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Invasion of the Pod People: Radiotopia and Beyond with Julie Shapiro
You might think of Julie Shapiro as a master listener.
Back in 2000 – before podcasting was invented – Shapiro was a co-founder and the artistic director of the highly respected Third Coast International Audio Festival in Chicago, dedicated to extending the craft and awareness of artful radio storytelling. She did that for 14 years: a time during which the creative audio community, listenership and marketplace exploded.
Today – amid all the excitement, investment and real innovation around podcasting – she’s the executive producer of Radiotopia, the tightly curated Boston-based network widely considered the ‘indie record label’ of podcasts … and home to 99% Invisible, Ear Hustle, The Heart, Song Exploder and many more.
Shapiro also boasts a strong connection to Australia. From 2014 to 2015, she lived in Sydney as executive producer of ABC RN’s Creative Audio Unit, which produced the boundary-blasting Soundproof and the storytelling show Radiotonic.
This December, she visited Melbourne to share insights from her long career in listening – and to discuss collaboration, reinvention and the long view in the era of the podcast, with host Sophie Black.
To hear more from Julie, check out the next episode of the Wheeler Centre podcast – in which she lends us her ears as a judge of So You Think You Can Pod – the Wheeler Centre’s search for new, audible ideas – alongside Audiocraft executive director Kate Montague, Australian podcast producer Eric George (Bowraville, Ballarat's Children), Sophie Black and Wheeler Centre senior digital editor Jon Tjhia.
Julie Shapiro is the executive producer of Radiotopia from PRX, a curated network of extraordinary, cutting-edge podcasts.
From 2014–15, Julie was the executive producer of ABC RN's Creative Audio Unit. In 2000, she co-founded the Third Coast International Audio Festival – where as artistic director she shaped the Festival's creative trajectory and prioritised innovative audio and a cross-pollinating international listening culture.
Julie has taught radio to university students, presented at conferences all over the globe, and produced stories for the airwaves and podcasts in the US and beyond. She lives with her husband and son in Arlington, MA.
‘Women have many reasons to be wary, depressed or downright terri ed of the internet. No guaranteed safe space exists for a woman online. Especially a lippy one. And yet ... as a tool for social change, the internet, to the extent that we can still refer to it as a single entity, still offers immense possibilities.’
Sophie Black is head of publishing at the Wheeler Centre where she has worked on projects such as the national to writers scheme The Next Chapter, the multi-award-winning podcast, The Messenger, and the ABC RN program, Talkfest. Previously she was editor-in-chief at Private Media, where she headed up titles such as Crikey, Women’s Agenda, Daily Review and SmartCompany. In 2013, she delivered the Adelaide Festival of Ideas as Director. She sits on the advisory board for Melbourne University’s Centre for Advancing Journalism and the human rights publication Right Now.