Kattie Laur: Pod The North
Updated: Jun 21
On this week's edition of "Producers Interviewing Producers," we've got Kattie Laur, a podcast producer from the Toronto area. But she's more than just that. In fact, the main subject of this episode is her newsletter, Pod The North.
Pod The North is designed around the idea of creating a community for Canadian podcasters, since in all her years of working with audio, she noticed there wasn't really a space or a resource for us Canucks to come together and talk about podcast stuff. So what could she do, but create one herself? She also works freelance for Canadaland, as well as AM640 radio in Toronto.
We speak with Kattie about all these things, before getting into a hefty discussion about Bill C-11 and whether or not we think it'll actually lead to a positive change in the Canadian media space (Spoiler alert: we're doubtful).
In this episode, we both made mention of Rick Harp who has been the host of Media Indigena, a weekly roundtable about Indigenous issues and events in Canada and beyond. The show has been running since March of 2016.
I have referenced how disjointed the Canadian podcast community was once; I discovered this podcast at a conference in Chicago yet the show was being produced in my own city and contained issues that pertains my locale. Here's hoping that new RSS podcast tags can help make discovery of podcasts in your neighbourhood more discoverable.
Also of note... The APTN News Brief which is hosted by Rick is another important listen. It is a daily update on what is making headlines in Indigenous country across Canada and beyond.
Tara Sands (Voiceover) 00:02
The Sound Off Podcast. The show about podcast and broadcast starts now.
Matt Cundill 00:13
This week I'm speaking with Kattie Laur from Pod The North. Actually, Pod The North is not a place. It's a newsletter. Kattie's got her own company where she makes podcasts for her clients as well. She freelances at Canadaland, and at AM640 in Toronto. Kattie recognized that there was no community for podcasting in Canada, so she decided to start one with her newsletter. If you can right now, go sign up for her Substack. It's in the show notes of this episode. Now, Kattie Laur joins me from her home studio in Toronto. Before we get into the nitty gritty of the entire show, there are 31 long term drinking water advisories in effect for 27 First Nation communities across Canada, and you lead your newsletter with that every week. I think I know why, I think we know it's a good thing. But specifically to that issue, why?
Kattie Laur 01:08
When I first found out about this, I immediately was just shook, because there's no reason why anyone shouldn't have access to clean drinking water. Especially in a country like Canada that is pretty wealthy in terms of its global standing and everything we have access to here. For me, it's been important to bring recognition to that every newsletter, because it's not just like a one off issue either. So every time I release a newsletter, I just want to kind of provide an update on where things have been going in terms of water advisories across the country, and how usually that there isn't really much of an update. Like, I think- I started the newsletter in September of 2022. And I think there's only been like maybe two updates since then. And it's kind of toggled between 31 and 32 water advisories being dismantled. So it's pretty upsetting, and people should know about it.
Matt Cundill 02:02
And I'm glad you put it in because, you know, Justin Trudeau made this an election promise, I believe back in 2015. And then it shows up in your newsletter and I'm reminded- What, this shit's still happening?
Kattie Laur 02:13
Matt Cundill 02:15
We can't get this fixed?
Kattie Laur 02:16
Yeah. And like the sad part is that there's a lot of initiatives that are going around, usually run by indigenous folks already in Canada that are trying to make this not a thing anymore. And it's pretty sad that you know, they're the people that need to fight for this when this is a fundamental human basic right.
Matt Cundill 02:33
I'm based in Winnipeg.
Kattie Laur 02:35
Oh, I didn't know that.
Matt Cundill 02:36
Is that good?
Kattie Laur 02:37
That's great. I love to hear that. Hello, fellow Canadian.
Matt Cundill 02:41
I'm not far from Shoal Lake. So I'm gonna have to click on the link to find out if Shoal Lake still has a boil water advisory or possibly two of them?
Kattie Laur 02:49
Yeah, I'm pretty sure. I mean, I'm 10 minutes away from the Six Nations reserve here and just outside of Brantford, and yeah, it's- I think there's still one there as well. And it's so close by, like this is- at this point, this is the GTA, right. There's no reason why there should be any boil water advisories here.
