“When I do an interview, I try to throw out any sort of expectations of the interview that I want to have, and really try to meet someone where they are in that moment, in that second.“~Kate Sullivan, To Dine For
A pandemic can make you question all sorts of life and podcasting choices. Emmy Award-winning journalist Kate Sullivan offers up a solution: return to your why.
Why do you care?
As host of To Dine For, a multimedia celebration of ingenuity, hard work, and achievement told over food, Kate explores the universal motivator with her guests. Why do they do what they do? Why is this restaurant the location for the conversation (each guest gets to choose the place in which the interview takes place)? In crafting each episode, Kate’s reminded of her why: to tell inspiring stories over food.
Why frames this episode’s masterclass convo for a good reason. Why is the foundational question that makes a show – your show – better than the rest.
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“Sometimes we think things have to be “either-or,” but they can be, “and,” you know. You can love it and do it the way you want to do it.“~Kate Sullivan
Although To Dine For began as an idea for a tv series – now streaming via PBS and Amazon Prime – “the podcast started as my way of pivoting in the pandemic, of trying to create and continue to do what I love,” Kates says. “And so…I committed to a 40 episode podcast, and we have started in September, and it’s been amazing.”
In both formats, the key ingredient is evident. Kate’s natural curiosity and willingness to stay in the moment rather than on script tells guests that she’s genuinely interested in what they have to say. The conversations feel experiential rather than transactional, a real exchange flavored with intimate details instead of a Q & A checklist. “I think those two qualities, being curious and really caring can set people at ease more than anything else in the world.”
Kate’s expertise, although honed in broadcast news, translates well to podcasting. She shares some of that skillset in this episode, giving listeners insight into her production process, her technique for reframing rejection, and grounded philosophy about risk in and out of a pandemic. If you’re in search of the Cliff’s Notes version, Kate suggests circling back to the beginning of all things. “Try to keep why you started at the forefront of your mind. That’s really all you can do in my perspective.”
Good advice always bears repeating.
Peace, love, and podcasting!
P.S. Check out my crossover interview with Kate for The Creative Impostor!
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