You’re in third grade and you’ve been assigned a History Day project. You’ve chosen to study Amelia Earhart, someone you’ve only just learned about but also someone that none of the other kids have picked. You love studying her. Fast-forward to high school, where you write about the barriers she broke during her lifetime. Then college, where you write your dissertation on her and the depth of the mystery surrounding her. After so much time studying you take a break, but it’s not long before you begin a decade-long pre-research period on Earhart’s life that will launch into the making of a massive documentary. Your name is Chris Williamson and Chasing Earhart is a podcast that’s a lifetime in the making.
I had the opportunity to talk to Chris about Chasing Earhart and quickly learned that there was a lot more going on than a podcast. “The Chasing Earhart project is twofold. The podcast sort of serves as an extension of the forthcoming documentary that we’ve been shooting for about a year-and-a-half. Really what the podcast does is it serves as a deeper dive.” Understanding that the guests he interviewed would not like that their three or more hours in front of a camera would yield only a few clips in the documentary, Chris decided that a podcast would be the perfect way to make sure that no content was wasted by using the hour-long episodes to feature a special guest.
The documentary is still around a year from finishing the filming process, so the podcast has allowed fans and listeners to “journey along with us and be a part of the process. ‘Join the chase’ as we like to say.” As the project manager, Chris has been able to travel the country interviewing experts, guiding research, connecting with historical societies, and informing listeners about all things Earhart. All in all, Chris is working on “the project to end all projects on Amelia Earhart.”
Podcasting was a natural choice for Chris, a long time fan of the medium, because nothing substantial about Earhart had been done there yet. “There’s a lot of one-off episodes, maybe two at the most, but there hadn’t really been a deep dive yet.” And so Chasing Earhart came to fill that space, and Chris and the team rose to the challenge of creating an entertaining and educational show featuring the interviews and research they gather along the road to the documentary.
Chris has made sure the show covers everything, choosing “a wide variety of folks from every theory, every background, every expertise.” Connecting with so many people is possible because podcasts allow for long-distance conversations, and Chris is so excited for the opportunities those connections afford him. Overall though, I think he’s most excited about what’s coming next.
At the end of the podcast, which Chris is hoping will be at episode 100, the crew is looking forward to a very special finale. “The last podcast we are going to do is going to be a live one …. and the very last guest is going to be Amelia Earhart herself.” Chris isn’t planning on an actress or impersonator, but “the Amelia Earhart” on stage. So, if you want to “join the chase” or are just curious about how he’ll pull off an interview with someone born over a century ago, check out Chasing Earhart and leave a rating and review to let Chris know what you think!
Chasing Pods is a Podchaser blog series dedicated to letting our readers know about podcasts they may not have heard of or provide a sneak peek into the making of their favorite podcast. We talk to podcast creators about their journey into podcasting, the creation of their shows, the ups and downs of the work, and what they’re looking forward to for their podcast
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