Looking back at the last year of Canadian podcasting.
Vol. 27 - Amanda Pereira reflects on indie podcasting, PLUS, Pod the North turns one, and HALIFAX!
Hihi!! Happy Pod the North Tuesday!
In this issue:
Amanda Pereira says podcasting takes a f*cking village.
Canadian Indie: Preconceived
True North Feature: Indigenous Vision
Heads up, the linking wasnt working great for this newsletter, so if anything peeks your interest, please do give it a Google and come back to this newsletter after! Or, reply to this issue and I'll send it over to you!
One year ago Pod the North was born!
When I started Pod the North, I did it because I was frustrated that the podcasting space in Canada felt fractured in so many ways. I needed a place to dig into all the unanswered questions I had about why Canadian podcasts seemed limited in the ways that they could thrive and grow.
Over the last year, I'm happy to say that I think I've found a lot of the answers to my questions, even if that answer was just “there is no clear answer”.
When I started Pod the North, I also didn't anticipate more than like, 25 people to read it. To my surprise the number of Canadian podcasters who follow this newsletter is actually around 1000 people… EXCUSE ME??
This tells me a that Canada's podcasting community has been ready for meaningful change in the industry for a long time.
But while I'd love to be spending this anniversary issue dissecting all of the differences, upgrades and pitfalls I've uncovered in the podcasting space over the last year, I'm also currently on my long awaited vacation! (Yes, I am currently wrapping up this newsletter on my phone, and yes, I have spent a few too many late nights out here in Halifax already for my brain to be fully in “investigation mode”.)
Luckily, I’ve got the incredible Amanda Pereira, creator and host of the Liquid Courage Podcast in this issue sharing her insights on how she's been making the most of the Canadian podcasting space as an indie podcaster, and what she's noticed coming to the forfront of the industry.
So before I move on, if you're reading this, I want to take a moment to thank you for support on Pod the North over this last year!
It's truly been a fun, inspiring, and cathartic ride for me getting to hear from and talk to all of you; sharing your podcasts, sharing your opinions, and of course, your exciting podcasting news. Please never stop reaching out! I read everything you send even if I’m not great at getting back to your emails in a timely manner (I'm working on it!).
Thank you, you're the best!
Finally, don't forget you can come celebrate the anniversary of Pod the North with me and catch some incredible live podcasts in Toronto on October 5th at Pod the North LIVE!
Get your tickets now!
(I'm having trouble adding a button on my phone, but you can copy/paste that ugly link into your web browser!)
A quick note on Halifax.
As I mentioned, I’m currently vacationing in the Maritimes and we have been having the best time here!
So my inner travel podcaster in me wants to share some highlights thus far!
Thank you to everyone who's sent me recommendations over the last couple months, they have been taken very seriously!
The Highwayman is this really awesome cocktail bar and everything is a solid 15/10; the drinks, the vibe, the playlist. Go here for happy hour to get oysters at a good price and bop to some 80s bangers.
Pacifica is where we went for live music when the line to get into The Lower Deck was insane, and I'd tell everyone to go here for a great dance party. We walked by and heard funk music blasting out of Pacifica's front doors (of what used to be an old bank) and immediately headed in. Go for the Mellotones, you will not be disappointed.
I was thrilled to randomly bump into Tiktoker and podcast host of Your Two Cents, Alicia Mccarvell at a bar the other night and we had a lovely quick chat. Thank you for the Nova Scotia welcome Alicia!
Yeah Yeah Pizza is where we shared an entire margherita pizza after a long day walking around the harbourfront and checking out all the things the city has to offer. The pizza was so perfectly crispy — if you're from Toronto, I feel like it's the type of pizza North of Brooklyn is trying to be. Plus you get to draw on a paper plate and add to their wall of pizza designs!
Okay back to podcasting.
Thoughts from the ecosystem:
Amanda Pereira says podcasting takes a f*cking village.
If you haven't already, meet Amanda Pereira, host and creator of the Liquid Courage podcast, a show where she interviews creatives in industries that she admires, and who “intimidate her because of their brilliance.”
Outside of podcasting, Amanda is an actor, writer and comedian, and her podcast was born out of her need to connect with fellow creatives and overcome her inferiority complex.
