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Don’t Deepak Me, Bro: Reflecting on the First Season of My Podcast

Being a first-season podcaster who is in no way famous is not unlike being an intern at a public radio station. Or a waiter. It’s an excellent way to see how people act when they’re not being observed by anyone they think matters.

Once upon a time, I had the opportunity to meet Deepak Chopra. Not in an arranged, “meet Deepak Chopra!” kind of setting, but in my capacity as an intern at the public radio station in San Francisco.

My task was to escort him from the front desk, where he’d checked in with the receptionist, to the green room where I’d ask him if he would like anything to drink while he waited for the show’s producer to fetch him for his guest spot.

To say I was excited was an unders



tatement. I’ve been a spiritual seeker since childhood, and I admired Mr. Chopra immensely. But I was determined to be professional, so I waited until he was comfortably seated and given a beverage before saying, “Mr. Chopra, it’s an honor to meet you. I admire your work greatly.”

I’ll never forget his response. As I stood holding my breath, waiting for precious drops of wisdom, he peered up at me through his rhinestone-studded, cat’s eye reading glasses and…rolled his eyes hard. Then he shooed me away with a dismissive hand, his face wrinkled as if he smelled something foul. It reminded me of the way my father often acted toward me.

It was a lesson in idolizing people, especially “spiritual” people. I’ve considered him to be kind of a charlatan since, or at least someone who is not sincere. Definitely not the kind of guy who’s kind to “the help.”

I was old for an intern, in my 30s at the time, and seeking…seeking, as I had been all my life, a place where I would feel happy and not awkward and unwanted and where I could find work that would support me.

It was an excellent experience, a truly great opportunity for me, and during that internship I did produce several episodes of my own podcast, despite having no real understanding of what I was doing.

For example, I called the podcast Story 52 because I expected to be able to produce a show every week of the year. And by “show,” I don’t just mean me talking extemporaneously, but a show with a guest and a theme and script…it was too much. But there were a few good episodes and it built my confidence to the point that 16 years later I wasn’t too timid to try again.

Empower Your Magical Self, The Podcast

In September of 2023, my podcast Empower Your Magical Self premiered. My first guest was a woman who I consider to be a goddess on earth, affirmation musician Toni Jones.

Over the course of the first season, I talked with a dozen guests. I asked each to join me because they’d been profoundly inspiring to me as I worked to overhaul my entire life after decades of depression.


Lessons Learned

Interning at an NPR station imparted some extraordinary lessons — like the one described above with Mr. Chopra (interestingly, on the opposite end of that “kindness to the waiter” spectrum was photographer Annie Leibovitz, who was genuine and sincere and curious about everything and everyone). Those lessons were frequently called to mind during the production of my own podcast — in which I learned still more lessons.

As I plan my next season, which I expect to release in late summer or early fall, I’m reflecting on those lessons, and I thought I’d share a few for anyone interested in podcasts and their creation from absolute scratch.

For organizational purposes, I’m grouping the lessons into “technological” and “administrative, ” but those are rather imperfect names for these categories. Let’s just go with them.

Administrative Lessons

The biggest lesson here was about guests. My podcast is of a spiritual nature, and I’m so grateful to the magnificent dozen mystical people who were kind enough to take a chance on an autistic stranger and be on my first season.

Lest anyone thinks there was a 100% acceptance rate of my invitations, please know that I invited twenty more guests.

The responses I received (or didn’t) fell into several categories.

Original image created by the author

  • Quick yes upon being asked. This was rare, and so appreciated. It felt like a gift.

  • Quick no upon being asked. This was disappointing but appreciated. It felt respectful of my time and energy.

  • No response at all, even after following up. I get it. These are busy people who get a lot of requests. Things fall through cracks. It happens.

  • No, but after talking a bit about it. It’s ok. I wouldn’t have asked if I weren’t prepared to be turned down. I appreciate the definitive response.

  • Yes, after a bit of back and forth/cajoling. That’s fine. Everyone’s time is valuable, and I was an unknown quantity to them. I’m grateful for their time.

  • And lastly: big excited initial interest after being invited, but after figuring out that I’m a “nobody” they ghosted me. These are the ones I think of as Deepaks. They’re not bad people, but we’re not on the same wavelength. I’m not gonna ask them again.

Technological Lessons

Oh boy! To say technology is challenging for me is an understatement. Not only am I autistic, but I’m oldish (GenX, born in 1972) and have a very limited budget.

I’ll spare you all the trials and tribulations that occurred before I started actually recording my episodes. Suffice it to say, I work on an inexpensive Chromebook that I really like, but it has limitations — lots of the generally recommended podcasting apps don’t play well with my little computer (believe me, I tried).

The process I ended up piecing together made me feel a bit like Dr. Frankenstein.

All my guests were virtual, so we recorded our interviews via GoogleMeet calls. After the call, I’d upload (download?) the interview to iMovie on my iPhone, where I’d edit it (that’s right! I edited all 12 episodes on my phone!), then download (upload?) it to YouTube, Spotify, etc.

A bit of a janky process, but it worked!

For my second season, I plan to continue recording via GoogleMeet. I’m hoping to get an iPad before I start editing, so that I can use a combo of Garage Band and iMovie next time.

And so much more screen surface area!

Onwards!

Overall, I’m very proud of the first season of my podcast, Empower Your Magical Self. My tech skills may be lacking, but I conduct damn fine interviews (and have since my college days when I interviewed alumni like Richard Linklater for the Daily Texan). It didn’t hurt that I had fascinating guests who I admire deeply.

I hope that you’ll check out an episode or two (who am I kidding? Honestly, I hope you binge-watch the whole season and become a diehard fan!) of season one, and that you’ll subscribe so as not to miss season two, coming your way before you know it.

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