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Monday, Aug 21 at 10:00 am – Friday, Aug 25 at 5:00 pm

The Podcast School

With industry leaders from your favorite shows: 99% Invisible, Reply All, This American Life, Radiolab, The Heart, Panoply & More

An exceptional group of professional podcasters, artists, radio producers and entrepreneurs help you develop your audio practice and podcasting vision.

This seminar, designed by UnionDocs in partnership with Mathilde Walker-Billaud, will show producers the various creative practices of podcasting. It will offer them technical tools and skill sets for navigating through the podcasting revolution and finding their own path in this emergent medium.

10 years ago the internet and low cost audio production tools radically transformed the radio landscape, liberating makers from traditional media and the audience from time and space. Nowadays, anyone can become a broadcaster. But hosting a successful listener-supported podcast is a professional engagement. A successful podcaster has a great dose of imagination and a strong entrepreneurial initiative along with many technical skills, from audio engineering and radio journalism to sound storytelling and online marketing.

This week-long seminar will explore audio storytelling, interviewing, script writing, editing, mixing, sound design to audience engagement and more. 15 producers will learn from a team of seasoned guest speakers and practitioners — public radio reporters, sound engineers, radio auteurs, successful podcasters, media entrepreneurs and artists. Discussions, group and individual exercises, field trips and participants’ work-in-progress critiques will put this new knowledge into practice. Producer Sam Greenspan (99% Invisible) will lead the course.


We are looking for audio producers and podcasters from all aspects of the media industry and beyond with demonstrable skills in storytelling, sound editing and mixing. Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Give us an idea of who you are and why you are coming. When you register you will be asked for a short statement of interest that should briefly describe your experience in audio production and a podcast idea (It would be great if you have one. If not, you might come up with one during the workshop), plus a bio. There’s a spot for a link to a work sample (and CV, which would also be nice, but is not required).

Please note: Participants *will not* be producing an audio piece during the week. Focus is on discussing and listening. The goal is also to develop your podcast/audio project conceptually.

The fee for the intensive follows the schedule below. A non-refundable deposit of $350 is due upon application to the program. The balance payable two weeks in advance of the intensive.

August Session:

$750 – Early Bird Registration. Deposit received by July 24th at 5:00 PM.

$850 – Late Registration

Participants coming from outside NYC are responsible for their own transportation and room and board during the intensive. UnionDocs can provide assistance in locating housing and guidance for getting around town for those not native to New York.

The deposit is non-refundable. Should you need to cancel, you’ll receive half of your registration fee back until July 24th. After July 24th, 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.


Mon, August 21 – 10:00 - 5:00p - Podcasting is the New Radio (or not?)

What is podcasting? What is radio? Are they different? Does it matter? The first day of our week-long program looks in-depth at the multiple ways to produce audio today.

Guest speaker:  Sam Greenspan

Workshop sessions include short introductions by participants. 

Lunch provided by UnionDocs

Tues, August 22 – 10:00 - 5:00p - Interviewing

How can you get a great tape? The second day will dig into the art of interviewing: how to find the right guest, how to set an interview, how to set up the recording materials, how to conduct the interview and generate great audio content.

Guest speakers:

Morning : Sean Cole

Afternoon: Lu Olkowski

Workshop sessions include 4 participant’s presentations – (20 min each)

Field Trip: TBC

Wed, August 23 – 10:00 - 5:00p - Writing

Radio making and storytelling are inseparable. How do you take an idea, a recording, an interview and turn it into a story? The third day of the workshop focuses on the art of writing with sound.

Guest speakers:

Morning : Ben Calhoun (This American Life)

Afternoon : Molly Webster

Workshop sessions include 4 participant’s presentations – (20 min each)

Thurs, August 24 – 10:00 - 5:00p - Producing

How to turn a pile of tape into a thing people want to listen to? The fourth day of the workshop looks at the production and finalization process of audio pieces.

Guest speakers:

Morning: Mitra Kaboli

Afternoon: Alex Goldman

Workshop sessions include 4 participant’s presentations – (20 min each)

Fri, August 25 – 10:00 - 5:00p - Turning a Podcast Into a Show

The podcaster sees beyond one episode to create a series. The fifth day explores the multiple roles of the podcaster: at once host, producer, editor and visionary. We will also examine the business side of podcasting: audience strategy, marketing and various business models for podcasting.

Guest speakers:

Morning: Andrea Silenzi

Afternoon: Lisa Tobin

Workshop sessions include 3 participant’s presentations – (20 min each)

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


Warm up, inspiring references, listening exercises, ear training.






