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RADIOTOPIA, FROM PRX, IS A CURATED NETWORK OF 13 EXTRAORDINARY, STORY-DRIVEN SHOWS.

LISTEN TO ALL YOUR FAVORITES AT

RADIOTOPIA.FM. 10

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@RADIOTOPIA


O OU U R ORUS ST RTA A SF FF T F A FF MARGARET BROWN PUBLISHER/EDITOR CHRISTINA DAVIDSON CREATIVE DIRECTOR COLIN MILLER CONTRIBUTING EDITOR GEMMA KING CONTRIBUTING EDITOR BEN MINTON CIRCULATION MANAGER PATRICIA MCCLAIN COPY EDITOR MORGAN SIEM CONSULTANT, SOCIAL MEDIA

ADVERTISING INQUIRIES: (214) 704.4182 margaret@shelfmediagroup.com EDITORIAL INQUIRIES: margaret@shelfmediagroup.com Shelf Unbound PO Box 852321 Richardson, TX 75085

KASIA PIASECKA SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER JANE MILLER ACCOUNTING MANAGER 1


Tell Your Story, Become A Thought Leader, Build An Audience. Learn how to start your own podcast today with our free video series at:

podcastpowerblueprint.com

Build Your Audience Through The Power Of Podcasting With Simon Dunant

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hanks, everybody, for your warm and enthusiastic response to the first issue of Podster (https://issuu.com/shelfunbound/ docs/podster_january_2016). We’ve heard from podcast listeners and podcasters alike, who have welcomed us into the podcast community with feedback and encouragement. Podster will have a booth at Podcast Movement 2016 in Chicago this July, and we look forward to meeting a good number of you in person there. In this issue we talk to Roman Mars (99% Invisible), Anna Sale (Death, Sex & Money), Mignon Fogarty (Grammar Girl), and Nathan Latka (The Top Entrepreneurs). We get the story behind the Welcome to Night Vale theme music from its composer Disparition. And in conjunction with a roundup of excellent podcasts about the theater, we interview actress Holland Taylor about writing, producing, and performing her one-woman play Ann, about former Texas Governor Ann Richards, for which she received a Tony Award nomination for best actress. Photo by Debra Pandak

Click HERE to sign up for for FREE. What am I listening to? In this political season I’m hooked on the analysis of Nate Silver and the gang at FiveThirtyEight Elections. As a fan of The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, I’ve been listening to Reliable Sources: Toobin Talking O.J., in which author Jeffrey Toobin talks about the trial and the series (Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark is perfection). And I’m about to start Alice Isn’t Dead, a new fiction serial from the Welcome to Night Vale folks. Let me know what you’re listening to and why and we’ll share some of your suggestions with our social media audience and in future issues of Podster: Margaret@ shelfmediagroup.com. Enjoy the issue, fellow podsters! MARGARET BROWN PUBLISHER/EDITOR 5


interview nterview interview

Anna Sale: Death, Sex & Money wnyc.org/shows/deathsexmoney

In Death, Sex & Money, Anna Sale talks to celebrities and everyday people about “the things we think about a lot and need to talk about more.” From WNYC.

LISTEN

Simpson helped you get back together with your boyfriend Arthur, whom you married last year. How did it feel to talk about your personal life on the show? : In Death, Sex & Money you have intimate conversations with people about sensitive subjects. In an early episode you share your own story about how Senator Alan 6

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ANNA SALE: It was terrifying. I had pitched the idea for Death, Sex & Money as I was going through this process in my personal life of figuring out if I was going to stay in this relationship with Arthur. So as I’m beginning to think about piloting the show this crazy thing happens in my life, with former Senator Alan Simpson calling me on Arthur’s behalf. Then I was having dinner with a radio producer friend and laying out this whole crazy story and she said, “you have to do a radio story about this.” And I was like, what?


I was coming from doing traditional politics coverage and having covered news for eight or nine years, so my personal life had never been fodder for my radio work. But I think it was actually a really crucial decision for setting the tone for the show because not only was it just a really hair-brained story about a former senator getting involved in my love life, it also was about not knowing what to do. Feeling ambivalence in relationships. Admitting that I was divorced and to feeling a sense of panic about making the wrong decision and running out of time to be a parent. I think by sort of pushing myself to go there in that story, it established that Death, Sex & Money is a show about being able to admit those moments of uncertainty and fear. And that you can hopefully find connection around that. PODSTER: I understand this show came out of a competition at WNYC? Anna: Yes. In 2013, I’m in the midst of covering the New York City mayoral race, and I get a memo from Chris Bannon, who was at the time the vice president of new programming, and this memo went out to everyone who worked at WNYC, at New York Public Radio. It said: We’re looking for new ideas. And we know that we have talented people in the building, so we’re having a contest and we want you to pitch your idea to us and the finalists will get an opportunity to pilot their ideas.

For me, it was like getting an invitation to write my dream job description. I’ve since said to Chris and to other bosses at WNYC that particularly as a woman, it’s much less likely that I would have gone into one of the bosses’ offices and said, “I know I’m covering politics, but give me a shot—I have a show idea, give me a chance to do this thing.” But because it was an invitation, it became a homework assignment for me. So I worked on it on weekends. I thought it about while I was walking the dog. I tried to put into words, what is it about radio and about the work I’ve done so far that is my most favorite part? And it came down to stories about our inner lives and the details of our domestic lives that often are not part of the story. PODSTER: Your interviews are very intimate. How did you develop your style? Anna: I think it’s from practice. I was a public radio reporter in newsrooms starting in 2005; I started in West Virginia and then I worked in Connecticut, and then I worked in the WNYC newsroom. My job was to interview both powerful people like politicians and also people who never talked to reporters. So you have to develop a muscle of figuring out how to be both direct and get your question answered but also how to explain what you’re doing in a way that you don’t come across as a threat. In opening a conversation, I explain, “this is why I’m asking you questions that might feel hard.” I do that with every Death, Sex & Money interview. The show is about talking about things that all of us often don’t talk about. I may ask you questions that feel really personal, but it’s because the show is about that we all go through these things. 7


ANNA LISTENS TO

Another Round “Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton cover everything from race, gender and pop culture to squirrels, mangoes, and bad jokes, all in one boozy show.”

Longform “A weekly conversation with a non-fiction writer or editor on craft and career. Hosted by Aaron Lammer, Max Linsky, and Evan Ratliff.”

Fresh Air with Terry Gross “Fresh Air with Terry Gross, the Peabody Award-winning weekday magazine of contemporary arts and issues, is one of public radio’s most popular programs.”

Sampler “Sampler is devoted to bringing you the best moments from the world of podcasting. Hosted by Brittany Luse. From Gimlet.”

Reply All “A show about the Internet, hosted by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman. From Gimlet.”

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PODSTER: How do you select your guests? You have famous people and nonfamous people. Anna: Yeah, it’s really fun. We have a huge master list of dream interview guests and also alongside that big life issues that we haven’t tackled. So for example we’ve touched on things like sexual abuse but we haven’t really done a deep dive on sexual assaults, so that’s something we’re thinking about. We want to dig into that in a way that you haven’t heard before. Then the other kind of episode we do is to open questions to listeners. The diversity of answers is incredible, and then we stitch an episode together with those listeners’ stories. We also pay a lot of attention to racial diversity, regional diversity, age diversity, gender diversity, sexual orientation, just to try to explore as many angles on stories as we can. PODSTER: Have you been surprised by the community that’s developed around the show? Anna: Yes—it’s amazing. As soon as the first episodes ran, which included the episode about Arthur and me and the Simpsons, people responded with their own stories. It was as if hearing someone go to a vulnerable place was enough of a prompt to say, oh my God, I understand that. That happened to me. We immediately started getting emails in our inbox of people’s stories and from

people saying what they wanted us to explore next. And then we can do really fun things, like, I’m moving to California, so we’ve been asking people for songs that have gotten them through major life transitions. We asked people if they would send us videos of them dancing to their anthem of change, and people are doing that, too. It’s really fun. PODSTER: How do you feel about moving? Anna: I feel so many things about that. My husband Arthur is going to be a faculty member at UC Berkeley, so I feel really proud of him and really excited that he gets to work there and do that job. I have family out there, so that feels really good. It feels like a place where we can put down roots. I also feel so glad that podcasting exists because when I went to my bosses at WNYC and said, my husband has this great job opportunity and there are a lot of reasons why it would be good for us to be in California, I was working in a medium where it was within the realm of possibilities for them to say, okay, you can record there. It’s going to change the show because I’m going to be in California and some of the producers will be in New York so we’ll have a different lens on what stories are interesting and what’s in the news, and I think that’s a good thing. I’ve always wanted the show not to feel like it’s a show by New Yorkers for everyone else. I wanted a show that has a wider lens than that. And I’m also really excited to be among the radio producers who are in the Bay Area. There’s a lot of really cool radio being produced there that has a different aesthetic than what comes out of New York. So I feel kind of intrigued. But I also feel terrified about the transition. 9


