The Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford University (CDD) is committed to researching democracy and public opinion obtained through the Deliberative Polling® process. Regardless of how complicated that may sound, it’s actually an incredibly interesting approach to decision making — one that gained national press in 2019 when the CDD brought together over 500 American voters to discuss the major issues that we as a society are facing (and have been arguing about on social media) for quite some time now. The event — aptly entitled “America In One Room” — was hosted under the supervision of the CDD and included participants selected via survey work conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago.
While the “America In One Room” event gained plenty of attention (former President Obama even tweeted about it), the CDD wanted to make the messaging more accessible to the general public. That’s where the idea for the creation of an “America In One Room” podcast was born, and that’s where the team at Tobe Agency got involved. If we could get participants of the “America In One Room” event to participate in a podcast series, recounting their experiences and sharing their own changed perspectives, then maybe the impact of the event could expand past the confines of the Texas hotel convention space where it all took place. We knew it wouldn’t be easy to coordinate so many moving pieces, but we gladly accepted the challenge.
As the production company on this project, we had a hand in all matters related to the build and eventual launch of the podcast series.
During the pre-production phase, we helped set up and coordinate guest interviews, formulate interview questions, and crafted voiceover pieces to help build a cohesive narrative from one interview to the next.
During the production phase, we oversaw all technical aspects, directed setup, and optimized sound output. With this production entirely taking place over the internet via Zoom and consisting of localized audio recordings, we had to make sure that the audio was as high-quality as possible to create a better, more polished finished product.
During the post-production process, we cleaned up the audio as much as possible, inserted the various narrative voiceover pieces we had created on an episode-by-episode basis, and prepped all materials for publishing. After drafting show notes and uploading all materials to a podcast management system for distribution, we worked on promotional pieces to help spread the word and introduce listeners to an abridged version of the “America In One Room” experience.
Our appropriately titled “Voices of America In One Room” podcast series launched in March of 2021. The series even culminated with an interview featuring successful businessman, thought leader, and well-known philanthropist Daniel Lubetzky. With such important messaging operating at the center of this podcast series, the team at Tobe Agency was honored to be a part of the process. As a result of this podcast series, we’re even currently working on a second season that features participants from a different event put on by CDD. We’ve really enjoyed partnering with the team at Stanford on this project, and are looking forward to future CDD-partner projects.