This morning I discovered that 3,667 people subscribe to The Squeeze.
Last summer, I launched The Squeeze because I didn’t see any U.S.-based independent journalists reporting on the human side of the audio and podcast business. There were loads of stories about what the Big Players were doing — making deals, consolidating, cancelling shit — but a lot less coverage of how these moves (and other industry issues and trends) were impacting the people who actually make audio.
As I wrote in my first dispatch,
The Squeeze will report on what the people who work and create in this world are talking about … I want to know what’s keeping you engaged (or not) in this work, what’s getting in the way of progress in this industry, what’s happening behind-the-scenes within our communities, what you’re talking about with colleagues and friends during after-work drinks.
Since hitting send on that inaugural missive, I’ve done my best to give voice to the working people of this industry, and to shine a light on the forces that impact their daily lives. For the benefit of those who are newer subscribers to The Squeeze and less familiar with my body of work, here are some of the stories of which I’m most proud, and that I feel lived up the core mission behind this newsletter:
My piece Unpaid Internship Rebrands at $4,000 “Training made the case that if you can’t afford to make your show without taking financial advantage of the people who help produce it, perhaps you shouldn’t have one in the first place.
For Class Photos, I exposed what “Big Money Podcasting” looks like.
In An Oral History of Gimlet’s Slow Demise, I let the words of current and former Gimlet employees speak for themselves.
In a three-part series on PRX, I investigated what’s happened in the two years since an employee accused the organization of fostering a racist workplace. (You can find part one here, part two here and part three here.) More recently, I took a deep dive into the law firm that PRX hired to run an investigation into the employee’s claims.
Both Why Was Podcast Magazine So Weird and Spotify’s Daniel Ek Got Carried Away, examined the reckless strategies of two (very different) podcast entrepreneurs, and their outcomes.
WNYC Leadership Created a Mess looked at how the decisions of station management have wreaked havoc on the team behind The Takeaway for years.
In between reported stories, I’ve also published interviews with innovative creators including The Bulwark’s Tim Miller, Broccoli Content’s Renay Richardson, Afros & Audio’s Talib Jasir, and Shameless Acquisition Target’s Laura Mayer. I’m proud of those interviews as well, as I think each of them has shed new light on our rapidly shifting industry.
Since I launched The Squeeze, many of you have reached out with story ideas, tips, commentary, suggestions, and feedback. I love hearing from you; please keep those emails and DMs coming! I’m also grateful to those of you who have spread the news about The Squeeze to your friends and followers.
Your words give me joy —
Keep my imposter syndrome at bay —
Make me smile —
And most of all, motivate me to KEEP GOING.
I love doing this work and would like to do it for a long time to come.
It’s with that in mind that today I’m taking the
terrifying exciting step of asking you to support my work with a paid subscription to The Squeeze. The main newsletter is not going behind a paywall, but if you love The Squeeze, and you have the means, please consider becoming a paid supporter.
A paid subscription says “I believe in your work; keep going!”
“This journalism is worth paying for!”
“I have a stake in this!”
“That story meant something to me!”
“I want to help you break even on the services you use to do this work!”
“You deserve a fancy glass of tequila after that piece!”
Here’s how it works.
There are four plans:
Free: This plan is free! You will continue to receive my regular Squeeze dispatch.
Monthly: Pay $5 dollars per month. This includes the regular Squeeze dispatch, access to members-only discussion threads on Substack, invitations to monthly Zoom gatherings, an optional shout-out in my newsletter, and the occasional extra post.
Annual: Pay $50 dollars per year. This includes everything in the monthly plan, but it’s $10 dollars cheaper across the span of 12 months.
Founding Subscriber: Pay $150 and receive all the things plus my everlasting gratitude!
A couple other notes on cost:
If you sign up for a group subscription (two subs or more), you’ll receive a 20% discount.
If you are a Squeeze Super Fan and you can’t afford a paid subscription, please reach out to me and I will hook you up!
There is a caveat.
The work I do takes time; it requires research, sourcing, scheduling, interviewing, thinking, writing, fact-checking and a whole lot more. As a result, my publishing cadence varies. I do not publish every week. (In fact, at this very moment, I am working my ass off on a story but it’s not ready, and you won’t see it until next week.) If skipping weeks and taking the occasional break will make you an unhappy paying subscriber, please stay on the free list. A paid subscription should not feel purely transactional; it should feel like you are supporting my efforts to bring you the very best journalism I can.
That’s it for me today; see you next week.
The opposite of a doom scroll —
Your dedication to getting folks to understand how things **really** work makes my heart sing. The PRX series is providing a top grade education in how the machine works, part by part.
Matt said it: "Awful and unfortunate topic but I'm glad you covered it and I'm glad places are being held accountable for their actions and statements."