Matt Cundill 03:06
What came first for you? Was it the radio, the written word, or the podcast?
Kattie Laur 03:10
That is a great question. Um, I would say probably radio, stemming from me being a very, very young kid, I have like very vivid memories of driving in the car with my parents and listening to CBC Radio and listening to Vinyl Cafe, and just falling in love with Public Radio and narrative audio. And then I've also been journaling since I was a very little kid. I have like a very, very early version of a diary, where I just wrote, I went skating today. And like, for some reason, writing has always been very cathartic for me. So I think radio and writing kind of happened around the same time.
Matt Cundill 03:51
And you're a graduate of Toronto Metropolitan University, the former Ryerson.
Kattie Laur 03:56
Yep, I am.
Matt Cundill 03:58
Did you choose to go there because you knew you would get into communications?
Kattie Laur 04:01
I think I- knowing and wanting, I think were probably about the same thing. Basically, the RTA School of Media was kind of like my number one choice. I knew I wanted to go there. I applied to a couple other universities and was like, honestly, if I don't get into RTA like, I don't know if I'm going to go to university. I'm just going to try again. That was like my number one choice. I knew there was a whole bunch of other CBC people that had graduated from there. And so I kind of saw that as the pinnacle of getting into radio and media. And like, I was a- audio kid, a media kid in high school. I was on the Announcements team. I was out there running for class president or prime minister trying to like, use my voice anytime I could. So I think it was sort of destined for me, but yeah, I'm really lucky that I got into that program. I loved it so much. I had such a great time, and it had a very small amount of people that actually got accepted into that program. So I'm always grateful that I got in. I've learned so much from that. But when I was there, there was no podcasting program. And now there is, so I'm like, should I go back?
Matt Cundill 05:10
Why did you start Pod The North? What did you see, that was missing from the Canadian podcast landscape, that made you say in 2022, we need to start a newsletter and we need to get a Canadian podcast community going.
Kattie Laur 05:24
Yeah. So I have, like a very vivid memory of going to one of the Hot Docs podcast festivals happening in Toronto, probably in like 2018 or 2019. And at that point, I had graduated from the RTA School of Media in 2014. So I had been kind of graduated, looking to get into radio and podcasting for a number of years. And I had been just doing the work on my own, I was applying to jobs, so many jobs, but nobody was hiring me. And so I was like, Okay, I'll start podcasting on the side and just sort of keep my skills relevant. So I was going to Hot Docs podcast festival. And you know, CBC podcast is one of the major sponsors there. And they had a kind of afterparty event that was hosted by CBC, and you could go and meet a whole bunch of people that worked there, the, you know, senior producers and executive producers and everything like that. And I was so excited. I was like, Man, this is my chance to go to this event and say hi. And when I got there, it was a whole bunch of indie podcasters, sort of on one side of the room, and a whole bunch of network producers on the other side. And I felt so uncomfortable. I felt like I wasn't really welcome to go and say hi, like, it just- there wasn't really a great opportunity to feel like I was welcomed into that space, even though like it was clearly, I don't know, sponsored by CBC podcast? I don't know. Something about the vibe was just offered me. And after having spent, you know, like four years, five years applying to jobs at CBC and getting zero replies, like nothing was coming out of it. I was just so frustrated. At that point, eventually, in 2022, I had started freelancing for about three years at that point. And I started freelancing because nobody would hire me. And I knew I had the skills to produce podcasts and write podcasts. So yeah, I started freelancing and still applying to jobs and having credentials under my belt showing that I could get the job done. And still no one, no replies. And so eventually, I was lucky to become a contractor with Vocal Fry Studios under Katie Jensen's belt, which I love her. She's amazing. And she gave me the space to write on the Vocal Fry Studios blog, sort of an open letter to networks, asking them to stop abandoning indie podcasters, and freelancers, and all the talent that was out there. And I then posted it, went on vacation, expected to come back from vacation thinking like, Oh, this is gonna blow up. Because you know, Vocal Fry Studios has like connection to a number of people in the industry. I got back from vacation, and nobody had read it. It was basically like, nowhere. And, yeah, then I was frustrated. So throughout that summer, it was still- I had the itch, I was like, I need people to recognize that, like, talent is out there. I need recognition. I don't know what's in me, but I feel like I need it. And so then I just decided to write the first issue of Pod The North and kind of see what happened with that. I really only anticipated like 15 people would be reading it. And lo and behold, it's nearly 1000. So clearly, I scratched the itch of some sort of community here. So yeah, that's the big, long winded history of where it came from.
