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Jan 21, 2020

POD SAVE ASTORIA WEEK: The ‘Why’ of True Crime Culture with ‘DIE-ALOGUE’

When we started looking into local podcasts a few weeks back for story ideas, there were so many good opportunities for content that we decided to make it a week-long (…)

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When we started looking into local podcasts a few weeks back for story ideas, there were so many good opportunities for content that we decided to make it a week-long series! So, welcome to “Pod Save Astoria” Week, where we’re interviewing local podcasters about joining a super popular medium, recording locally, the laughs (and tears) along the way, and so much more. Enjoy (and start downloading…now!).

Today’s guest as we”ll call it (to stay on-theme), is Rebekah Sebastian, who started her podcast “Die-alogue” about two years ago. The show is an interview-format true crime podcast that examines our culture’s collective obsession with true crime. But before it was a podcast, it was actually a trivia show.

The show, “Yellow Tape,” was in the typical five-round trivia game format that people play in teams, but all the categories are true crime related. She hosted all around the city (and still does), but her main venue is QED Astoria.

“I noticed that a lot of conversations would come up at the shows — themes that surfaced around the cases we were covering, and I realized there’s a lot more I wanted to explore but the live show didn’t always allow for it,” Rebekah explained. “So I like to say if YELLOW TAPE is focused on the Who/What/Where and When of true crime, DIE-ALOGUE is all about the Why!”

That “why” involves interviews with survivors of attacks and cults, defense lawyers, district attorneys, writers, podcasters, film makers, journalists and more.

As for turning those longer conversations into a recordable, digestible format, Rebekah actually met a podcast producer and editor at QED (you’ll hear from him later in the week!). He walked her through the basics (there’s a studio on-site), and she also outsourced the editing work to him since she has a full time job and family. She still handles every other aspect of the show from research, booking/scheduling guests, interviewing, marketing and social media.

“To begin podcasting, you really just need: a decent mic (I got a Yedi), a hosting site (I use Libsyn), editing software/program (Garage Band), and a concept!,” she said. “I also chose to use Zencastr for my guests that are not local—we record our call via this cloud based platform that is really easy to use and records the conversation in two separate files which makes editing easier.”

And being located in Queens has helped the podcast with even more than just getting started. She recorded intros and show trailers in the QED studios, and records most of her interviews at her apartment in Long Island City. If the guests are local, she even invites them into her home as she prefers in-person interviews as much as possible.

“One of my guests, Quinn, lives in Astoria, and she recorded at my apartment,” Rebekah said. “Hers is one of my most downloaded episodes — she grew up in Boulder, CO and was childhood friends with Jon Benet Ramsey.

“Another great guest I had on, Mani Tafari, practices law in Queens. We recorded at his office in Forest Hills. He was part of the legal team for Nick Hilary, which is a case many people know from the HBO doc, ‘Who Killed Garrett Phillips?'”

“Queens as a whole is an incredibly inspiring background for all my creative endeavors,” she added. “So many artists are from Queens, and the diversity keeps the borough interesting and dynamic.”

Quick Fun Q’s

WHA: What are some of your other favorite podcasts to listen to?

Rebekah: I listen to SO many podcasts, it’s hard to choose favorites, but here’s a handful:

Criminal, Armchair Expert, Direct Appeal, Uncover: Escaping NXIVM, Something Was Wrong, Swindled, LA Not So Confidential, The Dream, The Dropout, The Fall Line.

OK, that was actually TWO handfuls.

WHA: What’s your favorite thing to eat/drink while you record or edit?

Rebekah: I run on iced lattes all year long, no matter the weather. So I will research and prepare fueled by coffee, but I keep it simple while recording and just sip water. I love sparkling water but it is not a good idea to drink carbonated beverages while recording…those mics pick up every little gurgle! Water is best.

WHA: What is your favorite most underrated spot in the neighborhood?

Rebekah: I don’t know how underrated it is, but I love kayaking from Hallets Point Beach! I find that whole area of Astoria interesting, and I love the art, and new things happening there.

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