Author Archives: Evan

Evan Voices

SoundCloud Voices is a weekly Community feature focusing on new spoken word creators found on SoundCloud. It might be a podcast, radio show, audio book, interview, audio messages, a poem, anything! Keep an eye out every Thursday for a new post.

This week we’re handing over the blogging keys to our friend John Moe, the host and head writer of American Public Media’s new radio show: Wits.

The show, as described by its creators, is “a live public radio show that brings world-class comedians, actors and musicians to the stage”. It’s funny, entertaining, and somehow mixes old school radio-show sensibilities into a thoroughly fresh sounding show. They just released their third podcast which you can listen to here. We asked John to give us some insight into the show’s recipe for success.

 

A NOTE ABOUT HOW WE BOOK GUESTS FOR WITS

So we do this show called Wits at the Fitzgerald Theater in St Paul, Minnesota. It’s a variety show, pretty much. I grew up watching stuff like Sonny & Cher and Donny & Marie. I always wanted to host a show like that. Since those shows are rarely given to young children, I had to wait until well into adulthood. And now hooray! I’m old enough. Wits takes that idea of a comedy and music program, the idea I never let go of, and infuses it with a contemporary sensibility and some of the most interesting guests around.

A whole lot of work goes into it, lots of people are involved, but at the heart of it is a pretty simple notion: let’s get some really funny, smart, pleasant people together and we’ll hang out with them, tell jokes, have chats, and sing songs. Because that sounds like a really enjoyable way to spend one’s time.

Now, the whole idea of only booking people who are funny AND smart AND pleasant does make for some extra work for us. To be sure, there are plenty of talented people out there who are smart but not funny, or they’re funny and smart but are difficult to be around. Hitting the trifecta for every single show narrows the field considerably.

But beyond making the production of the show a smoother operation and giving us a chance to make friends (and we love making friends), those three qualities are crucial given what we make our guests do. Our comedy guests get drafted into doing the occasional musical bits and our musical guests find themselves acting in comedy sketches.

 And both guests participate in our Wits Game Show segment where musical and comedic improv skills are summoned to make theme songs for made-up movies or commercial pitches for non-existent products like Diet Socks.

Some highlights from past shows:

Over on the studio version of Wits, presented in some of our Wits podcasts, the guests aren’t required to perform quite the same degree of high wire act although we hold fast to our standard of guests who are funny, smart, and pleasant. Dull dummy jerks need not apply. With all due respect to the contemporary media landscape, dull dummy jerks get plenty of opportunities to display themselves on any number of other outlets. Maybe we’re kind of a refuge from that.

John Moe, the host of Wits, has a long and varied career in public radio as well as comedy. Moe served as host of Marketplace Tech Report and Weekend America, both national programs heard on public radio stations. John has been a lead singer in rock bands, a writer of video games, an editor at Amazon.com, and he once got fired for washing dishes the wrong way. You can follow John on twitter @JohnMoe, and Wits as well @wits.

 

Evan Selection Panel announced for SoundCloud Fellowship

One of our favorite things here at SoundCloud is working with folks who are experienced, knowledgeable and passionate about the world of sound. Through our Fellowship program, we’re hoping to support some truly mind-blowing audio projects, so it seems only right that we ask true experts in the community to help us choose this year’s Fellows.

Today, we’re thrilled to announce the panel of judges who will help choose our 2012 Fellowships!

Soraya Darabi is a New York City based entrepreneur, working on a new initiative.  She is a co-founder of Foodspotting and sits on the Notables Board of Carnegie Hall.

Julie Shapiro, artistic director of the Third Coast Audio Festival, the country’s biggest showcase of audio feature and documentary work.

Lea Thau, The Peabody award-winning creator of The Moth Radio Hour and the new hit radio show Strangers

Steve Angello of the world-renowned Swedish House Mafia

Producer Shea Shackelford  representing AIR (the Association of Independents in Radio)

Corey Ford of The Public Media Accelerator, a new incubator for public-service media focused start-ups

Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital officer of Columbia University

Tyler Moody, Vice President of  CNN Radio

Nuala McGovern, Presenter of the BBC World Service’s Newsday

The crew from NPR and PRX’s Snap Judgment

We’ve also had some questions regarding what type of support the fellowship program will provide. We value your time, effort, and experience as creators and want to help you succeed however we can. In addition to the support of our amazing community, the program will also offer some financial support (up to $5,000). You can find more information about all of this in the project-submission guide.

Evan SoundCloud Voices

SoundCloud Voices is a weekly Community feature focusing on new spoken word creators found on SoundCloud. It might be a podcast, radio show, audio book, interview, audio messages, a poem, anything! Keep an eye out every Thursday for a new post.

Ahhh summer…the time to let all your worries slip away and allow the creative juices to flow freely! In the spirit of encouraging a creative summer (and fall!), we’re super excited to announce the second annual SoundCloud Fellowship program which we just announced this week!

We’re hoping to inspire and support original, inventive, imaginative projects of all types, so don’t let the summertime heat kill your motivation...check out the proposal process and submit your ideas!

 

For this week’s Voices post, we thought we’d take a look back at a few of last year’s fellowship projects to provide you with some inspiration…

 

United Sounds

We SoundClouders are proud to be part of a global community, and no project better exemplifies that than last year’s fellowship project by Alex Stiver, United Sounds. Alex collected recordings of community members reading The UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights in their native tongue. To date, the project has collected recordings of The Declaration in more than 50 languages! This project highlighted the power of voice and the passion for collaboration within the SoundCloud community!

Check out some of the recordings submitted to the project’s SoundCloud Group:

 

Sounds of My City

Another fantastic project was Katie Needs’ Sounds of My City, in which Katie mapped Toronto in sounds she collected while rediscovering her city! The project also harnessed her fans’ passion for audio and encouraged them to explore their neighborhoods and share the sounds they collected along the way.

The NYC Nomad

Ed Casabian, aka The NYC Nomad, chose to explore his city in a slightly different way. Ed lived in over 50 neighborhoods in New York City, finding a new place to stay every single week! Along the way, Ed sought out the most interesting person in the area for an interview. Ed not only used audio to document his experience, but also as a medium to engage the communities that were hosting him.

Here’s one of my favorite pieces from Ed’s project:

So, inspired yet? We hope so! Get at us with your awesome ideas ASAP!

Fellowship applications will be accepted until Wednesday, July 25.