podcast I think you NEED to listen to, you should know it’s coming from someone who has chosen this one podcast out of dozens of others as a recommendation.
And that’s where Kuper Island comes in.
When I started listening to Kuper Island back in May of this year, I knew it was going to be one of my top podcasts of 2022. It had the advantage of coming from CBC Podcasts, as I’m already a fan of so many of their productions, but this one really hits hard with its reporting from award-winning CBC journalist Duncan McCue. This 8-part series follows the stories of four students who attended the Kuper Island Residential School—one of Canada’s most notorious residential schools on Penelakut, an island off the coast of B.C.—and dives into the unsolved deaths, abuse, and lies that continue to haunt the community and survivors of the school to this day.
It’s not an easy listen, but if you’ve got the time and brain to sit down and listen to Kuper Island, this is one podcast you won’t want to miss.
✨ Re: Dracula is an upcoming bite-sized audio adaptation of the classic horror Dracula! They’re taking the famous tale and breaking it up chronologically (every entry of the novel has a date) and releasing episodes in podcatchers as they happen, as close to real time as possible. The show is currently crowdfunding so they’re able to create the show, and if they’re fully funded episodes will begin releasing May 3rd, 2023. Check out their campaign on Seed & Spark.
✨ Have you heard of The Horse Thread? It’s a Twitter account that shares podcast episodes that mention horses but aren’t necessarily about horses. Arielle Nissenblatt pointed them out to me and now I’ll never run out of horse-adjacent shows to listen to.
✨ It’s never too late to subscribe to Evo Terra’s new newsletter The End! If you’re a fan of marathoning podcasts Netflix-style, one season at a time, then you’ll want to be following this one. As fiction podcasts are completed—either at the series or season level—Evo will be including them in his newsletter. It’s one I definitely will be keeping an eye on for new recommendations for myself!
✨ Call 1-844-POD-AT-ME.
Here are some shows I can’t stop thinking about:
🎙️I’m not above shameless self-promotion, and since this is my issue I have to recommend one of the podcasts I work on: VALENCE. VALENCE is a serialized urban fantasy audio drama by Hug House Productions about magic, data privacy, queerness, found family, and revolution, and this week (on October 14th) is the season premiere of the show’s third and FINAL season. It’s such a bittersweet moment for me and our team. Over the past three years we’ve spent so much time getting to know each other and these characters, we’ve made a thousand mistakes and learned a lot, and we’ve really built up a community around the show that we are sad to be letting go of. But all the best things eventually come to an end, and by the end of this season we’ve gathered all our loose ends and tied them neatly into a bow. Listen here, and remember: protect your magic.
🎙️ I’ve always been the biggest mathematics nerd, and one of the things I always impress upon people is that math is everywhere! Its concepts are naturally occurring and you can’t avoid it, no matter how hard you try. And that’s why I’ve been loving Carry the Two from the Institute for Mathematical and Statistical Innovation (IMSI) because it just further validates what I’ve always known! In each episode of their podcast, hosts Sadie Witkowski and Ian Martin uncover the hidden elements that impact our lives in unexpected ways, with math being one of them! In one of their more recent episodes, the hosts are joined by one of Duolingo’s learning scientists Ben Reuveni, PhD as they puzzle out the science behind language learning. Did you know that when learning a language, what your brain is doing is recognizing the patterns of speech in order to replicate them? And guess what? That’s math, baby! Listen to the episode with Ben Reuveni on Statistical Learning here.
🎙️ I feel like I’ve recommended a lot of horror podcasts at you in this issue, but it’s the Spooky Month so let’s not stop now! One thing about me that you have to know is that I don’t do horror. Unless. Unless. It has to be really good. And Badlands Cola hits the spot. The first podcast I can remember listening to is Welcome to Night Vale, and really… who hasn’t listened to at least one episode of it? (Especially if you’re in the habit of listening to fiction.) From the first trailer, I was getting the similar vibes and knew it would end up tickling my brain in just the right way to make me want to keep listening. Taking place in a desert town full of strange fossils and stranger people, Badlands Cola will suck you into their mystery and you won’t want to stop listening until it’s been solved. Listen here.
