👾 Digital monsters 👻 A real-life podcast love story 💕 Disney magic at sea 🚢 60-second weddings 💍 Newsies 🗞️ a hypnotizing fraudster 😵💫
🍭 👂 TRUST ME! 🌈 🤸♀️
Today is Monday, January 16. In case this email is too long, the show I have been waiting for is HERE!, the podcast that feels made just for me here, and the podcast episode that about fifty people sent me (thank you, it is wonderful) here. Stay tuned, at the end there’s a lovely little love story that starts with a podcast that talks about how much the Supreme Court sucks. 😀
ps If you are pleased with Podcast The Newsletter, please spread the word.
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Henri Sallis, Gloria Laisure, Buzz Leer & Elise Brisco
Henri Sallis, Gloria Laisure, Buzz Leer, and Elise Brisco are the storytellers of Lemonada’s series BEING Golden. Throughout the 6-part audio-reality series, the foursome navigates retirement, friendship, dating, dream-chasing, money woes, sex, and adult children with lots of opinions.
What’s your goal for BEING Golden?
HS: My goal is for people of all ages, especially younger, to know that they have something extraordinary to look forward to as they progress in life and for those that are older to know that they're never too old to live the kind of Life they always wanted to live.
BL: My goal is to provide inspiration for other seniors. Hoping that my story will inspire others to keep moving, reinvent yourself and live your passions. ALSO, if I didn’t say I am HOPING that perhaps some Producer, Director, Casting Director, Agent, anybody with the power to see my on-camera work and give me a chance to audition, offer me a role in a Feature Film or TV series… yeah, that’s a HUGE goal of mine being on this show… basically “kick start” my career.
EB: My goal is to change the narrative about aging, and to help people embrace rather than fear aging by showing how many opportunities are available to us if we don’t let our mindset limit us.
There is this thought in the podcast industry that it is hard to get people sixty and older listening to podcasts at all. Do you find that’s true?
HS: I rarely listened to podcasts before now but I find that I did a lot of YouTube and that was super easy so I think the industry is leaning more towards podcasts, just like when I was a very young kid and before then there was radio and you use your imagination more with podcasts and radio.
GL: YES! YES! YES! I have worked on computers for over 40 years. I taught seniors (before I was one) how to use them, communicate with family on Gmail and Facebook and even how to troubleshoot problems. I made bulleted cheat sheets and printed them out for reference.
Before I experienced listening to my first podcast, I felt no need for them. I have a huge TV with so many streaming channels I can’t possibly watch everything! I have music in my car and on TV and on my phone. Then I found podcasting….I now can listen when my eyes are too strained for TV or my computer. I can stay focused because I am not flipping through channels on TV. ULTRA is one of my favorites.
BL: Well that’s very interesting and my answer would be yes that’s true. HOWEVER, it’s not because they don’t want to or are not interested, it’s the “Technology” ….that’s all. The BEING Golden team has put together video, audio and written tutorials that explain exactly HOW to find BEING Golden and any other podcast. I had several friends (ages 60+) that had NO idea how to find a podcast, just a foreign idea….once they are educated on HOW to find, launch and listen they are hooked, it does bring back the days of radio! The demographic is PERFECT for podcasts if you show them how, or find a 15 year old to show you!
EB: My friends and colleagues love podcasts! It is convenient and something you can do while cooking, doing chores, driving or working out without having to sit in front of a TV or computer.
If my readers can’t get their parents/grandparents to listen to a podcast, what should they do to convince them to do it?
HS: I would remind your readers’ parents and grandparents that this is basically what we did before television and how great it was.
GL: Because I was part of this podcast, 50% of my friends did not know anything about podcasts. (I was the same 2 weeks ago). One friend thought it was like live radio and thought she had to make a plan to listen at a certain time. I walked another friend through downloading Spotify and how to search for BEING Golden. He was so excited once all was in place for him to listen! Only a senior could successfully write a How To instruction sheet for seniors.
BL: It won’t take convincing, it simply takes education…show them HOW to find a podcast and they will do it…..the barrier is the “know how.”
EB: Play the podcast for them. Podcasts remind me of what people did before TV. They would gather around a radio listening to stories.
Was there anything about you that didn’t come through on the podcast?
HS: From what I've heard of the first three episodes it has me pretty well targeted. What I will say is what they chose to be my opening statement didn't reflect me because I was quoting something I had heard from a much older lady in her 90s and she was speaking about how friends and family and children and lovers will all make you worry and you will cry through your life, but when you get to her age, it’s “just two tears in a bucket and fuck it” and even though that wasn't my saying they have me coining the phrase. I wasn't too happy about that because I don't talk like that in my everyday life.
