“Strike a Smart Balance to Create a Bingeable Podcast” with Katherine Spiers of the Smart Mouth Podcast


As part of my series of interviews about “5 things you need to know to create a bingeable podcast”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Katherine Spiers. She is the co-founder of the podcast network TableCakes Productions, and the producer/host of top-rated culinary podcast Smart Mouthwhich explores the human stories behind our favorite food.

On Smart Mouth, Katherine interviews guests ranging from celebrity chefs to morticians and talks to them about the history of (and personal stories behind) their favorite dishes and ingredients. Katherine has been a food and lifestyle journalist for almost 20 years, writing for Reuters, the Associated Press, Seattle Times, LA Times, and a number of publications that no longer exist, and some that semi-exist: she was an editor at Gawker Media and food editor at LA Weekly.

Katherine’s podcast network, TableCakes Productions, is a woman-owned, Los Angeles-based podcast network that aims to be a platform for diverse voices talking about food, pop culture, news, and more. Katherine created the network in 2018 alongside co-founder Drew Mackie.

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Can you tell us a bit of your “personal backstory? What is your background and what eventually brought you to this particular career path?

I’ve been a journalist for my whole professional career, and I’d always focused on print. But then one day, I was invited to appear on a radio show, and I loved it. (It’s how I confirmed my suspicion that I was a shy extrovert, actually.) I kept doing radio for the next couple of years as I developed my podcast. Now, I rarely, if ever, do print journalism.

Can you share a story about the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you started podcasting?

Really, the most interesting experiences I’ve had since I started podcasting have been related to just interacting with the guests. I’ve interviewed a lot of interesting people for Smart Mouth — and interesting people make for great stories. I’m so glad I got to meet Anthony Bourdain. And Jacques Pepin — I shared a bottle of rosé with him at a five-star hotel.

Can you share a story about the biggest or funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaways you learned from that?

I think the biggest early mistake was not editing aggressively enough. I still don’t edit down conversations too much, but I do just enough to keep it lively. Listeners shouldn’t feel like they’re just eavesdropping on a conversation between the guest and myself — I want them to get value out of the episode, even if it’s just a chuckle or two.

How long have you been podcasting and how many shows have you aired?

I’ve been airing for over three years, and I’ve done about 190 episodes, including the mini-sodes. I also run a Smart Mouth newsletter and private Facebook group where food enthusiasts can discuss culinary topics that go beyond the episodes.

What are the main takeaways, lessons, or messages that you want your listeners to walk away with after listening to your show?

I want Smart Mouth listeners to walk away from each episode with a greater sense of how food travels around the world, and how some of the best-known dishes out there is a result of that.

Check out the full interview in Tracy Hazzard’s Authority Magazine article about Katherine Spiers!

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Katherine Spiers of the Smart Mouth Podcast shares the best way to:

1) Book Great Guests. Ask a ton of people, but only people you genuinely want to talk to.

2) Increase Listeners. Book great, compelling guests on your show, assuming the guests share on social, of course.

3) Produce in a Professional Way. I pay an editor to finish my episodes. I give her paper edits (I tell her where to cut, with time codes, etc.) But she makes it all sound good. If you don’t want to hire someone, look at some audio editing tutorials.

4) Encourage Engagement. Be generous and kind on social media.

5) Monetize. Go after every opportunity. That means running ads and setting up a Patreon. Listeners know that we’re on our hustle, and they don’t get turned off by that.

In your opinion what makes your podcast binge-listenable? What do you think makes your podcast unique from the others in your category? What do you think is special about you as a host, your guests, or your content?

Check out the full interview in Tracy Hazzard’s Authority Magazine article about Katherine Spiers!