ANNA LISTENS TO

Only Human “Only Human is a show about health that we all can relate to. Because everybody has a story. Produced by WNYC Studios.” Criminal “Criminal is a podcast about crime. Stories of people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. Created by Phoebe Judge, Eric Mennel, and Lauren Spohrer. Part of Radiotopia.”

PODSTER: What are you terrified about? Anna: I love what I’m doing. And I love the team I get to work with. So the idea of changing the workflow of the show makes me feel really wistful about this incredible period of being here and starting the show with our team. PODSTER: Have you learned anything from your guests that has impacted your life? Anna: Absolutely. It’s definitely changed me in the way that I am willing to be in the world. Part of my personality is to be 10

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This American Life “Each week we choose a theme, and present various stories on that theme. Hosted by Ira Glass. Produced by Chicago” Public Media. Distributed by Public Radio International.”

really Type A and to have things all together and to be a good student and project that I’m doing well in the world. So it’s been an incredible sense of permission to just be able to say out loud things that I’m going through. And more specifically, I could listen to my conversation with Ellen Burstyn once a week and keep learning things from her. She’s been through some really hard things but there’s such a sense of perspective in how she talks about it. She’s in her 80s and she talks about the reason she wants to keep working hard is that she’s good at it, and it feels good to do things you’re good at. I love when she’s not working, she’s talking about “should-less” days and giving yourself permission to relax. I’m also pregnant, so I’m in a mode of wanting to collect stories, tips, anything about what it is to be a parent because I’m on the verge of that major life change. PODSTER: Congratulations! That’s wonderful.


audioBoom The world’s leading spoken-word audio plaaorm. 3000 content creators use us to host, distribute and moneese their spoken-word audio content. Join us. For free. choose.audioboom.com 11


interview nterview interview

Roman Mars: 99% Invisible 99percentinvisible.org

There’s a reason 99% Invisible has been downloaded more than 90 million times: Fascinating storytelling narrated by the mesmerizing Roman Mars. Every episode dives deep into arcane designrelated topics like the history of neon lights or the origins of public drinking fountains. 99% Invisible is part of the Radiotopia podcast network from PRX. Podster talked to Roman about his career, podcasting, and challenge coins.

LISTEN

study a new thing every day, the way that the journalists on NPR did, instead of studying the same transposable element gene cluster that I was studying for five years, that my life would be perfect. And so I started rearranging things so that could happen.

PODSTER: So what was your first foray

: How’d you get into radio? ROMAN MARS: I was an avid radio listener. I was somebody who always had the radio on in the lab or places where I worked, especially in graduate school studying plant genetics. I couldn’t afford a television so I listened to NPR all the time. I just loved the way people talked. At a certain point I made a pivot to wanting to do radio as a career. I felt like if I could 12

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into radio? Roman: It was quite a bit later. I began volunteering at KALW in San Francisco. I wrote the new general manager there and said, “I don’t have any experience. I’m pretty smart. I’m willing to do whatever. I taught myself Pro Tools and I have a real strong background in science if you ever have a need for that.” And she was kind of intrigued by my weird life story and invited me in. It took a long time. I wrote her back and forth for months before she actually responded.


PODSTER: What did you start out doing? Roman: Everything I could get my hands on. I would cut promos. I would edit little pieces for other shows. I worked a lot on the pledge drives— answering phones and such. Then I got on the board and began announcing. Nicole wanted to train me to do that because she liked my tone on the air; so I would fill in a little bit here and there. And then an afternoon guy named Alan Farley taught me the board operation. This was back when the shows would stream down on the satellite and you recorded them on DAT tape in real time and then you’d have to rewind them and play from the start. So I did that for about three years. It was unpaid. And then I started my own show called Invisible Ink.

PODSTER: What was that about? Roman: It covered a lot of—I was a punk rock kid into zines, punk rock stuff, so I called it a radiozine. It was my punk rock version of This American Life, which was a huge influence on me at the time. And so I would get people from zines I loved, like Murder Can Be Fun, to do lists and stories. I did a half-hour weekly show by myself back then. I did 44 new episodes my first year and then I did some repeats and after a couple years of doing that, I got the attention of the Third Coast International Audio Festival in Chicago and they invited me out to take over my first real consistent job at WBEZ and I moved out there in 2005. Several years later I was back in San Francisco working in the newsroom at KALW once a week as a freelance editor, and the

new GM there talked to me about wanting to work with the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects to do a little story about a building that would fit into a space during the morning edition. So it would be a story about a local San Francisco building, and did I think that could be good? I started thinking about it more and more; in Chicago I had fallen in love with architecture and had already been researching it. So we held these meetings where we’d invite different designers and architects. That’s where 99% Invisible was born, and it launched in September of 2010.

PODSTER: So for people who haven’t listened to 99% Invisible, how do you describe it? Roman: It’s stories about design and architecture and all the thought that goes into things that people don’t bother thinking about. We like to tell interesting stories typically about mundane things. It’s a way of looking at the built world using design as a lens and to look at the things we make and what that says about us and the way we solve problems.

PODSTER: How did you come up with the title? Roman: Immediately after I got my hands on it, I knew I wanted the show to be more about design in general and little things rather than buildings. So when we convened the landscape architects and designers, I said, “I need a name for this thing but I don’t want the word design in it.” I had them go around the room and talk about their process. And the consensus was that if they do their job, they’re not noticed in a lot of ways. And then landscape architect Gary Strang had the book Massive Change by Bruce Mau, and he started reading different parts of the intro and there was this line about design being the 99% invisible activity that shapes the world. I found the term really evocative. 13


ROMAN LISTENS TO

The Memory Palace “Nate DiMeo conjures forgotten moments in this beloved storytelling show about the past.” Song Exploder “Song Exploder is a show where musicians take apart their songs, and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made.” Mortified “The Mortified Podcast is a storytelling series where adults share the embarrassing things they created as kids– diaries, letters, lyrics & beyond– in front of total strangers.” The Allusionist “The Allusionist scratches the surface of why we say the things we say.” Criminal “Stories of people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle.” The Heart “The things you whisper. The things you do in the dark...or light. The things you feel but you don’t know how to name.” Love + Radio “Love + Radio features indepth, otherworldly-produced conversations exploring all of life’s gray areas on an eclectic range of subjects, from the seedy to the sublime.” Strangers Stories about people we meet, the connections we make, 14

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the heartbreaks we suffer, the kindness we encounter, & the frightful moments when we discover we aren’t even who we thought we were.” The Truth “The Truth features dramatic short stories that combine great writing with authentic-feeling performances and rich sound design.” Theory of Everything “Theory of Everything plunges listeners into a whirl of journalism, fiction, art, interviews, and the occasional exploding pipe dream.” Radio Diaries “First-person diaries, sound portraits, and hidden chapters of history.” Fugitive Waves “Stories, lost recordings and shards of sound, along with new tales from remarkable people around the world.” This American Life “Each week we choose a theme, and present various stories on that theme. Hosted by Ira Glass. Produced by Chicago Public Media. Distributed by Public Radio International.” Radiolab “Radiolab is a show about curiosity. Hosts Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich use state-of-the-art sound design, mind-bending story-telling, and a sense of humor to ask big questions and blur the boundaries between science, philosophy, and human experience.”


