How Does Tomorrow Sound is a six episode series on the future of podcasts. Hosts Kate, Josh, and Neleigh endeavor to predict what podcasts might look like — or evolve into — in 10 years’ time. Expert interviews are braided with funny, experimental, blue sky brainstorming sessions and audio experiments by the hosts. This show will challenge your assumptions, will make you wonder, and will spark new ideas about the road from here to the future of audio narrative.
Video Killed The Radio Star
To video or not to video? Coupling your audio with a visual element can provide a more immersive experience for viewers, letting them experience facial expressions, gestures, and visual cues that can deepen understanding and connection. Video also boosts discoverability, because it makes TikTok sharing possible. However, audio by itself fosters a unique intimacy. When listeners focus on the content without distractions, they can use their imaginations and multitask, giving podcasts a strategic advantage of visual media when it comes to fitting into busy lifestyles. And what will happen when we get other senses involved, like haptics?
In the height of the pandemic, Lara Ehrlich, author of the story collection Animal Wife created her conversation series Writer, Mother, Monster as a live, online Youtube and podcast conversation series about why she chose Youtube first, and how she multipurposes content into audio only podcasts to reach audiences where they are.
Neleigh Olson gives us a quick ethnography of Joe Rogan’s podcasts on Youtube.
We speak with Siciliana Trevino, filmmaker and creator of the world’s first augmented reality podcast for Bose bone conducting headphones, which uses haptics. Siciliana takes an audio-first approach to filmmaking, and is passionate about new media. She envisions a dynamic, and even more intensely personalized audio future.
This episode contains a new “labs” segment, an experiment where Neleigh and Josh perform a visual rhetorical analysis of Queen’s 1985 Live Aid concert, from which we learn that video requires additional visual communication skills. Exactly what are your background, hairdo, and earrings communicating?
This episode contains voices from a number of smart people, including Diana Opong, Jackie Huntington, and Stacey Copeland, who participated in our production calls, as well as Matja Ilias, Sam Pigott, and Ivan Capalija, podcast fans we spoke with in a bar in Williamsburgh, Brooklyn.
The Big Takeaways
Lara Ehrlich Lara is the author of the story collection Animal Wife, and the host of Writer Mother Monster, a conversation series devoted to dismantling the myth of “having it all” and offering writer-moms solidarity, support, and advice. She is also the founder and director of Thought Fox Writers Den, which builds community and supports writers of all levels with in-person and virtual classes, workshops, coaching, and more. ”Personally, I like expressions. I think really close watchers of Writer, Mother Monster will see that embarrassingly I tear up a lot, because these conversations can be very challenging” ”I love the moment, and I see it too, that moment where someone's not quite sure if they can say what they're going to say. And, and I try to remind them that this is a safe space and you know, everyone listening is out there because they feel the same way.”
Siciliana Trevino Filmmaker Siciliana Trevino is a recognized leader in immersive tech. She brings over a decade of experience collaborating with global brands, startups, entrepreneurs, and community organizations to drive high impact results using the latest innovations in tech including AI, Web3, virtual and augmented reality. She is the creator of the world’s first augmented reality podcast “HG Wells War of the World’s Invasion.” She is also the creator and cohost of the Zero to Start podcast, about VR development for beginners. “And I thought, okay, we're gonna do War of the Worlds in and build this world in radio, and the Martians are now here for our memes. So all of the components of the game would rely on audio memes from, you know, the golden age of YouTube. [On the rise of AI] ”So I think you could see yourself in a few years, you know, being in the holodeck in VR or on your couch, and you sit back and you say, you know, I want to listen to a podcast in a natural setting that's gonna make me feel positive. Or I wanna listen to a
BONUS: "Like Guess What? Chicken Butt!" Production Call
In our largest production call yet, seven audio makers share takeaways on our Episode 3 findings: 1) How audio memes work in the brain (and what we can steal from them), and 2) spatial audio as a stepping stone toward interactive storytelling. We talk about audio memes (ie. pieces of sound listeners already know the contextual meaning of) that already exist inside of podcasts (e.g. the chime for the news, the creaky door in a horror story, the way the conventions of This American Life have trickled through the ecosystem as best practices). And we brainstorm what else we can borrow or steal from audio memes to make podcasts more compelling. We also dive into spatial audio and surround sound, imagining spatial as a stepping stone interactive audio.
