On Air Fest 2020: What We Learned from Top Podcasters

We chatted with creators—including Michael Barbaro, Touré, and more—about why they love podcasting and which of their episodes from the last year stood out to them the most.


Spotify for Podcasters was proud to be a presenting sponsor of On Air Fest, which ran from March 6 to 8 at the Wythe Hotel. The weekend featured journalists and musicians, poets and comedians, all united in their love of the stories that only sound can tell. As we captured podcasters in our portrait studio, we chatted with them about why they love podcasting and which of their episodes from the last year stood out to them the most.

What's your favorite thing about podcasting?

Touré (Photo by Daniel Randall)
Touré (Photo by Daniel Randall)

Touré - Host, Touré Show
"I've done TV, I've done radio. There's a freedom to express yourself in this medium that is not the same in others."

Max Freedman (Photo by Daniel Randall)
Max Freedman (Photo by Daniel Randall)

Max Freedman - Co-creator, School Colors and Unsettled
"I think what makes podcasting so effective is the intimacy of it. I'm telling stories that are complicated and difficult but I'm telling it to you like we're hanging out at a bar, and I think that's what makes it work."

Adam Rapoport (Photo by Daniell Randall)
Adam Rapoport (Photo by Daniell Randall)

Adam Rapoport - Editor in Chief, Bon Appétit
"Having the time and space to actually talk to someone. With podcasts the conversation is the conversation."


What's your favorite episode you made last year?

Michael Barbaro (Photo by Daniel Randall)
Michael Barbaro (Photo by Daniel Randall)

Michael Barbaro - Host, The Daily
"The Fear Facer"
"Ella Maners’s fears were taking over her life — until she went to summer camp." In this episode, The Daily told the story of a summer camp in Florida that helps kids deal with obsessive-compulsive and anxiety disorders.


And its follow up: "Our Fear Facer Makes a New Friend"

Shima Oliaee (Photo by Daniel Randall)
Shima Oliaee (Photo by Daniel Randall)

Shima Oliaee - Reporter & Producer, Dolly Parton's America
"I Will Always Leave You"
This episode tells the story of the “Porter years,” the period during which Dolly arguably discovers her power—both as a performer and songwriter—and then makes the difficult (and radical for its time) decision to strike out on her own.

 Rose Eveleth (Photo by Daniel Randall)
Rose Eveleth (Photo by Daniel Randall)
Rose Eveleth - Creator, Flash Forward
"Our Father, Who art In Algorithm"
As she put it to us: "The one where I fed five million words of religious text into an algorithm and had it generate its own original scripture."




Through events held in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, On Air Fest brings together an expansive range of emerging and established voices to explore the creative possibilities of sound. Check them out here for more info from the Brooklyn event, including resources for the future.

-Spotify for Podcasters