How to start a hit podcast, step one: Befriend Lena Dunham in Brooklyn.
If you want to get Aminatou Sow* to do something, just tell her she can’t.
“We were told by a man that women don’t make podcasts,” Sow said on the latest episode of Recode Media with Peter Kafka. “Nothing motivates me faster than telling me that women don’t do a thing. Turns out, it’s not that hard.”
Sow, a digital consultant by day, co-hosts the weekly show “Call Your Girlfriend” with Ann Friedman, a magazine journalist and her “long-distance bestie.” The show, which launched in 2014 before the “Serial” podcast boom, has reached as high as No. 28 on iTunes’ top podcast charts, a climb that took the hosts by surprise.
“We did not set out to make a popular podcast,” Sow said. “I think if that had been the case, we would have failed. We were really just trying to learn how to do this thing and the mechanics of it. And the pleasant surprise is that people came along for the ride with us.”
So, how do you go from not knowing how to make a podcast to being heard by thousands? Sow admits that she and Friedman “kind of cheated” because their network of friends and colleagues happened to include several tastemakers who would spread the show around — including “Girls” star Lena Dunham.
“Ann has been a longtime writer and editor in D.C.,” she said. “I worked in social media and social media marketing for a long time in D.C.. It just turned out that when we launched a podcast, we were like ‘Hey guys, this is this new thing that we’re doing,’ and some of our best friends were media influencers.”
“I know Lena [Dunham] through Brooklyn and just being ladies in New York,” Sow added. “She’s great.”
If you like this show, you should also sample our other podcasts:
- Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher is a weekly show featuring in-depth interviews with the movers and shakers in tech and media every Monday. You can subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.
- Too Embarrassed to Ask, hosted by Kara Swisher and The Verge’s Lauren Goode, answers all of the tech questions sent in by our readers and listeners. You can hear new episodes every Friday on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.
- And finally, Recode Replay has all the audio from our live events, such as the Code Conference, Code Media and the Code Commerce Series. Subscribe today on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.
* Disclosure: Sow previously consulted for Recode, helping to program the 2016 Code Conference.