Planet Money “Imagine you could call up a friend and say, ‘Meet me at the bar and tell me what’s going on with the economy.’ Now imagine that’s actually a fun evening. That’s what we’re going for at Planet Money.” Judge John Hodgman “A podcast where John Hodgman decides real personal disputes, with the able assistance of bailiff Jesse Thorn.” Pop Culture Happy Hour “A lively chat about books, movies, music, television, comics and pretty much anything else that strikes a nerve, all in a weekly roundtable from NPR.” It hit me immediately that that was the name; it encapsulated what I wanted the most, which was this sense of wonder about if you look, even at something massive like a building, that physical object itself is only 1 percent of what it really is. It’s the physical manifestation of it, with the other 99 percent being this massive story of how it was made and the decisions that were made and the genius that went into it and the mistakes that are in it. It was that invisible 99 percent that I wanted to tell stories about and I just knew it immediately. I went home and bought the domains.

PODSTER: How do you decide what’s going to make a good 99% Invisible episode? I’m thinking of one which I really loved which was the Challenge Coin. Why did you think that would make a great episode? Roman: I’ve learned to trust my own instincts and to be aware. I had to train myself to be

aware. So I was at this conference and this Marine Lieutenant Colonel handed me a coin. I just couldn’t wrap my brain around what it was and what it was for, and he wasn’t very forthcoming about it. So I told this story to our producer Avery Trufelman, and she said, “I was on a tour and was given one.” She was super fascinated by it, too. So I said, “Let’s go research it. Let’s just figure it out.” Usually, if we’re into a topic and want to look into it, that’s a good sign that it will work. What was interesting to me about the challenge coin was that it wasn’t just about the trinkets, it was about something interesting about military culture, which we hadn’t really thought of until it came up. Which was essentially, the military is a hierarchy. You can’t give people raises. You can’t give people promotions without a lot of trouble. And so the way you can show some kind of “atta boy” or give some kind of reward is through these coins, which is a really good design solution to a problem. I just love the fact that there were these things and a lot of them aren’t beautiful. They’re really cheesy. They can be really ugly to my taste. They might perfectly, greatly suited to a military dude, but to my taste they can be just over the top and unbelievable. To see that this cheesy thing has a real purpose and real meaning, I love that. I love when you hear the story of something and you appreciate it in a new and different way. And there’s a lot of complexity to the thing that was made. So that one made me happy.

PODSTER: So journalistically, what does having a podcast allow you to do that you wouldn’t have been able to do in public radio? Roman: You’re a real victim of the clock when you make radio. So much of my time as a producer was cutting to fit time or filling to make time and mostly cutting, quite frankly. And there was a path to success that was very 15


ROMAN LISTENS TO

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn “Jesse Thorn hosts in-depth interviews with brilliant creators, culture recommendations and irreverent original comedy.” Slate Political Gabfest “The Gabfest, featuring Slate’s Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz, is the kind of informal and irreverent discussion Washington journalists have after hours over drinks.” Slate Culture Gabfest “The award-winning Culturefest features Slate culture critics Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner debating the week in culture, from highbrow to pop.” Filmspotting Weekly film podcast/WBEZ radio show from Chicago featuring in-depth reviews, top 5 lists and interviews. Hosted by Adam Kempenaar and Josh Larsen.” Answer Me This! “An award-winning weekly comedy podcast, hosted by Helen Zaltzman and Olly Mann, which has been answering the world’s questions since 2007.”

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interviews with filmmakers, and discussion.” My Brother, My Brother, and Me “Free advice from three of the world’s most qualified, most related experts: Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy. For one-half to three-quarters of an hour every Monday, we tell people how to live their lives, because we’re obviously doing such a great job of it so far.” WTF “Comedian Marc Maron is tackling the most complex philosophical question of our day - WTF? He’ll get to the bottom of it with help from comedian friends, celebrity guests and the voices in his own head.” The Business “The show about the business of show business. It goes beyond the glitz and glamour to the who, what, why and how of making movies and TV.” The Flop House “A bi-monthly audio podcast, devoted to the worst in recent film.”

Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s Film Review “Mark Kermode joins Simon Mayo to give his verdict on the week’s movies.”

Serial “A podcast from the creators of This American Life. One story. Told week by week. Hosted by Sarah Koenig.”

Filmweek “Hosted by Larry Mantle, Filmweek is a one-hour weekly segment offering reviews of the week’s new movies,

Reply All “A show about the Internet.” Stuff You Should Know “How do landfills work? How do


mosquitos work? Join Josh and Chuck as they explore the Stuff You Should Know about everything from genes to the Galapagos.” Whistlestop “In this bite-sized podcast for fans of presidential campaign history, John Dickerson of Slate’s Political Gabfest revisits a moment from the American quadrennial carnival.” FiveThirtyEight Elections “Nate Silver and the FiveThirtyEight team cover the 2016 election, tracking the issues and “gamechangers” every week.” The Weeds “Everyone is always warning you not to get lost in the weeds. But not Vox’s Ezra Klein, Sarah Kliff, and Matthew Yglesias. They love the weeds. That’s where all the policy is.” Tell Me I’m Funny “A podcast series that follows Peter Bresnan’s attempts to succeed as a stand-up comedian, presented as candidly as possible, good jokes and bad ones.” Pop Rocket “Join host Guy Branum and panelists Wynter Mitchell, Oliver Wang and Margaret Wappler for smart, funny and sometimes sweary chat about everything great in entertainment.” Another Round “Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton cover everything from race, gender and pop culture to squirrels, mangoes, and bad jokes, all in one boozy show.”

a couple of stations and then get picked up by a distributor. Then you’d have to do a weekly show that fit an hour slot and you’d have to convince a bunch of people that it’s worthy. I discovered that I can take the tools I learned in public radio—fundraising and reaching audience and having that connection—and I would have this more intimate relationship with the audience because instead of us streaming media, they choose you and they trust you. And especially for someone like me, who purposely does stories about boring things. And then what follows from that is the tone of the show and the way that I talk to the audience, which is very purposefully made. It’s mic’d so that my voice sounds like a voice inside of your head, versus a very shouty reporter voice or even a host voice, like a BBC host voice, where you can tell they’re two feet away from the mic instead of right on the mic. That’s really purposeful because of the mundane material, you have to sort of have this surrogate who convinces you these things matter and are interesting, and so I get to be that person that becomes the guide that provides this geeky enthusiasm to get you through “what’s a challenge coin?” That intimacy is the real key and the intimacy leads to the support from the crowd. It leads to us being bold about the choices we make in terms of daring to be boring. And it leads to the tone of the show. After the first 99pi Kickstarter, I attended a big retreat with PRX and I said, ‘We can make a new path where the goal isn’t to make an hour-long weekly radio show, the goal is to make the thing that producers want to make and we could help them find the audience. That was the birth of Radiotopia. It stems from that first thing, which is that connection with the audience member who chooses you, and then everything else follows from that relationship.’ PRX has always been a champion of the indie producer, so Radiotopia is a natural extension of their ethos. 17


interview nterview interview

Mignon Fogarty: Grammar Girl quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-girl

Curious about the serial comma or the plural of hippopotamus? Then Grammar Girl’s your gal, entertainingly and informatively helping us all uphold the laws of language. Mignon talked to us about random capitalization, Internet slang, and our own grammatical conundrum.

LISTEN

guest writers. Not only do they help with the workload, they also come with new ideas for articles.

