I’m from Los Angeles, and I put a lot of heart into what I do. Previously, I’ve worked for Radiotopia’s Strangers, Marketplace, Deadly Manners, The Dinner Party Download, KPCC, and I’m currently a producer at Gimlet. Because I have no life, I make my own podcasts outside of work. Most recently, I made the fiction show MOONFACE which I am still paying off the personal loan. Worth it!
The job of a podcast producer is hard to define. Depending on the show, a producer can be writing scripts, booking interviews, editing tape, sound designing, scoring — everything except for being the host. This list highlights producers who have stepped into the host seat and created something that is truly in their voice.
Awful Grace, or The Tolling of the Void Bell
(Producer: Robert Andersson // Elise Byun)
Ep — 캥거루 / To Her, Everything is Precious
This episode wrecked me. Elise Byun talks about the shame and fear of not fitting in because of her physical appearance. And creator Robert Andersson beautifully edits Elise’s story together without any narration — letting Elise say what she wants to say in her own words. I love that this episode lets Elise talk to her parents in Korean without fully translating the conversation. The music sets the perfect tone for all the complex emotions and themes that are in this story. It’s definitely an episode I keep coming back to for inspiration.
Here Be Monsters
(Producer: Jeff Emtman)
Ep — True North
I always get excited when a new episode of Here Be Monsters drops. Creator Jeff Emtman knows how to use sound and music to immerse listeners into a story. And he always chooses topics that are open ended and hard to summarize. In “True North,” he talks about his faith and religious upbringing. His writing is just as mesmerizing as his use of sound. By the end, it left me sitting in silence in awe of what I just listened to.
(Producer: Wallace Mack)
Ep — Saving Grace
It was hard choosing one episode from The Nod, but this episode produced by Wallace Mack is one that has stayed with me. I don’t want to say too much, but I never thought a story about The Sims would make me cry. Wallace tells Autumn’s story beautifully — from the questions he asks her to how he handles this sensitive and emotionally difficult experience that Autumn went through.
No Feeling Is Final
(Producers: Honor Eastly // Alice Moldovan // Joel Werner)
Ep — The Voice
This show!! It’s heartbreaking, hilarious, happy sad, absolutely crushing, and so many other emotions. The way Honor Eastly talks about something as heavy as suicide, the way the producers and engineers of the show use sound design and brutally honest tape that capture such a raw emotion. It’s an incredible show and I’m so happy it exists.
Brain on Nature
(Producers: Sarah Allely // Olivia Rosenman // Ariana Martinez)
Ep — The Accident
This is a show that was made for the audio medium. Sarah Allely tells her story about how her senses were affected after getting hit by a car while riding her bike. I felt the pain, disorientation, anxiety of her situation through Sarah’s writing and through the detailed and innovative sound design.
(Producer: James T. Green)
Ep — emdr
James T. Green is a true artist. He is always thinking about how to use voice, sound, music in the most innovative way to tell a story. With “emdr,” James repeats a singular phrase over and over, and throughout the four minute piece, the meaning and emotion behind that phrase morphs into something that is honest and raw. James is thinking about audio in a different way and there’s no one making the things he’s making.
Richard’s Famous Food Podcast
(Producer: Richard Parks III)
Ep — Jimmy’s Request
Richard…how did you come up with this show? How long does it take to even make one of these episodes? I don’t even know how to describe this show. I wish I could put this whole show on this list, but I decided to choose “Jimmy’s Request” because it’s so meta about podcasting and being a producer. And honestly, what the hell is going through your brain, Richard, when you’re editing one of these episodes? I love it!
How Do You Sleep At Night
(Producer: Sarah McVeigh)
Ep – Big game hunters
This show is not an easy listen, and yet Sarah McVeigh found a way to interview people who do or have done horrible things and tries to see it from their perspective. Sarah immerses herself into difficult situations, like with “Big game hunters,” she follows two people who kill animals for sport. Sarah is so good at having people open up to her and I love some of the candid moments she captures. It’s such an interesting concept executed at a high level.
(Producer: Paola Mardo // Patrick Epino)
Ep — Filipino Tiki Bar
Independent producers Paola Mardo and Patrick Epino found this interesting connection between Los Angeles tiki bars and the Filipino community. The piece is personal to Paola and it’s beautifully made. I actually heard an earlier version of this episode and it’s so interesting to hear the changes and how the episode developed into what it is now. The thing that sticks out the most is how Paola found her voice and style with this episode.
(Producer: Sharon Mashihi)
Ep — Man Choubam (I am good)
It is so difficult to capture an honest moment or conversation on mic. And this episode by Sharon Mashihi has so many of those moments. This piece hit me hard — maybe because I relate so much to how Sharon feels like she’s not living up to her mother’s standards, or how she wants her mom to understand and accept her for who she is. Sharon knows her voice and knows how to write to it. Damn, I love this piece so much and I can’t wait to see what Sharon Mashihi makes next.
(Producer: Sayre Quevedo)
Ep — The Quevedos
Sayre Quevedo is so damn good at telling a story with heart. The episode is about Sayre going on a journey to uncover his family secrets. It’s such a personal piece and I love it when producers put their heart on their sleeve. The audio Sayre records on this trip is candid and his writing is intimate and beautiful. This piece is a must listen.
Ep — ROW-cub
Neena Pathak made the best fiction piece I’ve ever heard with ROW-cub. The honesty in the writing and acting, the structure and realism of the story, the emotional impact this piece has in just four and a half minutes. I am just blown away by this piece and I think Neena will be pushing the boundaries of what audio fiction can be.
Ep — Moaning
It took me a bit of time to make this passion project. I wanted to make something that reflected my personal experiences, my love of indie films from the early 2000s, and my drive to use sound design and music in unexpected ways. This is the first time I’ve made a fiction show and it was the most challenging thing I’ve ever made. All I hope is that it makes you feel something.