Talking to Amanda, you’d never guess that she ever struggles with any sort of imposter syndrome - she’s an absolute beacon to talk to and so kind and genuinely curious.
Like many indie podcasters, Amanda’s podcast began in 2020, but just before the pandemic hit. After 4 years of thinking about it, she decided to produce 30 episodes in honour of her 30th birthday and finally just make *the thing*.
One of the interesting things about Amanda's podcasting journey is the fact that she's been stomping the pavement hard in the Canadian podcasting space as an independent podcaster. As a solo act – she does all the producing and hosting – she's been actively heading to podcasting events and networking parties, playing around with press releases for her show, doing accelerator programs, finding all sorts of resources, meeting a ton of fellow podcasters, and now, she's experimenting with a new spin-off of her show, called Never Have I Ever.
Over the last 4 years, Amanda's been watching the podcasting landscape shift, in particular for indie podcasters like herself. So I talked to her to get her insights and opinions on the state Canadian Indie podcasting, and what its been like to be a part of this community.
Also, I was recently one of the guests on Never Have I Ever and had the BEST time. Amanda literally had me in tears laughing, so please add this one to your queue!
This interview has been condensed for brevity and clarity.
KL: When you first started the podcast, what was like your sense of the podcast community? How did you feel creating a podcast and what was your sense of where it existed in the world of podcasts?
AP: I felt like a part of the community as a fan. I kind of thought, oh, as soon as you release a podcast into the world, then other podcasters embrace you and you're a community already.
So I had recorded about nine or 10 [episodes] before the shutdown in 2020 in March for Covid. And once Covid hit, I was like, does this matter? Why am I starting this? Why am I doing this?
Once I released [those episodes], I definitely felt a warm welcome from people, but I did not feel like I gained a community of podcasters. I gained the new friendships and relationships that I was forming with guests, but it was different.
It was much lonelier than I anticipated it being, to be honest.
KL: Is that finding a podcast community even something you were thinking about, or were you more concerned about creating a community around artists and creators in general - the people your show is catered to?
AP: I think going into it I was looking for community for sure, but I was thinking about it as community from fellow creatives, like fellow actors, comedians, writers, those people more so, but I guess I just thought like, you join a softball team or a softball league and then you are a softball player or among other softball people – I shouldn’t have used a sports analogy, but you know what I mean?
I [also] went into it as just myself. I was a team of one, all the editing, all the promoting, all the producing, all the recording, all of that was me. I guess I should have anticipated that it would be a bit lonely, but it can be quite isolating, honestly, making a podcast. The recording part doesn't feel isolating for me because I have guests. But otherwise, if you're just a team of one, it's mostly you in front of a computer.
KL: So on that note, I know that you've been hitting up a bunch of different podcast events and networking events and actively meeting people in the community. What was the first trigger to make you even go to these podcast events?
AP: I kept thinking, it can't be this much work. There are other people who know a better way to do this.
Something that I found in the community [is] if you reach out and ask somebody who has a podcast a question, I have received nothing but open arms and like, let's jump on a call.
But when I wanted to step out into the community or just create more of a sense of community for myself in the podcasting world, it was mostly born out of like, I want to make this more sustainable for myself. I couldn't make this my full-time job and so I really needed that advice.
How do I do this to really protect and hold onto the core fun and value that I get from podcasting? And then what parts can I let go?
So I just wanted to learn and share experiences with other people who were doing this.
KL: I know you’ve been tapping into all sorts of podcasting events and resources, so tell me what you've been checking out since you started your podcast, because I so relate!
This is what I was doing at the beginning of my podcast freelancing career, I was just going to all these events and just chatting with people to see where they were at.
AP: So PodCamp and the Canadian Podcast Awards. Podcamp was great. I definitely found some of the talks really helpful for sure. Some of the lectures were super helpful. And that's actually where I met you!
On top of that, I'm very sentimental but being in a room of a bunch of people who love podcasting, who probably are not making millions of dollars from it so you know that they love it. That was wonderful and that was building community.
And then I got to go to Toronto Comic-Con and have a booth for Liquid Courage and get to meet people. I was across from the Sonar Network booth and the Canadian Podcast Awards booth.
