Q&A: Kelly Moffitt, Creator and Writer of Flyover Podcast Newsletter and Producer at Storycorps.

This week, we spoke with Kelly about content creation and distribution on the coasts and in between, plus how she’s helping bring audio production to new and excited audiences.

The Idea: Flyover Podcast recommends podcasts and features Q&As with podcast producers from between the coasts. How did you come up with the idea for it?
KM: I’m from the Midwest, born and raised. I was working at St. Louis Public Radio and producing a daily talk show, and becoming sort of an avid podcast listener. One day I was realized that, at St. Louis Public Radio (SPLR), there’s really a plethora of fantastic podcasting produced. This included the talk show I worked on, which was a podcast itself. It just kind of dawned on me one day: we have all of these podcasts, but when I looked down at the podcast app on my phone, all of the podcasts I really listen to are produced in New York. And that really struck me because there were four podcasts being produced just at SLPR.

While I was there, I also organized an event called ‘So You Wanna Start a Podcast? STL,’ which brought local producers up to talk about how they made podcasts. It was one of the best attended events that our show had ever done. That just showed me that there’s a huge interest in learning how to podcast among people in “flyover country.” So with everything in mind, I wanted to highlight that people are doing this audio work, but also teach people how to do it themselves, especially people who don’t otherwise have access to learning audio production.

How do you identify the podcasts you choose to feature?
It’s a variety. I choose podcasts that are affiliated with public radio stations, that are independently produced, etc. I also look for a variety of content, so different styles of podcasts whether its narrative or fiction or some experimental stuff, in addition to the subject matter. But most of all, I’m looking for a wide geographical variety of podcasts. That means I have a running list on a map on my wall, and I use it to pinpoint where the podcasts I’m featuring come from and I identify where I have gaps. I’m looking for different city sizes, for socioeconomic diversity, for racial diversity, and gender diversity. And it’s kind of this never-ending matrix in my brain for trying to get all over the map to show the wide variety of podcasts there are between the coasts.

How does your work at Storycorps in New York inform what you do with the Flyover newsletter?
I think it reinforces how many resources there are in New York (in contrast to other places) for people remotely interested in podcasts. You can easily go to an event to see a podcast getting recorded, and there are a plethora of community classes to take to learn audio production. Those things often don’t exist in smaller cities between the coasts. So being in New York can show me what people are teaching in those kinds of classes and what people want to learn, so I’m able to bake those learnings into what I’m asking people in the newsletter. Overall, it also just shows how little attention people pay to where their podcasts come from.

As far as my work at StoryCorps, I’m looking for stories from all across the country so I’m always looking to find new podcasts when I’m researching for a work trip. Also, my background isn’t in traditional audio storytelling, so it’s a learning process for me as well. I’m learning more refined questions to ask podcasters that would be translatable to people that are new to the field.

Image courtesy of Kelly Moffit

Are there any surprising differences or similarities that you’ve noticed between your work in audio production and your work producing a newsletter?
My background is in digital media, so I’m very used to writing in a more informal way for the newsletter. And I’m used to the Q&A format where you basically have however much space you want. I think a difference with audio storytelling is that you’re looking for a specific narrative arc, and that means being ruthless in some cases about what you cut.

What is an interesting thing that you’ve seen recently from a media outlet other than your own?
I really like reading Kim Bui’s The Middles newsletter — I think that would be a good newsletter for anyone who’s looking to add more newsletters to their inbox. (Editor’s note: we did a Subscriber Spotlight with Kim a few months ago. Check it out here!)

This Subscriber Spotlight first appeared in the March 26th edition of The Idea. To get your weekly update on everything new and innovative in digital media, subscribe here!