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🧁Sweet? 🤣 snorting with Terry Gross 💃 club kids🕺🏻 little prayers 🙏 "a mouth with a lot of teeth missing full of people" 🦷
🍭 👂 TRUST ME! 🌈 🤸♀️
Today is Monday, June 26. Justin’s birthday is on Sunday. Something cool about Justin is that he designs and makes sneakers. He made me a pair of Little Mermaid Nikes with his own hands! Follow his shoe Instagram account here!
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👋q & a & q & a & q & a👋
What are the elements to a perfect Spooked story?
A credible speaker. A personal relationship over time with an aspect of the paranormal (not “granny saw a ghost!”)
The paranormal aspect has personal ramifications and significance for the speaker.
A surprising element, because the shadow world does not act the way we expect it to.
Stick the landing.
If you could start a new podcast, your budget is $1M and you don’t have to worry about the logistics or whether or not anyone would like it, what would it be?
A podcast musical.
Are there too many podcasts?
Nope. Exactly like TV and film and everything else – there are too few good podcasts.
Should people read their Apple Podcasts reviews?
It depends. First, know thyself. If you have a thin skin about putting work into the world – avoid reading reviews at all costs.
What’s the best part of your job?
Collaborating with amazing talented friends and colleagues to make stuff.
What’s the worst?
Staring at blank computer screen waiting for something to happen.
Self-care ritual: Walks with audiobooks.
🚨If u only have time for 1 thing🚨
Jonathan Menjivar has been helping other reporters make their shows at Pineapple for the past five years but now is coming out with something on his own. Classy is all about the surprising and funny ways social class comes up in our lives. Jonathan grew up in a working-class family just outside of LA, his parents are immigrants from El Salvador and Mexico who had factory jobs. This is something he has felt every moment of his career, working at Fresh Air and This American Life, which were worlds away from what he knew. It was a huge identify shift. (He told me, “Does the fact that I don’t eat white bread anymore make me kind of a dick?”) Classy is a fascinating topic that he is exploring with his entire self, and it opens up so many things we don’t think about when we’re interacting with people in our lives, from our boss to the person who cleans our apartments (if we have hired someone to clean our apartment.) It’s a mixture of storytelling, reporting, and interviews with people like Terry Gross, Jonathan’s first boss. It’s actually a perfectly uncomfortably conversation when Jonathan tells Terry when he was working with her, he started mimicking her snort (this is also where we learn that Terry snorts when she laughs!) Terry thinks it’s just something that happens when you work with someone, Jonathan sees it as something more, which makes him perfectly suitable to be telling this class-sprawling story. Classy is funny, honest, and a beautiful look at something so many of us experience but never talk about. I hate to get too excited about things before I’ve heard a full series, but this show is something to watch.
✨ Read my Lifehacker piece 10 Podcasts That Will Make You Better at Life.
✨ Read How to actually use Chartable for podcast promos in Podcast Marketing Magic
✨ Read Eric Nuzum’s The Podcast Growth Shell Game and How to Fix It
🎙️Intersections: Detroit is a love sonnet to the city that’s been crushed and neglected but full of resilient people who love it and find beauty on every corner, even in some of its ugly moments. Episodes start with Detroit-born poet jessica Care moore sharing a memory (“You only stayed in your house to sleep—you went outside because you wanted to see what everyone else was doing”) and is followed by a story from another Detroiter who is making it a better place with writing that is so beautiful it stopped me. Satori Shakoor of The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers said the neighborhood she lived in as a kid looked like “a mouth with a lot of teeth missing yet was full of people and life and diversity,” which is a stunning line and a metaphor for the show. Includes original music by Efe Bes, Marcus Elliot, and Brian Eno. Listen here.
