🥏 Go, sports! 🏋️♀️ toxic disneyfication ✨ life after death 💀 a fake child named Belinda 👧🏼
🍭 👂 TRUST ME! 🌈 🤸♀️
Today is Monday, February 13. There are 87 days until my next Disney cruise. In case this email is too long, The Moth is going through an awkward teenage phase here, a sickening story the FBI doesn’t want you to hear here, this will make everyone love sports.
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👋q & a & q & a & q & a👋
Saadia Khan & Asad Butt
Saadia Khan and Asad Butt are the hosts of Invisible Hate. Follow Saadia on Twitter here, Asad on Twitter here, Invisible Hate on Twitter here.
Explain Invisible Hate in 10 words or less.
Saadia: A true crime podcast with a purpose.
Fill in the blank: You will like Invisible Hate if you like ______.
Saadia: Serial/Morbid/Crime Junkie
Why are you the prefect hosts for this show?
Saadia: As a Muslim woman of color, I have faced numerous microaggressions due to my identity. For instance, "go back to where you came from" or "you only have a voice as a woman because you are in America." Although I have not necessarily been hate-crimed because I don't visibly look Muslim as perceived by the broader American society, I know many friends and community members who have been targeted. Even my daughter was called "the queen of Taliban" when she was only 11 years old, which took a huge mental toll on her and us. So for me, highlighting these stories ensures people are aware of the crimes, and we can honor the victims. This is crucial in promoting a more inclusive and equitable society where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. And I am best suited to tell these stories because they impact me at a personal level.
Asad: To add to what Saadia said, we also have both been podcasters for a few years now and have a deep understanding of how to make an engaging podcast. Hopefully, we’ve assembled a great team to deliver a top notch podcast each week that highlights our journalistic and podcasting abilities.
Was there a podcast that served as inspiration for Invisible Hate?
Saadia: I am a fan of the Serial podcast. I currently listen to true crime podcasts like Crime Junkie and Morbid. Still, the inspiration came from the urgent need to amplify voices and stories often sidelined or misrepresented in mainstream media. Our team saw a void in compelling storytelling and decided to fill it with an honest and respectful account of the mistreatment of marginalized groups in America.
Asad: Outside of the crime genre, The Daily was an inspiration for me. Usually its one journalist sharing a new story with the host. Excellent sound design. Succinct. Great content and production.
How does your previous work fit into this project?
Saadia: My other podcast Immigrantly is focused on featuring unadulterated and intentional conversations around race, identity, and the immigrant experience in America. Invisible Hate is an extension of my commitment to holding spaces for people whose stories are often forgotten or underreported. In addition, invisible Hate allows me to investigate further and bring to the fore the harmful effects of how innocent people are targeted based on their identity.
Asad: In 2021, my company produced King of the World, a narrative series about American Muslim life after 9/11. Researching that podcast, it was illuminating to see just how many hate crimes or suspected hate crimes have occurred to the Muslim community. We shared some of the big stories on that podcast series. As we did more research on minority crimes in general, the numbers and impact were staggering. It was clear more reporting needed to be done
Does it take a toll on you to report on these stories?
Saadia: Yes, it does. I continuously worry about how to tell the story without exploiting the victims or leveraging their trauma. Further, these stories constantly remind me that these heinous crimes happen around us, to people we love, and within our communities, and that nobody is safe until all of us are safe.
How are each of you different? What do you each bring to the table?
Saadia: Asad is calmer, more organized, and a great listener. I am a bit impatient, more passionate, and intentional about how the narrative is formed and eventually shared with the listeners. Despite some differences, we have open communication, which helps with effective execution.
Asad: Saadia is the creative driving force of this series. She keeps the trains running on time and on schedule. She also brings a lot of insight about podcasting, true crime, and the immigrant experience into the production and execution of the show. She’s also a lot better at expressing her thoughts and opinions in real time, whereas weeks later i’ll have come up with something I should have said 🙂.
How is this different from other true crime shows?
Saadia: Invisible Hate is a true crime podcast to honor victims from marginalized communities and create awareness about inequities in our legal and social discourse.
🚨If u only have time for 1 thing🚨
Alphabet Boys is a new multi-season narrative that’s exposing crimes of America’s alphabet agencies, such as the FBI, CIA, DEA, and ATF, and the FBI gets to go first. With secret recordings and leaked records, Trevor Aaronson is taking us back to that restless summer of 2020, which we all remember, but probably don’t know that the FBI recruited and paid a violent felon tens of thousands of dollars to pose as a racial justice activist and subvert protests in Colorado. It burns to hear about this. Alphabet Boys is so explosive and important that I found it really frustrating to get 13+ ads for what felt like the same two iHeart podcasts crammed into a single 40 minute episode. I know ads have to keep the lights on but at some point it starts to feel insulting to the creator and the listener. I think the show is too good to pass up even with the unbearable, repetitive interruptions. I hope everyone else agrees!
