As I’ve mentioned before, for our first year, each issue of Clarkesworld was just two stories and a cover. We launched the non-fiction in our second year and the podcast later at issue 21. That means this month we are also celebrating one hundred months of podcasting.
As an editor, I feel some personal responsibility to see to it that our stories are seen by as many people as possible. Knowing that there was a significant audience for audio fiction that didn’t necessarily have reading time–or liked reading online–I started looking into the possibility of adding a podcast to Clarkesworld. Sometimes the universe conspires to put the right person in your path. In this case, it was Mary Robinette Kowal, an accomplished narrator, who had just sold us “Clockwork Chickadee.” She agreed to narrate it for us and a very bare-bones Clarkesworld podcast was born.
For the next few months, Mary and Cat Rambo provided us with a single narration per issue. When neither was available for our January 2009 issue, Mary suggested that I reach out to Kate Baker. I hadn’t heard any of Kate’s narrations before, but Mary’s recommendation was sufficient for me. After a few emails went back-and-forth–Kate likes to tell the story about how she almost priced herself out of that first narration–Kate agreed to narrate “Celadon” by Desirina Boskovich.
I had Kate record a few more stories for us throughout 2009 and was consistently impressed with the quality of her work. When we finally crossed paths that year at the Montreal Worldcon, we chatted for a while. I’m pretty sure that this is where I invited Kate to join our staff as the–we didn’t know what to call the position then–podcast director. Clarkesworld lost the Hugo Award to Weird Tales that weekend, but we gained an incredibly valuable addition to the team. Best hire I’ve ever made.
Under Kate’s leadership, the podcast continued to grow and improve. While I understood the technology, podcasting was never an area of expertise for me and I made several rookie mistakes. Kate knew what it took to have a professional show and quickly placed us on the right track. Over the next few years, the audience grew steadily, the number of shows increased, and Kate became known as “the voice of Clarkesworld.”
If you’ve never listened, give it a try sometime. You can listen right from our website or…