Matt Cundill 08:40
Well, that long winded history just opened up about five other questions that I have. So my experience was different. Because you know, 2015 and 2016, I went down to the US to see what the podcast scene was all about. My experience was the opposite of yours. It was open and warm. And exactly, I think what you envisioned and wanted it to be, where the indie podcasters could work alongside. You could go up and talk to people at NPR, or Stitcher, or any other companies, and, you know, Hey, have you met Blubrry and you know, you can get your own dot com. And there was all this, you know, incredible opportunity. And when I left, I was- think I was driving back to Canada. And somebody called me said, we want to talk a little bit about the Canadian podcast landscape. And it was, you know, this time was 2016. I said, Well, I don't know, I do a podcast and I know a guy in my neighborhood does Witchpolice Radio. Toronto Mike has been doing it a long time, Humble and Fred have been doing their show there, and Canadaland's pretty amazing. And I guess that's really it. There's not much else out there after that. So I can definitely see how we're not very connected as Canadians.
Kattie Laur 09:50
Yeah, that's basically what I felt like, and also like my perception of the Canadian podcasting landscape at that point was pretty minimal too, because I only knew what was in front of me. I didn't know what I didn't know. So I knew Canadaland. I knew CBC, I knew, you know, the producers that I had seen at various talks around the community, because I'd been going to a lot of like panels and meetups and everything trying to meet more Canadian podcasters and see who was in the industry and put my name out there and pick their brains. But yeah, like, I didn't really realize- I didn't know like all of the OG podcasters that existed out here for a long time, too. And only did once I started kind of digging more into the Canadian podcasting landscape and seeing what was out there, I was like, wow, there's a whole bunch of people out there that don't get recognition either, who've been in the game for a long time. So I kind of was thinking about that when I started my newsletter as well. Like, there's a lot of people that are working really hard like me as an indie podcaster, a lot of people that are working really hard as freelancers. And a lot of people that haven't had the recognition that they deserve who've been in this for a long time. So it's more than just CBC and Canadaland. There's it's a huge landscape out there. But nobody knows who anybody is.
Matt Cundill 11:01
I had to go to Chicago to meet Rick Harp.
Kattie Laur 11:05
Matt Cundill 11:06
Yeah. You know, I met him there. And I had absolutely no idea that, you know, his show, which is a very important podcast, was happening. It was, Why did I have to travel to another country to find out that this was going on?
Kattie Laur 11:19
Yeah, the American landscape is truly amazing to watch happen. I mean, it's sad right now with all the layoffs happening at big podcasting organizations, but everybody seems to be very supportive of each other within the production space and the indie space. And that's what I definitely want to see here, and I think I have seen it over the last year for sure. Canada is really starting to blossom, I think, which is exciting.
Matt Cundill 11:43
But I still see a lot of inequality when I'm looking at, let's say, the Triton ranker has 20 CBC podcasts on it. That's not great. And when I see the Alberta podcast network, you know, ceasing, just shutting down, it didn't go bankrupt or anything, it just stopped. There are some giant holes to fill.
Kattie Laur 12:02
Matt Cundill 12:03
How are we going to fix that?