✨ My recent Lifehacker piece: 12 Complete Podcasts to Binge Right Now
✨I wrote something for Descript: Build Buzz for Your Podcast with a Miniseries
✨Here’s a cute little page that gives you Podnews news headlines, sorted by interestingness, for the last week month.
✨Feed the Queue, the podcast discovery podcast I co-host with Adela Mizrachi of Podcast Brunch Club, featured an episode of Digital Folklore. Listen here.
✨Arielle Nissenblatt spotlighted How to Win Friends and Disappear People in her newsletter and podcast.
🎟️ On Air Fest is the premier cultural event for audio creatives and inspired listeners. It brings together an expansive range of emerging and established voices to explore the creative possibilities of sound. On Air Fest carves a place for artists and storytellers who are defining this moment in audio. Get a ticket. (Includes ticket to Podcast Experience.)
🎟️ On Air: The Podcast Experience features multiple rooms at Wythe Hotel taken over by a collection of podcasts and their creators. Drawing inspiration from open studio tours and immersive theater, each curated space will envelop visitors in the world of a single podcast designed to spark imagination, delight and discovery. With rooms designed by My Favorite Murder and the Exactly Right Network, On Being Project, The Heart and more to be announced, On Air: The Podcast Experience runs from Feb 23-26. Get a ticket.
✨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.)
🎙️The Moth just launched Grown, a series that focuses on the most ripe-for-storytelling time of our lives, our awkward teenage years. Co-hosts Aleeza Kazmi and Alfonso “Fonzo” Lacayo, two Moth storytellers and graduates of The Moth’s Education program, are on the cusp of adulthood themselves, and emcee to these touching, adorably unbearable stories that will hit so close to home you’ll need to remind yourself that you have safely eased yourself into adulthood and don’t have to worry about this shit anymore. The show is like that dream you have where you forgot your locker combination, if that dream was told by amazing storytellers beautiful pieced together with an award-winning production team. Listen here.
🎙️I used to have this boss (Barnes & Noble people…it’s John) who knew nothing about sports but used sports analogies to describe everything, and that’s because whether you like sports or not, they give us a way to describe so many life experiences. Jody Avirgan (This Day in Esoteric Political History, 30 For 30, FiveThirtyEight) is hosting Good Sport, which explores stadiums, pitches, pools, and slopes to answer questions like: Is "the zone" a real place? What are talent hotbeds, and how do we create them? And… is it still baseball if you're wearing a giant banana suit? It’s my favorite kind of sports podcast, one that doesn’t care if I still don’t get what a two-point conversion is. Raise your hand if you knew that Jody was a competitive ultimate frisbee player? Not I. In my research I also discovered this photo of his daughter eating pizza for the first time. Listen here.
🎙️Help the new season of Deep Cover totally has its grips on me. It’s telling the story of a mysterious woman who has been on the run for years, but why? In the most recent episode, Jake Halpern gets the woman on the phone for her side of the story, but the whole thing is an unending puzzle. I have no idea what’s going on and I love sitting in this state of confusion. Listen here.
🎙️The Royals of Malibu is the fictional story of Ella Sinclair, a teenage cam girl orphan trying to finish high school on her own. When she meets this wealthy family they take her into their mansion so long as she stops her video career. Like all rich people, The Royals are fucked up and hiding something. The dialogue in this thing is great and the last time I was on pins and needles like this was White Lotus. Who is going to die? Someone’s going to die, right? It’s zingy. Listen here.
🎙️ The Africas vs America tells a story we might know, the 1985 MOVE bombing, when the Philadelphia Police shot bullets into the anarchist compound MOVE and dropped two explosive devices from a helicopter onto the roof. But it begins with with something lesser known, the story of how the bones of some of the victims were unethically retained and handled by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology without the consent of their living family members. Host Matthew Amha takes you back, in great detail, to the day it all began, on Mother’s Day. But obviously this is not where the horror ends. Matthew has conversations with survivors and gets into the nasty weeds of how this story unfolded, becoming a scar not just on the neighborhood it destroyed, not just for the people who can remember it, but for generations of people who live in bombing’s wake. Listen here.
🎙️My heart stops every time I listen to Playing Anne Frank. It feels like I’ve wandered into a special place filled with a secret past about the play The Diary of Anne Frank, what it was like for some people (who had never met a Jewish person before) to see it, and the life-changing massive impact it had on the people who were in it. Host Adam Langer puts you in his pocket as he walks the street of Manhattan to find sites where the play was hosted, and has intimate conversations with the people who starred in it. (I have no idea how he found them but I’m glad he did.) On a recent episode he talked to someone who, after a show somewhere in the midwest, can remember reading a newspaper review saying that the Holocaust never happened. So it’s about introducing the story of the Hococaust to America, and the realness of antisemitism to some of the actors. Though this feels so long ago, it wasn’t. This is the perfect (and only) time to be capturing a story about this play, and Adam is nailing it with his brilliant interview and storytelling skills. Listen here.