🎙️I don’t love interview podcasts and almost nothing about Night Fever, interviews with people of the 70s, 80s, and 90s club scene of New York City, is anything what I usually look for in a podcast. Hosts James St James, Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato bring on guests like Diane Brill, Moby, and Michelle Visage, the kings and queens of New York City night life, for super intimate conversations about who they saw (and did,) and how they made their way to New York City’s party/ echelon and ultimately how they made their mark. Conversations are so intimate, in fact, it doesn’t feel like a podcast, but a conversation you’re overhearing. They aren’t here for us. Production is light. You hear the laughter and pauses and sighs. That’s kind of why it’s the perfect podcast. Letting these interviews flow on their own makes for a really special experience. Using your ears to imagine New York City parties is maybe the best way to experience these stories. I only wish James, Fenton, and Randy asked their guests about the boring day-to-day nuances of being a total party monster. Did they sleep? How did they deal with hangovers? Did they ever wear the same thing twice? Did they cab it or take the train? Where did they eat? I guess what I’m saying is, how did they have the energy to outdo the chaos of New York night after night? I guess what I’m saying is, I want tips. Listen here.
🎙️There are two things in this world that will melt me into a sobbing puddle: the last scene of Disney’s animated The Little Mermaid and every single episode of Soul Music, a podcast the collects short stories about what specific pieces of music have meant to us. A recent episode about “I Say a Little Prayer For You,” swung from how Aretha Franklin spoke to soldiers in Vietnam to how the song can be a prayer to someone we’ve lost and ourselves. And how singing is prayer, too. There’s another recent one on The Specials’ “Ghost Town,” which was recorded in June 1981, right before Diana Spencer became the Princess of Whales, and how the song juxtaposes the violence of the neighborhood to the royal wedding. Soul Music lets you crawl into a lyric and fall in love with a song, even if it’s a song you’ve never liked before. Soul Music isn’t trying to tell you about the history of a song (but it often does that,) it’s getting you to understand what it means to people. Listen here.
🎙️It’s narcissistic but I always feel like The Heart was made just for me when I’m listening to it, but the moment I think about all the people whose hearts are similarly being pierced in the same way makes me feel connected to the universe. Kaitlin dropped an episode about her dad for Father’s Day that explores the highs and lows of her relationship with him and the complications of familial love. I felt like I was sitting on the couch in the Prest family room with Dirty Dancing in the background watching a slideshow of big emotions, love, anger, and all the other things you get from your family if you’re really really lucky. My mom pointed out that last week’s episode of Family Secrets was also about a complicated father/daughter relationship. Listen to The Heart here.
🎙️With all the buzz about Meghan and Harry’s Spotify “grift,” I turned to Tom Webster on Sounds Profitable to talk about the future of celebrity podcasts. Celebrity podcasts should exist, he says. But they shouldn’t be interviews with other celebrities. Celebrities are usually bad at this. We need to rethink the kind of shows these famous people are hosting. We need to get creative. And that’s exciting. I hope they’re listening. Listen here (celebrities.)
🎙️The Normal Gossip Reddit is starting to read like an episode of Normal Gossip. People are upset about the low frequency of episodes and that host Kelsey McKinney publicly shared how hard these episodes are to make. (Something that is true for all podcasters.) So if you find yourself needing more light gossip, listen to Petty Crimes, which isn’t as polished but still serves up the same kind of low-stakes drama as Normal Gossip. I think it was a guest on Normal Gossip (I forget who, let me know if you remember) who once said that listening to gossip about people you know nothing about is cathartic. I think that’s why I come to Normal Gossip, and I’m getting it from Petty Crimes. Disputes over baby trees, napkins, and a forced meeting between two 7th graders. Gimme gimme. Listen here.
🎙️If you loved Dying For Sex, #1…you’re not alone. It was named Podcast of the Year by the Ambies. #2…get excited. In her new podcast Near Death, Nikki Boyer is bringing back Reverend Peggy, the lead chaplain at one of the world’s most renowned hospitals (you’ll recognize her from Dying For Sex) who has been present for the final moments of nearly 2,000 people. Peggy’s sharing moving, tear-jerking end-of-life stories from her career in spiritual care in a way that will have you laughing as much as crying. If you’re afraid of death, let’s go there and talk about it. My favorite thing is how it’s showing off a positive side of prayer and what it can do for some people—the calming chanting of Our Father, the moments we spend focusing our energy on people who are passing, Peggy is walking these people home. It means something. And it can be funny, too. Listen here.