Kattie Laur 12:05
Man, I wish I had that answer. Like, I mean, with my newsletter, I'm just trying to have people know like, what's happening here, so people can find whatever way that they can to support the ecosystem. I don't think I'm the answer. It's just sort of like, I think of my newsletter is sort of just like a bulletin board where people just post their updates and, and let me know like what's going on. So I can get that out to the ecosystem. But like, even my newsletter, not everybody knows about, right? Like, and I don't think it's ever going to reach all Canadian podcasters either. Like, I think that's a pretty bold assumption that it would. So I like to see what's happening now in terms of like, specifically with Canadaland, and their recent announcement for podcast pitches. I specifically remember Jesse Brown mentioning my newsletter and saying that my interview with CBC podcast is what sort of inspired this movement knowing that, you know, they were only realistically willing to work with podcast producers and production houses, and there was no partnership with indie podcasters out there either. And all the talent that exists. And specifically Canadaland does a lot of collaboration with journalists and other podcast producers, like I'm a freelancer with them. So they are already sort of putting themselves out there. And they're like, What can we do more? And that kind of move is exciting for me to see, and I'm hoping that there's going to be more of that because there is money here, too. It's just a matter of where it's being spent. And I also am worried about how big networks like CBC podcasts and Rogers would ultimately impact the indie space, because we want to keep indies indie, and let them do their own thing too at the same time. But right now, like we don't have much grant funding for podcasters, and podcasting as you know, takes a lot of time and energy. And it's usually a side project for a lot of people. So I'm hoping that we can see more money in the space at some point, more grants and more accessible grants. But yeah, I don't have all the answers. That was just sort of like a whole bunch of ideas that I just threw out there.
Matt Cundill 14:05
Of which I liked them. By the way, when we talk about, you know, a company like Bell that will, you know, back the Jann Arden podcast, or Rogers, which has a whole bunch of their own podcasts. It is highly promoted stuff that gets regular people listening to podcast stories. And if they start to listen to that, maybe they'll find my show.
Kattie Laur 14:30
And I've noticed too over the last like year, I think, I don't know if I take full credit for this or if it's something else. But I've noticed that more and more people that I reach out to that are sort of in the big podcasting landscape, like CBC and Rogers and Bell, and I've noticed more willingness to chat and be open and talk about things with me. And even like Spotify. Like I've- I've been chatting with some folks at Spotify, too, who are really interested in the Canadian podcasting space and figuring out ways to support it, it's just a matter of like how- the fairness around what that support would look like. And I don't have all those answers or even an idea of what that is yet. But I think there's just more willingness to have these conversations, which is good news to me. Because before I wasn't even getting replies.
Matt Cundill 15:16
How are we going to look at the numbers between Canada and the United States? We mentioned it's great to be beside the United States, but at the same time, they're a big elephant, and we're a mouse in comparison. And we're never going to have the same size downloads unless you find a way to export your content down to the United States to get, y'know, big download numbers. So I guess the question I'm asking you is, should we be looking at downloads? And then how do we define Canadian success?
Kattie Laur 15:43
Ooh, I'm sort of a big believer in the downfall of podcast blockbusters. And I think that's a global concept. So when it comes to Canadian success versus American success, I think they're all sort of playing in the same game. They're all in the same field. And that's the kind of global audience. And within the global audience, there are a bunch of niches. So to me, that's what I measure success for podcasts at this point. Because sure, like anyone can strive to have like the next Serial or This American Life. And those are at this point, like, those are well established podcasts that came out in the early, early days of podcasting, kind of blowing up. So I don't think we can at this point, expect a podcast to exist of that magnitude at this point, I think, where success lies is in niches. So whether or not that's a Canadian niche, and that niche only exists in Canada, like, you know, people who are pet owners in Canada, I don't know. But like, for example, like my indie podcast, Alpaca My Bags. It has a niche. But it's not just Canada, it's based in- it has a global audience. And actually, the majority of our audience is American. And I think for me, success would mean that we are sort of the go-to podcast within that niche. And so sure, I would consider us like a Canadian success if we were the go-to podcast in that niche. But it doesn't have to do with like the audience. I think it just matters, like, who created it? And yeah, that's sort of how I look at success for Canadian podcasts. I don't know if we can necessarily take over the American landscape. And I don't know if that's like, even a realistic goal at this point, or even like a goal that matters. I think it's just a matter of like, where we sit in terms of all of the niches, and if we tended to be the leader of the pack of a lot of niche podcast communities, then that would be pretty impressive.
Matt Cundill 17:42
I'm glad you mentioned that because the riches are in the niches, as they say, and we don't necessarily need money really, it can refer to audiences.
Kattie Laur 17:50
Yeah. And that's where I think a lot of advertisers are looking now too, right? Where if you have a very engaged audience in a niche, then they know that that audience is likely to buy whatever they're selling on your podcast. So I think everyone's starting to look at niches more with more impact now.
