Have You Heard? is where the Pod Bible team meet the people behind the podcasts you may not have heard of yet. While the Oh. My. Pod. section in the magazine gives a quick shout out to shows of that ilk, Have You Heard? aims to go deeper in an effort to spread awareness for shows that deserve more exposure! We recently heard from Zack Robidas, host of The Pod Spotter, which is devoted to highlighting some great lesser-known podcasts…
Who are you and what’s your podcast about?
I am Zack Robidas, host of The Pod Spotter. The Pod Spotter is a podcast about podcasts. Each week, we highlight and recommend a great, lesser-known pod. Shows outside the Top 300. Many, or most, are probably outside the Top 3,000. We want to put a spotlight on the shows that listeners might otherwise have never found. We talk to the hosts, play clips, that kind of thing. There’s a lot of great content out there and we want to help listeners find the shows that “deserve” to be found.
But as you dig deeper it’s really about the podcast creators and the “how’s” and “why’s” of creating the thing that gets them out of bed in the morning. We tend to focus on what hosts have learned from the journey of producing their podcast and what they’ve taken from the guests they’ve featured.
What was the first podcast you ever listened to?
I remember where I was standing when I listened to Planet Money‘s breakdown of the financial crisis in 2008. There was so much happening in the news and so many new terms out there that it was impossible to understand any of it … at least for a liberal arts major with a BA in Theatre, which is spelled “re” not “er,” so you know I’m serious. Phrases like “mortgage-backed securities” and “subprime mortgages” were not yet ubiquitous. It might not have been my first podcast but it was the first one that was important to me. I realized the power of the podcast. The uniquely important focusing of information through compelling storytelling and snappy editing. This American Life’s companion episode “Giant Pool of Money” felt equally significant. Like most people it all began with NPR then moved to RadioLab then to shows like Stuff you Should Know. I loved anything that taught me things without it feeling like I was learning.
Why did you decide to start podcasting in the first place?
The Pod Spotter was born out of a desire to pay homage to the medium I’ve loved and depended on for so many years. I was able to hook up with brothers, Jim and Dan Price who had this idea and were looking to team with someone who was passionate about podcasts. I do a lot of voiceover work and had worked with them for years in radio advertising and it all just felt like a natural fit.
Which podcasts do you take inspiration from?
Like most podcast listeners I am a creature of habit. I have my pod routine that changes over the years but at the moment consists of starting my day with The Daily to get up to speed on current events. Lunch will be something in the humanities either Code Switch, Making Sense or The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, if I just need a laugh. I work out to something that usually is counter to my personal politics like a Ben Shapiro just to help get me wound up. I like to fall asleep to nonsense sports talk from The Ringer to help my mind turn off but not till after Rachael Maddow tells me what to be upset about each day.
Who’s your dream guest for the podcast?
I’m genuinely excited to talk to any host who is enthusiastic about what they do. After roughly 30 episodes of these I’ve found it’s very clear within the first five minutes who is just a hired gun or “mouth-piece” for the pod they represent, and who lives it. I much prefer the people who live it and create out of a desire to build their own sandbox to play in. Pods born out of a burning desire or great passion are really all I’m interested in.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far as a podcaster?
I learn something every episode. I can go through from Episode 1 and give you one nugget from each. Brian Thompson of Whatever Happened to Pizza at McDonalds taught me the importance of doing what you love for yourself, not for any desired outcome. Make the show YOU love not the show you wish people would love. Kimi Culp of All the Wiser taught me “the way forward is through”, no matter what the conflict in your life might be. Mortified showed me that the artefacts of our childhood often shape the adults we are today. Musicals That Never Made It taught me the good ideas that keep you up at night need to be watered, fostered and loved. Two in The Think Tank taught me the power of not over-preparing, sometimes the best bits of magic are unscripted moments of pure spontaneity. I can go on. How much time ya got?
Which episode would you say is the perfect introduction to your podcast?
Start with either Episode 2 with Kimi Culp or Episode 6 with Connor Ratliff of Dead Eyes for a really good idea of what it is we are doing here at The Pod Spotter.
Where can the Pod Bible readers find out more about you?
I’m an actor in my civilian life, you can find out more about future projects and what I’m up to on IMDB or Instagram, @ZactoryRobotdance. Follow The Pod Spotter on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @thepodspotter.
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