Tell the stories you want to tell.
Find an audience around the world.
Eight months ago, I left “Planet Money” and NPR — saying that I wanted to build a better radio.
I wanted to create a service that works better for listeners. Something that works better for people who report and tell the stories I love. And one that creates a stronger connection between producers and their audiences.
My old radio –the one I grew up with– still doesn’t know anything about me. It doesn’t know what makes me turn it off, or flip the dial. Years of listening, and my radio is not one bit smarter about who I am and what I like than it was when I was listening in the back of my parents’ rusted-out VW bug.
For a long time, I’ve had this nagging feeling that my old radio didn’t cover enough of the world. There are these big swaths of our culture — big parts of the American experience, and of the global experience — that my radio largely ignored. That’s not a knock on radio programming, or radio people; it’s a limitation of the medium itself. A radio show can never match the full diversity of its listeners’ interests — you can’t consider all things.
The programming on my old radio is wonderful, but it will never be deeply personal.
In January, I co-founded Tiny Garage Labs to change this.
We are building 60dB, a new service for high-quality, short-form stories. It’s coming soon. (And it’s pronounced “sixty dee bee.”)
60dB is the perfect volume for the human voice. It’s the volume you speak when you are telling a friend a story.
When you switch it on, 60dB will tell you about your world. It pays attention to what you are into, and what you like. The stories are as diverse and varied as the world we live in. We shared news about it this morning; check out our post here.
Already, there are hundreds of thousands of podcasts on any subject imaginable. But podcasts don’t always fit into my life. An hour (or more) with a podcast is an hour I am not talking to my wife — or playing with my kids. That is a high bar to clear.
This kind of diversity and quality exists in shorter-form audio, too. But these stories are spread everywhere: some are podcasts, some on the radio, some on the web, some made by a passionate person recording under a quilt in their bedroom. These shorter stories aren’t easily accessible in a single place, and they’re not really searchable — so truly awesome stories go unheard by those listeners who would really, really love to hear them. That’s bad for listeners, of course, but it’s really bad for the people who pour their blood, sweat and tears into doing this work.
What’s missing is a platform that connects these stories and the people who make them to a global audience.
That’s what we are building. 60dB brings these incredible stories together in one place.
If you are a Chicago Cubs writer with a microphone, and you can do daily, five-minute audio stories about the Cubs — we can help connect you to Cubs fans all over the world. And five minutes a day will fit more easily into more moments in their lives than any hour-long podcast.
We can do the same thing for music critics, or journalists covering eSports, for powerful voices on race and culture, or thinkers studying third-wave feminism. No matter what your story is about, on 60dB there is an opportunity to connect with audiences who care deeply and listen carefully.
We will also give you data. That’s right, producers and journalists will see data –actual data!– that gives you insights into what connects with audiences…and what doesn’t. We can show you when listeners tune out — and we can show you when a story hits home.
But we need your help.
We want to offer as many stories, on as many topics as possible, on 60dB. We need storytellers and journalists who are passionate and curious. We need people who are willing to take a risk on something new. And we need people who recognize that you can move audiences deeply with a short story.