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Arts & Culture Seen Thought Leader

Podcasts are on the rise, and for great reason

Two years ago, if I mentioned podcasting to a friend – even a Millennial – I was commonly met with a blank stare or a passing mention of “Serial,” the first-ever podcast to reach mainstream audiences. Now, when I mention I own podcast production company FRQNCY Media and host The Cultured Podcast, the response is almost always “Cool! I’ve been thinking of starting a podcast.” Or “I have a podcast!” Or “My friend has a podcast.” Or “I love podcasts.”

FRQNCY Media recording over a dozen interviews from this mobile podcast booth at Venture Atlanta for Launchpad2X’s The 2X CEO. Photo by Enna Garkusha.

Whereas the pinnacle of media used to be video, our overscheduled and content-crowded lives are now driving our eyes into exhaustion. The shift from consuming with our eyes to consuming with our ears has been rapid, and isn’t showing signs of slowing down. Audio content frees us up to multitask with our other senses (and there’s nothing we love more in this high-tech world than doing five things at once).
My own routine is an example of why podcasting is on its way to being crowned the new queen of content: I wake up and groggily scroll through email and social accounts. I stumble into the kitchen to put the coffee on and cook the eggs and stare out the window while my brain switches slowly to its “ON” setting. All the while, “SuperSoul Conversations” or “Masters of Scale” or “Unladylike” is playing on my Bluetooth speaker, helping to coax my synaptic connections into a lightning storm of response. It feels like drinking coffee with Oprah. Or having breakfast with Reid Hoffman. Or buttering my toast with Atlanta-based Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin.
And that’s precisely the power of a podcast. It hooks you in a way that both allows you to carry on with your workout or your commute or your morning routine, and also connects you – deeply and intimately – to its host(s).
What is it about sound that can so swiftly sway us? Sound has a particularly powerful effect on humans. After all, we’re fundamentally walking bodies of water, and water is the original audiophile. Water willfully carries sound waves – and their vibrating pockets of air pressure – to and fro, causing ripples as they go. It’s in those ripples that the magic of sound is felt. Because it’s from those ripples that emotional responses are triggered in our brains (even on the groggiest of mornings).

FRQNCY Media engineer DonTaé Hodge records an interview Launchpad2X’s The 2X CEO at Venture Atlanta. Photo by Enna Garkusha.

I founded FRQNCY Media in 2018 with the mission of improving the quality of podcasting and growing the industry through education, affordable production memberships, and simple production packages that allow small business owners to form strong connections with their target audiences.
What I never imagined was that three of our first six customers would be some of the best-known brands in Atlanta. In fact, one of those brands called on us to help them produce a podcast for their employees. That is a podcast’s secret sauce. Via a pair of speakers, a brand can connect directly with employees, customers, journalists, skeptics, supporters, and prospects.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel used his podcast “Chicago Stories” to show a looser, less messaged side of himself. As a result, he stole his constituents’ hearts (and quite a few headlines). Listeners were left stunned by his personable yet no-holds-barred interview style. As it turns out, Emanuel is more than a mayor. He’s a curious guy and a die-hard midwesterner and a pizza lover and…a lot of things. We relate to him as we get to “know” him – all thanks to his podcast.
That’s what I love about podcasts. In this world of audio, no story or form of storytelling is off limits. Podcasters are sculptors and dancers and poets and comics. They’re financiers and lawyers and investors and billion-dollar CEOs. They’re anything and they’re anyone.
For brands, there is power in this far-reaching, loyalty-fostering medium. Wield that power with intention, strategy, and a talented production team, and a podcast can be one of the most effective and affordable line items in your marketing budget.
Start by getting to know your incredibly talented local podcasters. Some of them will be featured at A Live Podcast Performance of Spectacular Proportions, a podcaster variety show co-presented by Dream Warriors Foundation and FRQNCY Media. Join us on Thursday, April 11, from 6-9 p.m. at Switchyards Downtown Club. Sign up to our Wavelength to get tickets when they’re released.

FRQNCY Media CEO Michelle Khouri, photo by Amy Atwell

About Michelle Khouri

Michelle Khouri is the founder and CEO of FRQNCY Media Co. and host of The Cultured Podcast. She has been telling stories and building businesses for over 15 years. FRQNCY Media is a full-service podcast strategy, production, and marketing company that will soon open the doors to its first-of-its-kind studios and community hub in Atlanta, Georgia.
Featured image (top): FRQNCY Media CEO Michelle Khouri tests the audio setup in a mobile podcast booth at Venture Atlanta. For Launchpad2X’s The 2X CEO. Photo by Enna Garkusha.


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