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On Air Fest 2019


Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad, author Roxane Gay and BuzzFeed News host Ashley C. Ford will be among the headliners of On Air Fest 2019, the only festival of its kind where audio and podcast fans, creators, and industry innovators come together to explore storytelling and creativity in sound, organizers announced today.

The festival unveiled the full schedule of over 50 performances, conversations, listening parties, art installations, and live podcasts which will take place at Brooklyn’s Wythe Hotel from February 28th to March 3rd. Festival passes can be purchased online

At On Air Fest, author Roxane Gay will share her creative process and the stories that have shaped her worldview in an exclusive conversation with Design Matters host Debbie Millman, iconic co-host and founder of Radiolab, Jad Abumrad will sit down with Tape’s Mooj Zadie for a live episode of the profile show about the people who make radio, and Ashley C. Ford will lead the room in an “animal meditation,” a guided sonic experience transporting attendees into the mind of an animal.

The festival’s other headliners include: New York Times writer Jenna Wortham, host of Still Processing; legendary editor Tina Brown, host of TBD with Tina Brown; United States poet laureate Tracy K. Smith, host of The Slowdown;  and Missing Richard Simmons and Surviving Y2K creator Dan Taberski.

On Air Fest kicks off with Hot Pod Summit, the podcast industry business summit co-hosted by Hot Pod editor Nick Quah and the creative studio work x work on February 28th. This invite-only day-long event brings together 150 key decision-makers to discuss trends and challenges related to the emerging podcast industry.

The festival then opens up to the general public for three days of events featuring a roster of storytellers, artists, and musicians working across disciplines that includes Nancy hosts Kathy Tu and Tobin Low, The Antlers’ Peter Silberman, Complex editor-in-chief Damien Scott, Pigeons & Planes founder Jacob Moore, Crimetown co-creator Zac Stuart-Pontier, Love + Radio’s Nick van der Kolk and talent from some of the world’s most innovative podcast, media, and entertainment brands including VICE News, Radiotopia, CBC Podcasts, Science Friday, Artforum, ESPN 30 for 30 Podcasts and more.

“On Air Fest creates a magical space for sharing new ideas and experiences”, said Scott Newman, founder and creative director of work x work, the agency presenting On Air Fest. “We are inspired by the new generation of creators gravitating towards audio. Our goal is to elevate their work, and drive creativity with provocative, iconic and unexpected programming.”

Highlights of the festival include:

  • Vulture podcast critic and Hot Pod Editor Nick Quah profiles Dan Taberski, host of Missing Richard Simmons and Surviving Y2K, on how Taberski creates unforgettable audio.

  • A Radiotopia listening party with the creative minds behind Criminal, The Kitchen Sisters Present, Everything Is Alive, The Truth, Radio Diaries and ZigZag playing clips and answering questions and sharing cutting room floor treasures.

  • An in-depth look at the life and work of author Roxane Gay. This intimate conversation recorded live for Debbie Millman's Design Matters Podcast, will touch on Gay's creative process, the contemporary writing landscape and an inside look at her latest projects.

  • Join VICE News and the team behind the acclaimed new podcast 'Chapo: Kingpin on Trial' for a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the 8-part bilingual documentary series which uncovers the extraordinary rise and fall of Mexico's most infamous alleged drug kingpin, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

  • In a powerful conversation, Complex editor-in-chief Damien Scott and Pigeons & Planes founder Jacob Moore come together to dissect new trends in music and the rise of unexpected voices.

  • OUT Magazine’s Fran Tirado and Broadly’s Sarah Burke join Nancy co-hosts Kathy Tu and Tobin Low for a performance and panel sharing their vision for the future of queer audio making and community building.

  • The live debut of APM's new daily poetry podcast, The Slowdown hosted by U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith.

  • Enter the world of The Shadows, the first audio fiction from CBC Podcasts produced by Kaitlin Prest. In this On Air Fest exclusive, Prest shares unreleased scenes, blending lush sound design with intensely intimate storytelling into an experience that won't be repeated.

  • A bonus live episode of Wireframe, the podcast about user experience design from Adobe and Gimlet Creative hosted by Khoi Vinh.

  • A dedicated audio lounge in the hotel lobby, presented by Simplecast, a leading podcast hosting and technology company, open to the public and live streaming intimate conversations and performances throughout the weekend.

  • A special programming integration with Mastercard, showcasing thought leaders and creative forces behind their groundbreaking podcast, Fortune Favors The Bold, which is changing how we think about money today.

  • A Freshbooks networking breakfast and #imakealiving panel conversation, featuring small business owners and artists speaking candidly on how they work and live.

  • ESPN 30 for 30 celebrates its ten year anniversary at On Air Fest showcasing talent behind their documentary storytelling in film and audio.

  • A rare stage performance from Science Friday’s Undiscovered blending audio and projections to tell the overlooked history of the first woman in history to circumnavigate the globe.

  • A conversation with Crimetown’s Co-Creator Zac Stuart-Pontier about the groundbreaking series and his expansive work across film and audio.

Presenting sponsors and media partners for On Air Fest include: Mastercard, ESPN 30 for 30, Simplecast, Acast, Freshbooks, Stitcher, Hot Pod and WNYC.


On Air Fest


February 28-March 3, 2019


Wythe Hotel (80 Wythe Ave. at N.11th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn)


Where audio makers, artists and storytellers, the podcast industry and listeners gather to network and be inspired by the art of sound.


Early bird tickets available until February 1st: $60/day pass $150/three day pass


Earlier Event: February 28
DREAM Project Sueños 2019
Later Event: March 1
Sumo + Sushi