🎙️We have to talk about WILD. I interviewed Erick and Megan a few weeks ago, two days before their final episode. WILD is fiction (there is a disclaimer at the beginning of every episode) so you don’t know what’s true and what’s not. In the final scene (huge spoiler alert) Erick and Megan ride off into the sunset together as a couple, which is a twist I did not see coming. (I feel sooo stupid.) WILD didn’t feel like a reality TV rom-com because it was well produced. It felt like one because it was one. Another true thing: Erick and Megan were fired over zoom the day after the last episode dropped, allegedly because the show didn’t perform. (Erick talks about it here.) Erick and Megan are now together alone and untethered. I’m sorry. I also know they will go on together, ride into another sunset, and do something great. Listen to WILD here.
🎙️Big Sugar is a new podcast about the secretive, multi-billion dollar sugar industry and the epic court battle that exposes how sugar is grown, cultivated and sold, and it feels like a box office thriller. The show starts out in Florida, with Victor and Selvin, who traveled from Jamaica to cut sugarcane. It’s shitty work, and their story uncovers the devastating truth about the labor supporting the American sugar industry. But that’s just the tip of the sugar cube. Host Celeste Headlee is getting into how sugar has creeped into all of our food and is the root of an industry that is taking over the United States, where it’s more expensive and less avoidable. Celeste was on an episode of The Daily Zeitgeist to get into what Big Sugar has in store for us. Celeste admits that after spending two years making Big Sugar, she really tried to quit it. So maybe listening to this show will inspire you to cut it out from your diet? But oh wait, she couldn’t quit sugar. Because getting rid of sugar is as time-consuming as a part-time job. We are slaves to it. But only metaphorically. It’s an industry that is driven by actual slave labor. It’s a real shit sandwich, and I bet there’s tons of sugar in the bread. But Big Sugar is exciting and fun. Listen here.
🎙️More sugary sweetness: In 2018, a few months into building a new school in Sugar Land, Texas, construction crews unearthed 95 unmarked graves that belonged to 95 African-Americans who were part of Texas' convict leasing system, known as The Sugar Land 95. Sugar Land is an investigation into who these people were and what happened to them, but it’s also about the people who claim ownership to them, and either think the 95 bodies should be moved so construction could continue, or reburied where they were found. It’s a slice of our dark past exhaustively told with voices from both sides that literally feels like a boxing match. It’s great reporting told in an animated way. Listen here.
🎙️The Knew Guys is a new thing from Gabe Dunn and River Butcher, where the guys get together to talk about masculinity through the trans-guy comedian lens. They’ll be interviewing people about their relationships to gender and pull from their own experiences. They’re the new guys in town, literally, and as River explains in the first episode, he always knew he was a guy. So you get The Knew Guys. I love these people separately (Gabe for Just Between Us and so many other things; River is from Akron Ohio and his comedy is always peppered with Ohesian jokes that I appreciate) and together they’re magical. Not only are they both very funny, they have a big/little brother thing going on, which is heart-warming. Listen here.
🎙️Nobody Should Believe Me, Andrea Dunalp’s podcast about her sister’s Munchausen by Proxy abuse scandal, was a rare and personal snapshot of this complicated disease. It’s back for another season, this time focusing on Brittany Phillips, who was starving her daughter. It’s a story that both drastically overlaps and differs from that of Andrea’s sister. The tiny clues of abuse are there, but Brittany was much more of a bully. Listening, it seems she isn’t actually good at Munchausen by Proxy. That’s how hard it is for people to report it, how sucky CPS is in doing anything about it, and how murky and sneaky Munchausen is. Listen here.
🎙️From Texas Monthly on the Tom Brown Body’s feed comes Stephenville, the story of Susan Woods, who was found dead at home in the summer of 1987. In this small, cowboy town all fingers pointed to Susan’s estranged husband, who always seemed a little out of place. He’s on the pod to explain his side of the story, and how the fact that he was immediately pegged caused the cops to miss who actually killed her. Tom Brown’s Body was a story that had me desperately wanting to know whodunnit. The pacing and feel of this show is similar. Texas is a strong character here, the reporting is top notch, and the first few episodes really left me wanting more. Listen here.