GL: I had many loves in my life. Great men that I have wonderful memories of our times together. The men in my life have all been so playful, romantic and loving to me but I wanted to be independent and single. That was my preference and my choice and I have had a happy life doing as I please, when I please. It was just unfortunate that the last one was a bad apple. But I sure do miss the sex!
BL: I don’t think so, but if I didn’t reveal it on BEING Golden, I’m not going to reveal anything new now. :)
EB: That pageants are about strong and beautiful women wanting to make a wrong into a right. We have the chutzpah to put ourselves out there because we believe so strongly in our platforms that we want to help people in need to make a difference in our communities. These are volunteer positions. We are not paid for all the work that we do for charities and worthy causes. The pageants give us a platform with our titles to bring awareness and support for people and organizations that need us most.
If you could start another podcast, don’t worry about the logistics or whether or not anyone would like it, your budget is $1M. What would it be?
HS: If I could start another podcast it would be pretty much exactly like what we're doing today which is letting people know to live their life authentically once they get over a certain age because nothing really changes for you unless it's physical. Your mental capacity is exactly where it should be at the time in your life and you should embrace it and live every moment like it's your last.
GL: I would love to hear a podcast with seniors discussing how they feel about dying. I believe young people need to be educated on how we feel. I think they would be very surprised and not dread how they will feel when we are gone. Talk to us. Most of us will liberate you from fear and dread. Talk to us.
BL: I have 2 ideas currently swirling in my head and I have discussed them with friends and colleagues.
1. I would LOVE to continue with “BEING Golden” as a weekly or bi-monthly Podcast, tracking down other energetic seniors all over the country that could provide compelling, inspirational stories.
2. This one has been on my mind for a long time and I have discussed with many former colleagues from my former life as a Sales and Marketing Executive. I would LOVE to tell the story of “The Evolution of RETAIL” in America ….or “150 years of Retail, Ben Franklin Stores to Amazon.”
It would be a weekly discussion with a variety of former retailers, executives, store owners, consumers, buyers, salesmen, etc…basically follow the evolution of the original small store owners, the corner hardware store to Home Depot, the small dress shop to Macys, Department stores and Chain Stores to Amazon, rise and fall and changes in the retail landscape….
🚨If u only have time for 1 thing🚨
I have been waiting for this day for so long—episode one of Digital Folklore is here. Perry Carpenter and Mason Amadeus have been working hard on creating an audio project unlike anything I’ve ever heard, an immersive, funny, academic, and innovative journey into the dark places where our digital world meets our mythology—monsters, memes, internet urban legends, conspiracies, viral crazes and how each holds up a mirror to the society from which they emerge. Digital Folklore isn’t a podcast, it’s a cartoonish audio adventure. And Perry and Mason aren’t storytelling or reporting, they’re world-building. In shining a spotlight on the dark but real world that is emerging from our screens, they’re creating their own lore with embedded clues that will take super-attentive listeners on a side quest. The care they have put into this thing shows, it’s a dark, textured Radio Lab splashed with humor from the dynamic duo of Perry and Mason. Amory Sivertson and Ben Brock Johnson (Endless Thread) and Chelsey Weber-Smith (American Hysteria) start in this dazzling first episode, which touches upon Slender Man, Momo, ostension, monster theory, the “Woozle Effect,” and Tulpa theory, which this podcast itself contributes to. Buckle up, everyone! Perry and Mason are brilliant and weird-thinking and addicted to perfection in both research and production, and they’ve cooked up something wild for you, you’re going to love it.
✨I bought Arielle Nissenblatt a Jumbotron shout-out on Dr. Gameshow for her podcast/newsletter Earbuds. Listen to it here. (The shoutout is at the 51 minute mark, ish.)
✨I wrote two articles for Lifehacker: The 10 Best Mental Health Podcasts to Get You Through 2023 and 13 of Best TV Rewatch Podcasts.
✨From Podcast Marketing Magic: How to (smartly) launch a podcast from nothing
✨Call 1-844-POD-AT-ME (1-844-763-2863) to hear a daily podcast recommendation, and leave your own recommendation at the beep! You can suggest your own show so this is a great way to market your show. Don’t worry, we won’t answer the phone! (We know calling random numbers can be terrifying.)
✨Arielle Nissenblatt spotlighted Chameleon: Dr. Dante in her newsletter and podcast.
