On Tuesday, August 13 around 4 a.m., I was on my way to the airport to attend my first ever Podcast Movement conference. I was half asleep but eager to see what the week had in store for me.
For the last 3 months, I have been working as Podcast Movement’s multimedia intern. I entered at a perfect time, as everyone around me was hard at work on PM19. Every week, I was working on something for the event, whether it be making the room slides for each session, or creating Instagram stories featuring 2018 attendees. When it was finally time to head to Orlando, I wasn’t expecting what I experienced.
When I first walked into Rosen Shingle Creek, which is one of the nicest on my “hotels-I’ve-been-to” list, I saw so many different types of people walking around with badges, laughing or even meeting in person for the first time. I saw a true community, where different podcasters from various backgrounds would connect and root for each other. I could feel the support from every interaction I saw around me. Not only were the people of Podcast Movement supportive, they were kind and welcoming. I was approached by people that told me their story, and genuinely wanted to have a conversation with me.
During the conference, I was a part of the Livestream Team (a name I called us in my head). I worked alongside Gil Chavez, the president of Knockout Digital Media. This was by far my favorite part of the conference. Gil had so much patience with me, and taught me so many things about streaming software, microphone placement and career building. He took me under his wing, and now I have this newfound appreciation and knowledge of live-streaming and production.
Being a part of the Livestream Team gave me access backstage, which also gave me a unique opportunity to see the speakers and panelists before they took the stage. I saw Mike Schubert of Potterless, one of the first podcasts I was ever introduced to, and prominent CEOs and VPs, such as Lindsay Bowen of Pandora.
I will admit that before this convention I had a really hard time getting into podcasts. I would always fall asleep while listening to them, and it seemed like I could never really find “the one” for me. Then, while working backstage during the Live Stage sessions, I found myself laughing along with the hosts of Gay Future. As soon as I realized I found a podcast I liked, I added it to my Spotify to listen to that night. I also found podcasts that were artistic, such as Las Raras and Timestorm, which gave me goosebumps from the stories and visuals used on stage.
What also opened my eyes to this world was the podcasters themselves. Many of the attendees have full time jobs and were only podcasting on the side. They make it a priority to upload episodes every week or month — real people putting in real work in order to spread their knowledge and passion.
As I sit and write this on the last day of Podcast Movement, I can still see the excitement of those around me, connecting with each other and talking about the 2020 events. From the pronoun pins to Guy Raz giving the closing keynote, there was something for everyone to be excited about. Even though I’m just an intern, I feel like I’m so much more. I feel like I’m part of the community that Dan Franks, Jared Easley and so many others created. Thank you, Dan, for giving me so much freedom and opening my eyes to a world I never knew I wanted to be a part of. And thank you, Podcast Movement, for the unforgettable experience.