- Oakland, CA
- Berkeley, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- Fact Checking
(TAPE SYNCS: For fast turnaround about scheduling a 'tape sync' and related inquiries, please check out the info at the BOTTOM of this bio -- if you're interested, shoot me text, and we can try to schedule as soon as you're ready! 305.282.0522)
My name is Jonathan A. Davis, and I’m an audio journalist, podcast producer, and radio storyteller here in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve worked in various newsrooms, on audio series for two public radio stations, and on a variety of independent podcast series.
As a audio journalist and podcast producer, I’ve run the gamut on all aspects of production: reporting; story-boarding; scripting; editorial; ideation; project management; mixing; engineering; interviewing; recording; marketing. This includes serving as associate producer on The Intersection, the Edward R Murrow Award Winning audio series coming out of San Francisco’s NPR affiliate station KALW. During my time as producer, the series also won San Francisco Press Club’s first place prize for best radio documentary.
In 2022 I was awarded the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism. This fellowship includes the Benjamin von Sternenfels Rosenthal Grant for Investigative Mental Health Reporting, a special grant and partnership between The Carter Center Center and Reveal (from the Center for Investigative Reporting). The Reveal story aired across the country on NPR, and you can listen here.
Beyond my public radio work, I’ve helped develop four independent podcasts from scratch including serving as producer and editor on those series. I’ve also reported and recorded for Audacy, CBC, Freakonomics, Kerning Cultures, PBS, Pineapple Street Studios, Reveal, Saveur, Slate, Sonic Union, The New Yorker Radio Hour, Ultraviolet, and WYNC.
Getting to tell the world’s stories through the magical medium of audio is an honor. Previous to working as a radio maker with KALW, I was a part of their Summer Journalism Fellowship and training program. I have also reported and produced news stories for KPFA, the legendary Pacifica Network outpost in Berkeley, Ca.
Prior to audio journalism, I worked in a variety of sectors including management consulting, sustainability, financial services, workforce development, training & facilitation, philanthropy, and the non-profit world. I have a B.S. in Accounting & Business/Management and a B.A. in Sustainability Studies from the University of Florida (c/o 2012). I work to bring those unique perspectives to the audio I make.
I’ve conducted dozens of tape syncs and hundreds of interviews in all sorts of sonic environments. Tape sync clients have included Audacy, CBC, Freakonomics, Kerning Cultures, PBS, Pineapple Street Studios, Saveur, Slate, Sonic Union, The New Yorker Radio Hour, Ultraviolet, WaitWhat, WYNC.
I take pride in being able to help interviewers and interviewees figure out unforeseen issues — and technology — on the fly, and make needed adjustments for the best interview and recording quality possible. This includes carefully listening to the surrounding environment to ensure no planes, trains, sirens, buzzes, fuzzes, flubs, or blips interfere with the interview. And I always make sure to come into a guest’s home or personal space with warm professionalism.
Additionally, if needed, I can put on my 'reporter hat' and capture any ambi or scene tape if you’re working on something more sound-rich and need those ‘live action’ sounds and scenes for your production.
Regarding covid: I am equipped to do a socially distant tape sync with table top and floor mic stands if it’s anyone’s preference; and I am fully vax’d.
Here are MP3s of raw tape from syncs I recorded using 1) both a Sennheiser MKE600 Shotgun Mic and a RE50B mic (for options) for a Freakonomics story 2) a SM58 mic for a Pineapple Street Studios story, and 3) a RE50B mic for a CBC story. I prefer the sound and cardioid integrity of the shotgun mic for tape syncs these days, but whatever you’d like to use works for me!
I have my own car to get on-site, and I work with the following equipment:
- Zoom H5 Recorder
- Sennheiser MKE600 Shotgun Mic
- Shure SM58 Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
- Electro-Voice EV-RE50b Omnidirectional Dynamic Microphone
- Sennheiser Headphones
- Macbook Pro (2021 OSX Ventura)
- Pro Tools
A couple additional / bonus things. I can patch my ZoomH5 directly into a guest’s computer (as an audio interface) if you want the microphone to feed directly into Riverside, Squadcast, or another remote/local podcast recording service; this will include a backup .wav or .aifc file recorded directly to the computer, as well. I am also equipped to record a 4K iPhone video of the guest (on a tripod positioned in front of them) if requested.
I like to arrive at least 30 minutes early to get set up and deal with unforeseen issues. 1 - 2 minutes of room tone will always be collected at the end of the interview. Turnaround of raw .Wav files is same day — you can let me know your preferred recording specifications (e.g. 16-bit/44.1kHz). Thank you for providing at least 48 hours notice for cancellations.
Please let me know if you have any questions. Happy to schedule this time as soon as you are! -Jonathan, +1 (305)282-0522
One of the principles guiding Burning Man is "Radical Inclusion." Basically, all are welcome. But, the temporary city that Burners build in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert has never been racially diverse. Just 1% of attendees self-identify as Black. In this episode of THE INTERSECTION at Burning Man, we explore why there's been a disconnect between racial and radical inclusion, and what some Burners, like Oakland artist and activist Favianna Rodriguez, are doing to change that.
If the wooden man effigy represents Burning Man’s cosmic and comic core, the Temple is its heart and soul. A place where people come to honor and grieve, Burning Man’s Temple has become a potent and sacred space in the middle of nowhere. In this episode of THE INTERSECTION at Burning Man, we hear why Burners have such a strong attachment to a temporary structure that’s little more than wood and nails.
Psychedelic drugs have been illegal for 50 years, but they’re trickling back into the mainstream because they show promise in helping treat post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health challenges.
We begin the hour of Reveal with reporter Jonathan A. Davis visiting Psychedelic Science 2023, the largest-ever conference on psychedelic drugs. It’s put on by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, an organization dedicated to legalizing MDMA (also known as ecstasy or molly) and other psychedelic drugs. Research shows that MDMA-assisted therapy can help treat depression and PTSD, and it’s moving toward approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Psychedelics were studied in the 1950s and ’60s as mental health treatments, but the war on drugs put a stop to research. Now, these drugs are gaining bipartisan support from politicians looking for solutions to the mental health crisis among veterans.
Then Reveal visits a group of veterans who are not waiting for psychedelic-assisted therapy to be approved by the federal government. They’ve joined a church founded by an Iraq War veteran who uses psychedelics as religious sacraments. Schiller accompanies them on a retreat in rural Texas, where they share the depths of their post-traumatic stress and the relief they’ve felt after psychedelic treatments. He also explores the risks involved in taking these drugs.
We close with an intimate audio diary from a woman in Oakland, California, who’s going through therapy with the one psychedelic drug that can be legally prescribed currently in the U.S.: ketamine. Ketamine started out as an anesthetic, but researchers found its dissociative and psychedelic effects can help with treatment-resistant depression. Ketamine can be dangerous if abused, but it also has helped people find relief from mental health issues.
"A Ketamine Therapy Diary" (from REVEAL) follows a woman of color named Deedee through a transformative time as she uses ketamine assisted therapy to reckon with trauma that affected her for decades. Over the course of a year, Deedee allowed reporter Jonathan Davis to record sessions with her therapist. The tape is raw, emotional, and intimate, immersing listeners in actual psychedelic therapy sessions. Deedee also provides narration, giving listeners a rare first-person perspective on her journey of healing.
- Voice Coaching
- Tape Syncs
- Story Editing
- Sound Design
- Show Development
- Scrubbing and Audio Editing
- Audience Development
- Logistics and Coordination
- Field Recording
- Field Producing
- Fact Checking
- Contract Review
- Audio Engineering
- Full set of mics & stands