Four ‘Whys’ Women

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(By Troy Price) When we podcasters get together, we spend a lot of time trying to pick each other’s brains. Most of the time our questions center around ‘Who’, ‘What’ and ‘Where’ questions. We easily ask things like:

Tell me about yourself and your show.
Where do you record?
What Microphone do you use?
Who do you use as your media host?

I am currently working with four friends that are about to release the first episode of their, ‘That’s What We Said’ podcast. For them, this is a special time. This is before they first check any stat. This is before their first bit of listener feedback. This is before their first sponsorship check. I wanted to capture their thinking at this magical moment and so I asked them to individually write down WHY they want to start a podcast together. With their permission, I share their answers below. To my knowledge, they are just now seeing each other’s answers here for the first time.

Jenny’s Response
“I’m interested in doing this podcast for two reasons. First, I love comedy, and I love humor. For me, being funny is a moral imperative. I believe we are bound by the sorrows of this earth to try to make the best of it. For me, that means finding ways to laugh in the darkness. But yet, I don’t have the bleak backstory needed for standup. I’m a writer. I don’t have the actorly interest in joining an improv group. A podcast seems like a great place to exercise my comedy chops, in part because the group chat I have with my co-hosts is the funniest place in my life. My co-hosts are hilarious women.

Second, I live to make connections. I love finding the places where people, insights, and places connect. I love connecting the families I work with to resources in our community. I love finding common ground between people in my small town who may not know what they share. My cohosts are also connectors, so this living, breathing podcast seems like it has the potential to make incredible connections between us and listeners and between listeners.”

Kelly’s Response
“In 2018, I was asked to run for a special election in a statewide office in my district that is about 70% registered Republican. I agreed to do it out of anger at the political climate and a hope that I could inspire people to get more involved locally. Running for office was not my cup of tea: I’m an introvert so I hated being the center of attention; I’m an academic librarian and was juggling full time work with running a state-wide campaign; and as a mom with a husband and two kids at home, I asked them to sacrifice a lot of time and attention from me.

The main thing that kept me sane during this time was a Facebook Messenger chat I had with 3 other women. We bitched about politics, joked about pop culture, shared interesting media we had been consuming, talked about parenting adventures, complained about perimenopause, and observed the general ridiculousness of life. We have frequently joked that various of our conversation threads would make for a great podcast.

Fast forward two years and I’m not an elected official, but I do still have an ongoing group chat with these smart, talented, hilarious ladies. It’s possible that we now talk more about our latest celebrity crushes than about politics, but life is all about balance, right? And our jokes about podcasting are becoming a reality, as we embark on this project to bring our own unfocused brand of middle-aged white lady mayhem out from behind the chat and into the public eye. It’s not a political campaign, but I hope it will inspire people with humor and thoughtfulness.”

Becca’s Response
“Over the last five years there has been a HUGE focus on Trump and how and why he has been able to gain power. Who supports him? Why do they support him? How did his campaign maintain support? Folks keep talking about “forgotten Americans” and red states vs blue states. Etc. etc. What they mostly are asking is – why did white (rural) America vote for Trump? I have my own strong opinions about that… But, what’s been missing from the narrative is that America is so much more complex. That rural America has liberals and immigrants and black people living in it, and that urban America has some REALLY conservative people living in it. And, that the south/Appalachia is not the simplistic, monochromatic place that lots of Americans would like to believe that it is. I think/hope that podcasting has a part to play in sharing, explaining and understanding those complexities.

I think it is important that we acknowledge that we, Jenny, Katie, Kelly and I, are an incredibly UNdiverse group. We are four middle aged, middle class, white women who are married and parents – in many ways America hears OUR voices every single day. But, we are also four liberal women who live in the rural America. We all have friends and family who are conservative. People who will still interact with and love. We, like many Americans, live in a town that is politically divided. We have families. We have jobs. We sometimes shop at Walmart. We get pissed off and disappointed and sometimes we’re also goofy and silly. As UNdiverse as we are, I think we recognize that we hold a great deal of privilege and maybe because of that have the opportunity to lift up the voices of other women and minorities and under-served people via something like a podcast.

At least that’s what I hope.”

Katie’s Response
“There’s an amazing song (and recurring lyric) in Hamilton, “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?” I am from a part of the country, and currently live in a part of the country, where lots of people try to tell our story. And they usually get it wrong. Or only a little bit right. I want to start a podcast so that I can tell part of the story, and tell it in a way that acknowledges that Kentucky (and Appalachia and the South and small towns) is more complex than most people realize. And I want to tell my story. I’m a 40 year old woman with my own experiences and opinions and questions. I’m not so arrogant as to assume that my story will be transformative or inspirational for others. But I do believe wholeheartedly that listening to the stories of others leads to empathy, and we need more empathy today. I want to start a podcast so that I can share the stories of my place and my own life, and provide a platform where others can share their stories – especially stories that are often silenced or overlooked or forgotten. I’m hopeful that this endeavor, undertaken with three other fabulous women, will help open the door to thoughtful conversations, to laughter at the realities and ridiculousness of real life, and to empathy and understanding. I’m excited that podcasting can help us tell our story.”

Feel free to let their answers encourage you to readdress why you podcast. Having that answer in the front of your mind will help guide and strengthen your show much more than knowing the model of your microphone or the plan you have with your media host. So, take the time to find your answer, even if no one ever asks you.

Troy Price is the co-founder of Front Porch Studios in Berea, Kentucky. He has been involved with podcasting for over a decade. Listen to his show “Podcasting Tips From The Front Porch” HERE.