🎙️This is not a drill: The BBC’s I’m Not a Monster is back for season two with The Shamima Begum Story, and it’s outrageously compelling. Shamima is the quiet British teen who disappeared from London and emerged four years later in Syria with the Islamic State group, and Josh Baker (who blew us all away in season one of this show) traces her journey from London to Turkey to Syria and talked to her for a year to get her to tell her side of the story and confess to things she’d never stated before. Shamima is hated and pitied. Some see her as a traitor who should not be allowed home, some see her as a victim groomed by ISIS, now stuck in a Syrian detention camp. Josh has dug deep into the story to find nuance, truth, and the beating heart of a shocking story. Listen here.
🎙️Jesus Wept is a new “not a faith” podcast that explores the many oddities, obsessions, and subcultures of American Evangelicalism, hosted by two ex-Christians. Nick Quah made a comparison to Maintenance Phase and If Books Could Kill, and I think he’s right. It’s two relatable, smart people setting straight something that has had huge, damaging impact on society but needs dethroned. Even its first episode about the The Creation Museum reminded me of Maintenance Phase’s episode one, which focused on the Presidential Fitness Test. They’re both about something tangible we oversimplify, usually for children, to indoctrinate them into big and dangerous cult-like thinking. Jesus and religion is one of my podcast kinks, and it’s rare to find a show that’s not religious and instead focuses on the myth, storytelling, and extremism of faith that leaks into pop culture and society. I don’t want to get too excited because there’s only been one episode but I think this might be the podcast I’ve been waiting for. The name is so perfect—I imagine that this podcast will be covering a lot of Jesus’ messages that have been hijacked by conservative Christians. Jesus might have been rolling over in his grave before, to hear about mega churches and Jesus camps, but this is definitely the podcast that he has been waiting for. Listen here.
🎙️I’ve been a Bible Brothers listener for years, but only just discovered when one of the co-hosts, Dan Klein, was on The Daily Zeitgeist, that he is the same Dan who co-hosts another favorite of mine, Man Thinkers. At the beginning of 2023, the three top podcasts were all Catholic Bible-recap. People must long for these stories at the beginning of the year. Even if you don’t believe in a goddam word in the Bible or think it’s a dangerous text, you’re missing out if you don’t know its stories. They have shaped our entire world. And hearing them from Dan and his Bible Binge co-host Robert Padnick is the funniest way to hear what’s in the Bible. It’s real readings, with commentary that points out just how humorous, wild, and unbelievable the Bible is. Listen here.
🎙️Feed the Queue is back! For season one, Adela Mizrachi and I came together to bring you 13 episodes of podcast episodes we thought everyone should hear, like Rumble Strip’s Finn and the Bell and Imaginary Advice’s Six House Parties. For season two, we’ll be releasing more episodes at random times, whenever we feel like it, really. There will be less commentary from us and more great episodes to share. More for your queue. The first episode highlights the first episode in Alabama Astronaut. Listen here and stay subscribed to get great drops in your feed…whenever.
🎙️Thank you for all the emails/DMs about the Overheard at National Geographic about Disney Cruise’s fifth and most technologically advanced cruise ship yet: Disney Wish. I listened to it each time someone sent it to me, which was a lot. I was rolling around in this episode like a pig in shit. Laura Cabo, a creative executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, explains what goes into the making of the Disney Cruise ships and how brilliant imagineers (what I want to be when I grow up) are able to make something so BIG with tiny details that will surprise guests, in a space that unlike the parks, they will spend a lot of time in every day. (Roman Mars, are you listening?) Sometimes the details are so tiny the guests won’t even notice them, but all together they will feel them. This is a story about the new ship, but it’s also about imagineers, who never say an idea is too wild, too unfeasible. They’re following Walt’s ethos that if you can dream it, you can do it. Even on water. Listen here.
🎙️I think all podcasters, whether they’re making big shows or small shows or documentaries or whatever, could take tips from Jordan Harbinger. He’s doing a lot of things right and it shows, his podcast The Jordan Harbinger Show gets millions and millions of downloads a month. On Problem Solvers, he talked to Jason Feifer (host of one of my favorite shows, Build for Tomorrow and author of the book Build for Tomorrow) about what he’s tested, what works, the magic of cross-promotion, and how he plans to scale back on his efforts in 2023 but keep his numbers strong. It involves a lot of advice—get out a pencil and some paper—and lightbulb moments for me as a podcast marketer that might inspire you to switch something up this year. Listen here.
