March 17, 2016

Adam sometimes likes to grab lunch with his friend, food writer and podcaster Zach Brooks (Food Is The New Rock). This time they brought along comedian and podcaster Jon Gabrus (High and Mighty), and an audio recorder to capture their conversation riding in the car to and from the San Gabriel Valley, and in the restaurant. They tackle topics like Chinese food, rock stars, Taco Bell, the word “foodie”, and, of course, podcasting. Back in the studio Zach and Adam listen to that audio and fill in some details. Zach talks about his two Howl projects, The Crawl and Egg Roll Hunt, and shares what he likes to hear in a food podcast. Plus, they learn something new about Man vs. Food.  

March 3, 2016

For this extra-special 100th episode of The Wolf Den, Adam talks with the very first MacArthur Fellow to be on the show, Jad Abumrad. Jad is the creator and co-host of Radiolab, a public radio show heard on more than 500 stations, and one of the most popular podcasts of all time. Jad and Adam talk about the creative process behind Radiolab, and the “gut churn” that Jad says was essential to create the show. Jad also shares his views on podcasting today, and the opportunities available for fresh talent in public radio and podcasting. Finally, he gives hard-earned advice for the aspiring audio producer. Theme song by Brett Morris.

February 18, 2016

Just before The Wolf Den hits its 100th episode milestone, Adam takes a brief listen back to relive some highlights in what’s been an exciting six years in the evolution and growth of Midroll, and podcasting. Adam shares early clips from podcast innovators like Marc Maron and Chris Hardwick, along with entrepreneurs who were influential behind the scenes. We also listen in on some of the important milestones in podcasting and Midroll history, as heard on the show, and get some keen insights on podcasting from hosts like Paul Scheer, Matt Gourley, Paul F. Tompkins, Lea Thau, and Neil deGrasse Tyson. 

February 4, 2016

Mishy Harman first heard This American Life on a road trip across the United States, listening to a compilation of shows provided by his college roommate. That binge inspired the Jerusalem native to co-create Israel Story, a radio show and podcast focused on the lives of people from his home country.  On this episode of The Wolf Den Mishy explains how the show—one of Israel’s first podcasts—came together, and what it was like to go from novice producer to having a hit radio show. He also discusses what makes the show stand out in his country’s media landscape, and what goes into making the project sustainable, especially in the much more competitive US podcast market.

January 21, 2016

Guy Raz is the host of NPR’s TED Radio Hour, which has consistently been at the top of the iTunes charts since it debuted in 2012. He is Adam’s guest for an episode that no public radio or podcast fan should miss. Guy explains how the idea for the show came about, and why he decided to step away from hosting Weekend All Things Considered to join the TED Radio Hour. He talks about how he puts together different TED talks to form the themes behind each show, and why it’s so important for there to be a podcast of the show, even though the radio version airs on 620 stations in the US, and on stations in 15 countries. Guy also reveals how working on the show has changed his perspective, and how he convinced NPR management to allow him to voice the podcast ads himself. 

January 7, 2016

Brian Koppelman believes people who accomplish remarkable things do something differently than most other. The screenwriter, producer and essayist thinks they marshall the best of themselves in the low moments, as well as the high ones. Learning about these moments is what drives his podcast, The Moment. On this episode of The Wolf Den Brian tells Adam why he got into podcasting, who influenced his approach, and how he prepares for his deeply engaged interviews. He also explains his thoughts about having his own wife, novelist Amy Koppelman, on for a very intimate and unflinchingly honest interview. Finally, Brian shares his thoughts on the business of podcasting, and his advice for new podcasters. 

December 24, 2015

Reveal is a public radio show and podcast that features a kind of in-depth investigative reporting rarely heard in either medium. Susanne Reber, co-founder and executive editor of Reveal, and reporter and broadcast producer Delaney Hall join Adam to go behind the scenes of this popular program, produced by the Center for Investigative Reporting. Susanne and Delaney share how they find a balance between telling a captivating narrative and adhering to a strict standard of accuracy, and how the success of Serial helped to validate their choice to allow the procedural elements of reporting become part of the story.  They also discuss the difference between the show’s broadcast and podcast strategies, and plans for the show to go weekly. Finally, they offer advice for journalists and producers who would like to do investigative reporting in a podcast.

December 10, 2015

How does Paul F. Tompkins manage his email? Will there ever be another episode of the Pod F. Tompkast? What is it like to do more than 100 episodes of Comedy Bang Bang? All these questions, and more, will be answered on this episode of The Wolf Den, when podcasting’s über-guest subjects himself to the queries of host Adam Sachs. Paul explains why he still feels like he’s learning to do improv, and what he’s learned from working with great comedy podcasters. He also reveals the inspiration behind his seemingly-random impressions of celebrities like TV and film director Garry Marshall. Paul also gives a little behind-the-scenes peek at the Superego podcast and the Howl Original spin-off, Superego’s Forgotten Classics. No self-respecting comedy podcast fan can miss it.

