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Here's The Scoop On Charlotte's New Podcast Festival

Will Francis

How do you tell a story to make someone listen up? How do you pick a guest and get them to tell you compelling things? This is the stuff a good podcast does.

Next week is the start of the Charlotte Podcast Festival. It's a monthlong series via Zoom designed to get at some of these questions and to inspire podcasters. WFAE is one of the organizations hosting it. WFAE's podcast manager,Joni Deutsch, has the details.

Lisa Worf: Good morning, Joni.

Joni Deutsch: Good morning, Lisa.

Worf: So, this is Charlotte's first podcast festival. What do you have in the works?

Deutsch: So much, Lisa, so much as this is the first time the state of North Carolina, even the country as a whole, has seen a podcast festival entirely online, entirely free and open to the public, and highlighting the voices and podcasters and talent from the South.

We have a full schedule lined up, more than 40 sessions devoted to all sorts of podcasting tips and tricks that anyone can learn and be inspired to take up to make a podcast. And we have more than 60 speakers who represent different genres, different podcast levels of experience, different voices, so, lots to talk about, lots to be inspired by.

Worf: OK. So, a few firsts there. But why does Charlotte need a podcast festival?

Deutsch: WFAE has been committed to making quality stories come to life. But WFAE is also more than just a content provider. We want to be a community connector. We want to be able to share our experience of how to market a podcast, how to produce a podcast, how to launch it. We want to share that with the public so that they then can take those skills to amplify their voices further with their community, to amplify their stories that typically aren't heard.

And this Charlotte Podcast Festival is just the next step in that process, and we're so excited to be partnering with Blumenthal Performing Arts, Queen City Podcast Network and Eclecs Creative Agency to bring this together so that it represents all parts of the Charlotte area in tone and experience and in inspiration.

Charlotte Podcast Festival

Worf: What sessions are you looking forward to in particular?

Deutsch: Well, there's a lot to choose from, but personally, I would say I'm very excited about our very first session, which is on Oct. 5. It's about how to be a great host, an excellent interviewer when you're on the microphone. And it features some amazing, talented podcasters: Sheri Lynch, Bernadette Joy, Mark Peres and also Tommy Tomlinson, our own host of WFAE's SouthBound.

I should say that every single person that we're bringing on to speak is someone who is from this region, who has stories and was influenced to get into podcasting because of their experiences in the Charlotte or North Carolina area. And I think that's also what makes this podcast festival so special is that we have folks that truly can say that the South was their home, that they were able to get into podcasting because of their experience here.

Worf: And for the person who's not trying to start a podcast: Is there something in the festival for them?

Deutsch: Oh, is there. There's a couple of them, actually. So we have a comedy podcast panel that's in the first week of our festival. And if you're interested in just laughing and listening, then that is the session for you. It features some really great, talented comedians who are podcasters, and that includes the chart-topping duo The Black Guy Who Tips.

But the other one, I would say, for fans of WFAE, the very last session we'll do in the month of October is with Mike Collins and Chris Miller from Charlotte Talks. So, if you want to learn how Mike Collins, Chris Miller and the rest the Charlotte Talks team bring their daily program to life, especially in 2020, when the news cycle changes not just daily but hourly, I would definitely recommend registering for that session.

Worf: That's Joni Deutsch. She's WFAE's podcast manager and one of the people organizing the Charlotte Podcast Festival. Thanks, Joni.

Deutsch: Thank you, Lisa,

Worf: And again, this is a monthlong festival. It starts Oct. 5 and ends Oct. 30. Go to charlottepodcastfestival.com and you'll see the full schedule of sessions there, and you can register for any or all of them for free. And each week on WFAE's Morning Edition in October, we'll be checking in with a podcast creator featured on one of that week's panels or workshops.

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Lisa Worf traded the Midwest for Charlotte in 2006 to take a job at WFAE. She worked with public TV in Detroit and taught English in Austria before making her way to radio. Lisa graduated from University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in English.
Joni Deutsch was the manager for on-demand content and audience engagement, at WFAE, where also hosted the Amplified podcast and helped produce such podcasts as FAQ City, SouthBound, Inside Politics, Work It and the Apple Podcast chart-topping series She Says. Joni also led WFAE's and Charlotte's first podcast festival.