Depresh Mode with John Moe
It's here! Well, on March 29th, technically! But it's here!
I have really, really good news. We have a new podcast. You and me and our friends.
Depresh Mode with John Moe debuts on March 29th. It’s an interview-based show about common mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, trauma, panic, and others. It’s made in partnership with the company Maximum Fun, which is a company built on creators like me having ownership of what they make so I own Depresh Mode.
The name comes from a joke that popped up in my head and which I rejected and then reconsidered.
Here are a bunch of ways to subscribe and be a part of it and learn more about it:
We’re on Twitter!
I loved my former program, The Hilarious World of Depression, and there will be some similarities. We’re talking about mental health on this show, there will be familiar voices, humor has a home here because it’s a great way to make the topic less scary. But there will be some significant differences as well and here come some bullet points:
We’re making a lot more shows. 48 per year, meaning a new show nearly every week. For listeners, this means no more waiting for months for new episodes.
All those shows mean I can cover more topics. Yes, there will be a lot of long-form interviews where a person tells their story. But we’ll also have episodes on things like workplace burnout, risks and rewards of online therapy, and what kind of trauma effects to expect after covid.
More shows means more returning guests. Expect to hear more from Dr. Ken Duckworth, medical director for NAMI. My dear friend Ana Marie Cox will be an ongoing presence (“I’m the nosy neighbor of the show,” she says). And more folks who can help.
I’ve found myself saying, “We’re a team” in the show scripts I’ve been writing, and it’s true. I consider the podcast, the social media presence, the eventual live shows, and more to be part of a large group effort where I may be organizing things and talking the most but I’m just part of a team.
The name, also, is different. Depresh Mode. It’s the name that made my wife laugh the most.
And I’m going to share more of what I think. I’ll speak more freely with opinion and insight. Because I can.
Rhett Miller is doing the theme song again but it’s a whole different song (one Rhett owns!) He’s written a song called “Building Wings” specifically for the show and I love it. “I’m always falling off of cliffs now / Building wings on my way down / I am figuring things out/ Building wings, building wings, building wings” it goes. And yes. Perfect.
It has been a hell of a last 12 months for everyone and I am no exception. My previous show, The Hilarious World of Depression, ended last June and I was laid off from my job. A pandemic is not a great time to be told you’re losing your health insurance. It hurt all the more because so many listeners have told me they relied on the show to help their mental health and I knew they needed it during covid more than ever. I was told that I wouldn’t be able to take the show with me, not the name, not the RSS feed, not the archive.
I was fortunate, however. Literally within minutes of word getting out about my job situation, I started receiving emails from colleagues in the radio and podcast industry. People knew the work I had done and wanted to support it and have it continue. I never knew I had so many friends and fans until the chips were down. Within a day or two, I had an agent at a big Hollywood agency on board to help me sort through the paths. (And we were able to move to my wife’s insurance, phew.)
What became immediately clear was that the previous arrangement (salaried employment at a big company who owns everything you make) was no longer the industry standard for podcasting. Outside of that one company, creators own the content. If I wanted to make the show all on my own, do the web hosting, sell ads and sponsorships, go the Patreon or Kickstarter route, I theoretically could. Generally, I’m more keen on making shows than running an entire business so it made sense to find a partner. I talked to several, from very indie collectives to the largest media companies in the country. I reached out to professional colleagues for advice. People who knew what I make and who I am. All roads led to Maximum Fun. I’ve known the company’s founder, Jesse Thorn, for many many years. Like me, he’s steeped in public radio and he also wanted to find a way to make a better model that values creativity. His company has grown significantly over the years but carefully and conscientiously.
There are some incredibly successful shows on Max Fun like “Judge John Hodgman” and “My Brother, My Brother, and Me”. Those shows could presumably pick any network they want but they stick with Max Fun because it’s full of good, honest people doing good, honest work.
Since hitching on with Max Fun, I’ve been pleasantly astounded. It’s a haven for smart, ethical, diverse, fun, and good people who are all about making good things for the world. They are creative partners, sounding boards, and overall sharp cookies. I’m not sure if I have lucky stars but I thank my lucky stars all the time just in case. And I thank folks like Gabe Mara, Laura Swisher, Bikram Chatterjy, Stacey Moski, Daniel Baruela as well as every single person at Max Fun. What a great group. You will hear the happiness and relief in my voice on Depresh Mode.
So. Subscribe! And coming in May: your chance to support the show and get fabulous prizes!