🎙️Season four of The Last Archive just dropped, and Jill Lepore has passed the hosting mic to her longtime lead producer Ben Naddaff-Hafrey, who is digging into the history of how we know what we know with six standalone episodes. The first one is the story of how we hear what we hear and a pioneer of AI and music, Raymond Scott, an engineer and musician who was obsessed with blurring the line between man and machine. His electonium (an algorithmic composition / generative music machine ahead of its time) pushed machines from just playing music (think the player piano) to composing it. The music has held up better than you know, and has been sampled by J Dilla, Gorillaz, Lizzo, Ren and Stimpy, The Simpsons, and more. Some of the songs are pucky and weird and delightful. Ben is hosting but brings the same exciting, detectivey feel of past Last Archive episodes, that truly makes you feel like you’re sifting through old boxes to discover something really special and relevant. Listen here.
🎙️Linda Marigliano's Tough Love is back for another season. In season one, we were a fly on the wall as Linda navigated a long-distance relationship. The sound is so unique, it made. you feel like Linda plopped her in your pocket and carried you around as she went about her day. Conversations with her family, her inner dialogue, you’re really in her shoes. It’s a fun personal memoir, and season two picks up where we left off. Linda is about to see her boyfriend IRL for the first time in a year and a half. On her way to pick him up, she wonders…after all this time, are they still worth it? It’s a mini rom com that makes you feel like you’re totally along for the ride. Listen here.
🎙️I was absolutely obsessed with Forgotten: Women of Juárez, and the team behind it, Oz Woloshyn and Ana Arana, released Silenced: Radio Murders, the story of radio broadcasters who were murdered in the Miami neighborhood of Little Haiti for using the airwaves to demand democracy at home in Haiti. The investigation has stalled and to this day, the masterminds remain free. There are more rumors than facts, but Radio Murders is full of hard (physically and mentally) reporting in search of answers. It’s a real investigation bringing light to a story that has been almost completely ignored. It’s dangerous and meaningful especially to the families, who still live in fear of their lives. Ana and Oz do not phone it in. This is what a great investigative podcast sounds like. Listen here.
🎙️I love you!
📦 From the Archives 📦
[From February 14, 2020] The Biblical story of the great flood is so interesting because some sort of flood story appears in nearly every single culture, and I’m guessing it isn’t because there was an actual flood that covered the entire world, but because the human longing for a story of redemption and starting anew is universal. The same can be said, I guess, for the song Who Let The Dogs Out by the Baha Men. On 99% Invisible’s Whomst Among Us Let The Dogs Out, Roman Mars interviews Ben Sisto, who took it upon himself to dig into the history of the song Who Let The Dogs Out. Ben discovered the song actually originated on the radio airwaves, on YouTube, and in football stadiums as early as the 1980s. The Baha Men became famous for it in 2020, but the idea of “letting dogs out,” the barking, the song’s beat…those things have been around for awhile. Perhaps Noah himself was humming Who Let The Dogs Out while building his ark. This actually makes a lot of sense, and you literally can’t tell me he wasn’t. And that is the wonderful thing about the Bible. Anyway, Roman and Ben go down the rabbit hole together, to try to figure out the origin of this song and whether or not art is made by individuals, or a force much greater. Because Who Let The Dogs out is actually a statement, not a question (nobody is asking who let the dogs out?,) the episode closes up with segment on movie titles, like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, that have a similar format, and what that really means.
From the Desk of Tink
Today we’re talking to one of Tink’s clients, Bill Courtney, host of the new podcast An Army of Normal Folks. Bill was the inspiration for the film, “Undefeated,” which won the 2012 Academy Award for Best Feature Length Documentary. Bill founded Classic American Hardwoods and is the author of Against the Grain: A Coach’s Wisdom on Character, Faith, Family, and Love.
Describe the show in ten words or less: Conversations with normal folks who have done extraordinary things in their community despite their own challenges.
Who is it for? Everyday Americans who are fed up with the political and media power class dividing us.
What do you hope listeners take away from your podcast? Regardless of who we are, what we believe, what we look like, how we worship, and any other differences we have, civil, non-threatening, but real conversations will reveal just how much we have in common.
Dream guest: Nelson Mandela
If I could force one person in the world to listen to my podcast it'd be… Barack Obama
What do your parents/kids/family think about this podcast? They are sick of hearing me talk - it's been a lifetime of my voice for them- but they love the guests!
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