🎙️On The Pitch (Shark Tank for your ears, back for a new season!) entrepreneurs pitch real investors on their start-ups to a team of investors, who have committed over $900,000 to bring these ideas to life. It’s a fly on the wall look at how people sell their ideas, what excites investors, and what these business deals actually look like. First up: Luis Medina Rivas and his big vision on solving the energy crisis. It’s a great pitch but the location of Luis business causes a few hiccups, the result is a story of creative problem solving and what it takes to bring innovation to life. Luis both passes out during the session and explains how he probably wouldn’t have started his company if it were not for being a fan of previous episodes of The Pitch. If you’re iffy about business content, this is the spoonful of sugar that can make the medicine go down. The stakes are real so this is a lot of fun to listen to, but you learn a lot about venture capital and investing along the way. Listen here.
🎙️Abigail Disney has thrown us a curve ball by doing what zero nepo babies have ever done before—in her documentary, The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales, she holds The Walt Disney Company, the company her grandfather helped found, up to the mirror to see how, for example, it’s possible that full-time employees at the happiest place on earth, don’t make enough money to survive. On her podcast All Ears Abigail and her guests, experts in turning capitalism on its head, brainstorm to break things in our society that are broken. The first episode of the new season stars Heather McGee, who explains the straight line from racism in the 20th Century to our broken economy, and how the disneyfication of American history has fueled the way we frame politics. Listen here.
🎙️Plant-based meat seemed to have a moment, and then it didn’t. Beyond Meat’s publicly traded stock is down more than 80 percent from its all-time high, Impossible Burger has announced layoffs of more than 20 percent of its staff, etc. On Plain English, Derek Thompson talked to Deena Shanker about the quirky reasons Americans gave up. It’s a lesson in business, health, and ethics that someone like me, who has been a vegetarian for more than 30 years, is desperate to understand. (The share of Americans who call themselves vegan or vegetarian hasn’t increased in the past 20 years.) Listen here.
🎙️We’ve all heard a lot about Andrew Tate in the news, but I haven’t heard much from Tate’s victims, and an anonymous British woman talked to host Vanessa Kisuule about her relationship with him on Seriously. ‘Sophie’ talks about enduring violence and working for his webcam company. It’s also a look into Tate's claims that he's a self-made 'trillionaire' and whether or not his wealth is as great as he says it is. There is a chilling interview with some Tate fans, too, so you get the other side of the Tate story that we aren’t always hearing from. Listen here.
🎙️I’m Not a Monster is getting so intense I can hardly stand it. In the latest episode, we find Josh talking to Shamima’s husband, Islamic State group fighter Yago Reidjik. It’s a quiet and scary conversation—in his first interview since 2019, Yago reveals how he became married to Shamima (she was a child) and what their life together was like. I’m always looking for those podcast moments that I know will stick with me forever. This podcast is absolutely packed with them. Here’s one. Listen here.
🎙️On We Can Do Hard Things, Glennon Doyle led a piercing conversation with her wife Abby Wambach and sister Amanda Doyle about criticism, how criticizing women in media is often a public witch-burning to keep other women in line, and how to determine whether or not you should listen to criticism at all. When men make things, they get criticized for their work. When women make things, they get criticized for who they are and are asked if they are qualified to make it. If you can’t relate to that, consider yourself very lucky. Listen here.
🎙️As a woman business owner who never really wanted to own a business (I wanted to be a dolphin!) I absolutely should be listening to business podcasts but I don’t. Nudge is a business podcast if you want it to be. It’s a people podcast if you want it to be. It’s a learning podcast if you want it to be. It’s a podcast about making a podcast if you want it to be. It’s a podcast about ___whatever you_want_it_to_be___. Phil Agnew presents short episodes chock full of anecdotes, stories, and lessons about human behavior, outlining what makes stories stick, how to convince people of things, and how to time your content right that will change the way you deal with others, get up in the morning, and also grow your business. I feel like I’m bombing you with knowledge, enjoy. Listen here.
🎙️In 2016, Charlie Webster contracted malaria after completing a six-week, 3,000-mile bicycle ride from the London Olympic Stadium to Rio de Janeiro, where the Summer Olympics were being held. She was given 24 hours to live and put on a life support machine. She has memories of dying and a bizarre conversation with a dark force about how she didn’t want to leave her life and her family. On Died and Survived, she’s talking to other people who have had similar experiences, and it’s fascinating to hear people tell, with such conviction, stories of stepping out of their bodies, interacting with people who have passed, and deciding to fight to back to the light. Something is going on. Charlie is talking to doctors, scientists, and spiritual leaders, to find out what. This podcast is good because it comes from a place of true curiosity. Charlie isn’t just trying to tell a story, she’s trying to unlock a mystery. Listen here.
