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Jan 13, 2023 at 10:00 am – Jan 15, 2023 at 4:30 pm

Podcast School

With Avery Trufelman, Shima Oliaee, Najib Aminy, Martín Gonzalez, Matt Wolf, Mitra Kaboli & Benjamin Riskin - with the support of Radiotopia

Please note: This workshop will be held in UnionDocs’ new space in Ridgewood!
We’re now at: 352 Onderdonk Ave, Ridgewood,  NY – 11385

Join UnionDocs and Avery Trufelman (99% Invisible, Articles of Interest named one of the best podcasts of 2022 by the New York Times) for a three-day intensive workshop to start the year with an outstanding group of media artists and podcast professionals, and explore how merging wonky research with real-life experiences can help to make concepts come alive!

While audio storytelling can often feel increasingly pressurized by the demands of an expanding industry, this workshop aims to help audio-makers navigate this world while also developing their own creative approach to the form.

Over the course of the workshop, Avery will lead the participants through both theoretical and practical aspects of podcasting, combining guest presentations, listening sessions, case studies and work-in-progress critiques. The workshop will look at how to convey information, how to do interviews, and how to get out there in the field with your microphone and make unusual, innovative work that’s grounded in facts.

Guest speakers will be on hand to help participants develop their audio practice. Shima Oliaee (Dolly Parton’s America) will discuss the nuts and bolts of hosting and editing. Martín Gonzalez (99% Invisible) will introduce participants to sound art, discussing varied approaches to recording and sound design. Najib Aminy (Reveal) will dive into creative approaches to production. On Sunday, Avery and filmmaker Matt Wolf (Spaceship Earth, Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell) will discuss why artists choose their medium and how to approach similar topics differently. We will be closing the workshop by addressing various strategies for distributing your podcast with Mitra Kaboli and Benjamin Riskin that will discuss as a case study their experience on the show Welcome to Providencetown.

Throughout the weekend, participants will also be given the space to present their podcast and work together with visiting guests.

This workshop is supported by Radiotopia.

Radiotopia from PRX is a curated network of extraordinary, cutting-edge podcasts. Radiotopia empowers independent producers to do their best work, grow audience, and increase revenue. At its core, Radiotopia cultivates community — for both listeners and makers alike.

NOTE: This workshop will require in-person participation from all participants. Each participant must present proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test administered within 72 hours of the workshop’s start. Any and all questions, please reach out to [email protected].


Open to everyone, though the workshop setting is best suited for documentary filmmakers, aspiring podcasters, journalists, and media artists. This workshop is in person and will be conducted in compliance with CDC protocols.

$350 early bird registration by January 13, 2023 at 11:59PM.

$400 regular registration.

UnionDocs will offer the equivalent of full 2 scholarships for BIPOC audio makers and aspiring podcasters. Applicants should reach out to [email protected] in order to fill a scholarship inquiry by January 6, 2023.

The deposit is non-refundable. Should you need to cancel, you’ll receive half of your registration fee back until Jan 6th. After Jan 6th, the fee is non-refundable.

In order to keep costs down, this workshop is a BYOL, i.e. bring your own laptop. Students must be fully proficient using and operating their computers.

NOTE: To register for a workshop, students must pay in full via card, check, or cash.  After the early bird registration deadline of Jan 6th, course fees are not refundable or transferable and any withdrawals or deadlines will result in the full cost of the class being forfeit. There will be no exceptions. To withdraw from a course please email info-at-uniondocs.org.

In the event that a workshop does not receive sufficient enrollment, it may be canceled. Students will be notified at least 48 hours prior to the start of a cancelled workshop and will be refunded within 5 business days. If we reschedule a workshop to another date, students are also entitled to a full refund. UnionDocs reserves the right to change instructors without prior notification, and to change class location and meeting times by up to an hour with 48 hours prior notice.

Please note: Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Accessibility: UnionDocs public area is fully ADA compliant. Entrance, workshop space and public restrooms are wheelchair accessible.

CART captioning can be available upon request.

If you have any questions or concerns about accessibility during your visit, please feel free to email us in advance at [email protected].


Friday, Jan 13: 10:00am - 4:30pm

10:00am – 10:30am Welcome & intros
10:30am – 12:30pm Intro to Avery’s experience in podcast & listening
12:30am – 2:00pm Lunch
2:00pm – 4:00pm Hosting & Editing: how do you get your story told with the medium of audio with Shima Oliaee
4:00pm – 4:30pm Wrap Up Discussion with Avery, Workshop Exercise + Individual work-in-progress critique

Saturday, Jan 14: 10:00am - 4:30pm

10:00am – 10:30am Warm up, inspiring references, case studies
10:30am – 12:30pm Recording, post-production/sound design with Martín Gonzalez
12:30am – 2:00pm Lunch
2:00pm – 4:00pm Creative approaches to production with Najib Aminy
4:00pm – 4:30pm Wrap Up Discussion with Avery, Workshop Exercise + Individual work-in-progress critique