Tara Sands (Voiceover) 18:10
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Matt Cundill 18:43
What's the biggest obstacle for Indigenous podcasts?
Kattie Laur 18:46
I would say, time and money. And internet access. So I can't speak, you know, from experience because I'm not an Indigenous person. But from the conversations that I've been having with Indigenous folks is that there is not enough resources, whether that's time and money for Indigenous podcasters to create podcasts in the first place. There is not enough internet access across the country for us to have a wide range of different nations and Indigenous folks across the country, and then burn out, because we tend to see a lot of the same folks from indigenous communities in Canada being represented on the podcasting stage. And there are a lot more talented people out there that deserve the spotlight. And when I've spoken to, you know, Phelan Johnson and Connie Walker, they are both feeling the burnout of just being like the go to person that everybody invites to chat and talk. And they're like, we would love to pass the mic at some point. But it's just a matter of finding those folks out there. And when people don't have internet access, it's harder for them to podcast because you need internet for podcasts. And if you don't have time and resources and money to be able to set aside time to create a podcast, then we lose out on those voices too.
Matt Cundill 20:05
Speaking to somebody who just saw Phelan last week.
Kattie Laur 20:08
Matt Cundill 20:09
Talking, right? So.
Kattie Laur 20:10
How's she doing?
Matt Cundill 20:11
She's doing great. Had to thank her for her podcast because I enjoy it a lot.
Kattie Laur 20:14
Matt Cundill 20:15
And if anybody wants to connect to it, it's in the show notes of this episode.
Kattie Laur 20:18
Oh, yeah. And Rick Harp is also one of my favorite indigenous podcasters, too. I love his show. And he's asking a lot of really important questions. So definitely one to check out.
Matt Cundill 20:29
I was also thinking to another issue, you mentioned internet access, but this stuff just gets harder and harder and harder for, you know, indigenous communities, because oh, look, now you need to incorporate some form of video, or it'd be nice to incorporate some video if you'd like to get a little bit of marketing. And we're barely getting the audio out through the slow internet. How are we going to get the video out?
Kattie Laur 20:52
Matt Cundill 20:53
So I mean, the problems do get worse, you know, as the weeks go by.
Kattie Laur 20:57
Yeah. And then it just all comes down to, you know, massive socioeconomic problems that exist in general. And a lot of solutions that need to happen that would fix everybody's life at this point, like water and internet at this point, are like basic human rights. And you know, it's the same sort of decision makers that need to make sure that that kind of stuff is accessible to everybody. But it's like, what can I as a podcaster, or Canadian podcast writer, like, do about that? It's just bring awareness and try and build community around it. It's a really difficult thing to unpack and very complex and nuanced.
Matt Cundill 21:36
You do a little bit of work, for Corus radio at 640 in Toronto, what do you do?
Kattie Laur 21:41
I am a fill in producer. I just started a couple of months ago. So I just come in and produce shows when the regular producer is not available. So that's me.
Matt Cundill 21:51
And I mentioned that because you're surrounded by good people there. I know Dani Stover has been on this show and has a podcast that launched, and Amanda Cupido. She runs a show there. And she's podcast first. I know, she's got the title of brand manager, program director, but she came from the podcast side of things.
Kattie Laur 22:07
Yeah, yeah. It's been really fun getting into the radio world. This was like, originally, my vision as a teenager was eventually working in radio. And then I kind of fell in love with podcasting and realized that podcasting is just radio on demand, basically, public radio on demand. But yeah, getting into the radio world is really fun. And it's live and exciting. And sometimes you are wondering why guests that you had lined up for a certain block aren't picking up their phone. And that's always good times. So yeah, I get to produce content for- and I'm a content producer, fill-in content producer. So I decide on sort of the topics that somebody is going to cover, and who those guests might be to cover them with them. And yeah, and it's talk radio, too, which is always an interesting thing to be a part of.
Matt Cundill 22:53
So from where you sit, because we're about 24 hours removed from Bell shutting down a bunch of radio stations and laying off close to 1300 people, but you're inside a radio station, and you're producing podcasts. What do you think the opportunity here is then for podcasting and radio?
