“It all started when my daughter wanted to listen to children’s stories on a podcast, and I’ve always been a writer, so I just started writing them,” said Dan Hinds.
Launched in 2014, Stories Podcast today has a catalog of more than 200 episodes, written by Hinds and the Stories team, and more than 1.5 million monthly listeners. Amanda Weldin voices and performs nearly all of the characters on each podcast.
“The most popular things we've done are Dog King, which is a sort of Saturday morning cartoon vibe that is really character driven by Amanda's voices and has a lot of good vocabulary mixed in,” Hinds said of their most downloaded stories. “The other is our version of Rapunzel, which includes a beautiful song by Amanda (she sings a duet with herself!) and resonated with our audience as being a take that gives the initiative and the power to Rapunzel, instead of her being a passive waiting maiden in distress.”
Hinds and Weldin are especially passionate about Stories Podcast being used as a tool for learning, from schoolchildren to English language learners. And despite the recent pandemic of COVID-19, Stories Podcast is producing content in hopes that their podcast will make this difficult situation easier for a lot of families.
“People are relying on us as a way to keep their kids busy while they’re home from school,” said Weldin. “We want to find more ways to make the stories interactive with listeners during a time where they can’t go to school.”
In 2019, Hinds and Weldin decided to make Stories Podcast their full-time focus and both left their other full-time jobs. They formed a corporation and joined the Innovation Hub Haverhill.
With an office to run the business side of the business - the podcast recording is still done in Hinds’ home studio - the pair have found benefits from the iHub’s resources and community.
“The reason the iHub was so appealing to us was that there were other people there to connect with, and to feel like a community,” Hinds said. “We've both been struck by how much goes into running a company beyond just producing the stories like we always have. Even with a simple little business like ours, there seems to be no end to the little administrative jobs and decisions you have to make.”
Since moving in, Stories Podcast has collaborated with fellow members the Greater Haverhill Chamber and Haverhill Promise on various projects.