Podcast Idea: The Window

A podcast about fleeting opportunities.

Description: Sometimes, there’s only a very narrow sliver of time before an opportunity ends. Avocados are only ripe for so long, athletes can only operate at their peak for a short period of time, Manhattanhenge only exists in its golden glory for a fleeting moment. On The Window, we explore these fleeting units of chance, what happens when sieze them, and what happens when you miss. From Olympic athletes, to anxious mothers, to climate scientists, host Simone Biles meets the people who are working on the slimmest margins, and trying to eke out that last possible change, those who are trying to force a window open a little wider, and those who are staring at one that’s closed on them too soon.

Host: Simone Biles*

Executive Producer: Rose Eveleth **

Comps: Honestly this is really just an episode of This American Life. Cut me some slack, there’s a literal pandemic happening.

Sample Episode 1: The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are officially postponed by a year. For some, this won’t make much of a difference. But for other athletes, a year is an impossible amount of time. Gymnasts, for example, are generally only at their peak fitness for a few short years. Simone Biles, literally the greatest gymnast to ever hit the mat, has said she might not compete in 2021. On this episode, Simone speaks with other athletes who might not see the 2021 games, and what it feels like to train you whole life for something, only to miss the main event.

Sample Episode 2: A company called Apeel Sciences really doesn’t want you to throw your avocadoes away. In fact, they’ve designed an edible coating that you can spray on avocadoes, that allegedly keeps them ripe for twice as long. On this episode, Simone meets the scientists trying to widen the window of ripeness for fruits, and why that’s such a challenging proposition.

Sample Episode 3: The golden hour is a term photographers use to describe the light right before sunset begins. But the phrase also has a more greusome use too: EMT’s refer to the hour after a traumatic injury as the golden hour, as it’s the time in which treatment is the most likely to be successful. On this episode, Simone hears the story of an EMT who raced against the clock to save someone before that golden hour was up, and another story of a person who was saved long after the hour had passed.

Audience: People who enjoy themes and are fans of Simone Biles? If done right, this is driven by the power of strong narratives and compelling characters, and would grab people who enjoy a cerebral theme linking up those stories (aka This American Life fans).


If you have a podcast idea that you’d like to see me turn into a Podcast Idea, send it my way! rose.eveleth@protonmail.com, or just reply to this email.


Bonus Podcast From Twitter

Editorial note: I have a column in TweetDeck that gathers up every Tweet with the phrase “podcast idea” in it, and there has been a noted uptick in these Tweets since the pandemic began. In 400 years someone will say “when Addatude was quarantined, she made the chip podcast” the way we talk about Shakespeare writing King Lear.

* Hosts and guests have not signed on in any way. I’m making stuff up here!

** This newsletter is for fun. Ideas belong to their initial creator, credited here as Executive Producer. Don’t be a dick and don’t steal these ideas. If you love a show, and really want to get it made, get in touch with the person who came up with it.

Long live independent podcasts. Long live bad ideas.

Podcast Idea: Future Now Past

A podcast about stories set in the once future, now past.

Description: The movie Annihilation Earth opens with a team of scientists exploring a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The year? 2020. In the season finale of the TV show Glee they flash forward to the year 2020, to show Sue as Vice President under Jeb Bush. Do Android’s Dream of Electric Sheep (the short story that inspired Blade Runner) was originally set in the “future” of 1992. I Am Legend predicted an outbreak that wiped out society in 2009. Science fiction is constantly depicting a future world, and the future keeps happening, often eclipsing the fiction. On this show, we revisit science fiction that has predicted futures that have now past, explore why the creators might have picked that year, and talk about what didn’t (or did) come true. Very conveniently, there is an entire Wikipedia list dedicated to just this.

