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Project Announcement

Before we get started, quick heads up on something I’m working on. It’s going to come as no surprise. In fact, it’s almost a cliche.

Here’s the deal: I’m developing a show with LAist Studios, otherwise known as the relatively new podcast division of KPCC. The project will, indeed, be about podcasts — what else? — and I’ll be hosting and leading the darn thing.

Alright, I’ll be upfront: I don’t have that many concrete details to share right now, other than the fact that it will be a weekly joint and that we’ll likely launch within a few months.

What I lack in concrete detail, however, I can make up with intent, and the intent is this: to build something that’s able to effectively communicate this whole podcast thing — what makes this ecosystem so interesting to talk about and so distinct to experience — to you and everyone else. Which is to say, I’m hoping to do my part in helping grow the pie and deepen the community.

This isn’t a novel gambit. In that spirit, I’d like to acknowledge the contributions of all other podcasts about podcasts that have come before, in particular The Big Listen and Sampler, many of which shared in the same intent.

I would also like to acknowledge that I’m no audio professional. Indeed, I’m acutely aware that being able to analyze or form an opinion about something doesn’t automatically prepare one to be a worthwhile practitioner of that thing. (See also: sports columnists.) Besides, that was never the intent with this whole writing about podcasts thing. I just like doing it.

The main reason I’m developing this show is because I have a specific theory in mind, and I’m curious to test it out. Tangentially, I’m also interested to see what it’s like to go through the process, and consequently deepen my empathy for many of the people I write about. Will this put me in a compromising position? Perhaps, in some ways. Then again, shout-out to the nine months in 2015-2016 when I worked at Panoply while writing this newsletter.

Rest assured that I will be intermittently documenting this process as I go through it, and that I’ll make certain my partnership with LAist Studios will not prevent me from writing critically of them when necessary. You can believe what you want, but my independence is among the most important things to me.

Speaking of, why did I reach out to LAist Studios to develop this show? A few reasons. Firstly, it reflects a suspicion that the podcast business is currently experiencing a swing to the west coast. Secondly, and this might come as a surprise to some, but I continue to hold a deep faith in public radio, despite its flaws. Thirdly, I’m hoping to explore what can be gotten from the relationship between broadcast and on-demand. Finally, and on a more human note, I like the team there; at least, the ones I have met. Quick hat-tip to Arwen Nicks, who has since left the station, but who was instrumental in firming up my conviction in the collaboration.

So, I’m not the kind of person that feels excited very much, and excitement isn’t exactly what I feel about this project. Rather, I feel curiosity, the burden of responsibility involved in doing the work to build something that’s worth anybody’s time, and a gambler’s eagerness to throw the dice and see what happens. Hopefully, that will suffice.

Again, more details to come. If you have any questions, please reach out. I’ll try to answer the best I can. And if you’re interested in being an underwriter or sponsor, please reach out as well.