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Podcast Profile


   LiveWriters chats with Jeremy Kitchen,
Mike Sack, and
Jamie Trecker of Chicago's
Eye 94 Podcast

Photos: Jeremy Kitchen (top left), Mike Sack and daughter Rosalie (lower right), Jamie Trecker (bottom left), Shanna Van Volt (bottom right)

Q: How did the three of you get the Eye 94 podcast going? What was your initial motivation?
A: (Mike) It was something that came about naturally through our connections to each other in the neighborhood (Bridgeport). Both Jamie and I are longtime patrons of the Daley branch library (Jeremy is the manager). Jeremy and I were already friends and had been talking about starting a literary magazine for some time, with nothing but the name in place—Eye 94. Jamie is the station manager at WLPN and on a whim Jeremy asked if there were any radio slots available, and voila. Jeremy filled out an application for a generic show on books and we did a pilot show live on the air (105.5 FM) maybe a couple weeks later. We just talked about books we liked and were reading at the time. We each read a passage or two from some books. We read them way, way too fast. Jamie had to tell us to slow down. We wrapped and figured it was 50/50 we'd go on again. It was just a basic hunger for reading and finding new things to read. We had no idea it would lead to interviewing some of the great writers we've had on the show, or that we'd have Shanna doing professional v/o readings of books with major contemporary jazz artists playing in the background. Fundamentally, I think our motivation remains the same. We love reading lots of different kinds of books and bantering about them. (BTW: Jamie does all the editing and production work on the show, in addition to transferring the audio files from radio to podcast; it's really a Chicago radio show first, a podcast second.) 

Q: You have had so many great guests. Is there one who sticks out in your memory as being particularly significant? What made that experience special?

A: (Jeremy) I think Chicago is underrated as far as being considered a literary city. We have had some heavy hitters, Ling Ma, Catherine Lacey, and our friend Maryse Meijer. Maryse is the kind of guest we love, humble and an extraordinary writer. Catherine Lacey should be up there with the greats, and Ling Ma needs not introduction. Non-Chicago I am going with Gary Indiana and Helen DeWitt. Two of my literary heroes, it was an honor to interview those two.

Q: What are some goals you have for the podcast in the future? What can loyal fans AND new listeners look forward to?
A:  (Jamie) I think we hope to keep getting entertaining and insightful people from across the book world. While we mainly speak with authors, we are the rare show that also chats with editors, translators and publishers. In a rarity, we’re also going to be speaking with one of the subjects of a book on a forthcoming show, so that should be pretty novel! One thing we’re really proud of also is the readings we present: a lot of authors — many of whom would otherwise never get to have their book read or scored — have told us it's a favorite part of the show, and Shanna puts a lot of time into that to make sure they come out great. Going forward we have the dream of doing a live show with the full band and the readings, but the pandemic has put a damper on that for a bit. (Also, Patricia Lockwood, if you’re reading this: we’d love to get you on the show.)

Podcast News

Book Pages 

"[I]f you’ve got an echoey space you’ll need to do something about it because otherwise, it’ll sound like you’re recording your podcast in a toilet. And while podcasting is supposed to be an intimate experience, it’s not supposed to be that intimate."           
-Rachel Corbett, "How to Build a Voice Over Booth at Home for Less Than $30"


Our Replay pick for this issue is "Poetic Forms" from Burning Bright: Voices from Passager (March 2, 2021).

In each short episode of Burning Bright, host Jon Shorr introduces poetry or prose that has been featured in the journal Passager, which only publishes work from writers over the age of 50. Like its authors, Passager proves the value of experience--it has published over 60 print issues, and is still going strong. In fact, copies often sell out! 

In "Poetic Forms," Shorr reads a series of haiku written by Philip Allen (Issue 70), terzanelles written by Sarah Yerkes, and a "Golden Shovel Poem" written by Clarinda Harriss (Issue 64). Shorr also describes each of these poetic forms and tells listeners how to get their hands on physical copies. 

Once you listen to an episode of Burning Bright, you'll find yourself listening to "just one more" more than once. It's the perfect podcast to put on for a short commute, or for a quick dose of art and culture with your morning cup of coffee.   

Correction: Manuela Boyda is the creator of the Lantigua Williams & Co.'s Podcasting, Seriously newsletter. Subscribe here.

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