Shreya Sharma (SS): Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey in audio.
Lucia Scazzocchio (LS): I’m based in the UK and I run a very small production company called Social Broadcasts. I make audio works myself; from radio programs and podcasts to audio tours and installations. Pretty much anything connected with sound. I’ve been creating communities and also creating collaborative work. I’ve been doing that for eight or so years now, although I’ve worked in radio and audio for almost 30 years. A couple of years ago, I started XMTR. So it’s actually, it’s spelled XMTR, but it’s pronounced transmitter.
SS: What motivated you to create a platform that bridges the gap between emerging audio creators and hidden gems of audio storytelling?
LS: As an independent audio producer, often working with small organizations, art institutions, and museums, I realized that the work that I was doing, would take an enormous amount of work and energy, and I’d collaborate with lots of people and a lot would go in, would often just get lost. People put it on their website and then they might do a little bit of social media around it. However, once the project was over, that audio would just be lost in the ether. That’s when I realized that there are quite a lot of audio producers like me who don’t have massive budgets for marketing and PR and don’t necessarily work for big companies who are making interesting work. Unfortunately, other than putting it onto SoundCloud, no one really knows about it. So, I created XMTR as a kind of curated platform for independent producers like myself to showcase their work. Additionally, it’s an archive platform. I select works from the past as well that might have otherwise been forgotten.
SS: Could you share some key obstacles you encounter in creating this curated sonic storytelling platform?
LS: The curation takes a long time and I’m always searching to find things but I also invite people to submit work and recommendations. However, the word is yet to get out that people can submit. So far, I’ve posted everything that people have submitted. There is a selection process, but I think that it’s self-selective. People realize the kind of things that would work on the platform. I will then do my best to put them on the platform as quickly as possible. It’s just me and it’s a passion project so there’s no money involved. I think those are the challenges – time because it’s just me doing everything and getting the word out there as much as possible.
SS: How do you envision this eclectic selection of audio storytelling contributing to the broader landscape of audio content beyond the realm of traditional podcasts?
LS: People aren’t just turning on the radio and listening to whatever’s on. These days, we’re all about selecting according to our tastes and what people have recommended to us. So we miss lots of things. There’s no element of serendipity. So the main idea behind XMTR is this surprise element where you can discover things. You can have it on in the background as you would, a Spotify playlist or your radio.
SS: Do you believe that audio storytelling has the potential to become a multidimensional art form, engaging audiences through diverse experiences beyond the traditional podcast format?
LS: I think audio storytelling can take many different forms. Obviously, people who have discovered it through podcasting might just think that that’s the only way to do it. But, there are many other ways! I’m always interested and intrigued by live radio and audio performances. Also, there are audio installations in galleries or even in public spaces. Plus, you don’t always have to listen to something on your own, in your headphones. I think there’s something to be said for public listening, so listening in a group. There’s something quite nice about sitting with a group of people and listening to things as well. Ergo, there’s no one way to listen to things.
Thank you, Lucia! XMTR is always open to pitches for your show. Share your audio here.