Day in the Life: Meet Podcast Host Brittany Luse of Gimlet Media

This article originally appeared on The Well, Jopwell’s editorial hub. 

Brittany Luse
host and producer, Gimlet Media
Brooklyn, NY
Twitter: @bmluse

5:30am: I’m up early editing an upcoming episode of For Colored Nerds, the independent podcast that my best friend Eric and I launched from his apartment a few years ago. We didn’t have any experience with podcasts — we just realized we were having all of these fun conversations on our own and wanted to see if other people might enjoy our random musings. This week it’s my turn to edit our latest recording. We use an audio editing software called Pro Tools, and I start by listening to and categorizing the raw tape, then cutting for flow, then refining it for clarity and style.

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8:30am: My usual alarm goes off. On a non-editing day, this would mean it’s time to get up. I fully acknowledge my luxurious wakeup time. Despite being a morning person, I mostly just check my email and social media for 40 minutes using my one open eyeball before finally rolling out of bed to shower and run out with sneakers and wet hair.

9:30am: Hop on the train to work. While I sometimes use the ride to listen to podcasts, like The Read from Kid Fury and Crissle, I actually prefer to ease into my day with a strong Spotify playlist. I’ve recently been favoring gospel. Today it’s Tamela Mann’s “Take Me to the King.”

10:00am-ish: Arrive at the office. The Gimlet team has been growing a lot — we were around 40 people last I checked. Our new headquarters is what you imagine when you think of a Brooklyn startup: The industrial vibe with high ceilings, exposed brick, and mostly open seating spread between two floors with four small recording studios and a couple of couches. I eat a quick bite at my desk and then check in with Sarah, Rose, and Annie-Rose, the fantastic producers and editor that make up the Sampler team, along with our intern, Kate. I put on my Sony Professional Studio Monitor headphones, which I wear pretty much all day. They make everything sound better.

10:30am: Time to crank. Making an episode from start-to-finish is a collaborative process, especially since a big part of Sampler is finding portions of other podcasts to play to our guests when we interview them. Once we’ve nailed down a topic, we pick guests and try to book them. Then it’s all about anticipating the flow of the conversation. Right now, I’m listening back to an interview I did with my roommate, Imon. She actually hates podcasts and refuses to listen to them. So, we had her on the show and played clips that we thought would make her happy. The clip she ended up liking the most was from an episode of On Being where the host interviewed Nikki Giovanni, a poet and professor, who made a provocative point connecting the Mid-Atlantic slave trade to space travel. Spoiler alert: Since appearing on Sampler, Imon has begun listening to Gretchen Rubin’s Happier podcast.

1:30pm: Lunchtime (a.k.a. the beginning of my “stop and eat so your brain can continue to function” hour). Since I’m not in a recording session today, I step out for food. I give my parents a call while walking. Talking to them always puts me in good spirits. I pop into the nearby Whole Foods and grab some butternut squash soup. I’m a big fan of it, although the recipe they have online is a lie. I think Whole Foods corporate hates me because I tweet about this so often.

2:00pm: Time for a clips meeting. This is when we get together as a team to propose ideas for the show, listening to clips from other podcasts we’d like to consider incorporating. I love clips meetings.

3:00pm: I have a one-on-one with my editor, Annie-Rose, to catch up. We meet in our editing lounge — the room in the office designated for meetings that require listening. We check in about the latest episodes. Since Sampler is a fairly new show, we’re still getting into a production groove, typically working on three or four episodes at a time.

4:00pm: Interview prep. I do some research to get ready for a couple interviews later this week. This also tends to be prime time to listen to new podcasts. I won’t say precisely what I’m listening to right now (I don’t want to spoil future episodes!), but I’m really enjoying the rise in independent podcasts. I know how much work it is to produce one, so I salute anyone making the effort.

4:30pm: I snoop around in Gimlet’s lively Slack channels and see what intra-office trolling I missed while I was in meetings. Then I pause to tweet some of my famous(?) unfounded relationship advice and grab a few slices of dried mango from a pack I have stashed in my desk (I honestly eat enough dried mango to keep that industry in the black). People at Gimlet are very into snacks. It’s a “bring your own snack” culture, although we of course share.

5:30pm: Team Sampler is wrapping up for the day, so I shift gears and spend an hour or so catching up on emails from listeners and colleagues. I try to remember what I’m supposed to do after work (I am constantly failing at things I am supposed to do in my personal life, like grocery shopping and basic self-care). I put on a few conversational podcasts — today it’s Longform and the now-defunct One with Farai — to wind down.

7:00pm: I wish I could say that I’m at home roasting chicken or doing something really peaceful and relaxing. But I once again find myself out with a media friend talking about … work. We’re at Chilo’s, a bar in my neighborhood where I’ve become a regular. They have unbelievable frozen margaritas and a really, really good taco truck permanently parked outside.

10:00pm: Back at home, it’s time to attempt to catch up on what I’ve missed on the internet over the last 24 hours. Ironically, because I make media for a living now (I’m still not used to this!), I have less time to consume it than I did before. This means that email newsletters and must-read aggregators like Pocket and Feedly are my best friends — tied with House Hunters: Renovations on Netflix.

11:00pm: The day ends as it always does: with a call from my boyfriend, who also works in media, but on the polar opposite schedule. My bedtime is roughly his mid-morning snacktime, and our 10-minute check-in is my favorite part of the day. After we hang up, I turn on my bedside lamp and enjoy about 15 pages of The Goldfinch before I start to get drowsy. My friend sent me the book two years ago, and I only recently started reading it, figuring it’d be nice to get into fiction.

11:30pm: I know I should really put my phone away for the night after I hang up with my boyfriend. But I’ve gotten into this habit of turning off my bedside lamp and swapping the book for the phone, scrolling through my other true love, Tumblr, in the dark for another 15 minutes. It’s ass-backwards, I know, but I’m already sleepy, and I really don’t care. Lights out.

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