Host: Kendra James*

Executive Producer: Rose Eveleth**

Comps: Flash Forward meets You Must Remember This

Sample Episode 1: Iron Sky In 2018, America (under the rule of an extreme-obvious Sarah Palin parody character) sent a mission to the moon only to discover that in fact the Nazis have been there this whole time. This is the plot of the incredibly bad movie Iron Sky, which I am also obsessed with. It is extremely bad. There is a sequence in which a black actor is “turned white” by the Nazis and dressed in a Nazi uniform, somehow doesn’t realize it, lands back in Harlem, and attempts to speak to some kids playing basketball. This is supposed to be a funny scene. Okay, I digress, the movie is “set” in 2018. We didn’t get a moon mission in 2018, but some elements of the movie aren’t that far off from reality: we did get a reality TV star as president, who sees space as away to win PR points. On this episode we discuss what Iron Sky got right, and wrong, about the year 2018, and why.

Sample Episode 2: Sk8r Boi It has now been nearly 20 years since Avril Lavign released the song Sk8r Boi. Let that sink in. Death is coming. Anywho, the song actually includes a line about the (then) future:

Five years from now, she sits at home
Feeding the baby, she's all alone
She turns on TV, guess who she sees?
Sk8er boi rockin' up MTV

Five years from 2002 would be 2007, which of course has passed. Were people still “rockin’ up MTV” in 2007? Yes, but the channel’s “rockin’” future was not long for this world. On this episode we talk about what a mere five years can do to a music television station, and a pop star like Avril, who in 2007 was ranked eigth in Forbes’s 'Top 20 Earners Under 25', with annual earnings of $12 million.

Sample Episode 3: Parasite (the other one) The 1982 movie Parasite might not be one you’re familiar with, but it features the now-famous Demi Moore in one of her first roles. Also you can watch it in 3D now? The movie is set in what was then the future, and is now the past: 1992. The movie depicts a future in which the United States is run by a group called “The Merchants” who force an unwitting scientist to create a deadly parasite that winds up, of course, infects lots of people. There was no lab-created parasite in 1992, but that year was the one in which AIDS becomes the number one cause of death for U.S. men ages 25 to 44. On this episode, we talk about infection narratives and their ability to address very real epidemics sweeping society.

Audience: Nerds who like a little bit of context with their sci-fi.


If you have a podcast idea that you’d like to see me turn into a Podcast Idea, send it my way! rose.eveleth@protonmail.com, or just reply to this email.


Bonus Podcast From Twitter

* Hosts and guests have not signed on in any way. I’m making stuff up here!

** This newsletter is for fun. Ideas belong to their initial creator, credited here as Executive Producer. Don’t be a dick and don’t steal these ideas. If you love a show, and really want to get it made, get in touch with the person who came up with it.

Long live independent podcasts. Long live bad ideas.

Podcast Idea: Yes That's Me

A podcast about the not-so-prestigious roles actors take, and why.

There’s a global pandemic happening right now. You know that. This newsletter isn’t going to be about that. You know where to go for find information about covid-19. And if you don’t, let me recommend this and this. Lots of people are making work in response to the pandemic and its ripple effects. If you can, please donate to your local artists, shelters and community organizers. Okay, on to the jokes.

Description: You know when you’re watching some old show or retro commercial and you realize… wait a minute? Is that… Leonardo DiCaprio selling bubble gum? Is that Brad Pitt without a shirt on shilling Pringles? Is that Courtney Cox in jazzercize gear selling Tampax? Could that possibly be Jennifer Aniston doing water aerobics to sell Tide soap? Is that a young Mila Kunis trying to get me to buy Lisa Frank stickers? (I only made one of those up.) On Yes That’s Me, actors reveal that yes, that is indeed them in those commercials or public access TV spots, and they talk about their oddest roles before hitting it big.

Host: Alison Becker, (Parks and Recreation)*

Executive Producer: Steve Wilson**

Comps: I Was There Too meets Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend

Sample Episode 1: Alison Becker talks to her sister Ilana Becker about being in commercials and on television. Ilana and Alison have both been in a series of ads, including one about irritable bowel syndrome in which Ilana literally plays a personified digestive system named Irritabelle (I swear to god). While you might assume that Ilana took the role with a cringe, she actually jumped at the chance to play a grouchy human colon. Alison talks to her about why, and breaks down some assumptions about working in commercials.