🎙️ Remember how I said earlier in this issue that I’m a big fan of CBC’s podcasts? Well, here’s another one where I think they really knocked it out of the park. Pressure Cooker gives listeners a behind-the-scenes glimpse into an anti-terror investigation, drawing on police surveillance tape and interviews with John and Amanda, a couple who lived on the fringes their entire lives until they were drawn into a web of conspiracy, deception, and terror. Listen here.
🎙️ That Vampire Show from Tandon Productions is a personal attack on 13-year-old Anne, but I can’t help but love it. I was one of your stereotypical teens obSESSED with Twilight and Supernatural, spending too many hours on Tumblr and reading hundreds of thousands of words of fanfiction (on sites where you had to really hunt for the good stuff—before the days of Archive of Our Own). And that’s what this show is about. That Vampire Show follows Kat Wright, a high school senior obsessed with a hit TV show about vampires. Kat wins a fan fiction contest and is given the opportunity to visit the set and meet the cast and crew, but of course that has to go horribly wrong. As someone who always went to conventions for the media I couldn’t get enough of at the time (I’ve been to both Twilight and Supernatural conventions and had dance parties with the casts. you’re allowed to be jealous ;) ), Kat’s win-gone-wrong is my nightmare scenario and I’m so glad it never happened to me. But that’s not all there is to That Vampire Show: you can also follow Kat (the main character!) on Tumblr and Archive of Our Own—how fun is that?! Listen to That Vampire Show here.
🎙️ I recently went back and relistened to all of The Far Meridian after they began crowdfunding for their third and final season and was reminded all over again why I fell in love with it in the first place. And the premise of the show really hits hard after almost three years of a pandemic where we’ve been constantly encouraged to stay home, stay indoors, and not travel too far from our front doors. The Far Meridian follows Peri, an agoraphobic young woman searching for her missing brother, living in a home that begins showing up in new and different locations each day. Through the first two seasons, Peri has reconnected with the world, her loved ones, and herself, and now the story of her and her lighthouse (did I mention her home is a lighthouse?) is coming to a close. The third season is still a ways a way, but that just means there’s plenty of time to catch up before Peri’s lighthouse shows up in your town. Listen here.
🎙️ This one is an oldie but a goodie, so I just have to give some love to You’re Wrong About. After working my way through the entire backlog (and Patron bonus content backlog) of Maintenance Phase, jumping to You’re Wrong About seemed like the next best podcast to listen to, and boy was I right. I really started listening to it regularly after my trip to Dallas in August because my dear sweet roommate Wil Williams insisted on listening to an episode of it while we fell asleep each night—and then it became a habit, so here we are now. You’re Wrong About’s host Sarah Marshall goes into a deep dive each week into a person or event that’s been miscast in the public imagination, and tells us how we’re wrong about it. There are so many topic in this show’s history that I’m sure there’s something for everyone, but so far my favorite episode has been one about Terri Schiavo. Without going into the details of the case (the journey of unraveling it over the course of the episode is wild), I’ll just steal from the description of the episode to tell you that it involves the media, the president, and the Pope turning a simple medical story into a complicated legal one. Listen here.
🎙️ We’ve already established that you like podcasts, but do you like musicals? How about… pirates? If so, The Ballad of Anne & Mary is a podcast you won’t want to skip! I’m always on the hunt for more podcasts about pirates (and horses, but that’s another topic entirely), so when Long Cat Media announced their musical adventure about the notorious Anne Bonny and Mary Read, I jumped on it immediately! It’s got everything I want in a fiction podcast: great voice acting, on-point sound design, catchy music, and a plot about pirates. I still catch myself singing songs from it while I’m going about my day (especially “Cut and Run”, which coincidentally has hoofbeats in the background of the entire song) even though The Ballad of Anne & Mary released in early 2021. Know of more podcasts with this same energy? Please tell me about them, I need more! And listen to The Ballad of Anne & Mary here!
