Have you listened to [insert podcast everyone is obsessed with this month here]?”
I’ve been asked this question more times than I can count—most recently by my sister, a longtime fan of the celebrity-driven podcast The Lady Gang. After months of her begging, I caved (you know how younger siblings can get) and listened to an episode. And I’ll admit: These gals are funny. Their no-F’s-given attitude is refreshing and hilarious. How did I miss this podcast posse? More important, what else am I missing out there?
Well, this isn’t the first female-led podcast to make it big. You may have heard of a little show called Serial, the investigative journalism series that’s blown up since it hit the airwaves back in 2014. The award-winning podcast was cocreated and produced by Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder, who have also worked on This American Life and the controversial S-Town, respectively. Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams pulled away from the comedic pack with their hit, 2 Dope Queens, which turned into pretty dope and successful HBO specials.
With all that girl power coursing through the veins of this ever-growing platform, it was only a matter of time that a community of female and nonbinary producers, hosts, writers, and engineers was born. Enter Werk It! A Women’s Podcast Festival, an annual event where the most influential creators come together to talk careers, creativity, and conversation.
This year, WNYC Studios has put together a three-day lineup of prominent panelists and live events that’s all female, all fantastic. If you’re starting a podcast, thinking of starting a podcast, or just want to hear from your favorite podcasters, here are a few panels you won’t want to miss.
11 a.m. Write Your Own Rules, Lead Like a Woman: Three badass female podcast founders—Juleyka Lantigua-Williams (CEO, Lantigua Williams & Co.), Martina Castro (founder and CEO, Adonde Media), and Nicaila Matthews Okome (creator and host, Side Hustle Pro)—discuss how to empower your team, build confidence, and foster creativity.
2 p.m. What Any Podcaster Can Learn From Making a Daily Show: With the current news cycle constantly keeping us on our toes, it can get tricky making sure your content is as updated as possible. Sit with panelists Irene Noguchi (executive producer, Today, Explained), Stacey Vanek Smith (cohost, The Indicator From Planet Money), and Theo Balcomb (managing producer, The Daily) to learn useful tips practiced by the best.
10:30 a.m. Creating the Unexpected: The producers behind the podcasts Radiolab, The Habitat, This American Life, and Snap Judgment share how they shape a juicy story and keep their listeners coming back for more.
2:30 p.m. Winners Are Quitters: When starting a podcast, hard decisions and sacrifices need to be made. Just ask Rekha Murthy (independent podcast strategist), Chiquita Paschal (independent producer and editor), and Jenna Weiss-Berman (cofounder, Pineapple Street Media); they know a thing or two about setting yourself up for success—so you don’t have to quit your daydream.
Not interested in learning how to create a podcast (but plan to binge-listen to one later)? You might be interested in Werk It’s lineup of live podcasts and events happening across New York City. Here are just a few we wouldn’t dare miss.
Tuesday, November 13: Nancy
The hosts of this critically acclaimed podcast get comfy at the Bell House in Brooklyn to share queer stories and the struggles of defining oneself in our present time.
Tuesday, November 13: The Read
Kid Fury and Crissle are spilling—more like dumping—all of the tea brewing in today’s pop culture scene. Take cover—shade will be thrown at the Knockdown Center in Queens.
Thursday, November 15: My Best Break-Up
“Sometimes the best beginnings start with an end.” At the Greene Space in Tribeca, comedian and author Maeve Higgins invites guests to talk about the heartbroken elephant in the room: the breakup. Whether it be with a person, an addiction, or Netflix, Higgins is here to find out what it means to go your separate ways.
Thursday, November 15: Don’t Tell My Mother!
For one night only at the Bell House, this award-winning comedy event is coming to New York—and bringing the dirt with it. Some of your favorite (and bravest!) film and TV stars have agreed to share a few of their most cringe-worthy stories, and hopefully, their mothers won’t be there to listen.
Friday, November 16: Code Switch
Join hosts Shereen Marisol Meraji and Gene Demby at the Apollo for a discussion on race, culture, and identity. Then sit back and listen to some live jams by Grammy-nominated composer Bobby Sanabria.