🎙️Little America is the official podcast for the Apple TV+ series of the same name, which “goes beyond the headlines to look at the funny, romantic, heartfelt, inspiring and unexpected lives of immigrants in America, at a time when their stories are more relevant than ever.” The podcast allows audio makers to spin out their own story about a different immigrant, and I listened to Avery Truffleman’s profile of Serbian immigrant Goran Veljic twice. Gorgan went from coming to America and divorcing, to photographing couples getting married in New York City. Today Goran he is a professional marriage officiant and the owner of NY1 Minute Weddings, named for its 60-second services. Avery rides along for one of Gorgan’s weddings and talks to him about his outlook on love. You wouldn’t think someone who went through a divorce would want to spend time with happy couples at the beginning of their marriages, but capturing these moments is just what Gorgan needed. We hear so many of the same things about love and marriage, what it takes to survive, why we fear marriage and why we long for it. Gorgan has an interesting perspective that kind of shakes up what any previous conceptions you may have. Avery tells this story with humor and heart. All of these pieces are great, but I think this one will stick with you. Listen here.
🎙️Fans of Sarah Marshall know how much she loves Newsies, and her review on You Are Good has finally happened. It’s a joyous tribute with Carolyn Kendrick and Claire Comstock-Gay about the magic of the music, dancing, the cast, and improbability of Disney green-lighting a story about newsboys unionizing in the late 1800s. Sarah, Carolyn, and Claire touch upon fanfic, and why Newsies perfectly lends itself to fan fiction writing. Newsies set up a world of interesting characters that people, especially young girls, could use their imaginations to spin out side stories involving their favorite characters. It’s a story about children against power that contains infinite possibilities, and has been rewatched and reimagined millions of times. If you don’t already think Newsies is incredible, this episode will convince you otherwise. And if you already love the movie, you’ll eat up every second of this smart conversation. Listen here.
🎙️Land of the Giants dropped the first episode of a new series, Dating Games, which uncovers the multi-billion dollar dating app industry and how the future of dating is being shaped by it. Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz and Lakshmi Rengarajan talk to the founders of apps like Tinder and Bumble, Match Group executives, as well as former Tinder engineers, data scientists, neuroscientists, psychologists, app users, and more, to explain the online dating world has upended our lives, gamified romance, and has people addicted to swiping. It’s a story about how we date today, and another look about how technology is changing everything about us, including important decisions we make like choosing a mate for the rest of our lives. (And that’s when the apps actually work…something the apps don’t really want to happen.) Listen here.
🎙️Tink client Saket Soni is the author of the upcoming book The Great Escape: A True Story of Forced Labor and Immigrant Dreams in America. I read the whole book unable to put it down…I was getting angry at my hands for not being able to turn the pages quickly enough. It’s one of the most incredible stories I’ve heard, and it’s written like a thriller. On Why Is This Happening?, Saket tells Chris Hayes how he found himself leading 500 Indian migrant worker in Mississippi who were trapped in squalid Gulf Coast "man camps" to freedom. (It came at an incredible cost.) Listen here.
🎙️Crash Course is a new podcast from Bloomberg about epic business and social upheavals. The first episode, a look the way Elon Musk somewhat begrudgingly found himself lording over Twitter, couldn’t be a more perfect beginning. Bloomberg Opinion senior executive editor Tim O'Brien talks to Kurt Wagner, a Bloomberg News reporter who’s spent years covering social media, especially Twitter. Kurt points out some of the somewhat sensible ideas Elon had, the terrible ways he went about implementing them, and the many ways social media responded. We think we know the story…we are living in Elon’s hell every day. But taking a step back with Tim and Kurt taught me some surprising things and gave a good overview of what the hell happened/is happening/what will happen next. Listen here.
🎙️James Errington is the host of Centuries of Sound, which offers immersive sound mixes of sound for every year beginning in 1850, moving to the present. He just released part one of 1944. It’s a truly unique audio time travel. For this part one, James listened to over a hundred hours of 1944 radio broadcasts to pick out gems from Lester Young, Cootie Williams, Dinah Washington, Lata Mangeshkar, and more. It’s the closest thing to a time machine I can think of. He has been busy. He also released a project called Texture and Artefact—personal essays, interviews with people from his past and present, field recordings, archive recordings and original music. Episodes will come out once a month, and each is a beautiful tribute to sound and memory. Sick of all the celeb interviews (like everyone else in the universe, literally?) Texture and Artefact will be a beautiful shock to your system. Listen here.
🎙️Sam Mullins (Chameleon: Wild Boys…a show I cannot recommend highly enough) is back with Chameleon: Dr. Dante, a series about Dr. Ronald Dante, who, after listening to two episodes of this show, I am convinced is the most interesting person you probably haven’t heard of before. He’s not just any scammer, he’s a hypnotizing one. He used his tricks to hypnotize women out of their fortunes, take out hits on his competition, and open up one of the biggest fake universities in history. This guy is so shitty it’s actually hilarious—he’s the star of his own cartoon. Sam produced some of the best storytelling in 2022 with Wild Boys. So while Dr. Dante (he literally changed his first name to Dr. so that he could call himself one) is a character so compelling even his Wikipedia page is a fun read, Sam’s a talented storyteller who blew me away with Wild Boys, so I know we’re in great hands. Listen here.
