In the years that it’s been running, DC Podfest has prided itself on fostering a community for podcasters of any level or creed to come and find a place amongst like-minded people. This year’s conference proved no different, with guests ranging from first-time “I might want to start a podcast” thinkers and plotters to folks like Josh Hallmark, creator of True Crime Bullshit, Our Americana, and much more. While the event only lasted two days, it brought forth a font of passion and dedication to the craft of podcasting.
We at Podbean sat down with four different podcasters to talk about their journey through the medium, and put their interviews together as a clip show to highlight the positivity, creativeness, and dedication to their work.
Our first guest, JJ, produces and cohosts RED, BLUE, AND BRADY from Brady, a nonprofit focused on reducing gun violence.
“We are the podcast arm of the nonprofit Brady, and Brady is one of the oldest gun violence prevention nonprofits in the United States. We work in three areas: we work in Congress, courts, and communities to help prevent this epidemic of gun violence that continues to harm the US. What Red, Blue, and Brady does specifically is we bring on survivors, activists, educators, researchers, staff members, politicians, sometimes people who occupy all of those identities at once, which is really interesting, and have them come on and talk about their work and what’s happening.”
Like many of the other attendees, they’re local to the DC area, but their work is spread out across the country.
“We have a physical office here in DC, but we also have satellite groups all across the US in almost every state. So even if we don’t have physical office spaces – so for example, we have what are generally called like, our Brady field offices, so we have people who are calling in to the podcast that work in a really niche community that it’s in California that’s maybe dealing with urban gun violence, and then we’ll have a really niche community that’s in Massachusetts that’s dealing with a rash of suicide deaths. And so we try to cover all areas of the US and all areas of gun violence simultaneously.”
Our next guest, Eric Snader, pulled up to the booth with his podcast WILD MESSY INFINITE LOVE.
“My podcast is sort of aimed at when you look at someone, or when you look at a community, when you strip down all those layers and you strip down definers such as living location, when you strip down definers such as jobs – you know, all those kinds of things that we’re told about ourselves, whether from our own minds or from society – when you strip it all down, we all have this spirit of love that rests at the deepest core of our being. And my podcast really is about exploring how we tap into that, exploring how we sort of dip our toes into that flow, so to speak.
“So that can look like self-discovery, learning about your true self, learning about what sort of person you are, what your purpose is in life. It can look like being involved with the community, getting out into the world, doing really interesting stuff with other people. It can also be about going out into nature and seeing a really cool sunset and being, “Wow, that is something so crazy,” and it’s almost a feeling of, “I’m connected with something that’s way bigger than myself.” It’s that point of connection I’m making.”
Eric came to DC Podfest in search of a local community to call his own, and to find the joy he had podcasting in other like-minded people.
“It’s really great. I’m learning a lot, and meeting a lot of really great people!”
To learn more about Eric and his podcast, check out his Twitter.
Chris Griffin came to our table sporting some really sweet socks and his show TALES FROM THE ROUND WORLD, which pulls double duty as both a podcast and a way to benefit others.
“We tell stories around a theme. We do our shows live, and the liveshows are interspersed with variety acts. They’re interspersed with burlesques, sideshows, side-shows, circuses, and live music. The live shows are also fundraisers, and we usually try to tie what the theme is for the show with the nonprofit that we’re benefiting.”
Much like our other guests, Chris is local to the DC area, but the driving force behind his attendance to DC Podfest is the chance to learn more about podcasting as a medium.
“I came from this ‘live show/production’ standpoint, and not really a podcast standpoint. This has been great, a lot of cool new ways to apply everything through my lens. It gets to be, ‘Okay, how does this work with what I’m doing’.”
His advice for live show podcasters? Don’t be afraid to push the envelope.
“If you’re doing a live show, just spice it up. In our past, besides doing the storytelling, we have a full range of sound effects we do live. And I’m a huge Rocky Horror fan so we have audience participation, we have signs that are like, ‘scream this thing now!’”
His next live event will be on November 22nd at the Eaton Workshop in DC, with TraRon as their partnered nonprofit. To learn more about the even, Chris, and his podcast, check out his Twitter!
Our last guest, Zoe Collis, came bearing not one, not two, but THREE political podcasts.
“The two that I produce – one is a news-driven show called The News Next Week, that previews what is going to happen in foreign policy/international relations world next week. The second’s called The President’s Inbox, and it is hosted by CFR’s VP and Director of Studies, and he interviews experts each week talking about pressing foreign policy issues facing the United States. And our third and newest podcast we’re really excited about is called Why It Matters. Again, it is a foreign policy story-driven podcast that takes a look at different issues that are posed to the United States.”
Her advice to podcasters? Stories are where it’s at.
“I think that people like to hear stories. There’s one thing that I felt with both the pre- and post-production of two of our shows, and what I find in the pre-production phase that I really enjoy is learning about what is going on in the world and being able to write all of that down, give our hosts notes, plan it out. But then when I’m editing it, it’s more fun to just edit someone who’s telling an authentic story about what’s going on around the world, or something that’s happened to themselves. At least to me, that’s more entertaining than just rattling of facts about something.”
DC Podfest 2019 provided us just a brief glimpse into the podcasting careers of locals in the industry. But these small looks were enough to broadcast the passion that these podcasters have for their craft, and the desire to help and inspire those around them. While this post hopefully brought some of that into view, we also hope that it inspires you to bring some of the same energy into your life (and some of your energy to DC Podfest 2020)!