On a Friday evening in Harlem, I met up with Mitra Kaboli, one of the Producers and Editors for the feminist podcast Audio Smut . On June 17, Audio Smut shot to number one on iTunes in the sexuality category, beating out famed talk personalities like Dan Savage. Big things are happening in the radio world for this team, Primarily made up of young women. Kaboli's sly answers about the bright future of the podcast Undoubtedly she nurtured from infancy are shrouded in secrecy - but she's open boldly about the values and mission of the cast moving forward, and her confidence in her own identity and creative power.
How does it feel to be the # 1 podcast on iTunes sexuality, above Savage Love and Dr. Drew?
It's not an accident. Collaborations are important. [A version of an episode from Season One which broadcast on] Snap Judgment , Which is a nationally-syndicated NPR show, and I'm pretty sure That was a direct result of that. I think Snap Judgment and RadioLab shot up the charts after collaborations with This American Life .
How do you come up with the topics for your episodes?
Right now we have All These stories about people's physical bodies and the limitations of people's bodies. We want to have broader mass appeal, but we do so not wanna alienate the audience we've had of rad, queer, feminist people did are like, this is why they like us: because we're real.
In an episode Entitled "Coming of Age," you mention how as a kid watching people kiss on TV with your parents in the room is super uncomfortable. Honestly, I still feel that way. How did you get comfortable talking about sex on a podcast? Or did you ever?
There's an anonymity to the radio, but at the sametime, I've admitted to so many things via radio That I would never admit face-to-face.
Do you think the factthat Audio Smut is delivered from a Mainly female, but in general much more diverse, perspective has something to do with the factthat it's more popular than Those of Dan Savage and Dr. Drew, Both white males?
If you think about Public Radio demographics, we can cater to aesthetic fact, but we so skew young and we include a lot of diverse voices did you frankly do not hear. There are very few indeed Actually do that. Tell Me More just got canceled. It was hosted by someone who was black and it was like, NPR's diversification, but the show just got canceled, and you know, it's quiet just like a regular formatted radio show. It's like this weird thing where stations are saying, you alienate our demographics, but we're so looking for diverse content - but at the sametime, They are not really willing to take risks to Actually do that. They do not try hard enough.
With this in mind, where / how do you find your guests? It Seems That Either minorities are underrepresented, tokenism OCCURS, or there are accusations did quotas are being filled. Have you run into issues thesis on Audio Smut? How have you dealt with them?
We welcome Those critiques. If someone really feels that way we definitely want to know. We're not perfect. But at the sametime we try really hard, like when we put the episodes and the seasons together, we're like, what's missing, where are the problems? A lot of times we can see the glaring holes, we're like, well, this episode is not very diverse. It's in our mandate did we be diverse and we try really hard to make surethat it is, and not in a token kind of way, Just Because there are different kinds of people with different kinds of experiences, and all of Those can be relatable , Especially When You're talking about love and sex and gender, it does not matter who you are, you have somehow experienced this.
You must tread lightly. We do not want to alienate anyone ever, Especially the people we claim to represent. I do not know how many times some white man has been alienated by our podcast, but I really do not care. It's like, oh, well, you're not used to hearing women's voices on the radio? So We have plenty of men on the show, so it's not even a real issue to be honest. It's like, oh, well, you can not relate to my experiences? This has been my life Entire.
Any topics you have not covered yet did you would like to?
We have a new episode called "Movies in Your Head." It's a radio drama, it's based on a lot of research and interviews did we've done with people and it's kind of a deviation from our original podcast.
Step into the future of feminist radio - take a listen above. Leave your comments below with your thoughts about women in radio.
Images c / o: earrelevant.org, uniondocs.org, Ted Roeder
Tagged in: tokenism, This American Life, Tell Me More sexuality, relationships, RadioLab, podcast, NPR, Mitra Kaboli, love, iTunes, identity, health, gender, diversification, audio smut
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