🎙️The Estonia was a civilian ferry set sail from Tallinn port in September 1994 for a routine crossing across the Baltic Sea to Stockholm. In the middle of the night on the 14th, it started filling with water. That combined with a raging storm outside and you’ve got yourself a shipwreck that killed 852 people. The Secret History of the Estonia, hosted by investigative journalist Stephen Davis, tells the full story of the sinking and a conspiracy theory. Some people think it was deliberate, concealed by the Swedish, British, and Russian governments to cover up an intelligence operation smuggling military hardware. The first two episodes do not ease into the story. Stephen talks to four of the survivors who take us through the sinking minute by minute. It’s so detailed I think I’m going to have nightmares. In fact, these might be the most terrifying podcast episodes I’ve ever listened to. And it’s just the beginning. Listen here.
🎙️I love you!
From the Archives
🎙️Endless Thread has produced my favorite dinosaur episode of all time. (Here’s another good one.) The Internet’s fight over the dinosaur emoji is about the connection between people who identify as gender queer and dinosaurs and have adapted the dinosaur emoji on social media, and how their social enemies tried to use it as a dog whistle to signal the TERF community. There is also a fact about dinosaurs/Jurassic Park and gender that made me shout aloud to my husband, who was listening in the other room, “What why doesn’t everyone know this?” Listen here.
This week we’re HEARING A LOVE STORY that comes from you from 5-4, the podcast about how much the Supreme Court sucks. I interviewed hosts Peter, Michael, and Rhiannon to get the details. Here’s the tweet that caught my attention:
Okay so tell us about this Slack group. Do people pay? What kind of channels are we talking about?
Michael: People do pay; it's one of the benefits of being a subscriber on Patreon. The channels are wide-ranging, including things like our podcast episodes, sports, cooking, sharing good news, or seeking support in difficult times.
How did you find out that two of the members were engaged?
Rhiannon: They posted about it in the Slack, in our "Share the Good News" channel!
Did you know they were close?
Rhiannon: There was a tight-knit small(ish) group of regular posters in the Slack who joined the Slack very early on when we started our Patreon - both of them were a part of that early group of frequent posters (let's say, maybe 30-40 people) but hadn't met each other before that. We learned they were dating (and confirmed that they had met in the Slack) at a Zoom event for Patreon subscribers sometime in early 2022 - the couple appeared together, in the same little window. We thought, okay this is happening. And they came together to a live podcast event we had in DC!
Was this a huge surprise?
Rhiannon: The Slack definitely knew they were dating, but fewer people knew that they had moved in together, and it was a lovely surprise for the vast majority that they were getting engaged!
What was your original purpose for the Slack channel?
Michael: We thought it would be a good way for us to interact directly with our subscribers and also help create a community of listeners based around their common interests and shared values.
What other things happen in the Slack channel?
Michael: People make friends, get to know one another, and talk about whatever interests them. They also have running games; for example, we have organized March Madness tournaments and given prizes to the winners. We also seek inspiration for episodes in the Slack and take feedback from listeners there.
Is it a large time suck for you and the team to manage, or do you just kind of sit back and let people…become engaged to one another?
Rhiannon: It depends on our work days honestly, but it's quite a large community now and the conversations and engagement definitely self-sustain on days when none of the hosts have much time to participate. We ask for suggestions for the show and post podcast-related announcements in the Slack, but otherwise we engage in topic-themed channels (like "Share the Good News," "Books Books Books," "SCOTUS News," and "Politics Chat," among others) based on however the conversation is flowing and whatever people are talking about! We also have a moderator who helps with day to day administration, say in case the hosts need to take a look at a post that they otherwise might miss.
Does the Slack channel help you make money? Are there other creative ways you make money?
Peter: We think the presence of a Slack community probably drives some people to upgrade subscriptions, but we think the real benefit is more holistic: our level of engagement with the community in the Slack, and elsewhere, drives interest in the show and gives us insight into what they want. In turn, the show gets better. I wish I could say we were marketing geniuses, but "try to make a good show" and "put out merch mocking Supreme Court justices" is really the alpha and the omega of our strategy.
Always full of goodies, and even when the suggestion is not what I'd usually listen to, hurray for discovering new things!