Sample Episode 2: Before he was making meth with Brian Cranston on Breaking Bad, Aaron Paul was selling Juicy Fruit, Corn Pop and Vanilla Coke. One of those commercials is distressingly sexual, but I will not reveal which one. People who write very long blogs on Medium and call themselves “ninjas” call this technique a “curiosity gap.” On this episode, Alison talks to Aaron about working in commercials before getting into TV, and the differences between the two.

Sample Episode 3: Pelé was once perhaps the most famous soccer player in the world. He’s won three World Cups (the only player to ever do so), and remains Brazil’s leading goal scorer. And in 2015, he started selling sandwiches on TV for Subway. Does he like the sandwiches? Why did he decide to become a brand ambassador for Subway? Should I feel happy that he’s getting paid, or sad that he’s now selling mediocre fast food sandwiches? I would like to know, and I’m hoping Alison can ask him and find out.

Audience: People who have way too much celebrity knowledge, and curiosity about what it’s actually like working on TV and in commercials.


If you have a podcast idea that you’d like to see me turn into a Podcast Idea, send it my way! rose.eveleth@protonmail.com, or just reply to this email.


Bonus Podcast From Twitter

* Hosts and guests have not signed on in any way. I’m making stuff up here!

** This newsletter is for fun. Ideas belong to their initial creator, credited here as Executive Producer. Don’t be a dick and don’t steal these ideas. If you love a show, and really want to get it made, get in touch with the person who came up with it.

Long live independent podcasts. Long live bad ideas. Stay the fuck home.

I did ridiculous things with vectors from Vecteezy for this logo. I apologize to the original artists.

Podcast Idea: Just Following Up

A podcast gently reminding you to respond to the fucking email... thanks!

Description: Every Tuesday and Friday afternoons I have about an hour blocked off in my calendar called “Just checking in!!!!” in which I follow up on all the emails I’m still waiting for a reply to. Pitches, business inquiries, interview scheduling, whatever it is that needs a light nudge. As my “just following up on this” emails mount with no reply, so does my sense of frustration. I’m sure you know the feeling. Even a “no thanks!” is better than silence! Just… reply!!!! PLEASE!!! On this show, you get to take your increasingly passive agressive “hey just wanted to pop in and check on this” emails to a new format. Call in and leave your messages for your non-responsive bosses, editors, coworkers, and get it off your chest! You can send a voice memo to heyjustfollowingup@gmail.com or call and leave a voicemail at (347) 927-1425. The more specific the message the better! Each episode we play a handful of messages and hopefully your boss is a listener.

Host: None this is a non-narrated show made up of only voicemails from real people who just want a reply please for the love of god?????*

Executive Producer: Rose Eveleth**

Comps: This is a very silly idea so… not really. If I had a tech variety show that needed segments I might do this as a recurring joke.

Sample Episode 1: Hi Karen, just following up on this pitch. It’s a timely story, so if you’re not interested please let me know so I can take it elsewhere. As a freelancer my income relies on people responding to me so I can write words that get published for money to buy food and pay rent. Every minute you spend not replying literally costs me money. Hope you’re having a great day! Wash your hands!!

Sample Episode 2: Hey Mike, just wanted to check in on this. Last we spoke there seemed to be a sense of urgency from your team to get these numbers. I stayed at the office until 10pm to get them done, and haven’t heard from you in a week and a half. Can you confirm you got them at least? Or has the plan changed? Literally any information would be useful. As you know, all the stores shut down in this neighborhood at 8pm so the night I stayed late to do this I had to steal chips from Michelle’s snack drawer so I wouldn’t pass out and then hide the evidence so she wouldn’t scream at me. Hope you’re having a great week! See you at the all hands tomorrow hopefully?

Audience: Frustrated office workers everywhere.


If you have a podcast idea that you’d like to see me turn into a Podcast Idea, send it my way! rose.eveleth@protonmail.com, or just reply to this email.