“Audio has access to certain topics that they can do really, really well. So stick to those instead of the ones that other people can do well in other forms.” - Angie Chatman, Writer, editor, storyteller and pushcart prize nominee. “I think as radical as you can get with sound, that’s how you’ll stand apart. But I think we’re slowly going to get out of this formula of what is a podcast, and what is radio, and what is an audio meme. We’re all just on our phones and it doesn’t matter.”- Imani Mixon, longform storyteller whose multimedia work centers the experience of Black women and independent artists. “[W]hen sound hits the ears and there isn’t necessarily a visual input, it hits different somehow. It enters my brain and my body and has an impact on me that I really feel is different from any other medium.”- Skye Pillsbury, Author of the newsletter The Squeeze, former contributor to HotPod and Inside Podcasting. Also hosted interview podcast called Inside Podcasting. “What kind of implementations it might have for people who are disabled in some way. [….] I just think that there’s a whole world that we haven’t explored yet that’s related to the various uses for [spatial audio].” -Skye Pillsbury, Author of the newsletter The Squeeze, former contributor to HotPod and Inside Podcasting. Also hosted interview podcast called Inside Podcasting. “There could be a world in which there’s a Tik Tok for podcasts [….] But I usually just tend to think of it as like the top of the funnel.”- Rob Puzzitiello, marketing director of the pro audio brand Mackie. “We just struck lightening on the one [viral video] because it was so simple, and because […] we weren’t trying to like, sell anything. […] People have this ability to sense when something is authentic or not too.”- Rob Puzzitiello, marketing director of the pro audio brand Mackie. “It really triggers the emotions in a stronger way than standard audio. But […] I can’t imagine wanting to watch the news in spatial audio, for instance, because that would just be too much.”- Katie Semro, audio creator of non-narrative documentaries, audio installations, and sound worlds. “There’s not a law, like if you’re being nice to somebody you can use their IP willy nilly.”- Marlene Sharp, actress and founder of Pink Poodle Productions, who writes about the entertainment industry in various publications such as Examiner.com and The Baton Rouge Advocate. “I think there’s something really powerful about tapping into the collective creative nature of people. […] I think audio memes are definitely a part of shifting our creative culture.”- Kacie Willis, creator and arts advocate based out of Atlanta, and founder of the production company Could Be Pretty Cool. “With audio, I think the challenge of our job is going to be […] to add some flavor and some color and to play with form and structure, but finding that sweet spot between innovation and making sure no one feels alienated. It’s a challenge that we’re going to be trying to figure out probably our entire careers.”- Kacie Willis, creator and arts advocate based out of Atlanta, and founder of t
Like Guess What? Chicken Butt!
This podcast explores the future of digital audio and asks what podcasts might become in ten years.
Do podcasts stand a chance against Tik Tok supremacy? Viral audio borrows cool from pop music and pop culture. Charlotte Shane calls this “brainfeel” in her recent Times Magazine article. Our brains are happiest when something we already like is the vector for new learning. Similarly, pop music borrows cool from licensing old hits, according to Switched on Pop co-host Charlie Harding, after recent precedent ended from the kind of liberal sampling that enabled hip hop and rock to flourish. So is Tik Tok the last bastion of the mashup? Finally, audio engineer Matt Yocum talks mixing with Dolby Atmos. Is centering the listener in a 3-D space the bridge to audio for augmented reality?
If you dig us, please subscribe, review, and share — it really helps. And thanks!