: You recently celebrated the 500th episode of the Grammar Girl Podcast. How do you keep coming up with great topics? MIGNON FOGARTY: I get topic ideas from my listeners and followers, and for the last few years I have also used a lot of 18

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PODSTER: How did you become interested in grammar? Mignon: I always loved writing, but I didn’t become deeply interested in grammar and usage until I became a freelance writer and editor and was constantly having to look up rules and styles to make sure my own writing was correct.   PODSTER: Your grammar pet peeves? Mignon: Not much bothers me anymore, but I always wonder why people insist on capitalizing nouns that don’t need to be capitalized. For example, it’s not uncommon to see something like “We support our Salespeople,” and there’s no reason to capitalize “salespeople.”


MIGNON LISTENS TO

PODSTER: With the casual, spontaneous nature of social media, it seems to me that correct grammar is in decline (frequent misuse of your/you’re or its/it’s, for example). Do you think the importance of good grammar is diminishing? Mignon: I don’t think the importance of good writing is diminishing, but I do think that people are code switching in writing just as they do in speech. You may speak formally to your boss and informally to your friends, and many people view social media as more of a friends venue than a boss venue, so it’s not surprising that the writing on social media is more informal. Even Internet slang has its own grammar though. Memes like LOLcats and Doge follow patterns, and if you don’t follow the patterns, people notice because your meme sounds wrong.   PODSTER: You have a popular blog and website. How does communicating via the podcast differ for you? Mignon: The podcast feels more personal to me, and I think of myself as a podcaster first. With the website, I spend a lot of time thinking about search and social and images, and with the podcast it’s more like I’m just talking to friends even though much of the content is the same.    PODSTER: What are your interests other than grammar?

Mignon: I love to ski, even though I’m not very good at it. Since I’m worried I might die the whole time I’m skiing, I’m able to focus completely and it takes my mind off work. Also, the scenery is always beautiful and inspiring. I also love to read (of course), and I spend a lot of time thinking and reading about the structure of fiction. For example, I’m on the thesis committee of a graduate student in the English department at the University of Nevada (where I’m a journalism professor), and for that, I get to read books like The Seven Basic Plots, which I’m finding fascinating. I’m also especially interested in housing. When other little girls were buying fashion magazines and planning their fantasy weddings, I was buying home building magazines and fantasizing about my dream house. PODSTER: My nephew’s name is Russ, and the family is split on how to do the possessive. My brother is going with Russ’s, which I find technically correct but kind of ugly, so I’m going with Russ’. Your thoughts? Mignon: It’s a style choice. The Associated Press recommends “Russ’ “ and The Chicago Manual of Style recommends “Russ’s.” 

Planet Money “On NPR’s Planet Money, you’ll meet high rollers, brainy economists and regular folks — all trying to make sense of our rapidly changing global economy.” 19


MIGNON LISTENS TO

Slate’s Political Gabfest “The Gabfest, featuring Slate’s Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz, is the kind of informal and irreverent discussion Washington journalists have after hours over drinks. Part of the Panoply Network.”

Range “Stories and Trailblazers of the New American West. Co-hosts Julia Ritchey and Amy Westervelt uncover issues and entrepreneurs who embody the outlaw spirit of the West. Season 1 features pimps, miners, ranchers, the cult of Tesla, and much more.” Van Sounds “Road stories, street noise, Van Sounds. A travel podcast.” 20

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The Journeyman Writer “Join Alastair Stephens in a journey into the writer’s life as we study the art and craft of writing, the ever-evolving publishing industry, and the stories that fuel our creativity.” Scriptnotes “Screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin discuss screenwriting and related topics in the film and television industry, everything from getting stuff written to the vagaries of copyright and work-for-hire law.”

Writing Excuses “Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, and Daniel Wells discuss writing techniques in a fast-paced, 15-minute format.”


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interview nterview interview

Nathan Latka: The Top Entrepreneurs nathanlatka.com/thetopitunes

This 25-year-old megasuccessful entrepreneur delivers daily interviews with business gurus to inspire and inform the next generation of startup champs.

LISTEN

: You founded Heyo, a platform that enables businesses to create mobile-optimized campaigns that can be shared on social networks. Tell us your startup story. 22

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Nathan Latka: Well, look, it wasn’t incredibly sexy. I was about 19 years old, a wide-eyed college student in the Appalachian Mountains in Southwest Virginia. I wanted to study architect and Virginia Tech was offering the best architecture program in the country at the time, so I applied and was fortunate to get in. This was in 2009, and when I got there all the fifth years were complaining that nobody was getting hired, that nobody was hiring architects cause nobody was building. I got super insecure and said, I’m going right now to my dorm room and I’m going to figure out how to sell something. So I pre-sold 100 $700 Facebook fan pages. I had 70 grand in PayPal but then I started refunding everybody because I had no idea how to build the fan pages because I didn’t know how to code. And I said, Nathan, you shouldn’t be lazy. Come on, figure out


how to code. So I watched hundreds of hours of YouTube videos. I taught myself to code, delivered the product, and eventually grew the business to $30,000 a month. We made it a software platform. We raised $2.5 million dollars, hired 25 full-time employees, served 10,000 monthly paying customers, and just recently in January sold to our number one competitor. That’s my entrepreneurial software story in a nutshell. PODSTER: What was the hardest part about making Heyo successful? Nathan: I didn’t know anything. I wasn’t trained; I didn’t go through some program. I wasn’t told that things were supposed to be done a certain way. I was questioning and doing and trying and hustling every angle. You name it, every angle. That was a key component to our success. Obviously we had some amazing, amazing team members and we had extremely loyal customers. So you’ve got to hustle and you’ve got to make revenue and you’ve got to keep momentum. PODSTER: Why did you decide to do a podcast? Nathan: I was in South West Virginia. We’re talking Appalachian Mountains. This isn’t like downtown media central New York City, or L.A. or one of these places. People said to me, who is going to want to listen to your podcast? You’re wasting your time. Don’t do it.

But for me, whenever there’s something that I know that I will like, I would do it for myself anyway. And that was the case with the podcast. Tim Ferriss [host of the top-rated business podcast The Tim Ferriss Show] is a great guy. But I would listen to his episodes and they would go an hour and a half, maybe two hours. I would be so overwhelmed with notes and links at the end of those episodes, I wouldn’t know what to do. So I said, I need to create a show that is short and concise that has not only educational value but also entertainment value. I said, I’m going to launch the top entrepreneurs. It’s going to be daily, 15 minutes, and the first question is always going to be: How much money did you make last month in revenue and how did you do it? PODSTER: See you do this five days a week? Nathan: Seven. Every day. And people keep up—they are loving it. They want more. PODSTER: How do you select guests for your show? Nathan: It’s simple. Usually before they come on the show, I ask them how much revenue they did last month and if I don’t think they’re number one or number two in their industry, I won’t have them on. Now sometimes I make mistakes. I get people on that tell me that they’re big and successful but then they come on the show and I hit them hard with these questions and they start like dancing around numbers. My audience will lose respect for me if I give somebody a free pass, so if somebody doesn’t know their numbers, I hit really, really hard and sometimes you learn a lot from that. 23


NATHAN LISTENS TO

Freedom Fast Lane w/ Ryan Moran: Financial Freedom, Personal Growth, and Extraordinary Living Ryan Moran from Freedom Fast Lane inspires, educates, and empowers people to live extraordinary lives. On Freedom Fast Lane, you’ll discover how to escape the rate race and enjoy financial freedom so you can travel the world and live in your passions. You’ll become a better person as you learn how to enjoy meaningful relationships and improve your health and fitness. You’ll also be inspired to awaken to your purpose and grow as a person so that you can give more, be more, and do more, and live a life that is extraordinary.

PODSTER: What do you try to deliver to your listeners in every episode? Nathan: I want my listener to be able to walk away and go, wow! I just heard from Allon Bloch in Episode 175. I learned that he created Vroom.com, which is the Amazon for cars. He did $900 million in revenue last year. This is his margin, this is his P&L and this is how he got so successful so fast. The kind of listeners I’m catering to are students, entrepreneurs, bloggers 24

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Self Made Man Created by Mike Dillard, Self Made Man is for men who want to achieve greatness. Who want to leave their mark on the world, and create a legacy of honor, integrity, and achievement in every aspect of their lives. We bring mentors into your world who can help you build a life of excellence in business, relationships, health, finance, and legacy.

and influencers trying to build and make money from their lists, and folks stuck in the corporate world who want to launch their own business but are afraid to give up a corporate salary. So I feature a lot of people who have dropped out of corporate, launched their own business, and are having a lot of success. PODSTER: Who has been one of your favorite guests? Nathan: By far, Tim Draper, Episode 129. Draper was Elon Musk’s first investor. Before Elon was a big deal Tim Draper was the investor. He’s the most influential venture capitalist in California, if not the world.