🎙️In 1997, Lenard Clark was beaten into a coma by a gang of older white teens simply for being Black in a white neighborhood. The media quickly turned towards stories of reconciliation and racial healing, with cooperation by Black leaders and the attacker’s family. At the time of the attack, Yohance Lacour was in his early 20s, writing plays, selling weed, and living at his dad’s house on the South Side of Chicago. Unable to stand by as the media transformed the hate crime into a fairy tale of racial reconciliation, Yohance began working with a local neighborhood newspaper to investigate the vicious hate crime. His podcast You Didn’t See Nothin finds him back in Chicago after a 10-year prison sentence, tracking down key players to examine how the story connects to the present moment, reflect on his role as a journalist and storyteller, and explore the exploit of power in Chicago. The trailer JUST dropped nobody has heard it yet. Listen here.
🎙️The Cost of Happiness is about many things—how Tony Hsieh, Billionaire Zappos founder and tech CEO, made Zappos known as the happiest company in the world. That complicated man’s efforts to build utopian company villages around the country. His addiction. And how that man died mysteriously (on purpose?) in a fire in 2021. Host Nastaran Tavakoli-Far looks back at Tony’s manic life and talks to people who Tony impacted along the way, sometimes with incredible generosity, sometimes with incredible recklessness, to paint a close-to-clear look at the last days of Tony’s life and how we can make any sense of it. One of the women interviewed, an ex-addict herself who was able to start her own now-booming restaurant because of funding from Tony, said it best, and I’m paraphrasing: “I had no choice when I was addicted than to get my shit together. I had no one. An addict surrounded by enablers will die.” Both of them were struggling, only one made it out to talk about it. This was a quick listen (maybe just because I blew through it) that will make you think about wealth and mental heath and wonder how our favorite billionaire CEOs are faring underneath it all. Listen here.
🎙️One reason I love Judge John Hodgman is that we get to look into the weirdness of other people’s relationships. On every episode, John brings on two people entrenched in a dispute. He hears their sides of the stories and makes a final judgment, instructing the couple how they must solve the problem. The issues are always so specific that they will likely never apply to you, but they tell a funny story about two people that illustrates the funny, nonsensical rituals and habits we have created with the people we spend a lot of time with. I have so many favorites (I was on the show with my mom to talk about death and Disney World toilets, and I loved this one about sisters arguing over pogs and this one about an ex-girlfriend’s Peter Pan painting) but the latest episode, about a couple who has a pretend child named Belinda (should they name their real child Belinda one day?) was an example of why this show is so funny. Listen here.
🎙️I love you!
From the Archives
[From Oct 17, 2019] James Kim's MOONFACE is a fiction show about a Korean American son (played by Joel Kim Booster) who wants to come out to his mom, but can't because they don't speak the same language. My expectations were high, and I wasn't disappointed. The acting is fantastic. it’s beautiful and absorbing, the music and sound are thoughtfully done. I didn't want it to end. It felt like listening to an indie movie.
This week we’re getting to peek into the listening life Becca Ramos, Supervising Podcast Producer at iHeart, working on a comedy slate of shows like Las Culturistas, The Daily Zeitgeist, This Is Important, Ethnically Ambiguous, and more! In her free time she enjoys a little bit of pottery, a daily iced oat latte, doom scrolling on TikTok (join her recurring TikTok corner on TDZ trends), and attempting to read at least one book a month in 2023. Find her on the weekends volunteering at Mil Mundos books!
The app you use to listen: She’s a Spotify gowrl through and through!
What speed do you listen to podcasts? If I am giving notes….1.5x. But I listen on normal speed, usually re-listening to episodes.
How do you discover new shows? If I really loved a guest on an episode of one of my regular shows I will check them out. Also if they’ve guested on a show that I produce and I really loved their appearance I’ll track those down as well! Occasionally I’ll get a recommendation from a friend, but everyone has such different taste out there.
One show you love that everybody loves. Ooop hard to say because like I said — everyone has such unique tastes! There’s literally a million shows out there to personalize everyone’s desires. BUT a current fav is Scam Goddess with Laci Mosley.
One show you love that not enough people know about. I don’t know if I listen to anything really “underrated” per say, but the Newcomers season on the Fast and the Furious franchise is a favorite of mine I constantly relisten to that season!
Hot take: Harry Styles is overrated and his album did NOT deserve album of the year!!!!!!
Self-care tip: Get outside for at least 30 minutes a day! Whether its a walk, the gym, etc. It’s easy for me personally to be inside all day and realize I haven’t left my house in three days, and I wonder why I am depressed in the winter!