Bonus Podcast From Twitter

* Hosts and guests have not signed on in any way. I’m making stuff up here!

** This newsletter is for fun. Ideas belong to their initial creator, credited here as Executive Producer. Don’t be a dick and don’t steal these ideas. If you love a show, and really want to get it made, get in touch with the person who came up with it.

Long live independent podcasts. Long live bad ideas. Wash your hands, help flatten the curve.

Podcast Idea: Food Wars

A podcast about regional food identity, and who really has the best biscuits.

Description: Every real city has an iconic food (or maybe more than one, if you’re a real mega-center like New York or Delhi). Regions have foods they’re proud of too — don’t even bother with a biscuit outside the south, and I can personally attest that bagels beyond New York City are a one way ticket to doughy depression. But to become the best, the iconic, THE symbolic food of a city, county, or even state, you have to do battle with all kinds of challengers. Food Wars is about those battles — the arguments die-hard fans have about what really makes a cheese steak, or a hot chicken, or a samosa — and the places where food victory is won and lost.

Editor’s note (that’s me, Rose, the “editor”): Food podcasts are notoriously hard to do, but I think this one works because it’s not a how-to or a discussion of cooking. It’s about places and regional rivalries and big personalities. It’s about debate and posturing. It’s about ego. And podcasts are nothing if ego machines.

Host: Sohla El-Waylly, my favorite Bon Appetit YouTube person GIVE HER MORE VIDEOS YOU COWARDS!!!!*

Executive Producer: Okay this is embarrassing SOMEONE DM’d me with this idea and I can’t find it now so whoever you are please reply to this so I can credit you I’m sorry my DM’s are a cesspool of literal dick picks.**

Comps: Gastropod meets Food Actually meets “Is a hot dog a sandwich” debates.

Sample Episode 1: Chile Conundrum I recently had “Frito pie” for the first time and let me tell you: it’s good people. I was then informed that there’s something called “Skyline chile” which honestly sounds disgusting. On this episode, Sohla navigates the wild world of chile. Beans or no beans? What kind of meat? Fritos, pasta, rice? Things get heated as she travels around and tries to understand how each locale came to their peculiar chile recipe, and why people are so comitted to what’s in their pot.

Sample Episode 2: Biscuit Bonanza When Amanda Mull wrote about the science of biscuit making for The Atlantic, she did not expect it to be a story that garnered hate mail. But that’s exactly what happened, in part because Mull suggested that biscuits made anywhere but the southern US simply didn’t have the right flour, which meant that biscuits made anywhere but the southern US weren’t good. Readers doth protestsed too much, and The Atlantic even did a follow up with reader comments. Any southerner can tell you that people’s reuptations can live and die by their biscuits, on and on this episode Sohla tries to get to the bottom of the great biscuit flour rivalry.

Sample Episode 3: Sambhar Situation South Indian cooking is having a moment in New York City right now (according to articles I have read, which may or may not be true). As chefs try to direct diners slowly away from Americanized dishes like tikka masala, they often have to think about how and when to replicate their regional favorites. Sambhar can be made in many ways — sweeter, with lentils, without, with more veggies, without — and different people argue that different preparations are better. On this episode, Sohla explores what happens when regional preferences collide with the realities of New York City diners, and how chefs cook with that tension in mind.

Audience: People who watch Gourmet Makes but turn it off when it gets to the part about how to actually make the thing because who the hell wants to do that?


If you have a podcast idea that you’d like to see me turn into a Podcast Idea, send it my way! rose.eveleth@protonmail.com, or just reply to this email.


Bonus Podcast From Twitter

* Hosts and guests have not signed on in any way. I’m making stuff up here!

** This newsletter is for fun. Ideas belong to their initial creator, credited here as Executive Producer. Don’t be a dick and don’t steal these ideas. If you love a show, and really want to get it made, get in touch with the person who came up with it.

Long live independent podcasts. Long live bad ideas.

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