How did you get started in radio?
Completely by accident. I had no intentions of doing anything in radio. I have a master’s degree in conflict resolution so I thought I was going to be studying religious conflict in the Middle East. I started working as a content producer for an independent radio show called Interfaith Voices that’s housed at WAMU in Washington, D.C.
As a content producer, I was advising on stories and writing scripts. It was a very small staff so everybody pitched in and did a little it of everything. They taught me about the audio side of things and I learned that I liked that equally as much as I liked storytelling.
What drew you toward the audio side of storytelling?
For me, it was a new platform for creativity. I love mixing interesting sounds and the fact that you can tell a story in a unique way through audio. Plus, it’s a really intimate medium. Listeners are most likely listening [to podcasts] while they’re driving or at the gym. Either way, you’re alone with one person’s voice in your ear. It’s a new medium, but it’s also an old-school way of storytelling.
WYPR’s podcast The Noir and Bizarre explores strange local stories with an emphasis on Baltimore’s spooky history. Where did this idea come from?
Last fall, we had an internal podcast committee to look at ways that we could develop in-house podcasts. All of the producers had a chance to pitch ideas, and I was really interested in doing something that would bring out the quirkiness of Baltimore. I wanted to play with historic topics that would tell new, interesting stories and give listeners a real sense of place. Baltimore is a weird city—we all know a strange local story—and I wanted to bring those out for everyone to hear.
How does the podcast discuss familiar topics, such as the life of Edgar Allen Poe, in a new way?
Tell us how you approach storytelling in the podcast.
What do you want listeners to take away from the podcast?
I want people to appreciate the city and its history, even the weird parts. And I hope it encourages people to go places like The Walters Art Museum, The Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Peabody Library—these historical resources are right here, and they’re amazing. These spaces have so much history. Every piece of art in the museums and every book in the library was put there for a reason, and there’s a story behind each one.
Going forward, what do you think the distinction between regular programming and podcasts will look like for local radio stations?
What do you see for the future of The Noir and Bizarre?