Spring 2019

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E very two weeks, the hosts, SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris and National Executive Director David White, discuss a wide range of issues pertinent to members. "One thing that members say when they come up to me is, 'I want to hear more about the union,'" said Carteris in the podcast's Jan. 7 teaser episode, "Making the Revolution." "I think the podcast is a way for members to hear and learn." Adds White, "We talk frequently about the functions of the organization. But it's not only important to talk about what we're doing, but to help people understand what the issue is to make sure they are informed." Podcasts, episodic programs similar to radio shows that are available for streaming and downloading on the internet, are nothing new. Over the years, listeners — or subscribers — have been able to receive a wide array of content from thousands of shows about current events, pop culture and much more. In a 2018 Fast Company article, Apple surmised that there may be over 525,000 active shows on its platform alone. But this is the first instance of the union going into the studio and grabbing the podcasting mic. Production for the first episodes began last May. Preparation for each studio recording takes place weeks in advance to brainstorm each episode's topic, format and, in some instances, gather sound downloads. Just a month after release, it was estimated to be in the top 20 percent of all podcasts, an amazing feat for an institutional podcast. With this amount of success, what could be next? The best answer for now is to keep listening. Listen at Straight From the Mic Listen and stream the SAG-AFTRA podcast's first episodes now! "A Real-Life Telenovela Drama" — Telenovela stars Pablo Azar and Katie Barberi discuss the life of a telenovela actor and provide a first-hand account of the historic agreement between SAG-AFTRA and Telemundo. "The Attack on the Free Press" — NPR's Nina Totenberg and KTLA's Eric Spillman talk about the state of journalism in today's media landscape. "Social Media Superstars on the Future of Entertainment" — Social media influencers and Zeus co-founders Amanda Cerny and DeStorm Power talk about their rise as entertainers and their budding partnership with SAG-AFTRA. "Sexual Harassment: Have We Reached a Turning Point?" — Actor Chantal Cousineau joins Carteris and White to recount her work with the union to tackle sexual misconduct in the workplace. "Bang! Zoom! Pow! Inside the Dangerous World of Stunt Performers" — National Stunt Committee Chair Cort Hessler and stunt veteran Jane Austin, SAG-AFTRA's secretary- treasurer and L.A. Local president, discuss the thrilling and dangerous world of stunt performers. "Who Controls Your Digital Rights? From Deepfakes to Resurrecting the Dead" — "Deepfakes" place a performer's face on someone else's body and AI can replicate their images and voices. SAG-AFTRA EVP Rebecca Damon discusses what the union is doing to ensure members are protected. bites and clips from live events. Once these decisions are finalized, recording begins. Each studio session lasts two to three hours and produces content for two episodes. From there, the podcast moves into post-production. The editing and mixing process for a single episode takes anywhere from a day to a few days. So, given the amount of work an episode entails and its entry into a well- established medium, why did SAG-AFTRA start a podcast? The union has a diverse membership, and its leadership believes that it's important to reach out to members on as many platforms as possible in today's connected world. It's also a great way to spur conversation on issues important to members and provide insight into how the union is planning for tomorrow's challenges today. Since its official launch on Feb. 5, the podcast's first episodes have focused on a multitude of subjects, such as the rise and influence of social media in the entertainment industry; challenges facing broadcasters both inside and beyond the newsroom; and the effects of workplace sexual harassment. Carteris and White bring their own dynamic, perspective and humor, and each episode provides in- depth interviews and insights from guests such as NPR's legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg and young influencers Amanda Cerney and DeStorm Power, co-founders of the subscription-based video platform Zeus. Although the podcast covers a broad spectrum of topics, each episode brings together one unifying theme: the union's work in helping to address issues facing members today. Whether it is a first-hand account of the historic agreement between SAG-AFTRA and Spanish-language network Telemundo or the impact of the union's Four Pillars of Change Initiative, the podcast provides insight into SAG-AFTRA's mission to change and better the working standards for professionals across all media. Response to the podcast continues to be positive, and the number of subscribers is increasing with each episode. As of February, it has received a five-star rating on the Apple Podcast platform and was featured on its New and Noteworthy List, with more than 3,550 unique | Spring 2019 | SAG-AFTRA 47

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