Share / Discussion / Exercise


Lunch (on your own – lunch will be provided on Monday)






Workshop Exercise


Workshop Critique




Sam Greenspan is the host and creator of Bellwether, a forthcoming podcast of speculative journalism. Previously, Sam spent five years as a producer with 99% Invisible, helping to transform the show from a short bi-monthly project made from host Roman Mars’s backyard, into a weekly, feature-length production that routinely wins awards and tops charts. Prior to that, Sam was a producer at NPR where, among other things, he helped launch the pilot season of the TED Radio Hour, and reported as a freelancer for national and regional news programs. Sam got his start in radio at WSLR, a 100-Watt community station in Sarasota, Florida. He now lives in Oakland, California.

Sean Cole has contributed to This American Life on and off starting in 1999, and then joined its staff in February 2014. He’s also worked as a producer at Radiolab, a regular contributor to Marketplace, and a freelance reporter for lots of other shows and podcasts including Studio 369 and 99% Invisible. His career started at WBUR in Boston where he was a news-writer, engineer, announcer, field-producer, reporter and, finally, a correspondent for the station’s award-winning documentary unit Inside Out.

Lu Olkowski is an award-winning radio producer based in Brooklyn. She is drawn to stories that evolve through multiple generations: how pride or shame in one’s racial identity, poverty, and artistic impulse can be passed down in families. At present, she is working on three secret radio projects. At least one of them will be a podcast.

Ben Calhoun is a producer at This American Life. He joined the staff in 2010, and was a  reporter and producer on the team that created the show’s Harper High episodes, which won a Peabody Award. He also won a James Beard Award for investigating the possibility that hog bung is being sold as imitation calamari. Before all that, Ben started in the WBEZ newsroom, and went on to do stories for Radiolab, NPR, Marketplace, and others. In late 2014, Ben left This American Life to serve as VP of Content & Programming for WBEZ, where he grew audience, coauthored the station’s new strategic plan, and expanded the station’s content operation. Ben returned to the show in 2017.

Molly Webster is a producer at Radiolab. Best described as someone who likes to “sit in the woods and stare,” Molly fell for science in the ponds, wildlife, and fields of Ohio. After focusing on biology in college, she began to pursue science journalism, and has written and produced (radio/podcasts) for outlets like Scientific American, Wired, Nature, NPR’s Science Friday, and National Geographic Adventure, as well as created live conversations at the World Science Festival, where she specialized in creating programs at the intersection of science, philosophy, and art. Her ability to comprehend and totally immerse herself in complicated issues has helped Radiolab investigate blood donation, drug prices and one very special jar. She also had a hand in the pilot of Freakonomics Radio, where you can still hear her voice at the top of every episode.

Mitra Kaboli is an award-winning media producer and Peabody Finalist who has been working with The Heart since it’s inception. Her mixing and sound design has been included in ESPN’s Dunkumentaries, Latino USA, Making Contact, and Death, Sex & Money.

Alex Goldman is co-host of Reply All. His work has appeared on On the Media, 99% Invisible, Slate, and elsewhere.

Andrea Silenzi is an accomplished radio producer known for her innovative and personal brand of storytelling. Her show, Why Oh Why was named a best new podcast of 2016 by the New York Times, NPR, Huffington Post and iTunes. Previously, Andrea was the founding producer of Slate’s The Gist with Mike Pesca.

Lisa Tobin is the Executive Producer for Audio at the New York Times. Lisa has a track record of envisioning successful podcasts, including The Times’s most successful audio project to date. “Modern Love,” the first podcast to briefly displace “Serial” at the top of the charts, was her idea. Lisa has launched feature shows, like the literary advice podcast, “Dear Sugar Radio” based on the cult-favorite advice column. She has developed newsy shows, including a daily podcast produced in partnership with The Boston Globe during the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. And, she has incorporated audio into giant multimedia projects, like this Whitney Bulgur extravaganza. She also created Audiofiles, the first-ever database of great audio storytelling.

Neal Carruth is NPR’s general manager of podcasts, and was the first to hold this position. In the role, Carruth supports the teams working on NPR’s podcasts, strengthens connections between NPR’s podcast portfolio and NPR’s newsroom and Member stations, and supports innovation and new program development. Previously, Carruth was the Supervising Senior Editor of NPR’s Business Desk and Managing Director of the network’s New York Bureau. He led NPR’s coverage of global business and economics, including reports on such topics as corporate news, fiscal and monetary policy, technology, the workplace, and consumer behavior. He also worked closely with NPR’s Planet Money team. Before that, Carruth was the Supervising Editor of NPR’s Election Unit. He led the network’s coverage of the 2012 elections, and worked closely with NPR’s team of correspondents, producers, editors, and Member Station reporters, as well as planning NPR’s special reports on Election 2012 events. Carruth also served as the Supervising Senior Producer of NPR’s All Things Considered, where he managed daily production of the newsmagazine.

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

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11 available
Early Bird Registration$750.002017.08.21-25 - The Podcast School

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Monday, Aug 21 at 10:00 am
Friday, Aug 25 at 5:00 pm


BROOKLYN, NY 11211 United States

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