The Big Takeaways:
Do podcasts stand a chance against Tik Tok supremacy? Are podcasts even in the running? Tik Tok works because of the virality of its audio memes, but how do audio memes work? Some rely on pop music, others reference pop culture, but most, if they’re successful, use popular audio to say something new, or to say something old in a new way. Writer and publisher Charlotte Shane wrote a piece for the New York Times Magazine called “Why Do We Love Tik Tok Audio Memes? Call it ‘Brainfeel’.” Charlotte breaks down why certain memes work, like Chris Gleason’s “They’re Not Gonna Know; They’re Gonna know.” Neleigh, our resident expert in pop culture, also breaks down this meme into its syntax and anaphones and gets real nerdy on us. “If we get it right, but then there's even more information that kind of accompanies us accurately predicting what was coming next, then our brains are just like, “Holy cow. Whoa, like. This is a big opportunity to learn something.” “But I just think that Tik Tok’s algorithm is so superior and of course it has way more users. So I do understand why people are afraid of its power. Cause like we, we probably should be. It's ability to influence culture right now [...] feels to me like absolutely unprecedented. I don't know what anyone could point to that would be like that moves as fast and diffusely through countries.” “I think podcasts definitely have an aura of they're like upper class compared to TikTok, it's like they're actually like not for the masses, even though obviously they are.” Neleigh Olson, pop culture expert, lecturer at University of Louisville, and co-host of our show, breaks down the syntax of Nobody’s Gonna Know, including the nineties reality TV fight music, and the “anaphones” that reach into listeners brains to create significance. “Even this meme that I looked at – the “Nobody’s Gonna Know” – ironically, nobody does know where the original came from, right? I had to look it up [...] and the whole point is that it’s morphable, it’s a shape shifter.” Charlie Harding is the co-host of the podcast Switched on Pop about the making and meaning of popular music. He shares with us his recent deep dive into the rise of the interpolation in popular music. In the last five years, there have been twice as many interpolations than in the five years previous. Why is this? What does it mean for pop music? And for how we make culture? “An interpolation isn’t a cover; It’s not a sample; It’s taking pre-existing material and making something new with it.” "One of my friends that I spoke with, songwriter Jenny Owen Youngs, she said that, “There's no hook that hooks you better than a hook that's already hooked you” ○ “And people are doing this because they want things to go big on Tik Tok. That’s 100 percent the strategy.” “I think a great culture podcast can help slow culture down when culture moves so quickly. Even if it's something very silly, like explaining a meme, it can be very rewarding to okay
“Like… It’s Alive!” Production Call
We imagined a second audio future! Then we asked some smart podcasters how we did.
In this bonus track, we air back-to-back conversations with podcast experts. In the first, we spoke with Demetrius Bagley, Nikki Thomas, and Jonas Litton. In our second conversation, we spoke with Jackie Huntington and Diana Opong. These experts share their reactions to E02 (“Like… It’s Alive!”). We are grateful for their feedback.
In E02, we suggested that podcast audiences will mature in similar ways that audiences for film and television have, including wanting more interactivity and more immersive and thrilling experiences. We also projected that stories will be popular in the future that reflect the collective unconscious or zeitgeist. What are the monsters we face today? And what monsters will we face in the future? Especially one dominated by AI?
Many thanks to:
Demetrius Bagley Nikki Thomas Jonas Litton Jackie Huntington Diana Opong
We hope this bonus track gets people talking. Tell us what we got right (or wrong!) by emailing PodflyCalls@gmail.com or leaving us a voicemail at 440-290-6796.
Or check us out online:
Podfly Productions How Does Tomorrow Sound Neleigh Olson Kate Pigott Josh Suhy We hope the future of podcasts will be one we build together.
Like … It’s Alive!
What will podcasts become in 10 years? Join us as we explore the future of digital audio.
How will listenership mature in the future? Will we outgrow our evolutionary need for story? Child psychiatrist, author, and horror enthusiast Dr. Steven Schlozman, Dr. Martin Spinelli, Dr. Sorcha Ni Fhlainn, Dr. Sylvia Chan Olmsted, and Podfly’s own Corey Coates offer insights. Story audiences mature and trends shift. Plus, with more diverse groups of light podcast listeners tuning in, there’s more opportunity to reach new niches. But what kinds of stories will these new audiences want today and 10 years from now? We look at shifts in audience expectations by examining Frankenstein: the book by Mary Shelley, the film with Boris Karloff, and updates like Blade Runner and Terminator. We still fear artificiality and continue to love stories that wrestle with what we most repress. But what monsters do we face today? And what about in 10 years?