And then on top of that – and I'm not sucking up – but following a bunch of these amazing newsletters like Pod the North,, , Podraland, whenever one of those pops into my inbox, I am like, oh, podcast community!
KL: I know that you also did the Hot Docs Podcast Career Accelerator Program, tell me about that!
AP: So it's kind of two part. They had an anniversary festival earlier this year, which I know you and I got to see each other — took a very cute picture together! So there was that part.
The podcast festival is in October, and so getting access to that and going to the different talks and I think having some mentorship maybe.
I think the best thing that came out of it, which I feel like is out of every festival, is really just meeting the people. Meeting some of the mentors, meeting a producer from Canadaland, and getting advice was really wonderful.
The big thing that I keep coming back to in podcasting is, I mean, where's the money?
How do you not even make a living but make enough to break even and not be paying for your podcast?
That's one thing that I feel like is still missing in a lot of these like unconferences, conferences, festivals, lectures, all these things.
And I don't know if maybe it feels lame to just be transparent and be like, I'm making no money and I want to – maybe that makes people feel small or like they're failing. But in podcasting, Idon't think that's failing at all.
KL: I find it's a weird thing, especially in Canada, we're almost apologetic to wanting to make money.
Where if you go to conferences in the US, you have a lot more people being very blatant.
But you have these one-on-one conversations about funding with other podcasters when you're at these events, but it's not a discussion that ends up in panels. It's sort of taboo.
AP: And I don't think it needs to be, and I find this in the arts community in general, but more so in podcasting. It's almost as if you are passionate about something, the passion you get should be enough. And I'm like, passion doesn't buy me groceries.
I understand it is a privilege and a luxury to do something that you love. I also think we don't need to hold it to being such a luxury. I don't need to be the starving artist. So that is something overall that I feel like is missing.
And then also I'm finding that there are so many classes offered and all the resources for series that have a journalistic aspect to them that are scripted. Interview shows were referred to in a lot of these things I've gone to as “chat shows”. I don't know if it was my own projecting but it feels a little condescending in some places.
Mine is a chat show and I feel like it brings a lot of value. But there's not a lot of places where it's like, here's how to sell your interview show. A lot of the time it's, here's how to sell your series.
I've found it hard to find a place to fit my podcast in. If you're a celebrity and you're interviewing other people, that's the only kind of area. And we don't have a star system in Canada, and the majority of my guests are Canadian – I want to highlight that talent. So the idea that I have to become famous first, that's kind of part of the problem here is that we don't really have that.
KL: Well this might be a good transition then, because you have basically doubled down on the chat show concept.
AP: I have!
KL: So you recently launched Never Have I Ever, which I was recently a part of and had so much fun!
But before we started recording, you said something about being inspired to start this snin-off. Tell me more!
AP: Yeah, I left a sneaky little breadcrumb trail for you.
So I haven't even shared this with you, but we had a conversation over Zoom months ago, so long ago, and you were being so lovely with sharing your experience and your advice and asking me about my podcast, and one of the things you asked me was, ‘what are your most popular episodes?’
And I felt so silly that I didn't really know because to be honest, in the first season especially, I did not want my people-pleaser tendencies to come out, I did not look at my stats.
Another thing that you had mentioned, you were like, ‘do you ever play around with your formatting? Do you ever play around with your intro?’
You really helped me realize that I had no problem bringing a sense of playfulness to my conversations with my guests but I had been not really allowing myself to bring the same playfulness to my formatting. I was so focused on standardizing the whole thing that I kind of restricted myself in that.
So after our talk, I was like, ‘I need to know what my most popular episodes are.’ And it really surprised me.
Of the top 10, one of them was this bonus episode I did after season one with Dustin George, who's a friend of mine and it was an episode that he had proposed to me of, why don't I interview you now?
I was like, should we even release this? Is this boring? Do people care? So I was floored that it was one of the top episodes.
I just kept thinking about what you were saying and you had asked, when do you play up with your formatting? Like maybe you talk to your audience a little bit more, maybe you interact with them a little bit more. And so I kept thinking about this and I was like, yeah, my whole show is about connecting with a human being and I am reserving the connecting with audiences only for outside of the episode, on social media or via email.
And so you were a huge influence of why I wanted to bring on not only the Never Have I Ever show, where I'm bringing on friends versus guests. It's more of a relaxed, casual conversation than it is like a casual interview.