SIDESHOW NETWORK Your favorite podcasts on demand and on stage from the Hollywood Improv

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NEED FOR FEED

Theater Holland Taylor’s Ann The actress reprises her onewoman play about former Texas Governor Ann Richards, which she wrote and produced and for which she earned a Tony nomination for best performance, at Austin’s Zach Theatre, April 6 - May 15. zachtheatre.org

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PODSTER: You’ve said you were “thunderstruck” when former Texas Governor Ann Richards died. You’d met her just once; why do you think her death impacted you so deeply? Holland Taylor: First of all, I think she’s a little bit like my Aunt Louise in temperament, a person who’s really steady and can be quite hard and have big expectations of you while at the same time having this wonderful, generous warmth. I had lunch with Ann Richards once, and I loved that I made her laugh. I thought she was the most reassuring public figure out there, that someone could talk like her and think like she thought and share thoughts and opinions the way she did. I read about her in the paper a lot, and a very dear friend of hers is a friend of mine, so I was very aware of her comings and goings. She was just a figure who I wanted to be there forever. And when she wasn’t, I felt very bereft. There was some kind of connection that I made that was very profound and beyond comprehension. PODSTER: You devoted several years of your life to researching and writing and producing and doing the play, and it cost you physically. What did you get out of it in terms of the joy of doing it? Holland: Well, it was very joyful, yes. But it was such a big thing to do. I felt like I was pulling a big rig up onto a highway when I would get that play ready at night. There was a sense of being in a chute, and then just exploding into the bullring, and doing what you have to do to not get killed—it’s a very high-energy activity. My prep was always two hours plus. That included some sort of workout, and getting a wig on, and elaborate makeup, and I would have to eat at some point, about an hour before the play.

It was a very big thing to attempt in the first place but I never questioned it, never doubted it, never wavered over a period of six years or so, and just kept taking it to another level, and another level, and another level. It was really like being visited by something. It was like a visitation. I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to recreate her, different ways that she acted, because I wanted to make a hologram of her. If she was inspiring, then a hologram would be inspiring— not as good as the real thing, but an echo. PODSTER: Are you looking forward to bringing it back to Texas? Holland: Well, it’s been three years since New York. New York was a very exhausting situation; it physically taxed me beyond what I could support so I got very beat up physically. I lost a tremendous amount of weight and just couldn’t keep it on. I was doing eight shows a week and it was just insane. But also, a lot of expectations that I had for the production didn’t evolve the way I had hoped and there were some decisions made that I wasn’t crazy about. So I played this joyous, exuberant woman in an amazingly physical performance while I was also distressed, stressed, tired and angry. And it was just a real rough combination. So it’s taken me a long time to put that well behind me, where I could just come back to the purity of the show itself. The relationship with the Texas audience was always fantastic. There’s nothing like it. Playing that show in Texas was always fantastically joyful. PODSTER: You worked with a dialect coach when creating this character. You’re originally from Pennsylvania—I would think a Texas accent would be hard to get.

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Holland: The woman who taught me is often Tom Hanks’ coach and that’s why I went to her, because he recommended her. Her understanding and her ear are unbelievable. The process is using phonetic spelling if you have a text you want to work on. She will phonetically go through it and write out the phonetic spelling and drill you on it. Ann Richards was a pretty sophisticated woman, but she had that twang and that downhome way of dealing with people, and she had that genuine social ease with people that she had from her upbringing from her congenial father, but by the same token, she didn’t want to be thought of as a hick, because boy she wasn’t. PODSTER: Was your mother able to see the play? Holland: No, my mother actually died about 12 years ago. That would have been a really wonderful pleasure for me, because I think she, of all people, would have truly appreciated what went into the making of the whole thing.

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Holland: A sense of what would work, a sense of what would fly, and an understanding that an audience obeys the rules that you make. So, you say, “When I walk from here to there, I’m going back in time,” and they go, “OK.” They’ll go wherever you point them, because it’s a game. They want you to build a world where they can follow what you’re up to, so that they can make the journey. And I’ve been out in the house at a million plays. That has informed me a lot in terms of what works and what doesn’t work. PODSTER: Do you think you will continue performing Ann in the future? Holland: It probably will be the last time I do Ann because it’s a big production with a very big set, and it’s very physically demanding—it ain’t a rug and a chair.

PODSTER: In what way? Holland: Well, because she was a maker of things. She was a painter. She was a tailor. She was a potter. She did ceramics. She knew what it took to make something. And beyond acting it, the fact that I wrote it and researched it and had a hand in the whole creation of every aspect of it—I think she would have been very happy for me that I had that experience, because I think that to make a big achievement is, in and of itself, a very satisfying human thing to do.

PODSTER: Do you feel any sadness around the idea that this might be the last time you do it? Holland: It will be a sad thing to part from. However, my life is different because of Ann. I feel different about so many things because I had the experience of being near her and what she was and what she stood for. So now I feel like I stand for certain things with a greater understanding than I had before. My political feelings and thoughts are better informed. And I have friends who I made in my period of doing this, who are amongst her nearest and dearest friends, and I think a number of them count me as a real friend to them. And I certainly count them that way. So it’s really added to my life. These are people that I really love to see.

PODSTER: You’d never written a play, but you’d performed many plays. What did you bring to the writing that you came in with because you were an actor?

PODSTER: Do you get to see them? Holland: A lot of them are in Austin, and I’ll see a lot of them. And nothing could make me happier.

MARCH 2016


theater Theater People Podcast “Interviews with Tony Winners, Broadway Legends, and Today’s Hottest Theater Stars. Brought to you biweekly by Patrick Hinds and Mike Jensen.” theaterppl.com

The Ensemblist “An inside look at the experience of being a Broadway performer -- from the first rehearsal through performing eight shows a week and beyond. Created and hosted by Mo Brady (The Addams Family, SMASH) and Nikka Graff Lanzarone (Chicago, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown).” theensemblist.com

Broadway Radio: This Week on Broadway “A series of discussions about Broadway and theater around the world.” broadwayradio.com

Go See a Show! “The only podcast dedicated to the off-off-Broadway scene in New York City. Every week, Go See a Show interviews an artist making theatre in NYC, discussing the ideas and process behind their work.” goseeashowpodcast.com

Modern Myths Podcast “12 Peers Theater is launching their 2016 season with a groundbreaking year-round podcast featuring 13 new play readings, exclusive interviews with the playwrights, and Q&A sessions with the producers, directors and actors.” 12peerstheater.org

Off and On: A New York Theatre Podcast “A weekly show where host Bernardo Cubria sits down with theatre people to figure out why the hell we do this for a living.” offandonpodcast.com

Curtain Call Podcast “Conversations with today’s top theater professionals. Topics include acting, directing, stagecraft, producing, and many, many more. For the professional, amateur, or novice theatre enthusiast.” curtaincallpodcast.com 29


THE FEED

The Elder Divide Produced and hosted by Todd Aune

Bandwagon Hosted by Josh Swartz

(Narrowing the gap between you and technology)

Each season of Bandwagon follows the followers of a different type of bandwagon. Through intimate, sound-rich narratives, we meet the characters behind popular cultural phenomena. The first season features stories about people who #feelthebern: the supporters of the insurgent Bernie Sanders campaign. bandwagon.libsyn.com/rss

Technology for the 50+ Elders, Boomers & Seniors crowd. The Elder Divide - Happy Holidays www.ElderDivide.com theelderdivide@elderdivide.info

www.bandwagonpodcast.org

PROMOTE

YOUR PODCAST Shelf Media Podcast Hosted by Margaret Brown In the Shelf Media Podcast, publisher Margaret Brown interviews emerging and established authors about their books, careers, writing, and lives.