If you dig us, please subscribe, review, and share — it really helps. And thanks!
The Big Takeaways:
Will people tune in to AI chatbots? Why do we listen to podcasts? How are listenership trends changing? How will they change in the future? How will the future of an audience change stories in the future? Dr. Steven Schlozman, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth, and child psychiatrist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Author of Film (Arts for Health). Author of The Zombie Autopsies: Secret Notebooks from the Apocalypse TedxNashville Ted Talk “What Horror Films Teach Us About Ourselves and Being Human.” TEDxCoconutGrove Talk. “Zombies Are Already Here: But It’s Not What You Think” “You go for a walk with a podcast, it's just you in the story. And that’s incredibly peaceful.” — Dr. Steven Schlozman “We move forward with our ideas about the world, through art. I really believe that.” — Dr. Steven Schlozman “The hopeful part here is that now we have this mechanism to use art, which we've used for thousands of years, to make sense of the world and to also have ideas about what to do to fix the world.” — Dr. Steven Schlozman Dr. Martin Spinelli, Professor of Podcasting & Creative Media at University of Sussex, University of Sussex (on Twitter @exilewriter) Co-author with Lance Dann of Podcasting: The Audio Media Revolution. Co-creator with Lance Dann of companion podcast, For Your Ears Only. Executive Producer and writer on The Rez, a sci-fi podcast for 9–11 year-olds that covers a lot of the subjects we’ve talked about in this episode, especially how to overcome AI ubiquity and promote pro-social human relationships. The clip we played came from Episode 2, “Sav Smarts.” “I was totally transfixed. I knew something had shifted in our audio universe.” — Dr. Martin Spinelli “It is you speaking to me in my ears, actually in my ear canals, in my skull, in my body, your voice is there inside me.” — Dr. Martin Spinelli Corey Coates, Creative Director, Podfly “The role of an artist in the world is to observe it, feel it, to interpret it, internalize it, and then reflect it back to you in a way that you’ve never seen it before.” — Corey Coates, Podfly “We’re so focused on the medium … that we’re losing the plot of what it is we’re trying to do — connect our perspective as a human with other humans.” — Corey Coates, Podfly Dr. Sorcha Ni Fhlainn, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies and American Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University (on Twitter @VampireSorcha) Author of “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: The Birth of A Gothic Monster.” History Extra. BBC. London. 1 Feb. 2021 Author of Postmodern Vampires: Film, Fiction, and Popular Culture, as well as The Worlds of Back to the Future: Critical Essays on the Films, and contributor to Starring Tom Cruise, edited by Sean Redmond. “It's so in touch with the liminality between life and death … What is the spark, t
BONUS: “Like Your New Best Friend” Production Call
We imagined one audio future! Then we asked some smart podcasters how we did.
In E01 (“Like Your New Best Friend”), we suggest that developments in AI might turn podcasts into very compelling chatbots. In this bonus track, podcasters Stacey Copeland, Clif Mark, Naomi Mellor, and Andrea Muraskin share their reactions. We are grateful for their feedback.
Note: Though the track is presented like one large convo, we spliced two longer chats (one with Stacey and Andrea and one with Clif), held at separate times, with a voicemail from Naomi. We didn’t include here the editorial suggestions we responded to in revision (since these wouldn’t make sense to someone hearing the finished product). Instead, we focus on the podcasters’ reactions to our episode’s main ideas.
Many thanks to:
Stacey Copeland, audio producer and Ph.D. Candidate, Simon Fraser University Clif Mark, creator and host of the Good in Theory podcast Naomi Mellor, producer, founder of The Skylark Collective, a global community for women in podcasting, and the International Women’s Podcast Awards Andrea Muraskin, producer, writer, host
We don’t know the future, but we hope this bonus track gets people talking. Tell us what we got right (or wrong!) by emailing PodflyCalls@gmail.com or leaving us a voicemail at 440-290-6796.
Or check us out online:
Podfly Productions How Does Tomorrow Sound Neleigh Olson Kate Pigott Josh Suhy Who knows? Maybe the future of podcasts will be a thing we build together.