Kattie Laur 23:13
I don't know, to be honest, I don't know if I have a solid answer for you on that. Since the beginning of podcasts kind of blowing up globally, I would say on the North American stage, there's always been the re-listens of radio shows available on websites and as podcast forms. So I wouldn't be surprised if that sort of where things ended up. Especially with talk radio and 640 in particular, you know, all of those shows are based around one specific personality who's the host of the show. So yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if they kind of all decided to go to podcasts. And you know, 640 turned into a podcast network. That would be unsurprising to me.
Matt Cundill 23:52
Yeah. And I just came out of Radio Days, North America, where there was a lot of discussion of, you know, what happens if you can have the Live button on your podcast where if your show goes live, that you can listen to it live, and then after the show, it just sort of morphs into a podcast. So these possibilities are- they're coming. Yeah. And
Kattie Laur 24:11
Yeah, and they're already existing too, with, you know, virtual podcast studios, like riverside.fm, you can hit a Live button there. And people can tune in and be a part of your audience and submit questions and all of that stuff. And you can stream your podcast right to YouTube, or Twitter, or whatever it is. And I'm also curious to know what's going to happen with Twitch on that note, too, because, you know, Twitch is kind of also a live platform as well, where people can do podcasts live and incorporate that video element as well. And there are also plenty of studios around the country and around the world, where you can also set up your live streams too, and stream it right to YouTube and then it just exists forever. So I wouldn't be surprised if more live stuff happened and became a trend, it's just more stressful but also a little bit easier for the video edit, because that's what's sort of happening with one of my clients right now is we've just incorporated video on to their show. And the way that they approach that now is they record it in a studio, and then they have a video producer there who's switching between cameras, and all that switching happens live. So all those edits are happening live. And then we've kind of got a rough version of the video at the end of the show. And then once I'm going through for the podcast edit, I'm just highlighting chunks that we want cut out. And then we're like, hey, just cut out this big chunk. So it's not the same, it's two different products. So we've got a video product and a- an audio, podcast product. But those big editorial chunks, we can still cut out at the end. And it's super simple. So I wouldn't be surprised if people were kind of landing in studios more and studios became more popular, and maybe more expensive, but I don't know, we'll see.
Matt Cundill 25:02
That's interesting, actually, because I sort of equate in my head that video editing feels expensive.
Kattie Laur 25:58
Yeah, I think it is. Anytime I talk to who is like- anyone I talk to about video, I'm like, You're gonna have to hire a video editor. Like this will be a second person on your team. I'm not that person. I'm audio only. And to me, I do a lot of my recording virtually as well. Right? So that's like, what we are doing right now, that would be two separate video files, and then they kind of cut and chop up at the end. But having the ability to do it live is an interesting concept, because then that cuts out a lot of time, and just being able to maybe spend another hour after recording to cut out chunks, and then you're done.
Matt Cundill 26:36
I know that sounds crazy to say, oh, video editing is expensive. I mean, I taught Charles Adler to do it like two weeks ago, and he learned it in five seconds.
Kattie Laur 26:46
It's the same as audio editing, just with visuals, different visuals. I'm working with waveforms, other people are working with faces.
Matt Cundill 26:54
All right. I'll jump into that pool now.
Kattie Laur 26:59
I'm not going to do it. I'm still sticking with audio only. I like audio only, and you can tighten things up a lot smoother. I still have the opinion that they're two totally different products.
Matt Cundill 27:09
They are. Oh, absolutely, absolutely. Like when I talk podcast now it's like, here's the audio one. Here's the video one. Here's the live one. In fact, I actually recommend to people to have a different sounding intro on the audio one against the video one. It's wildly different. And if we get 56 minutes of video, it's okay if we have 42 minutes of audio. I'm happy with that. I don't mean to talk about myself. Sorry about that.
Kattie Laur 27:37
I'm talking about myself!
Matt Cundill 27:38
I want to ask you about branded podcasts, because branded podcasts are- I think a lot of people don't know what makes a good branded podcast. And it's sort of evolving. So you've done a couple of them. What's been your experience?