Sunday, Jan 15: 10:00am - 4:30pm

10:00am – 10:30am Warm up, inspiring references, case study, eye training
10:30am – 12:30pm Why artists choose their medium and how to approach similar topics differently with Matt Wolf
12:30am – 2:00pm Lunch
2:00pm – 4:00pm Distribution: how to get your podcast out there? with Mitra Kaboli & Benjamin Riskin (case study on Welcome to Providencetown)
4:00pm – 4:30pm Wrap Up Discussion with Avery, Workshop Exercise + Individual work-in-progress critique

Each day follows this general structure, with some minor variations and substitutions:


First Workshop Session




Second Workshop Session


Wrap Up


Avery Trufelman is the host and creator of Articles Of Interest, a show about what we wear. When it premiered in 2018, Articles of Interest was named one of best podcasts of the year by the BBC, LAist, New York Magazine, and the New Yorker, among many others. Previously Avery worked for New York Magazine, where she hosted The Cut’s podcast, as well as two seasons of Nice Try! from Curbed. Before that, Avery worked as staff producer for seven years on the design podcast 99% Invisible. She’s learning how to drive.

Shima Oliaee is the CEO and founder of Shirazad Productions. Her upcoming audio series will premiere at ESPN 30 for 30 on December 8, 2022. Shirazad will debut two new series in 2023.Shima created the 9-part series Dolly Parton’s America, which received a George Foster Peabody Award, an Edward R Murrow Award, a New York Festival of the Arts Award, along with several other national honors. Her audio doc The Flag and the Fury won a 2021 duPont-Columbia Award and Best in Show at the National Headliner Awards for best audio documentary. Her series UnErased was named the best podcast of the year by KQED News in 2018. After studying music and cinema-television at the University of Southern California, Shima received her graduate degree in psychology, worked as a teacher, translated for the UN, and worked in comedy television – including the Golden Globe winning Brooklyn Nine-Nine – before returning to her first love, audio. Most recently, Shima created and co-hosted  The Vanishing of Harry Pace for Radiolab, nominated for a Best Audio Documentary award by the IDA.

Najib Aminy is a producer for Reveal. Previously, he was an editor at Flipboard, and spent time reporting for newspapers such as Newsday and The Indianapolis Star back in the day. He launched the critically acclaimed indie podcast “Some Noise” which was featured by Apple and covered by The Guardian and The Paris Review. His work at Reveal has won awards including a Murrow and an IRE Gold Medal. He is Afghan-American, a lifelong New York Knicks fan, and a product of Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism. He also has a cat.

Martín Gonzalez is 99PI’s Senior Audio Engineer, based in Brooklyn and from Rhode Island via Argentina. Previously he worked at Pushkin Industries on their shows Broken Record, The Last Archive, Into the Zone, and Revisionist History. Before that, he was a studio & live sound engineer for lots of bands, including Calexico, Blitzen Trapper, Sharon Van Etten, and Julia Jacklin. He is a proud graduate of the Transom Story Workshop and a dropout of Berklee College of Music. In his spare time, he does paint-by-numbers and buys too many records.

Matt Wolf is a filmmaker in New York. His critically acclaimed and award-winning documentary films have played widely in festivals and have been distributed internationally in theaters and on television. Matt’s features include Wild Combination about the cult cellist and disco producer Arthur Russell, Teenage about early youth culture and the birth of teenagers, and Recorder about the activist Marion Stokes, who secretly recorded television 24 hours a day for 30 years. Matt’s most recent film Spaceship Earth is about Biosphere 2, a controversial experiment where 8 people lived quarantined inside a replica of the planet. The film premiered at Sundance, was released by Neon, and is now streaming on Hulu. Matt has made numerous short films about artists and queer history, including Bayard & Me on the civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, who adopted his younger boyfriend in the early 1980s to obtain equal rights, and HBO’s It’s Me, Hilary about the Eloise illustrator Hilary Knight. Other shorts include, I Remember about the artist Joe Brainard, and The Face of AIDS for Time Magazine about a notorious 1992 Benetton advertisement. His most recent short Another Hayride is about the self-help guru Louise Hay, and was released by the New York Times’ Op-Docs and PBS’ POV series. Matt also directs commercials and content for brands. In addition to filmmaking, Matt organizes film screenings and public events, and he was the Co-Curator of Film for the 2019 Whitney Biennial. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

photo credit: Eleanor Petry

Mitra Kaboli is an award-winning audio documentarian and multimedia artist who has been working professionally in radio and podcasting since 2012. Her work has been featured on The Heart, ESPN’s 30 for 30 and countless other outlets. Currently, she is the host and producer of the critically-acclaimed podcast Welcome to Provincetown.

Ben Riskin is a lawyer who quit his law firm job to produce podcasts and work on the business side of a burgeoning podcast industry. He has helmed business development and strategy for studios, networks and platforms, including developing and acquiring content, negotiating talent partnerships and structuring distribution regimes.  He is currently a Principal of Room Tone, and has previously worked with Endeavor Content, Megaphone, Panoply and Acast.

Presented With

Presented with generous support from Radiotopia

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Jan 13, 2023 at 10:00 am
Jan 15, 2023 at 4:30 pm
$350.00 – $400.00


352 Onderdonk Avenue
QUEENS, NY 11385 United States
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