Articles

New Member Corner: Shaping her own story

Name: Selly Smith
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Joined AIR: February 2017
Get in touch: listen@regularblackradio.com, @_RegularBlack
Current project: www.regularblackradio.com

Tell us about your professional experience and background:
I’m an indie producer with about a year and a half under my belt. I mostly work on my own podcast, Regular Black Radio, but I’m always looking for other opportunities to get more experience. I recently did some freelance work and my interviews were featured on the “Why Oh Why” podcast. (Thanks, “Why Oh Why”!)

What’s playing on your radio/streaming service right now?
All the things! I love podcasts so I’m always listening to several things at any given time. Here are a few:
“Love Works” podcast with Jamyla and Pierre Bennu
“Reply All”
“Pass the Mic”
“The Liturgists”
“The Rise of Charm City”

What’s a podcast you’ve just learned about?
“The Local Color” podcast. I met the host recently at a live event that he put on and was excited to find another local podcast and have been binge listening to his show. Always glad to meet another podcaster of color in the area!

What do you think about it?
It’s a really great show! The host is a great interviewer and has had some really wonderful guests. I particularly enjoyed episode 39 which just aired recently. I enjoyed hearing McKeever Conwell’s story!

What’s the best piece you’ve ever heard?
Definitely “The Problem We All Live With: Part One” by Nicole Hannah-Jones from “This American Life.” It was such a compelling story and an issue that is dear to my heart. It was beautifully done and I remember telling everyone I knew about it! Amazing reporting and beautiful storytelling too.

What drew you to radio?
The ability to shape one’s own story. When I first started listening to podcasts, I loved hearing the voices and opinions of the hosts themselves, as opposed to being a spokesperson for a network or an organization like the news tends to be. And there’s so much room for creativity and experimentation. Good storytelling in radio and podcasts can really draw you in. It reminds me of the way you get drawn into a good book except it’s that more intense because there’s are voices, sounds and tones behind the words to reel you in. I love it! So when I decided storytelling was something I wanted to give a go, podcasting was a natural solution for me.

What are you looking to learn about your craft?
I’m really hoping to learn more about structuring the creative process. I’m a one woman show at the moment so I want to really focus on improving the way I work. For me, this means learning how to delegate well, for one. I know that at some point this will all be too much for me to do by myself so I need to figure out what to delegate and how. I also want to improve my storytelling skills. Hoping to get some insight from the folks over in the AIRdaily forum on both accounts!

What piece of audio do you love to share with others?
“The Living Room” from “Love and Radio.” It’s a wonderfully personal and intimate story that will catch and keep anyone’s attention. It’s just one of those shows where you have to find out what happens next. One of my favorites for sure!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about audio?
Keep trying. I remember watching an interview with Ira Glass where he talked about how for years he was awful at his job. But he kept at it and is now an absolute giant in radio! I remind myself of this when it all feels like too much. I try to think of my time spent recording and editing as an investment in myself. Every minute I spend at the computer is helping me learn and grow into a better creator and producer, so I have to remember to keep trying.

Whom have you always wanted to interview?
I would love to interview Michelle Obama. She’s such a dynamic woman with such an amazing presence. She’s got a confidence and sense of self that I truly admire. I would love to sit down and chat with her any day!

Selly and other gifted producers can be reached through AIR’s Talent Directory. Not a member? Join AIR!