👋q & a & q & a & q & a👋
How did you get to audio? Was there a gateway podcast you listened to that got you excited about podcasts? If not, what sparked your interest?
I’ve always been a huge public radio listener ever since I was a kid. My local NPR station in Pittsburgh where I grew up was my morning alarm during high school. So I was always aware of audio storytelling. When iPods became a thing in my life, I remember there were four podcasts I religiously downloaded — This American Life, Planet Money, Freakonomics and Snap Judgment. And I remember wondering how people got into radio/audio. It seemed like a total mystery to me, even though I was working in an adjacent field (print journalism). Then in 2011, I quit my newspaper job. Around the same time, I heard about the Transom Story Workshop on Cape Cod that was teaching people audio storytelling. I applied, got in and I’ve been making audio in one form or another ever since.
Your new project is about your autism diagnosis, was it scary to come out about that?
Hell yeah! First of all, I’m a journalist and I don’t make work about myself. So that’s the first hard thing — overcoming the feeling that I really shouldn’t be making myself the subject by committing memoir. Secondly, I already came out as gay 20-ish years ago, so I didn’t exactly relish coming out again about autism. Also, the coming out process isn’t a one-and-done situation! For example, I told my immediate family last year. But a couple weeks ago, I got a text from a cousin that read “I heard you caught the autism!” Now, obviously he was joking, but that one interaction is just one of many since getting diagnosed. And I expect a lot more of those when the show drops.
Now, it shouldn’t be scary to tell people you love and care about that you were diagnosed with a neurological developmental condition that causes sensory, social and communication challenges. But there are so many misconceptions about autism and neurodivergence writ large that the mere revelation is an uphill battle. There is so much re-education that needs to be done. Also, autistic people are all different (I’m using identity-first language rather than people-first language because that is generally preferred within the broad community of autistics) and how so-called “autistic traits” manifest will vary widely from person to person. So there isn’t a quick and dirty way to talk about my diagnosis. You have to get real personal and make yourself extremely vulnerable. And that’s no fun at all!
What’s the number one thing people get wrong about autism?
What people get wrong about autism could fill volumes. What I have gotten wrong about autism could fill volumes. Autism isn’t a pathology — you can’t autopsy someone and “see” their autism. Autism can take many forms. I have a subtle presentation, but there are many autistic people who have a more pronounced presentation. Some autistics have very few support needs, while some need a lot of support communicating or living independently. And that’s hard for some people to wrap their brains around — that autism is a condition with many contours. Broad sweeping depictions of autism (such as in popular media) often do a disservice to the great variety of autistic people in the world.
If you were going to start a new podcast, don’t worry about the logistics or whether or not anyone would listen to it, and you have $1M to make it, what would it be?
It would be a podcast called “Lauren Pets Every Dog” and the premise would be I record myself petting every dog.
What’s a podcast you love that everybody knows about?
Heavyweight — in my opinion, it is a perfect podcast.
What’s a podcast you love that nobody knows about?
Stuff The British Stole (I have no idea if people know about this show, but I think it’s a great way to tell dodgy history through objects)
Win a prize with the Podcast Riddle Challenge!
Podcast the Newsletter is participating in the Podcast Riddle Challenge this month!
Here’s the deal: in the month of October, eight newsletters (Podcast Brunch Club, Podyssey, Earbuds Podcast Collective, Podcast The Newsletter, Podcast Gumbo, Hurt Your Brain, Podcast Delivery and Podplane) will release a unique podcast riddle in one of their issues. All you have to do is subscribe to the participating newsletters and submit your answers to each riddle here.
The prize is a Sonos Roam Speaker provided by The Squeeze.
Here’s my riddle: