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  • Writer's pictureMatt Cundill

Jeni Wren Stottrup: Find Your Bad Creative Self

Updated: May 31, 2023

Jeni Wren Stottrup is a creative. That comes with a lot of things ranging from being exquisitely detailed to sometimes scattered; thriving off a full inbox with tasks perpetually nearing completion. Jeni is the coach behind The Podcasters Forum and host of Gritty Birds on podcast and YouTube. She helps podcasters find their voice as a coach, through content marketing, speaker training, tech training and mindset coaching. She brings skills from over 20 years in the music industry as a singer, festival producer, journalist, in media sponsorship and as a content creator.

Podcasting for close to a decade, she has led workshops, and stayed active as a podcaster, producer, editor, narrative radio producer and coach for the last several years. Jeni knows what it’s like to go through the ups and downs of creating a show that sticks and creating a mindset for success.

Wren Stottrup has spoken nationally at conferences including Podfest and She Podcasts on mindset, content creation, production skills and branding for the last 5 years. Over the years she’s worked with a multitude of partners, including major brands like RME Audio and Mackie. She supports podcasters through coaching and courses at her company The Podcasters Forum. This spring she is relaunching Gritty Birds, focusing on creative recovery.

In this episode, you will hear how and why Jeni got into podcasting. A confessed fan of public radio, she wanted to parlay her podcast work on to the airwaves. She eventually did find her way on to XRAY-Radio 91.1, a community station in Portland where she produced shows. Jeni is also a singer and performer.


Here's the (re)launch of Jeni's Gritty Birds Podcast in YouTube form.


And here is some of her music.



Tara Sands (Voiceover) 00:00:01

The Sound Off Podcast. The podcast about broadcast with Matt Cundill starts now.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:00:10

Jeni Wren Stottrup is the owner of Gritty Birds and the Podcasters She's all about creativity and coaching and helping you overcome obstacles. Unlike so many of the people I've met who went from radio to podcast, Jeni readily admits that she got into podcasting to land at public radio. She's one of the very best at handling audio and refining sound. In fact, she's a self-admitted audio nerd. She's worked at KXRY 91.1 Xray Radio in Portland, and she's also a singer. You know what the problem is with some creative types? They want to do everything. But is that a problem? No. No, it is not. So here she is, media content creator, artist, media coach, producer, podcaster, and the owner of Gritty Birds and the Podcasters Forum, Jeni Wren Stottrup, who joins me from her studio in Portland, Oregon. What did you study at the University of Iowa?

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:01:11

I studied voice and political communications. I developed Nodules my first year. So when I made the joke, what didn't I study? I didn't know what to do when the Nodules happen, and I really thought a couple of main routes. One was journalism, the other one was law. So I ended up deciding political communications because I didn't have to decide. And then my Masters is in Montessori education because the economy had crashed and that particular mode of education, we had friends of our family that helped found the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, schools. And the Milwaukee Institute of Montessori is one of the best in the world. So I spent a year in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, there going and studying that. And that was a huge time of a lot of studies, people exploring the brain, trying to figure out why people think and do the things. It's very fascinating. So that was when I first got a couple of years before that, I started to get into meditation through my teacher. So I'm a person who loves to learn, that'd always been a part of my life. And I feel like I'm just starting to have all the pieces come together because in these days you don't figure it out right away half the time.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:02:24

I was wondering when your first exploration with audio was, but I know you've been a singer and that's something you've probably done for many, many years.

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:02:33

Yeah, it was when I was really little, but then there's different elements of it. My dad was a teacher, but he was also, like, he was a science teacher, and then he was also the computer guy. He was the one who taught everyone in the district how to use Apple computers when it first happened, and he taught it at the College. There was a couple of things when we were really young that he made a decision on. One was to not do that anymore, and the other one was to just not drink because he wanted to be there in our lives. I mean, he still worked all the time, so I can't imagine if he'd done either one of those as well. But it was neat because I always had access to those tools and like we had Internet before anyone else did. I mean, like before anyone else did. Like the farm networks were the only people because on the farms nobody could talk to anyone, so they had Internet and they could justify it. And it was neat. But I would also have like tape recorders. And so my grandfather would record to micro disc, like his talks. So, you know, it'd just be like listening to We Sing tapes, singing along, or you make little recordings of things. I don't have any of those still, but that was kind of where it started. And then I would do audition recordings and other people would push play on those. That was through high school. So recording was always really key and important to me because I knew the value of having a good recording for audition tapes. So when I was heading into College, I made sure that my senior recital was recorded. And when I was heading to graduate undergrad, I made sure that I still did a senior recital so I could get the recording. That was part of my plan. And my aspect was always having media, having good photos. And when I moved out to Seattle, that was when GarageBand was starting. So my dad got me a computer and I went to a used place and I got an interface and a mic and I had GarageBand, and then I started recording myself. So that was towards that 15, 16 years ago period. And I did a little bit with it, but not a whole lot until I ended up in Portland. Just a lot of dabbling for a few years.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:04:43

So is Portland the first place that you really start to dabble with audio in a professional sense at XRay FM?

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:04:51

Yes, in Portland, but not at XRay, no. So I had produced and recorded my record. I worked with my friend Matthew, and he and I were in the studio together and know every element of it. And he said because of the fact that I did stuff on my own, just on my computer, and then I would go and record in other people's studios, when I would get hired for things. In my head, I thought that I would go ahead and be that person. And Matthew was really insistent that I learned those tools. And I fell in love with the studio. So when I ended up at XRay, it was actually because I couldn't be on stage anymore because of my panic attacks. I didn't share that with anyone because there was a lot of feelings around all of that. And so radio had already been happening. I was already getting interviewed. I already knew the radio community. I already knew the media community, even before I started the podcast, I was being called a media Maven because I was writing- it was very involved and media was something that I always felt really naturally understanding of because of the fact that I had done that in my degree, my brain really works that way. And I've been doing media and being interviewed since I was eleven. So it was just like, I was in theater and I always had main roles, and we were a small town, but we had a lot of good things. It wasn't like anything gigantic, but it was still having your photo taken and people interviewing you about things. So it just was very fun for me. And music at the time also had a really good media scene. Finding how that goes, that changes a lot of things. And so XRay. I put out a season, and then I taught for a year, had a panic attack twice in the classroom, once after school, once, like late in the day, both when I was sick, essentially a trauma response. And I lost my job. And at the end of it, I was like, okay, we're going to just dive back into this podcast. And I partnered with some friends who run a DIY label self group, my really good friend Chris. And they were doing the recording still because I hadn't used a Zoom recorder. I didn't know how to do that. I wasn't mixing my own. I wasn't doing any kind of repair at that point. And so I recorded them all at like a crazy, insane low volume. My friend Rob ended up saving them. And it's funny because now I'm just like, oh, I know exactly what I do to fix those. But I had seven interviews, and I interviewed. We put on a showcase at Tree Fort Music Festival in Boise. And then I had those seven bands. And then I also interviewed seven more, some larger bands as well, and then pitched those to X Ray. I knew one of the women on the board, just kind of, like, ended up at her shows a few times. I was like, yeah, what's going on? Yeah, just got these interviews. I was trying to be as chill as possible, but it ended up being a good situation. And after that set of interviews, I did a couple more, and they were like, hey, this is what we're pitching to you. We'd really like to have you get trained as narrative. We have this NPR producer here. And so I spent that summer training the narrative, and that was how that journey began.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:08:02

When is that moment when you first fall in love with podcasting enough to know, yeah, I'm going to do this for a very long time.

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:08:09

I never thought I was going to do it for a very long time. Podcasting was a means for me, I thought, to be able to get into public radio. So I wanted to work for public radio really badly. So all that journey with narrative was like, okay, this is where I'm heading toward it. I feel like I'm really just starting. I know it's been like eight, seven- been a few years, and there's a lot of things I love about podcasting, but the thing I love about podcasting is its freedom. And in the early days, I loved all the meeting the people. I loved things about the forum, but I was also doing things that had to be for radio. So there was like a time period. A lot of the things that I loved about podcasting just weren't there. And even after we're doing partnerships with RME, I'd say that it's been working with folks and getting less rigid. When I say falling in love with the medium itself and the freedom of it has been in the last few months, I'm like, I'm going to put out the show. But here's the cool thing. I'm allowing myself to not be so strict about what it's going to be in the beginning, because I'd always been a- this is my album and its concept. This is my show and its concept. Or I experimented with things like with streaming, and I'd have little pieces of things that would come out, but they were very sporadic. So to say, I'm going to release every Tuesday, and it's going to be the video that's going to come out a little bit later, and it's going to be what it is as it develops. It's really free. It doesn't have to be 15 minutes, one's 15, one's 20. And I think that's probably one of my favorite things about it. I like talking to people. That was always really fun. I loved the travel. But did that have to do with podcasting? Not necessarily, I would say, as I've been able to play more with creating without the same limits. That's my very favorite thing about it. On top of those other elements.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:10:04

Do you consider yourself very audio agnostic?

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:10:07

No, I'm a religious one about it. I'm very religious about my audio. Like me saying, I'm not going to be structured- I've spent countless hours in the last few weeks trying to get my templates down and messing around with things to make it perfect. I can't let it go. I'm still working on that.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:10:25

How do you view the fundamental differences between radio and public radio, for that matter, and podcasting?

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:10:32

Well, there are a couple of big ones that I was affected by that I think are important to note. One had to do with funding. When you're on radio, you can't have advertisements for your own show unless it's underwritten just FCC laws. That meant that if I was to want to have Patreon, I had to do everything separately. I could never go to both. I couldn't just produce something and send it out. And this is important to note because especially five, six years ago, the tools just weren't as easy for things like transcripts. So by the time you got to that point, you were just tired. The other one was that you have a very strict amount of time that you're in. So it needs to be 29 minutes and 30 seconds. You can't have it be less because you're going to have the bumpers. There is no flexibility. So that means you're always thinking about what you're cutting or what you need to add to get to that. And because of those two things, it really affects the work and the content that you're doing. And then I guess the third thing is the fact that you're doing it on a timeline, which is a really good exercise to do. But it's also just all those three pieces. It's a lot of guidelines that are, again, good for an experiment and getting you really good at certain elements. But it does make it trickier to get funding and finding those outside pieces because you are always trying to get a good piece as good as possible to the radio and you don't have the numbers that you can share. You can't go to your stats and tell people this is how much I did. You just have to kind of have faith that people are listening, which, I did have really good engagement on my socials. I just couldn't tell anyone an advertiser other than saying I'm on radio. I really don't know how many people I'm reaching. I don't know if they're really listening, I would hear about it. But there was no way for me to organically know this.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:12:19

You touched on transcription, so tell me a little bit about that pathway to achieving more transcription. So we just made it so our podcast has transcription available every week. So you're like the second or third episode that is going to be transcribed and people can find the transcription of this particular show at the bottom of the show notes of this podcast at Give people an idea about how important transcription is going forward.

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:12:47

Well, there's a couple of reasons why it's important now and why it used to be really difficult and why it's so wonderful that we have the tools that we did. So five years ago, six years ago, really when I was producing a narrative show, you cannot produce a narrative show in a week without a transcript. And when I say in a week, it's not in a week, it's in a month. And there are two ways you could get a transcript. You could do it yourself or you could hire somebody and spend $150, which no, but I had a volunteer team. This was something that was great about XRay. But even with all the volunteers, the last 15 minutes was never done, ever. And that was so important because I needed to be able to script and move the pieces together. Because when you interview somebody for narrative, you don't always know what you're going to get. It's a little bit less of a structured interview because you're trying to get certain emotional elements, things that can fill out a story. So you might be adding extra questions because you just don't know. You might have an hour and a half if you're really having to bite the bullet with somebody. And it's so key to have that transcript. And there might be something that lasts five minutes and usually there is that you end up using. Like a lot of times the last ten minutes was the most important. So it was a massive- it was like 15 hours. It takes an incredible amount of time to transcribe if you've ever tried it. I don't recommend it since you don't have to. The second thing is, back then we're talking about not even that long ago, because you didn't have the tools to make a transcript, that meant you didn't have the tools to read a transcript. And I mean digital ones as well. Yesterday I was in the post-run for the Claim Pod Parity, which is all about inclusion and equity for women and non binary folks in the podcast industry. And in it Elsie Escobar from She podcasts in Lipson said that she discovered something very interesting as she was going through her stats. It's that Apple is now reading from your episodes, your show notes, and the episode itself your keywords. And I kind of knew this because I met somebody who runs something called Fathom FM. Everything's searchable now, if we're talking about it and using a keyword. Podcast transcripts. If I just keep saying podcast transcripts, that's going to start popping up in search results, that's new.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:15:10

So if I say podcast transcripts, we can add on to it a few more times by saying podcast transcripts.

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:15:16

Yeah, right. But if we say it too many times, SEO is going to be like, you jerks, you're keyword stuffing. So today it's also important because of the fact that we are now able to have these elements searched. And your podcast SEO before never had anything to do with that. So people would be like, what about podcast SEO? It doesn't exist. It's just SEO and it goes to your website. So transcripts are really important on your website. And they still are. Because remember that if somebody is getting sent to your podcast, they're still getting sent to the Apple link. And if you want them to be helping you going to your website and getting your traffic where you're getting your information for your advertisers and all those things, you still want to have that transcript on your web page because that is going to add to the words that say this is somebody that you do. And whatever those things are that you want to rank on and that you're in the right category to possibly rank on, then those are really, really key still, transcripts are, to be able to get you into the mix. Podcast transcripts is probably going to be a somewhat harder one just because that's a huge topic. But there might be a word. If you go to something like SEM Rush, you can try to find stuff that are in a category that you can be able to get up on because the more of them that you start, the small- It's like a video game. You win the first levels before you get to the fifth. And transcripts become really important for that alone. And it's also, remember that people like to have a guide map. And this is a lesson my dad's taught. This is what I've gotten in my writing. Everything. People want a guideline. And you've got show notes. Sure. But an easy way to get your show notes is as you're going through your transcript, you can have all those markers. And like, if you're doing YouTube, those markers actually get marked in your YouTube script, and then you can just take those time stamps and put them on the top. All of them are helping your listeners have an easier experience. And every one of those are positive for getting your listeners towards you. So there's, like, a lot of different reasons. And then finally, if you want to have a socials, this is like the best tool is everyone's like, I don't know what's right for my socials. I don't know. Just like, get a template from Canva. Figure out one you like. They've got so many. Do a carousel, take a piece of things that you learn from a guest on there. Like, oh, you ask them, what are the three top things about a transcript? I just named three of them. You have a transcript of that, copy the words from that, put them into that social thing, and then save it, release it that week or on another day every week. You should have something like four clips. I did that for my clips now, and now I'm pulling the socials from each one. And if you do that for every week, you're not releasing four of those every week. That's ridiculous. And in three months, the people aren't going to remember what they saw three months ago. You're going to have so many social posts. So there are so many uses for transcripts as well.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:18:16

So you've already helped us out with transcripts. But I feel like I skipped a step because I did remind people a few weeks ago about why you have to have one. But if you could do this and back me up, that would be great. Why do you need to have a website for your podcast?

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:18:29

You can have a very simple website when you start that just gets people going. But again, it's like a video game. You start off with level one. You get comfortable there. You start feeling like you're stepping up and people are still going to somebody else's website giving them your traffic. They are not interacting with you. You need them to interact with you for your show to have validity for advertisers, for you to have validity for yourself. You want to have their email, you need their mailing list, you need their numbers. Otherwise, you're always relying on other people, and you can't grow when you don't have those things. So you need to have your hub that brings people to you so you can have that relationship and send them where you want to. And that's not a manipulative, like sending them where you want. It's just like, people like to know where to go. So if they go to your website and you're a business owner and they know that because your podcast kind of expresses that, then they can come to you. And if they want to know where your transcripts are, they can go there. But you need to be in control of your own house, essentially.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:19:42

So speaking of house, this gets me back to where I've spent the last two years, which is in my house. I ran into you a number of times on Clubhouse, for instance, which was an app, and I think you were doing quite a lot of fun things on there, and you and I interacted a few times on there. So overall, how would you rate the Clubhouse experience from when it first started to- are you even using it as much today?

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:20:08

I'm not. I also took quite some time off so I could get my stuff together. But also I had launched my company, the Podcasters Forum. I put it out in the world, but I didn't have a very clear identity on certain things. And I've been experimenting so much that it was really- I decided to step back and just figure out some bigger picture things, which was really great. So Clubhouse during that period quit taking over, as these platforms often do. It was a really wonderful thing at the time because people really wanted to connect them. I loved that about Clubhouse. And then it started to get really overwhelming. Being able to connect with people wasn't the same as it was, like, even in January. And at that time, people from the previous summer were like, oh, it's just not like it used to be. And so it got really inundated with so many messages. And now actually, I think it's almost back to some of the positives of it, but you just don't have as many people in it. And I was talking to- when I was at Podcast Movement, somebody brought up one reason they were like, it became- when everybody made their own clubhouse, it quit being as neat because you didn't get the main feed things, which were really cool. And yes, you had come to my place, come to my place, but you didn't have that community aspect of, like, where you had just a bunch of different sessions based on things you're interested in. And so it just didn't become the place you were hanging out in that it was at first, but I think it's still a really cool tool. I've really enjoyed seeing our friend Jodi be able to use it the way she has, and I've seen other folks continue to use it, and I think it's still valid. But like any new audio technology or social platform, things shift for different reasons, and a lot of it has to do with we're not all at home anymore. We don't all want to be on Zoom anymore.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:22:01

Shout out to Jodi Krangle, voiceover extraordinaire and master of Clubhouse. Yeah, tell me a little bit about the Podcasters Forum, because it was launched, I think, January of 2021, and I loved just hanging out with people. It could have been a Saturday, it could have been any day of the week, really, but met so many great people. So what were your takeaways from the entire project?

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:22:24

Well, the beginning of it, it was always meant to be a broader focus that came back into a clear message. I'm heading into primarily doing coaching and courses, and that's been something I've wanted to do for a little while. I've been editing, but I just don't want to edit full time. It doesn't use a lot of my gifts because I'm a very personal person. I love the creative side, and if I'm doing all the minutiae, as much as I actually don't hate it, it isn't a full use of my skills. So I've been thinking about what that transition looks like for a while and what exactly I wanted to focus in on. And so when it started, I had this vision of these monthly events, which is what the Saturday ones were. But then I'd also do Thursday live streams, and then I was doing Wednesday Clubhouse. I mean, I was, like, full-on in, as far as streaming and things like that, and it's kind of funny because I so was very self conscious. I had very major confidence things that were going on. And so I was, like, leading these with, like, I have so much anxiety, and it made me not feel in control of some of the presentations I was giving, which is really funny. And what I discovered in the whole journey is that what I need to be doing is what I should have always been doing, which is helping people with voice and speaking. And that also includes messaging. Like, if we're talking about SEO, that has to do with it, too, because how do you get your message out there? What are the messages you should be sending? How do you do it? How do you present? And how do you build that piece of confidence, which is what I built in the middle. The Podcasters Forum is still going to be focusing on courses and coaching, so the website is now up, and I've got a couple of different packages. I'm still doing editing, but I'm also focusing in on micro packages. So there's, like, your voice work, your messaging and then also audit. So like three, four small consulting packages and then it's trailer. I forgot the second one off the top of my head. Trailer imaging or this is the audio side for like the production ones. But yeah. So like, I made these micro packages because I just wanted to be really accessible. If you're looking at trying to get ten episodes done, that's $2,000. And a lot of podcasters are like, I just don't want to think about that. And so I was thinking first in the monetary terms, but the other part is that I think a lot of folks look at voice or like going into voice coaching or into all of this and saying, it's just making me sound good. I don't want to spend money on that. My audio is just fine. And I was always just like, yeah, your audio is terrible. I was always coming from a place of like, I worked in pro audio too. And I had really not remembered the most important piece that I've always had since I was young. I started performing when I was so shy, but when I got on stage, I was able to master the ability of comporting myself. And as I did speech and debate, I started to be able to master the ability to do that, especially in smaller like, big presentations. Speaking on my own things still made me nervous, but I also could do it. And these were the elements that I realized that this last year are a bigger piece of it. And sounding good is kind of like when you're doing a presentation and you also pay attention to how you look and you're not going to show up in a bad outfit, not because you're trying to look good, but because you have pride in it. And so the part about voice now and our messaging has to do with, I want to build up people who are empowered, powerful speakers who are looking to step into themselves, that are looking to step into their careers. Not just, I have a podcast and I want it to sound okay. It's like, what is the message that you're having? What is the way that we're presenting? How are we having it be more effective? And as we're getting into interviews or your setups, it's all of those things that have to do with empowerment. Not just like, how's your audio? Because those all come through and you'll see such a growth in your platform when you have a stronger sense of self and when you're able to believe that, because most people, they just don't fully and that's normal. We're talking about ego. And ego is such a terrifying element for a lot of different reasons, because we have all these messages that have been sent to us since we're little in our brains and nervous systems don't play around with it. And a lot of overcoming speaking work isn't just like practicing it. It's also just figuring out nervous system work.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:27:08

So how much of the panic attacks that you might have had in the past, or talking about nervous work and talking about performance, when you peel back the onion or you pull back the curtain on it, what percentage of that is fear of failure, or is it something different? Completely?

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:27:27

I would say fear of failure is a word that can be used to describe all of it in a very simple way. I think that's a positive way to say I'm scared of failing, and that can be for a lot of different reasons. So I'd say all of it comes down to that. Whether looking stupid or sounding dumb, all of it is the same thing. It's the same idea. So I think that that's a good header for all of it. I think you can get into more specifics, but fear of failure is so much of it. Do I look stupid? Am I putting myself out in a place that I don't know how to do things? All of it fits within the header. Fear of failure. I don't want to look like that again. I don't want to experience that again. All of it, 100%.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:28:09

Because that's the thing that goes through my mind right when I see you're on Clubhouse or Jodi's on Clubhouse. And should I put up my hand and should I talk? And is anything I'm going to say sound stupid, and am I going to come off silly in my living room with my cell phone on Clubhouse? It's almost irrational.

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:28:28

It is irrational, but that's our brain telling us, remember that time that my teacher made fun of me when I was in the classroom? That's going to happen again. We're there right now. Again. You're experiencing it! It's happening now, and it's worse! I've added more things into it! You have a cougar coming for you, freak out! It's all of those things. It's like your brain going back into where it was when it was caveman times. Your hippocampus does not know that space in time. Like the Amygdala says, I'm here right now in the same place that I was. My emotions are heightened. Your prefrontal cortex is like, I don't have judgment. And all those are coming together. When it's something that you had some kind of difficult experience with or that you didn't feel comfortable with, that somebody made fun of you or that it set off that fear sense in your body and not that happy sense. So your brain is always fighting towards dopamine or trying to get into endorphins or trying to get to your longer term things like oxytocin. It's really trying to get those chemicals, but it's always going to be also trying to go back to the caveman sense to get those, of what can I do to not have scary experiences happen again? And how can I pull you back from those and scare you off of it? Which is messed up, but it came from a good place. But it didn't serve us going forward, especially when there's just so many elements in the world and we're so public and we just don't have the same situation with media and connection everywhere and being in people's faces, et cetera. But the biggest one is, of course, the expectations of capitalism.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:30:11

In just a second, the value of taking a break from your creative work. The value of taking a permanent break from drinking. How to go next level on your podcast. And I'm about to find out what I missed at Podcast Movement last month. I participated online, but I'm still reluctant to travel. But that's going to change. And there's more. There's always more, including a transcript of this episode. And you can find that at

Mary Anne Ivison (VO) 00:30:41

Transcription for The Sound Off Podcast is powered by Poddin. Your podcast is an SEO goldmine. We help you to dig out. Start your free trial now at The Sound Off Podcast.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:30:52

What did I miss at Podcast Movement?

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:30:55

There was like a YouTube presentation, which was kind of the big one because YouTube is getting in on podcasting. I would say a lot of it was just being around people and having discussions with people, post. It was really nice to be able to connect with folks that hadn't in a couple of years. A lot of people went to Nashville, but it was a ton more at Evolutions. Evolutions was also much bigger than it was even two years ago when I was there. The summer one is still the largest for the Podcast Movement. Of the events, I'm really excited about Podfest coming up. That's going to be fantastic, which is more indie focused, so a lot more of those relationships. Podcast Movement Evolutions is definitely very industry focused, especially being in LA. Next year it will be in Vegas. And I don't mean industry like you and I, I mean industry on the corporate level, but I definitely got some good takeaways from things. I didn't go to a ton of sessions. I tend to be a hallway person, but I worked a few rooms and had some good takeaways that were kind of more like niche to me. One was just a couple of tools in Descript, like I had not played with before that made clipping for small social media clips, like insanely easy. That was great. And I did that last night, and probably the quickest thing that I have done in all of my processes in the last three weeks.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:32:18

I was going to ask you about Descript because for somebody who does the editing, and now you've got this option to edit just the words. But I know that you're a very hands-on person, but what do you think of Descript?

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:32:31

I love Descript. I still don't do the audio cleaning in there. I use a couple of different programs, so I use the Adobe Suite, and I use Premiere as well as Audition. So I can put my audio into Premiere and clean up the audio or attempt to manipulate it. And then by sending it through like this interchange to Audition. And then I can go back to Premiere, I can export it all as one long clip and then go into Descript. And that's important for like a workflow thing with Premiere. But I still feel like for me the export thing with some of the other programs like Descript or even Premier Rush, which is the simpler version, they take forever. Premier is just some of those simpler programs. I mean, as far as the ones where once you learn how to do it, the export is so much faster. And last night I was like, I'm going to do color correction and send it into Rush. And then it was like, it'll be 28 minutes. And then I'm like, okay, I think it's time to learn how to color correct in Premiere. And the export was like, not as long as that. It still took about 15 minutes, but it wasn't 30. And now I have that preset. But Descript is so fantastic. Being able to visually cut things is amazing. And then I'll check those cuts because I can make the timeline of it become like an audio waveline in Premiere and then just make things a little longer or shorter. Like I can pull the sides out. So if something got clipped wrong or if I want a little more space, I can do that in Premiere. But it's just so nice, especially since when I'm doing solo ones, I'll do a couple of different versions, like how we're editing here. If there's something that we want to cut, somebody starts a sentence over, I can go ahead and do that. If I want to move a section, I can just copy and paste and move it. That's incredible. All of it just gives you a lot of flexibility. And then for social media clips, you can just copy and send it over to a separate composition, which is how they have them. And then just turn that into a long style one and export it and you got a video. It's so simple. And the transcripts are really great because I'm editing and reading it as I go, I'll just edit them as I'm going. And then I'll export that text document into Premiere, which also has good transcript. But I already know that that one is cleaned up. It's always calling it Pretty Birds. I need to have a thing with just the words that it tries to make my name. It's really funny. I hate when it calls it Dirty Birds because I'm like, no, that's not what the show is.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:35:10

Why did you call it Gritty Birds?

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:35:12

I've always been a person who gets things done. And Jeni Wren was my nickname in College, which then became my performance name. So when I was starting a new brand, I wanted it to be related to birds. I'm a social butterfly. That really fit, like messaging and all that. Still felt like a good connotation. And my friends and I were trying to find something that fit, that I was the person who got things done and I was always DIY or gritty really fit it because I wasn't afraid to sit there and do the transfer. There are just elements of it that I think a lot of people were like, I'm not going to deal with that. In the music world, a lot of that's kind of a necessity in order to you can't pay everyone to do all those things. So you had to have a lot of grit to succeed in the music industry. That was sort of the original tagline. And podcasters, especially the ones I work with, tend to be- have a little bit more income because they- have a lot more income because the businesses, they have a different focus. And with musicians, it's a harder sale because you're selling yourself and you're selling a product that doesn't have the same value that it used to. So you don't have as much control over what you're selling, so you don't have the money.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:36:24

What's your message to the indie podcaster?

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:36:26

Which level of indie podcaster?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:36:29

Intermediate, level two or three. So somebody who's been podcasting as an indie for three years and has an established show.

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:36:38

If you are finding that you're stuck in the middle, go back to your messaging. Make sure that your SEO and your messaging is working and that you have not just done it because it needs to. And I hit people on the early side of doing this. I say three years because that's the point where you might be getting a little lazy in it and there might be new practices that would really benefit you or simpler ways of doing it. I think that's something that we get into a head space of like, I know how to do it now. I went ahead this year and actually started listening to some new podcast audiobooks and reading up on it. Not just going to conferences, not just like reading up on articles, but because I wanted to get some new perspectives. I was like, wait, I've been doing this forever. Why am I sitting here being stubborn about how I know how to do things. Learn from other people who are also doing it really great. And then the other one is build some new collaborations. Probably the biggest way that I'm seeing- I'm hearing shows work. It used to be ad swaps, which is still a thing, but it's also now just straight show swaps. So like someone takes over your feed. There's a lot of that. And it's hard to get, whatever level you're on, to go to that next level is like surprisingly hard. Even if you're like, oh, it wasn't hard for me. That's cool. Remember that every person that said it was super easy for them, there are 99 other people that really struggled with that. And I don't say that as a bad way, I just say it as a remember, everyone struggles with something. So the comparison of, well, they did it. Let's not look at the anomalies and let's figure out, y'know, look at the things that are working more commonly so that if you get the anomaly, you aren't ignoring the things that work for other folks. Like making sure that your SEO is actually working or that you have- is there a simpler way to be doing your transcripts? Something to simplify your process and save some money?

