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Casting Call

By Squarespace / Gimlet Creative

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Casting Call is like a Hollywood singing competition, but for people who are pros at audio interviews and non-fiction storytelling. On the show, an esteemed panel of judges will join host Jonathan Goldstein to vet submissions from aspiring podcast hosts across the country, and select three finalists to travel to Gimlet HQ to make a pilot of their show. One talented hopeful will have their pilot turned into a mini-series, produced by Gimlet, and maybe even get a Squarespace sponsorship of their own -- the pinnacle of podcast fame. All of the glory and the drama of the competition will be documented for listeners to hear. Expect a behind-the-scenes look at the weird and wonderful world of podcasting. You’ll learn what makes a good host and how entertaining shows get made when Casting Call officially launches in September.

Customer Reviews

predictable but disappointing outcome

I listened because I'm a Goldstein fan. I loved the idea, the choice of judges and finalists, and enjoyed the three pilots. But all the way through, I hoped one of the edifying shows on neglected topics by women with life experience (Deborah's or Natalie's) would win, and felt cynically apprehensive that the Millennial with prurient stories would instead. Sure enough, she did. I found her annoying and wouldn't recommend her show, but Gimlet (or Squarespace?) went with the clickbait from a host who will have no shortage of platforms.


I might just weep after episode 4. Listen to this immediately!

An uneven concept that yields a compelling pilot

Jonathan Goldstein is a god. Heavyweight is a 5 star Hall of Fame podcast. So is his episode of Mystery Show. So are the archives of Wire Tap, available on iTunes.

This? Well it is hard to say. Through six episodes it is a bit uneven. Goldstein is excellent, but it’s not really his show. The “judges” come off as self-important and add little. Some listeners may find them alienating. The good news is they go away (I think).

The show then becomes about three pilots. One, on death, is captivating and beautiful and wonderfully done. It is a unique voice among podcasts, and I look forward to reviewing it as a stand-alone feed. I would give the pilot 5 stars.

The other two...? I kept listening trying to figure out why they were picked, but neither the topics nor the hosts held any appeal for me. They seemed set up to fail. And, at least for me, they did fail. I regret the time spent trying them.

As for the non-pilot episodes, Aminatou Sow is not entirely my cup of tea and she talks A LOT. Alex Blumberg makes only a cameo, and his wife Nazanin Rafsanjani is fine, but hardly says anything. The Squarespace CEO says actually nothing. I would give those episodes 3-4 stars on the strength of Goldstein alone. The snippets of submissions were also fun.

So it’s good for what it is: works in progress. But by definition, that is going to be inconsistent. It’s not as good as high quality standalone feeds, but if you like a peak behind the scenes or love Goldstein (as you should), then give it a chance. The Final Say pilot (episode 4) is worth it as well.