We’ve got a new host for the show! And I, Hillary, will be editing and producing her as she takes us all (yep, you too!) on a big, awesome adventure.
Back in 2010, when I started this podcast, the idea wasn’t to make it my job. Getting paid to host a podcast was unimaginable at the time. Instead, I made the show as a resume-builder—to prove to potential employers that I still had chops, after having taken a maternity leave from freelancing. A few years after I started the show, still unemployed, the podcast industry exploded. And it turned out I didn’t need to find a job anymore; I had created one for myself. A pretty dreamy one, in fact.
I was like, Okay, this train’s really leaving the station, and I asked you all to join me on what was sure to be a wild and crazy ride. And oh boy, did you ever! You opened your hearts and minds to me and my staff (yes, I have a *staff* now!)—telling your stories through emails and comments at all times of day and night. Some of those stories made it on the podcast. Together, we followed the incredible journey of The Accidental Gay Parents, we got sex advice for parents, and we brought much-needed attention to the problem of discrimination against working moms. We made it to top podcast lists in The Atlantic and TIME; we got featured in The New Yorker’s Talk of the Town; and we won some awards, including twice in a row from the Third Coast International Audio Festival.
We have achieved these things together—I couldn’t have done it without you. Yeah, yeah, lots of hosts say that about their audience, but in this case I mean it literally. You have been an integral part of this show right from the start. I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished in the last seven years. And now it is time for a new chapter at The Longest Shortest Time. It is time for me to pass the mic.
I mean, there are a few reasons. One—I want to rebalance my life a little. Hosting a weekly show is validating and exhilarating. And also… it never stops. Sasha is turning 8 next month. And I’m starting to realize she and I are kind of in the “shortest” part of our own “longest shortest time.”
Two—I get to do something new with this show that I love. I’ll be editing the podcast. Editing is one of my favorite things to do, especially with talented people like our new host. And I’ve got all sorts of ideas rattling around in my brain about how to expand the Longest Shortest universe, too. Before I started The Longest Shortest Time, I wrote and illustrated three young adult novels. As much as I love hosting, I’ve missed writing and drawing. This change will give me the space to make books again. I even have one in the works already, which you know about—Weird Parenting Wins—and it’s not too late to get your wins in, so do that right now, before you forget.
Who’s replacing you?
I’m very excited to have the uber-talented Andrea Silenzi fill my shoes. Incidentally, we are both just over five feet tall and wear the same tiny shoe size, so I think she’ll fit very nicely.
For the last year-and-a-half, I’ve had the pleasure of editing Andrea’s critically-acclaimed dating podcast, Why Oh Why. What I love most about Andrea is that she takes risks in her work and when she tells personal stories, she goes deep. You heard her doing this on one of our most popular episodes: Single, Female, Seeking Baby Daddy. This lady has top-notch production chops, writing skills, and creative prowess—a rare combo in this business. Most importantly, Andrea and I have a blast working together, feeding off of each other’s ideas. I think that’ll become abundantly clear once you hear what we make together.
Why a non-parent?
Right! Andrea is not a mom. But that’s part of what’s so exciting about what she’s doing on the show.
First, let me say, I can understand why it might seem like an odd choice, to pick a non-parent to fill this role. But I’ve built my career on unconventional moves. I got into radio by mailing Ira Glass a story I made with a shiny red boombox and a microcassette answering machine. My first YA novel was about a girl who loses her virginity to a guy dressed as the devil—and was published at a time when sex in YA novels was a no-no. And I started a podcast motivated by a vaginal injury… which on the face of it, you’ve gotta admit, doesn’t sound like a thing with mass-appeal. So far, these choices have worked out well for me.
Here’s the opportunity with Andrea on LST. Over the last year, it’s become clear that Why Oh Why was mainly about Andrea’s intense desire to become a mother. As a single woman in her thirties, having gone through a recent rotten breakup, Andrea’s got a lot on the line when it comes to parenthood. It is the thing she wants most in her life; she has no idea how to get there. Those are some stakes, right? Great radio is all about big stakes. The stakes for me are less high than they were when I started this show.
So while Andrea is not a parent now, she is driven to hear and tell stories about parenthood, and everything it takes to get there. There are some topics she’ll be more equipped to tell than I am: dating as a parent, parenting through divorce, single motherhood, and what happens when you want to be a parent but it doesn’t work out, to name just a few. These are all subjects our fans have been asking for more of—and with Andrea, I feel more ready to deliver.
Will the show change?
I think, yes—but in subtle and good ways. Sometimes the curiosity you have as a non-expert can lead to extremely interesting moments (or, so I was told when as an economic novice I reported for Marketplace). Andrea and I have different experiences, different life circumstances. That’ll come through in her episodes and her perspective on the world, and I welcome that shift.
But also a lot will stay pretty much the same. I’ll be LST’s Executive Producer and Editor, so the sensibility will be familiar. Andrea is an insightful, empathic interviewer—and we will continue to feature the surprising parent-child stories that you have come to expect from this show. The Longest Shortest Time is not a parenting advice show; it’s a storytelling show. And I believe that family is one of the most universal topics there is. I have worked hard to make a podcast that treats family like a beat—a beat that, I’m proud to say, has attracted many listeners who don’t have kids. Let’s remember, Jad Abumrad is not a scientist; Roman Mars is not an architect. I don’t see why a non-parent can’t report on family. In fact, some of my favorite LST episodes have been told by my non-parent producers.
Will we still hear from you?
Sure! Like I said, Andrea and I love chatting together. We talk about deep stuff, silly stuff, weird stuff. She’s convinced me to do a recurring segment, in which I tell her what’s up with me—and she gets a glimpse into what her future life as a mom might look like. I believe we are starting with my obsession with my daughter’s wart!
You guys, the last seven years have been a wild ride. You jumped on board and gripped your seats as I zigged and zagged us to all kinds of dark, poignant, hilarious, ridiculous places. We’re traveling to a new land now. With a new driver. She doesn’t know where we’re going any more than I did when I started this gig. I’ve gotta say, as a newly minted passenger I find that kind of thrilling.
Won’t you join me?