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:38:29

What's the rest of 2022 looks like for gritty birds and for you?

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:38:35

Wild, because it's still like a pretty- I was about to say it's the end of the year and I'm like, no it's not. I'm really excited about this year because I have finally stepped back into the world with a podcast and I was spending a lot of time over the pandemic, really nailing down my presentation because I learned a lot. That means my video is amazing. The way that everything comes together looks great. But more importantly, I'm putting it out. So I'm able to share these stories about how our brain works. Right now I'm really into the brain things and it's funny when I read people saying, in the beginning, everyone talks about the brain, but I'm excited to be sharing like these empowering messaging and to be able to get more into the voice work and to be able to start supporting people in these ways. And I'm excited to start taking on new clients in this way. I'm excited to speak more again. So Podfest is coming up after we get off this call. I'm finally reaching out because I'll be speaking at the Personal Development Con with Josh Kerry and then also doing a TikTok reels presentation for the Experiential Track for Podcast Editors Club. And I can't wait. I just am really excited to be empowering others through the things that I'm doing. It's been really fun. I'm happy that it's all accessible and up on the internet. And I said to myself, when it started, I'm like, if eight people catch anything, any of my things, that's okay because those eight people heard it. But that's like where you begin. You just have to say it's okay with where we're at because the point is not hitting en masse. The point is continuing to get the message out. I'm figuring if it's not quite connecting, seeing how you just slightly switch it up or what you're missing. The last two weeks, I haven't even sent out a newsletter yet in a year, and I also haven't done the social. I've been just gathering the materials, I've been gathering the plans, and as of like yesterday, they're just about all together. I'm always about two weeks to a month ahead of where I'm like, this Monday is when all this stuff is going to happen. And it's usually about two weeks to a month more realistically. But I get there and a lot of the things that delay it end up being opportunities or something getting presented in a new way or just really recognizing that I just need to take some space. Like this weekend, I need to ground. It's been a three week push and my routine is just completely off. I'm a very active person and I have not been able to get to the gym very much, and I haven't been, like, following a super healthy diet, which I normally do. So I'm excited to get back into my routines.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:41:14

It's funny you were talking about being active, and then I remember your adventures on roller skates. You went and reconnected with roller skating.

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:41:22

Yeah. And that was actually really huge because when you start a new thing, something needs to be fun and it can't be a chore. It gave me a quick switch that made me not feel like I needed to go hang out around people, which I was doing, which is a lot of the reasons I was drinking, because I just wanted to be around humans, even if I didn't enjoy the way it was happening, that was like, it was the bar was like the only place you could do that. And so I didn't want to be doing that anymore. That was clear. But instead of being like, I'm not going, it's like, oh, I'm going to go skating. But then it also put me very clearly in touch with my body, which was like screaming. And it made me actually start to heal it physically. So I had a major physical rehab through the entire year, which I'm still in, just because our bodies aren't as young as they used to be and you're always going to have little aches and pains. But roller skating is so fun.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:42:16

How wonderful is it to have been sober for one year? And what are your takeaways from it?

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:42:22

It's great. It was really challenging because there's a lot of elements in it that have to do with anxiety. But also I have PTSD, and I had it. That was kind of one of the reasons the things got to the point they were is I've been experiencing those symptoms for a decade and it was hard. The two got more mixed up than they already do. And it was just amazing to simply clean my house out and then reconnecting to things that- like all of this, going into talking about how we heal ourselves and stuff. It is not that I went through this journey and then suddenly discovered these things. I had not secretly to anyone who knew me really well. I was always been a spiritual person. I've always been a person who- I have ADHD. So when I was 18, I mean, I've gone to therapy since I was 14. So it's like I've been a person who has been about self development. I got into meditation. In fact, I used to teach it, but I hid those things because I felt a little embarrassed about all of it. And so now I feel like I'm embracing all the parts of me, finally, and being able to have that confidence that I didn't have before. And a lot of that had to do with the work that I chose to do and the people who supported me through that, not just like I quit drinking and that went through it, but that's something that I learned about the recovery process. And the idea of recovery doesn't- you don't even have to be a person who drinks to feel like you want to move through a piece of recovery. And I think that's something that- think of Gritty Birds as the show as creative recovery, because all of us live in a world where it's been hard. I remember early in the pandemic having a chat with a friend saying, there's going to be such a need for trauma-informed conversations post pandemic, because everyone went through something. Everybody went through transformation. Everybody learned something from it on some level. I don't know a single person that wasn't affected and didn't go through a personal growth journey, and most for the positive. I mean, for a lot of people, I'm sure that it got worse. But just because it got worse doesn't mean that it can't get better. Like, nobody has to live in those zones. Just because you went through something, It's not a terrible thing. I'm just normalizing that it's okay to go through a point of, like, reaffirming who you are. And I always thought people had it way more together than they did. And I'm glad that I don't live and prescribe by that anymore. Not because I think everyone's messed up, but just because I think we're all human.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:44:57

I remember in the early days of the pandemic, you had to fly back to Iowa to see your parents.