Kattie Laur 27:53
Yeah, they're an interesting concept to me too, because I think the hardest part about branded podcasts is trying not to be too salesy, and too boastful of your brand, and making it something interesting to listen to, to be honest. I'm working on a show right now called Building Good. That's a podcast by Chandos, which is a construction company. And so I'm out here trying to write scripts for conversations about the construction industry. And luckily, I'm really loving the show, though. And I think so far, I think I'm doing a pretty ok job, because my executive producer is giving me some good notes. And our client is giving me some good notes. So that's all a good sign. But we're also lucky because we've been able to- and I think this is important for all branded podcasts, is to figure out what your mission is for your podcast and like, not just like, finding more clients and finding customers. But in terms of like an audience, what is your- what do you want your audience to get out of the show? Like what's the purpose of your show existing in the world for entertainment only. And so for our show, we are really focused on how the construction industry can be a source of good. And so that's really shaped all of the episodes that we then create. And right now we've opened up our next season to be just more stuff that we're all just generally interested in that exists in the AC sector. So just like why cities aren't as walkable, and how much co2 emissions are happening when you tear down a building, and like just all these things that were just genuinely curious, that exist within the sector. And I think that opens up a whole lot of interesting things that you can learn about, that anybody can be interested in. So instead of taking the time to sort of just like have an interview and talk about a project, maybe that you built, I think it's important for brands to open up the conversation to answer questions that the general public are curious about, and have a mission in terms of the show. And also, any brand that is interested in podcasting should be listening to podcasts themselves, and finding what they find inspiration from and what they really love, and what formats they're interested in. Because I think that will help shape something really engaging to listen to. So I've talked about this before, but The Cut on Tuesdays was one of my first podcast that I got really, really into, and used as a show that would ultimately shape a lot of the branded shows that I created, because I loved what they did with engaging a lot of their writers in part of the show, and just asking them like regular human questions. Like not asking them about things that they wrote about, or things that they've been uncovering, more just being like, so if you were to host a dinner party, like what would you make? Kind of thing, like you get an idea of who's working on the inside and what their opinions are. And what is sort of the life source, and what's the bread and butter of this company at the end of the day? And bringing in people from the inside, I think is a really interesting way to do that, rather than having a podcast that's just hosted by a CEO, you know? So I think there's a whole bunch of different ways that branded podcasts can do it really well. And I would say a successful branded podcast is one where you don't even know that it is created by a brand.
Matt Cundill 31:11
I think something about podcasting that I knew, but didn't get to experience, but now I'm experiencing and that's the loneliness of of creating by yourself, and maybe feeling like something's an issue, and then you'll send me the newsletter. And I'm like, oh, somebody else is thinking about this. Especially when it came to Bill C 11. I honestly thought it was the only podcaster in Canada, who was really concerned about the whole thing. Oh, me and Jesse Brown anyway. But you posed a question. And that's what's going to happen to podcasting in Canada under Bill C 11, which has now been passed, and it's now a law. So what are your hopes for it? If any?
Kattie Laur 31:49
Yeah, like, it's weird, because Bill C 11, as it stands, even though it's passed, still is like, totally vague. Makes like no sense. Like it really, at this point in time, like, it could apply to anything. And it could apply to nothing. And so it's really hard to say like, what that's going to mean for podcasting. I think, if anything, I'm hoping that there is some follow through in terms of getting money from big tech companies, I mean, if they're able to do that, if the CRTC is able to pull off that stunt, like I will be deeply impressed, because I don't know how they're going to get money from Google. And from Spotify, and from these big organizations, like I don't know how they're going to do that. But if they do, I will be clapping, I will be fully applauding the CRTC. And if they are able to get money, then I would love to see some more funding for diverse podcasts in general, and especially indigenous podcasts, because I think- this is the whole thing, right? Like, tax the rich, and give it to the people who deserve it. And that's what I want to see happen. I want to see money going towards uplifting indigenous voices and people that are true representatives of Canada. So yeah, that's what my grand hope for Bill C 11 is, but I don't know if we're gonna see it happen. There's a lot of things in the bill that say that it could. There's a lot of hopes and dreams in there, I think.
