Meet your neighbor: Catherine Jaffee

Bringing podcast creation to people throughout Denver

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Meet your neighbor spotlights interesting people and projects outside of the traditional Washington Park Profile coverage area that caught our attention. If you have suggestions email Kailyn Lamb at klamb@coloradocommunitymedia.com.

Throughout her career in audio production, Catherine Jaffee has come to think of herself as a professional listener. At any given time, she estimated she’s listening to more than 180 different podcasts of a wide variety, soaking in the medium and its versatility in storytelling.

While she started her career by telling the stories of others, Jaffee has now taken a step back to let people speak for themselves.

“I always thought it was really unfair, actually,” she said about tellling other people’s stories. “We have these systems where there’s a storyteller and then there’s someone who’s actually telling the story, and we just start harvesting those things and the rewards don’t really come back to that person.”

Jaffee opened House of Pod at 2565 Curtis St. in the Five Points neighborhood earlier this year.

The goal of House of Pod is to teach people not only how to produce a podcast, but also how to tell an impactful story. By giving people access to an easy medium like podcasts, as well as access to quality equipment, more minority populations will be able to share their stories, Jaffee said.

“I saw the need to extend this to other communities that could use this space to level the playing field a little bit more,” she said. “We all need to listen better — and they’re not voiceless.”

Since opening House of Pod, Jaffee has brought in two full-time staff members, who also produce their own podcast shows. People can buy memberships to House of Pod, which gives them access to studio space for $100 a month for individuals, $500 a month for companies of more than five people. People can also rent space on a drop-in basis for $60 an hour for the first session, and then $1 per minute after that.

Producers have come in from around the country to do one-month consultations with House of Pod, Jaffee said. Many users come in for a short period of time to produce a show. Jaffee estimated that between 15 and 35 of members are people who come in frequently to produce recurring shows.

“They’re pillars of our community. We’re rooting for them,” Jaffee said. “We’re really trying to make sure that their shows take off because it benefits all of us.”

Several podcasts have already come out of the business. Members are producing regular podcasts such as Parental, about Fatherhood; Podcasts in Color, which talks about shows produced by people of color; Singleing, a show about dating; and more.

In addition to production studios, House of Pod offers free beginners classes on creating podcasts. House of Pod helped one student create an oral history of the Five Points neighborhood. For those looking to get a more in-depth grasp of the medium, House of Pod offers more advanced classes for a fee.

House of Pod is also working with schools in Denver, such as Manual High School and Denver School of the Arts, to teach young people how to produce their own podcasts.

Next year, Jaffee said the business will start producing more of its own shows. House of Pod runs two branded shows currently. One is the Denver Museum of Nature and Science on anthropology called Homosapiens.org. The other, Mile High Hustle, is done with the city of Denver.

Those branded shows help to bring in revenue to the business. While membership and studio fees also generate revenue, Jaffee said it has been an interesting challenge to find a ways to fund House of Pod. Since podcasts are a trendy medium right now, Jaffee said it’s helped to drive up interest in the studio.

“I’m excited to solve that problem and make it sustainable for us,” she said. “There’s a lot of hope on the horizon, but also the hardships are real.”

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