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:45:02

I mentally did. Yeah. It was during the Smokestorm.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:45:06

Yeah. You said I was worried about flying. And I said, hey, it's going to be okay. And I could say that because I had just flown and it was okay. Which also goes back to what you say, well, just because it was okay for you doesn't mean it's going to be okay for you. But I remember coaching you through it, saying, hey, everything's going to be okay.

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:45:24

It's interesting noticing, like, even the scripts in my head because they weren't things that I had. Like, these are things that developed in me later. But it has been interesting now post to be able to have a different look. I'll still experience things like when I'm tired, I've noticed a lot of self doubt, questioning myself, questioning intuition, and it just has to be like, hey, you're okay. You're just really tired. And that's the same thing with the pandemic. It brought up like, questions that just come up but they just got louder because there's a lot of other voices and people and especially in Portland, because so many folks were scared. It was, like, hard not to mirror everyone else's energy too. But it was okay. It was fine. I still haven't gotten COVID.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:46:07

I haven't either, but I think I've just been lucky.

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:46:10

I hear it's actually about somewhere around, like 65%, which I guess makes sense when you think about how many. But now you've got things like the flu going around. So I was actually at my chiropractor yesterday. He goes, numbers are so low that I actually would feel comfortable not having masks on in my office. He was like, It's crazy. It's in Oregon. We just opened back up, and in medical places, you still have to have them. And we're just at a point now where he's been so nervous. So it's amazing to have him not be nervous. I hadn't seen him in three months, but after this last trip, I was like, yeah, it's probably time to see him again because being a weightlifter now and all this stuff, it's like my neck is like, ahhh. I'm heading towards 40. I may not look it, but I'm headed towards 40.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:46:53

You're the second person this week who's thrown their neck out by lifting weights and had to go see a chiropractor.

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:46:59

I actually did it by skating on the first day that I was sober. And then, yeah, that was day one. So that was fun. But I also have flat feet and major pronation issues. Most of my things have to do with working on that whole situation constantly. So I won't injure myself again because I had two major sprains over five years. This is one of the other things that happened and why I mentioned, like, a physical rehab is, I had never gotten back in shape because it was just tiring. I kept injuring myself. I didn't think I'd ever get back to that, but now, y'know.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:47:31

Maybe we could set the date and finally meet in Dallas at Podcast Movement.

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:47:36

Yeah, hopefully we'll see. I want to. The hardest thing is that in post pandemic, like, I have a family reunion. My entire family is getting together here in Oregon. They're coming out, and we've gotten a bunch of cabins at a state park where one of my cousins got married. And then also my 20 year class reunion. And it's not just mine, it's the class above and below. We decided just to put them all together. So there's some connection things that don't normally happen, and we'll see how that fits with the rest of everything. But I hope to make it to Dallas. I'm excited to be in Orlando, and then I'll definitely be out in DC for She Podcasts in the fall. So it's, like, crazy to be back at this place where I see one every two months because it just did not feel like I hadn't seen people or met them like our friend Larry Roberts. I didn't realize I'd never met Larry. In my head, because we've been, like, talking so much for the last two years after meeting through Joe Pardo and it just seems weird like meeting you and Jodi, for example, it would just be like really spread like, hey what's up? And be like, wait, I never met you in person? Or just seeing friends again didn't feel like it had been two years, because I've been now coming to these conferences for six years.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:48:53

I know I have to remember who I haven't met yet. Even thought they're my best friend.

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:48:55

I know! It'll come. I like it. It's a good space. I'd say this is probably one of my favorite things is, I just love the world and the connection because I have friends here and a lot of them do cool media things, et cetera. But I have such a common language with the people that I've met through podcasting, especially the ones that I become better friends with and it's always nice as a creator to have people who speak your language because if they're listening to your show they resonate with you and they speak your language. That's really cool because it's hard to be seen in your normal day-to-day because everyone around you shouldn't understand you, exactly. Because all of you are unique and that would be a lot of empathetic energy.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:49:41

Jenny, thanks so much for joining me on the podcast. I really appreciate it.

Jeni Wren Stottrup (Guest) 00:49:45

Yes. Thank you for having me on, it is a pleasure. I want to have you on about dreams.

Matt Cundill (Host) 00:49:50

I love talking dreams.

Tara Sands (Voiceover) 00:49:52

The Sound off Podcast is written and hosted by Matt Cundill. Produced by Evan Surminski. Social media by Courtney Krebsbach. Another great creation from the Sound Off Media Company. There's always more at


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