But then also in my Liquid Courage episodes, before my guest introduction, I've started just playing around in each episode with a chat intro and I've allowed myself the space to just like fuck around a little bit, and that's genuinely all because of that conversation with you!
KL: Wow, I'm so honored! Are you getting a good response from your audience in the spin-off?
AP: I've had a lot of people online be like, ‘I wanna be on this! This is so fun!’
For me, I think the best barometer is if I watch something, like if I watch an improv show, and I say, ‘I wanna do that!’.
It's been really fun and really different.
KL: So where do you see your podcast headed in the next year? What is your podcast’s role in the community?
AP: I would like to be feeling like I'm giving more to the community. I wanna be doing more collaborations with other podcasters, other creatives. Keep a little outlook on our social media 'cause we have a few collaboration ideas coming up that I'm really excited about.
I do think that podcasting can be very lonely, it can be very isolating. Even if you're on a team, when you are editing something, you're alone, so I just think collaborating with other people can make it so not only am I trying to build my podcast up, but I'm building up other people's brands and that we can work together in it.
I'm not a part of a network, I'm just a solo gal. In the beginning that was kind of out of a choice. I think I just wanted to prove to myself. I would love to create some kind of community, more of a sense of community because I feel like it's lacking. There are Facebook pages, there are conferences that you can join, but I would like something that feels like a team.
I would like something that is like, we are all CEOs of our own company, but there's an umbrella, we're gonna help each other out. So I've been looking into ways to do that. Ways to help fellow podcasters come together and get press for each other. Build ourselves up.
If we're together, it's easier to conquer some of these goals that maybe feel harde. Everything takes a fucking village and podcasting feels like you're in your house, in the village and nobody goes outside.
And I'm like, why don't we create a community center and we can all work separately but together. So I know that's a very vague answer.
KL: “Amanda says that podcasting takes a fucking village”.
AP: It does. And I think for a long time I was trying to find my village.
What Amanda is loving:
Bad in Bed
Sounds like a Cult
Check out this Canadian Indie: Preconceived
This pod comes recommended by 's Devin Andrade!
Preconceived is a show that examines the preconceptions that shape how we view the world and challenges the paradigms by which we live our lives.
If you’ve ever felt like you’re going through the motions, and that your major life choices are simply subscribing to the status quo and wonder how those opinions became so ingrained in society, you’ll love the discussions on Preconceived.
It's hosted by Zale Mednick, who is actually an ophthalmologist based in Toronto. Last year he even turned the show into a book and donated all the profits to Pencils for Kids!
True North Podcast Feature: Indigenous Vision
Two aunties sharing and examining the world through the lense of an Anishinaabe and Blackfoot experience.
What’s going on in Canada’s podcast ecosystem:
3 more new shows have joined the Harbinger Media Network! Harbingers 14th wave expansion was welcomed:
Douglas-Coldwell-Layton Presents features lectures and conversations promoting social democracy principles with Toronto-based historian Jon Weier.
The End of Sport, academics Derek Silva, Johanna Mellis, and Nathan Kalman-Lamb provide critical commentary, analysis, and interviews on sport and society.
Syndicated for community radio at CIUT in Toronto, CKUT in Montreal, CKUW in Winnipeg and at Vancouver Co-op Radio Harbinger Showcase presents weekly highlights from the community.
Hot Docs Podcast Festival’s two-day October Podcast Creators Forum line up is being announced today around 1pm! As usual, you'll find top podcasting people including folks from studios and agencies like Conde Nast, Pushkin Industries, NPR, Acast, AND Bumper. You'll also catch me in there running a session talking Canadian podcasting along with CBC's Tanya Springer, Hannah Sung of Media Girlfriends, and CANADALAND's new EIC, Karyn Pulgiese! October is going to be a really fun month for podcasting in Toronto.
Dan Misener joined Amrita on Hot Pod recently to discuss the new audience metrics coming to Spotify and Apple Podcasts, both of which were announced and the recent Podcast Movement conference. “Up until now, creators haven't been able to measure the number of people who looked at their show but never ended up listening… In other words, there's never been a podcast app equivalent of a ‘page view.’”
Just Joe (photographed by my Dad back in Ontario)…
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