Matt Cundill 33:14
It's crazy, crazy stuff. And I look at the podcasts I work with, including my podcast, I'm like, I don't want to be a part of that. I want to continue to export my show to the US and around the world. I don't need any of your help. Yet, I'm working with some other podcasters who could really use some help. And I don't know how you can just pick and choose who gets promoted, and who gets this and that. I think you touched on it well with you know, maybe there should be a well of money for some good Canadian stories to speak to Canadians, but trying to go and wrap up all these podcasts into one sort of big Canadian bundle and promote them to people. A lot of podcasters don't need your help.
Kattie Laur 33:55
It's weird, because C 11, so far, seems very focused on streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney Plus and everything, and uplifting productions that are Canadian. And in those ways, it's very easy to figure out whether or not a production is Canadian. And I think that's where the main focus is. But obviously, because it's such a broad scoped bill, they have to fall under that umbrella just because of the way it's written. And it's weird to me that it seems like they haven't thought that through that far yet. Because the big question for me is like, how are you going to find all the Canadian podcasts? Because we are not the same as a TV production, or a movie production. We don't always have all of our producers and writers and everything credited in the shows. So I don't- like, I can barely find Canadian podcasts without the key word Canadian or Canada within their descriptions or their show titles. And like I am probably doing it more than anybody out there currently. So I don't know how the CRTC or anyone or big companies are going to be able to find shows that are produced by Canadians. Unless they're kind of like looking at IPs, and where somebody has uploaded something from but even then, like, you know, the, the show might have been totally produced in like India. And then they just have like, you know, a virtual assistant in Canada who's doing the uploading for them. So I don't know how podcasts will even be vetted in that capacity. And that brings up a lot of questions to me then too about, you know, is there going to be like a little Canadian leaf sticker on like, all of our artwork or something? I don't know. And then like, if that's the case, why isn't that happening to like, all of the podcasts out there around the entire world? Like, do we all need, like, our little flags on the corner of our artwork? Like, I don't know, I don't know. So many questions, so many unanswered questions.
Matt Cundill 35:46
I look at one of the podcasts I produce, it's Writing Class Radio. And I looking at seven people who are contributing to it every week, there are two American hosts and an American musician. And there are four Canadian producers.
Kattie Laur 36:00
Matt Cundill 36:01
So all of a sudden, is that Canadian? Or, how many Canadians does it take to make it Canadian?
Kattie Laur 36:06
That's the question. I mean, like in music, we've got the maple standard, which is, you know, the...
Matt Cundill 36:13
Music, artists, production, lyrics.
Kattie Laur 36:15
Yeah. And then I think three out of four of those things, make it Canadian, or two out of four? Two out of four of those things make it Canadian. So I'm curious if it's going to be something like that. But I don't know. Like podcasting is so far into the game to implement something like that. Like, I don't know how that would even happen, let alone like all the indie podcasters out there. Like, there are so many. There's like 4 million podcasts out there already. Like how are you going to find all the Canadians in there? Like, ugh. It's a daunting task that I definitely don't want.
Matt Cundill 36:45
Yeah. And after you put out that letter, I actually put up a post saying, check out the myths and truths of the CRTC. We will not be messing with algorithms. I'm like, well, how are you going to do anything if you don't actually manipulate an algorithm?
Kattie Laur 36:58
So many questions. Yeah, so many questions.
Matt Cundill 37:02
Kattie, thanks so much for being on the show. I really appreciate it. Listen, if anybody is going to connect with you, it's in the show notes of this episode, whether they want to make a branded podcast, they have maybe a podcast idea, you can put them in touch with Canadaland. You did a great job on on your latest newsletter with that, and continued success with all the podcasting you're doing and of course, let's keep Pod The North. Yes, let's Pod The North.
Kattie Laur 37:24
Thank you so much, Matt. This is so fun.
Tara Sands (Voiceover) 37:28
The sound off podcast is written and hosted by Matt Cundill. Produced by Evan Surminski. Edited by Chloe Emond-Lane. Social media by Aidan Glassey. Another great creation from the Sound Off Media Company. There's always more at soundoffpodcast.com.