November 26, 2015

With all the podcasts and audio content being produced, how do we make it more searchable, findable, and shareable, and then preserve it for the ages? Pop Up Archive is a start-up aiming to address those challenges. Anne Wootton is the company’s co-founder and CEO, and she joins Adam to discuss Pop Up Archive’s services and approach to growing podcasting. She explains how the company transcribes audio into searchable text that’s also time-indexed, and what kinds of uses that data can be used for, like making audio more shareable. To illustrate, Anne details results from tests Pop Up Archive has been running on audio excerpts of different lengths shared on Twitter. Because she is working both with tech investors and the podcast community, Anne also shares her insights on how podcasting can advance as an industry, and what opportunities exist for podcast producers to grow their audience.

November 12, 2015

Learn the story behind Hillary Clinton’s headline-grabbing interview on Another Round, along with how Lena Dunham’s new podcast, Women of the Hour, came together.  Plus there are many other juicy tidbits for podcast nerds on this episode, as Buzzfeed’s Director of Audio Jenna Weiss-Berman opens up to Adam on a cornucopia of vital topics in public broadcasting and podcasting. She explains why having a diverse staff starts with paying your interns fairly, and why that’s good for both creating high quality content and for the bottom line. As a former public radio producer–and still an enormous public radio fan–Jenna challenges the persistent misconception that only public broadcasters can be mission-driven. And she reveals the kind of podcast she really wants to produce, as well as her thoughts on “viral” audio.

October 29, 2015

Learn the back story of how the case of Adnan Syed came to the attention of Serial producer Sarah Koenig from the person who first contacted her, Rabia Chaudry.  Herself an attorney, Rabia now co-hosts her own podcast, Undisclosed, in which she and fellow attorneys Susan Simpson and Colin Miller examine new and existing evidence in the State of Maryland’s case against Adnan. Rabia tells Adam the story of how she contacted and worked with Koenig and explains how the idea for Undisclosed came together. She explains what it’s been like being a beginning podcaster, and then having your show become a runaway hit. She also shares the challenges and rewarding parts of producing Undisclosed, and what listeners can look forward to in forthcoming seasons. 

October 15, 2015

Ryan Hoover is the founder of Product Hunt, a website and online community that has been described as Reddit for tech products. The site recently added a section dedicated to podcasts, and Ryan tells Adam what exactly Product Hunt is, how it got started, and how it works. Unlike many other sites, Product Hunt focuses on individual podcast episodes, rather than shows or series, and Ryan explains the motivation behind that emphasis. He also details how he wants Product Hunt to be home of conversations between podcasters and listeners, and what aspects of the site encourage that interaction. Because discovering new and interesting episodes is a key objective of Product Hunt, Adam asks Ryan how the site can uncover fresh episodes, rather than being focused on the same shows that dominate the charts. Finally, Ryan talks about what podcasters need to do to help build community and engagement.

October 1, 2015


unnamed (1)Adam goes deep into the business of podcasting with Erik Diehn, Midroll Media’s VP of Business Development, touching on how Erik finds and signs new shows, how public radio came to dominate the top of the charts, and on the advertising technologies like programmatic buying and ad injection. Erik joined Midroll from New York Public Radio, so Adam asks him why he decided to make the jump last year from the nation’s largest public radio station to a comparatively small podcasting startup. Erik then explains what it means to be in charge of business development and how he calls upon the experiences represented on his varied resume in both technology and media to do his unique job. He also details why he thinks it was important for the company to launch the Howl app and platform, and why it’s in important evolution in podcasting. Finishing up, Adam asks Erik to unpack the hype around the connected car and predict the effect it will have on podcasting. 

September 17, 2015

Go behind the scenes of the sponsorships that support top public radio podcasts—like This American Life, The Moth, and Serial—with Adam’s guest David Raphael, founder and CEO of Public Media Marketing. David recalls how his career in public media caused him to see an unfilled need among many shows, leading to the founding of PMM. He then explains the differences between selling broadcast sponsorships and podcast ads, both with regard to conforming to FCC standards, and with regard to the very different audience demographics between each medium, even for the same show. Adam and David discuss selling sponsorships for the first season of Serial, and how David is managing sponsors for the highly anticipated second season. Finally, David tackles the question of if podcast-style ads are compromising public radio’s “public-ness” and what advice he would give to podcasters, based on what he’s learned from working with top shows.

September 3, 2015

Lea Thau is one of the strongest influencers of the modern storytelling style that has taken off in radio, television, advertising, and, of course, podcasting. She is a Peabody Award-winning producer and director, the former executive director of The Moth storytelling organization, and now the creator and host of the podcast Strangers. On this episode Lea tells Adam why she left The Moth and how Strangers came together, explaining the show’s relationship to  public radio station KCRW and the Public Radio Exchange’s Radiotopia podcast network. Since Radiotopia is funded through both Kickstarter and sponsorships, Lea touches on the difference, and how listeners respond to hearing her read advertisements. They discuss the recent evolution of storytelling, why Lea is drawn to it, and how the kind of narratives she presents on Strangers differ from journalism. She also shares the process of revealing her life more in the show, and what her advice is for the podcaster who wants to be a good storyteller.