Shelf Media Podcast No.1 & 2 www.shelfmediagroup.com/pages/podcast

Promote your podcast in Podster’s The Feed. Our initial issues are being distributed to the 125,000 readers of Shelf Media’s Shelf Unbound book review magazine. Our introductory rate for this section is $300/quarter page as seen here. A limited number of full pages are also available. Contact publisher Margaret Brown to reserve your space. MARGARET@SHELFMEDIAGROUP.COM 214.704.4182


THE FEED

Outlier On Air Hosted by Ever Gonzalez

Hey, It’s a Poem Hosted by Margaret Brown

Join Ever Gonzalez 5 days a week as he interviews founders, disruptors and mavens who are breaking the status quo and changing the world! Listen in as these entreprenerial leaders share a behind-thescenes view of their personal journey to success. Be part of a one-on-one mentoring session where we discuss specific business strategies.

Hey, It’s a Poem is a bi-weekly podcast featuring interviews and poetry readings with well-known and emerging poets. Hosted by Shelf Unbound publisher Margaret Brown, this podcast examines how to access poetry and find its meanings. Hey, It’s a Poem Podcast No.1

Episode #214: Andy Weir - The Martian www.outliermagazine.co

www.heyitsapoem.com

PROMOTE

YOUR PODCAST Foreground Podcast Hosted by Barbara Pflaumer Foreground editor in chief Barbara Pflaumer talks to fine artists about their work, lives, and careers.

Foreground Podcast No.1 www.shelfmediagroup.com/pages/foreground

Promote your podcast in Podster’s The Feed. Our initial issues are being distributed to the 125,000 readers of Shelf Media’s Shelf Unbound book review magazine. Our introductory rate for this section is $300/quarter page as seen here. A limited number of full pages are also available. Contact publisher Margaret Brown to reserve your space. MARGARET@SHELFMEDIAGROUP.COM 214.704.4182


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THE PODSTER FIVE YOU NEED A BUDGET youneedabudget.com

hough podcasts often toe the line between culture and news, storytelling and journalism, amusement and information, most of us would probably classify podcasts as a form of entertainment. This is backed up by the fact that many of the most popular podcasts focus on such topics as music, film, literature, the net, TV, travel, comedy, and other forms of pop culture. But the podcast, like its older brother, radio, is not bound by genre, but only by its auditory medium. As a result, if there’s something worth talking about, it’s probably being talked about on a podcast. Indeed, some podcasts have a knack for turning the supposedly boring into the surprisingly interesting. One such podcast is the long-running You Need a Budget, or YNAB, which not only advises listeners on the importance of regular saving and careful spending but acknowledges the human element that makes it so difficult to maintain a budget. In short, YNAB knows that people are not robots and delivers nuggets of wisdom to help them with their finances accordingly. The podcast’s episodes are often very brief—five to seven minutes or so—and rarely feature cold, hard numbers. Instead, YNAB asks us to work out what we really care about (be it education, family, travel, owning a home, a combination of them all, or something completely different). Then it helps us explore how we can manage our finances— not for the simple sake of having more money but in order to attain and protect what it is that’s truly important to us as individuals. —Gemma King

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n our contemporary world of intense multitasking, high-pressure work environments, and a collective obsession with being busy, many of us sacrifice our wellbeing in order to accomplish more. Burnout is becoming more and more of a risk for those who ignore the bodily signs that they have taken on too much. One of the most powerful tools for combating this intensive kind of stress, and avoiding burnout, is a simple, free, and manageable one: meditation. Forget the clichés of Buddhist monks entering hourslong trances, and imagine a quiet corner in which you allow yourself to experience silence and calm. Contemporary forms of meditation, especially the mindfulness approach to meditation popularized by apps like Headspace, focus on bodily calm, breathing and positive thought patterns. You don’t have to believe in anything spiritual to experience the benefits of mindfulness; you simply have to take a few moments each day for yourself to acknowledge your body and empty your mind. The Headspace app is a free program that can give you tips for selfguided meditation and ways to practice mindfulness in everyday life. However, perhaps even more useful is the linked podcast, Radio Headspace. This podcast does not necessarily help you train in mindfulness (that’s the app’s job) but explores ways in which meditation can impact other areas of our lives. It discusses the social, cultural, and physical impact of mindfulness and interviews people who’ve incorporated mindfulness into their lives in creative ways. —Gemma King

THE PODSTER FIVE RADIO HEADSPACE headspace.com


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THE SCHOLARPRENEUR thescholarpreneur.com

very industry has its own challenges, its unique benefits and its economic hardships. Yet few areas of work are as saturated with job-seeking experts— especially in the United States- as academia. The education system is changing rapidly: More people are pursuing (if not completing) PhDs, funding to universities is being drastically cut, and many classes are moving online, all while the baby-boomer generation holds on to its elusive tenured positions. As a result, a new model is emerging as an alternative to the traditional tenure-track trajectory: the alt-ac or academic portfolio career. Praising the immense diversity and resourcefulness of this new group of academics, Scott Rank calls this new figure The Scholarpreneur. The typical Scholarpreneur has a doctorate, along with many academic and parallel pursuits. Rank’s podcast features interviews with Scholarpreneurs of all kinds. His interviews and insights help listeners understand the plethora of options available to them and the ways in which they can find themselves a fulfilling and profitable career. But this podcast is not only of interest to those wanting to pursue a Scholarpreneurship; it’s filled with gems of advice for those seeking a traditional academic career but who want to make the most of innovations in research, teaching, and online resources. The Scholarpreneur podcast is also a valuable resource for fiction and nonfiction writers, bloggers, teachers, and wordy creatives of all kinds. —Gemma King

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THE PODSTER FIVE THIS AMERICAN LIFE thisamericanlife.org

t’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes a good story. What elevates a narrative from interesting to compelling, from entertaining to enthralling, from out of the ordinary to extraordinary? The current trend of superhero movies taking cinemas by storm would seem to tell us a lot about the kind of stories we want to hear. These films tell us that the most worthy stories are the ones with largerthan-life protagonists and even larger antagonists. These films tell us that stories are at their most absorbing when the stakes are impossibly high, when Gotham or the U.S. or the universe itself is in mortal peril. But this is just one kind of story. And while the superhero narrative can actually reveal some important truths about our most human desires and fears, a story doesn’t need a superhero to be rich and compelling. A podcast that understands the value of humble, real, everyday stories is the brilliant This American Life run by NPR. This American Life weaves artfully emotive, complex, and creative tales about “normal” people’s lives. The episodes focus on Americans of all kinds, and their everyday and extraordinary experiences. A Wisconsin farm, a California factory, or a sleepy South Carolina neighborhood may not seem like inherently exciting backdrops, but TAL shows how they can be fertile ground for stories that grip and change us. Ira Glass’ gentle yet incisive storytelling style cuts to the heart of these people’s experience and finds power and beauty in the everyday. —Gemma King

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WWW.UNDISCLOSED-PODCAST.COM

The Undisclosed Podcast is a listening experience that reframes, enhances, or otherwise shifts everything you’ve come to know about the State of Maryland’s case against Adnan Syed, especially as you’ve come to know it through listening to Serial.

