Talking with Trendsetters: Rebecca Lavoie, Founder, Partners in Crime Media

Article ImageIt’s been said that we all have a novel in us, but these days, it seems as if we all have a podcast in us. Of course, we don’t all have a good podcast in us—and fewer of us can launch an entire network. But Rebecca Lavoie has done just that, from her basement and with the help of her husband—and writing partner—Kevin P. Flynn. Along with two more co-hosts, the pair launched Crime Writers On Serial, a podcast to talk about a podcast (now Crime Writers On…).

“Initially, our goal was to have fun making something that people might enjoy listening to. … We saw the success of other podcasts that were talking about Serial … but when I listened to those, I noticed that they were being made by people without much audio production expertise,” says Lavoie. But there was also a bit of a marketing component to their plan. “We also wanted to make a little hay around being authors, so the idea in the background was that we’d develop an audience that might be interested in reading our books.”

However, the podcast was so popular that they branched out to talking about other true crime-related topics and haven’t looked back—eventually adding two more podcasts to the line-up, including These Are Their Stories (in which they talk about Law & Order). The burgeoning network—which goes head-to-head with competitors such as Panoply—is known as Partners in Crime Media (PICM) and is run from a closet in the couple’s basement named Square Egg Studio.

Similar to a lot of podcasters, Lavoie has a history in journalism, largely at her local public radio station. “On microphone, I really do credit one thing in particular as the ‘secret sauce’ to my podcast voice, and that’s the hours

and hours of live fund-drive pitching I’ve done for the station where I work,” Lavoie says. “You’d be amazed how the practice of being live with one other person and tasked to do a specific job can train you to think (and talk) on your feet.”

Working at a radio station is a great way to lay the ground work for launching a podcast, but it wasn’t just the on-air experience that has worked in Lavoie’s favor. “Today, I work in my station’s newsroom as the director of our digital content. In that job, I’ve been able to get a lot of experience around the mechanics and technical side of podcasting, building websites, and social engagement. These skills have come in really handy as our podcasts have taken off—and as our podcasts have taken off, I’ve learned a ton [that] I’ve been able to bring to bear at my station.”

In the wake of Serial’s success, podcasting—once the purview of DIYers—is becoming big business, and Lavoie is taking note. “I do have a fear that the podcasting industry might see some kind of a shift in which only network shows are of interest to advertisers and premium audio hosts, so I wanted to establish something that made us appear to be a little bigger than we actually are. Right now, PICM has just two shows fully under its umbrella, a couple of partner podcasts, and some projects in the hopper that could lead to future co-productions with other podcasters.”

Ever the smart businesswoman, Lavoie has branched out to include “podcast production work and has been able to offer those services to other shows under the brand as well.”

PICM may be hedging its bets against the big networks in the podcasting industry, but Lavoie remains indie at heart. Premiere content may be flourishing, “but more than that, it’s also magic because it’s still very possible for a regular person with a microphone and a computer to make something that can be heard by thousands (if not millions) of people. I hope that doesn’t change … and that if it does, the industry errs on the side of ensuring indie podcasters will always have opportunities to be heard alongside the big boys.”

Related Articles

We present EContent's annual Trendsetting Products list. Each year, we turn to our inboxes, our coverage, and our contributors to find out what products are helping content creators of all kinds stay on top of their game. I hope you find these products as interesting and as potentially helpful as we do!
Virtual reality is becoming … well … reality, thanks to a host of new tools and people willing to test the limits of what the technology is capable of—and what the audience expects. Nowhere is that more true than at USA TODAY's VRtually There, a weekly news show done entirely in virtual reality (VR). David Hamlin is part of the team that makes the show possible.