Podcast Syllabus

You can take the girl out of college, but you can’t take the love of research and a list of learning resources out the girl.

As I’m sure will shock everyone to learn, I love podcasts. I started regularly listening to podcasts nearly five years ago and most of my listening was concentrated on conversational podcasts on a relatively contained corner of the internet. After the past year or two, I’ve been excited about learning more about the podcast ecosystem as a whole. There are tons of people out there who make podcasts professionally and spend a lot of time thinking and talking about the industry. I’ve found a lot of their conversations on Twitter helpful for my professional development—plus, some of contribute to veritable treasure troves of online resources.

With that in mind, here’s a list of just a sample of some of the excellent podcast creators and analysts you can be reading and listening to. The first half of this article is devoted to a rundown of Twitter accounts, and the second half is more in detail of some of the excellent online resources you can be accessing for free to help you. I’ve also compiled all of the relevant accounts in this Twitter list for easy subscription purposes.

Thank you for reading, and happy podcasting!

Creators talking about creating

This first section is dedicated to the creators who are producing some of the best podcasts out there, and are using Twitter to talk about podcasts from a producer’s perspective. Following them all makes me feel like I’m in a room filled with the best and brightest from the industry and I get to soak up their insights from where I’m sitting.

Phoebe Wang

Freelance producer who’s previously worked on The Heart, The Moth, and The Shadows.

Michelle Macklem and Jess Shane

The minds behind Constellations, an experimental audio project with contributions from all over the world.

Keisha TK Dukes

Host of TKinTheAM and producer of Thirst Aid Kit.

Julie Shapiro

Executive producer of Radiotopia.

Jenna Weiss-Berman

Co-founder of Pineapple Media.

Meg Cramer

Producer at WNYC and ProPublica.

Eleanor Kagan

Senior producer at Pineapple Media. Most recently the producer of Julie, the stunning project about Julie Yip-Williams, who documented her own death.

Julia Furlan

Most recently started a rotation at NPR.

Amanda McLoughlin

Creator of Multitude Shows (more on Multitude below) and host of Spirits & Join the Party.

James T. Green

Most recently a producer at Gimlet and creative director at Postloudness. (I don’t know James personally but he’s a friend-of-friends and I have heard his excellent work in many places.)

Leila Day

Producer at Pineapple Media, producer and host of The Scoop.

Analysts and Critics

Some of these people also have podcasts of their own, but to my understanding their podcasting-related conversations on Twitter primarily come from their positions as podcast analysts.

Nick Quah

Creator of Hot Pod, the essential podcast newsletter.

Caroline Crompton

Contributor to Hot Pod.

Elsie Escobar

Pundit who focuses on amplifying underrepresented voices; founder of She Podcasts.

Elena Fernández Collins

Podcast critic at her own website, Bello Collective, and Discover Pods (more information below).

Berry Sykes

Creator of the directory and community #PodsInColor on Twitter and online at podcastsincolor.com

Wil Williams

Podcast critic at her own website, Wil Williams Reviews (more information below) and various other websites.

Ma’ayan Plaut

Her job title is “Content Strategist & Podcast Librarian” at Radiopublic, and I’m not 100% sure what that means, but I know that I want her job.

Podcast Resources

I believe that filling your social media feed with smart people in your industry is an excellent way to level up in that industry, but not as much as going directly to the website and podcasts they’re publishing to help you. The following selections are just a few of the guides and shows that are dedicated to helping you (yes, you) build a better show.

Multitude Shows

Multitude Shows is the gift that keeps on giving. They are a model in the industry for eminently professional, well-produced, dedicated shows. Their hosts think deeply about every aspect of their shows and online presence. You genuinely could learn a lot about podcasting just from watching and learning, but they’ve made it easy for you. Multitude Shows has done the work of writing and compiling generous resources for podcasters to help make their own shows more professional and reach wider audiences.

When I wrote an early draft of this blog a few weeks ago, I referenced Multitude Shows as being “practically a free course.” Apparently Amanda McLaughlin sensed this through the universe and needed to make it true, because she released a free course on SkillShare all about how to market your podcast. I have it bookmarked and I can’t wait to dive in.

Radio Public

In a similar vein to the Multitude Shows resources, Radio Public has produced a series of articles to guide podcasters and help them improve their production value on the show and online. Unlike Multitude Shows, they are attempting to get you to invest in their system and so their materials are tilted towards that vein. However, even if you never use the Radio Public system for one thing, their advice is still useful for any creator.

Wil Williams Reviews

Wil Williams Reviews is a review site written by Wil Williams (who would’ve guessed?) but it is also is full of guides to help you produce and manage your show better. It also provides an extraordinary resource in the “Help Wanted” page. The listed posts are largely casting calls for independent audio dramas, but the page also featured spots for editors, sound engineers, and other positions at shows of varying sizes.

Discover Pods

Discover Pods is essentially an online magazine full of fun top ten lists, podcast spotlights, and review articles. I love those lighter articles, but I’m featuring it particularly for their articles spotlighting equipment, hosting options, and a conveniently sourced page of key podcasting facts.

Bello Collective

Bello Collective is quite similar to Discover Pods (they share multiple contributors), but it’s more slanted towards professionals rather than fans. This means it of course has tons of articles that cover news with a creator-focused angle, as well as—you guessed it—articles giving advice and resources for improving your show. They also have a fortnightly newsletter.

Hot Pod

Hot Pod is a free weekly newsletter with premium bonus newsletters available. It’s the most essential news source in podcasting, and anyone who wants to keep up with the industry needs to be reading Hot Pod every week.

PodCon 2 feed

This feed is locked behind a paywall, but the PodCon 2 panels had a ton of excellent information across a variety of topics. If you have $40 to spare for it, I think it’s worth it for the 30+ hours of content, with more being released every day. Some panels already released include Podcast Turnoffs, Transgender Representation in Audio Drama, and Managing Your Party (collaborative storytelling). The feed also includes all of the live podcasts recorded at PodCon 2.

Third Coast Pocket Conference

Third Coast is an annual audio festival focused on narrative radio and podcasts. The (free!) pocket conference feed has been sharing panels from the 2018 conference over the past few months, and has an impressive back catalogue. Some recent topics include podcasting without a network and designing innovative audio.

The Wolf Den

The Wolf Den has been talking about podcasting since before most of us were even listening to podcasts. For the past few years the show has been hosted by Lex Friedman, who interviews a different person in the industry about their business. Many people on the Twitter list above have been the podcast at one point or another.

ICG Creator Chat

The Internet Creator Guild Creator Chat is strongly tilted towards YouTube creators. In fact, the entire guild is biased towards YouTubers, which is a frustrating fact of its existence. However, considering how similar YouTube and podcasts are in many ways, listening to the monthly industry updates and interviews with creators can still be useful. Also, the occasional interview with podcasters, like a recent episode with Jeffrey Cranor, are excellent.

The previous guide is just a small sample of all of the extraordinary producers, websites, and podcasts that can help you become a better creator. An essential fact about this post is that nearly every single resource I added to this list I learned about from another person or publication on the list. The more interesting people you’re listening to, the better your corner of the internet becomes. Happy podcasting, everyone.