Season 1

(available now) The State vs. Adnan Syed

Season 2

Coming in 2016

HOSTED BY

RABIA CHAUDRY, COLIN MILLER, AND SUSAN SIMPSON. 37


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MOVIES NOW AND THEN moviesnowandthenpodcast.com

ilm criticism is a field far from lacking in excellent podcasts. From Filmspotting (reviewed in our January issue) to IndieWire to FilmWax to The Dissolve (RIP) and beyond, cinema podcasts are some of the most intelligent, professional, and insightful shows on the web. The podcast’s audio medium lends itself perfectly to discussion and analysis, interspersed with clever snippets of film dialogue, sound bites of dramatic action, and theme music interludes. Perhaps surprisingly, the lack of visuals refines, rather than detracts from, reviews that capture the essence of films. Yet if there is one restriction on many film podcasts, it is that of time. For film podcasts are often tied to a corpus of new-release films. Yet it is a shame to leave behind the endless treasures of the cinematic past. Some podcasts make classic film their sole focus, to great effect. Movies Now and Then takes a more innovative approach to film reviews: Each episode includes a review of a new release, then one of a long-forgotten or underappreciated film from an earlier period. These are far from random pairings, but films which share fundamental themes or characteristics. You have only to look to “Episode 2, Mad Max: Fury Road/On the Beach,” a review of two Australian-set, post-apocalyptic dystopian action dramas filmed 60 years apart, to appreciate the intelligent film couplings Movies Now and Then brings together. —Gemma King lesmuseesdeparis.com

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Photo by Matthew Septimus

STO RY H A P P E N S H E R E

10.875" WN YC STU DIOS is leading the new golden age of audio with personal narratives, deep journalism, revealing interviews and smart entertainment as varied and intimate as the human voice itself.

Radiolab Where science and culture collide

Freakonomics Radio The hidden side of everything

The New Yorker Radio Hour Hosted by editor David Remnick

On the Media Essential guide to surviving your media

Death, Sex & Money What gets left out of polite conversation

Snap Judgment Storytelling with a beat

Here’s the Thing Interviews by Alec Baldwin

Only Human Every body has a story

Note To Self The tech show about being human

The Sporkful It’s not for foodies, it’s for eaters

Tribeca Film Festival Exclusive content from the festival

Subscribe on iTunes or listen on the free WNYC app. ® 2016 New York Public Radio 39


audiovisuals audiovisuals audiovisuals LISTEN

VICTORIA & ALBERT MUSEUM PODCAST: “WHAT WAS EUROPE? A NEW SALON” A series of four conversations, sponsored by the British Academy, marking the opening of the V&A’s new permanent galleries devoted to art and design in Europe 1600-1815.

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Photograph by David Grandorge


The Globe by Los Carpinteros

The Marquise of Pompadour Francois Boucher, 1758, French Top photograph by David Grandorge

Woman’s overdress of hand-painted and dyed cotton, Coromandel Coast, ca. 1760-1770 41


Interior of a Chinese ceramic dealer`s shop; enlarged from a fan leaf c.1770 - 1820. Anon, Chinese

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Neptune and Triton by Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (1598–1680), Italy about 1622-23

Photograph by David Grandorge

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the case the case the case CORPUS DELICTI by Colin Miller Colin Miller is Associate Dean and Professor, University of South Carolina School of Law; co-host, Undisclosed Podcast; and blog editor, EvidenceProf Blog.

In Podster’s The Case, Colin picks up where Serial Podcast left off.

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orpus delicti is Latin for “the body of the crime.” The old corpus delicti rule provides that a defendant cannot be convicted based on his confession alone. The rule originated in Perry’s case, a 1661 case in which a man, his brother, and his mother were convicted of murder and executed based solely upon the man’s confession. After these capital punishments, the victim turned up alive. Courts no longer apply the corpus delicti rule, and, contrary to the common misconception, the rule never required the State to produce the victim’s body to prove his murder. Nonetheless, the corpus delicti rule reflects something that is even more true now than it was in 1661: a body can tell us a lot about the circumstances of its death and burial.

The word “autopsy” comes from the Greek word “autoptēs,” which means “eyewitness” and is a combination of “autos” (self) and “optos” (seen). This makes sense, given that the findings of a medical examiner are often more reliable than the testimony of actual eyewitnesses. In the prosecution of Adnan Syed, the State claimed that he (1) strangled Hae Min Lee soon before 2:36 P.M.; (2) placed her body in a “pretzeled up” position in the trunk of her Nissan Sentra; and (3) took her body out of the trunk and buried her about the same time (7:09 and 7:16 P.M.) that two incoming calls pinged the cell tower that covered Leakin Park and the surrounding areas. This narrative was based upon the story of an inherently flawed and contradictory eyewitness, an alleged accomplice who assisted in the burial. The autopsy tells a different story. There are three primary ways that medical examiners determine time of death: (1) algor mortis, the drop in body temperature after death; (2) rigor mortis, the stiffening and subsequent loosening of muscles after death; and (3) livor mortis,


the pooling of blood after death. When a person is alive, her heart pumps blood throughout the circulatory system. After death, however, the heart stops pumping and the blood begins to settle into the body’s tissues. This creates a pattern known as lividity, which is based upon gravity, with the blood pooling in the lowest portion of the body. Therefore, if a person dies on her back, the lividity pattern will be on her back; if she dies face down, the lividity will be on the front of her body. Given the State’s timeline, Hae’s lividity should have been on her side. This is because lividity has its own timeline. Lividity typically starts 2-4 hours after death and becomes fully fixed about 8-12 hours after death. If a body is moved between these two time frames, some of the blood that pooled will remain in its original position and some of the blood will repool, creating dual lividity. After 8-12 hours, however, lividity becomes fully fixed, meaning that it won’t repool from its original position. Under the State’s timeline, Hae should have had a lividity pattern on her side based on (1) the 4-5 hours she was in the trunk after death and (2) her burial in Leakin Park in the 7:00 hour. This is because her autopsy reports that she was found on her right side in Leakin Park. But we know this can’t be true because that same autopsy indicates that Hae had

fixed frontal lividity, meaning that she was face down and stretched out in the 8-12 hours after death. As a result, we know that the State’s story is fundamentally flawed. There are two problems with the trunk story: First, Hae had to be stretched out as opposed to cramped up in the trunk of her Sentra. Second, Hae had to be face down as opposed to “pretzeled up” on her side, with the eyewitness claiming that he was able to see her blue lips (another medical impossibility). A similar problem applies to the Leakin Park burial. Because Hae’s burial position was inconsistent with her lividity, she must have been buried after lividity became fully fixed. If we place time of death at 2:36 P.M., this means that the earliest that she could have been buried was 10:36 P.M., more than three hours after the State claimed. If, as many think, Hae died later, this pushes back the earliest burial time even further. Eyewitnesses can lie or be mistaken. Many times, they are both. But the body doesn’t lie. If there’s one thing that we know about her death and burial, it is that they did not happen as claimed by the State a decade and a half ago.

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ranscripts transcripts transcripts SELLING YOUR SCREENPLAY PODCAST with host Ashley Scott Meyers sellingyourscreenplay.com ASHLEY SCOTT MEYERS: Today I’m interviewing Thunder Levin, the writer of all the Sharknado scripts. To start out, maybe you can take us all the way back to the beginning and give some insight into how you got started in your career and even before that how you became interested in film and being a screenwriter and filmmaker? THUNDER LEVIN: For me it probably goes all the way back to when I was a little kid growing up watching the original Star Trek. I’ve told this story before, but when I was very little like five maybe, Star Trek was my favorite TV show, and it was the one show my mother would let me stay up late to watch. I wanted to be Mr. Spock or Captain Kirk, but I was just old enough to understand that this wasn’t real, and I 46

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couldn’t really fly around and have adventures on the Enterprise. At the same time on the news, the Apollo moon landing was going on. I saw how primitive real space travel was, and that didn’t appeal to me. So I went back to what I wanted to be when I was two or three which was the guy who drove the back of the hook-andladder fire truck. Then somebody, a friend of my parents, gave me a book called The Making of Star Trek. It was a very dry, behind-the-scenes book written for adults. So the first thing I did as a little five-yearold or whatever was to turn to the photo section. The very first picture in the book is a shot of the studio technicians in their 1960s work clothes standing on the bridge of the Enterprise. I think something clicked in my little


child brain that said there is a way I can work on the Enterprise. I think that’s where it all started. Then in high school I took a TV production class and I worked in theatre a lot. I went to see Star Wars one day, and everything kind of changed. Movies up until then had been very serious. It was the time of Scorcese and Coppola and everybody had a statement, and that didn’t particularly appeal to the teenage me. Then I saw Star Wars and I realized you could have fun at the movies. ASHLEY: So let’s talk about Sharknado. THUNDER: Asylum wanted to do a movie called Shark Storm and SciFi had this title Sharknado, which was from a line in another one of their movies. So they had their monthly meeting -- at that point Sci-Fi and Asylum were having monthly meetings – and they each mentioned these projects. Asylum said they wanted to do a movie called Shark Storm, and Sci-Fi said well, that’s great but call it Sharknado. So by the time it got to me, Sci-Fi had already weighed in and given some notes on it. The part of those notes that allowed me to feel like I could do it was when Sci-Fi said obviously any movie called Sharknado was going to have humor in it. I knew

if we were making a movie called Sharknado, it had to be done with a wink and a nod sort of. So I wrote Sharknado and had great fun with it. Then when I actually wrote the first draft, Asylum had some notes for me which was basically take out all this humor. I was like okay, but it’s called Sharknado, and if Sci-Fi comes back and says it needs to be funny, I’m going to get out a big cartoon hammer and hit you all over the heads with it. So I took out all the humor and they approved it. The script went off to Sci-Fi, and Sci-Fi had a few minor notes and one major note. The major note was this should be funnier. So I put all the humor back in, and I addressed their notes. That was basically it. There were a few more minor notes from people, but Asylum’s director said that this was the quickest script process they had ever had with Sci-Fi. It was approved practically within a month of my first draft being turned in.

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behind the

DISPARITION (JON BERNSTEIN) Composer of the Welcome to Nightvale Theme Disparition.info

theme music theme music theme music other WTNV people until a bit later on when the podcast had been around for a bit and we did our first small live event. The song originally used as the theme, “The Ballad of Fiedler and Mundt,” was written several years before Night Vale existed; the song is actually inspired by the novel The Spy Who Came In From the Cold by John LeCarre. The current version of the theme is simply a reworking of that same theme but on new instruments.

: How did you get involved with the Welcome to Night Vale people? DISPARITION: I met Joseph Fink in the forums on a website called 48

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Something Awful. He was a writer on that site, and over the years I had posted some of my music there. At some point Joseph told me he was starting a new podcast and asked if he could use my music for it. I liked the idea and said sure. I didn’t meet any of the

PODSTER: The intro theme has a dramatic feel that sounds like a postmodern Ennio Mirrocone score. How did you go about composing it, and what were your influences? DISPARITION: Ennio Morricone is definitely a major influence. This song is also influenced by some downtempo electronic and instrumental hiphop artists— DJ Shadow, DJ Krush, Coldcut, Blockhead, etc. PODSTER: You span a lot of genres but I guess the umbrella would be electronica. How did you


Here’s what DISPARITION posted about ALICE ISN’T DEAD on his Tumblr page:

get into electronica and what do you love about it? DISPARITION: I try to combine electronic and acoustic instruments, especially on my most recent albums. I first got into electronic music through the pop/ danceable side of industrial and EBM; when I was in high school I was heavily into Skinny Puppy, Frontline Assembly, Nine Inch Nails, KMFDM, Front 242, etc., and then when I went to college a friend of mine turned me on to stuff like Future Sound of London, the Orb, Mysteries of Science, and all of Bill Laswell’s various projects.  PODSTER: The outro music is the same theme but developed in a different manner. What were you trying to do there? DISPARITION: The current version of the outro music is based largely on a version of the song that I played live during the spring tour in the U.S. last April/May, which is basically just designed to be a bit more dynamic, amped up, something I can improvise on top of a little bit at the end of the show during curtain call.

I

just listened to the mysterious and captivating debut episode of Alice Isn’t Dead, a new fictional series from the creators of Welcome to Night Vale. It premiered on March 8 and has already neared the top of the iTunes chart. “A new fiction serial from the creator of Welcome to Night Vale, Alice Isn’t Dead follows a truck driver in her search across America for the wife she had long assumed was dead. In the course of her search, she will encounter not-quitehuman serial murderers, towns literally lost in time, and a conspiracy that goes way beyond one missing woman. New episodes every other Tuesday through July 12. Performed by Jasika Nicole. Written by Joseph Fink. Produced by Disparition.”

Some things about the upcoming podcast: It is written by Joseph Fink, performed by Jasika Nicole, and produced by me. Rather than taking existing music from Disparition albums (which is how most NV episodes work), I am writing a completely new original score for each episode. This show features, on average, more truck sounds than any episode of Night Vale except for perhaps upcoming episode 95 “The One With All The Truck Sounds”. I already have three episodes done. It is much more plotdriven than Night Vale. It is darker. As far as I know, the story is not connected or related to Night Vale. Many parts of it remind me of scenes and atmospheres we encountered while on tour around the US (also reminder that we are about to do so again!). 49


epi sode

17 FUTILITY CLOSET futilitycloset.com LISTEN 50

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Hosts: Greg and Sharon Ross About: “Forgotten stories from the pages of history. Join us for surprising and curious tales from the past and challenge yourself with our lateral thinking puzzles.” Network: Boing Boing Episode 17: An Aircraft Carrier Made of Ice Description: “In 1943 German submarines were devastating the merchant convoys carrying supplies to Britain. Unable to protect them with aircraft or conventional ships, the resource-strapped Royal Navy considered an outlandish solution: a 2-million-ton aircraft carrier made of ice. In this episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll follow the strange history of the project, which Winston Churchill initially praised as dazzling but which ended in ignominy at the bottom of a Canadian lake. We’ll also discover a love pledge hidden for 200 years in the heart of a Yorkshire tree and puzzle over the deaths of two men in a remote cabin.” That moment when: Ross and Sharon marvel at the discovery of a heart carved into a tree trunk in 1555. Sound bite: “Lord Mountbatten started actively encouraging scientists to

pursue novel ideas and said, propose anything you can come up with even if it’s sort of outlandish because we really have to solve this problem. And they got what I think was a pretty outlandish suggestion from an interesting man named Geoffrey Pike, who was I guess what you would call an idea man. He came up with all kinds of very unusual proposals for all different kinds of problems during the war, but he had no technical training. He was an academic and a journalist and an educator, so he was better at coming up with these grand quirky ideas than he was at estimating how well they could be realized. His idea was to use an iceberg. He said, we can’t spare the steel to actually build the ship but if we can enlist this freefloating big body out in the sea and fit it with engines and flatten the top then we can drive it around and hopefully launch planes off the surface of it.” Listen because: The hosts are engaging, the stories are fascinating, and there’s a puzzle at the end!


EA EAR RBBU UD D PODSTER’S AARON WATSON RECOMMENDS:

OPTIMAL LIVING DAILY optimallivingdaily.com I’m a podcast junkie; I listen to a minimum of two hours of podcasts per day. While I enjoy big shows like Tim Ferriss, Startup, and Bill Simmons, I also have a collection of favorite shows that aren’t topping the charts (yet!). One of my favorites is Optimal Living Daily. A new episode is waiting for me every morning, as host Justin Malik reads posts from both popular and obscure lifestyle blogs. The majority of topics revolve around minimalism, productivity, and personal development, though the content also touches on lucid dreaming and meditation. Posts from Mr. Money Mustache, Derek Sivers, and Zen Habits are converted to easily digestible audio snacks, devoured in about ten minutes. So far, the shows are delivered without ads, though a weekly newsletter is referenced regularly. On many occasions when I have an appetite for succinct doses of advice, Optimal Living Daily serves just that. It maintains a strict focus while exposing listeners to some alternative perspectives and personal efficiency strategies. I’ve found myself listening while making breakfast or during short breaks between meetings that are hard to fill with anything more productive than answering emails. Add Optimal Living Daily to your queue and start optimizing your life. Aaron Watson is the host of the Going Deep with Aaron Watson podcast, a forum for meaningful, deep conversations about the passions, fears and problems of people from all walks of life. Guests talk about entrepreneurship, sports, finance, comedy, and lifestyle design. goingdeepwithaaron.com 52

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