Maria Blasucci and Amanda Lund have deep roots in the comedy and podcasting worlds, so when the two friends set out to pitch their own podcast idea in 2018, they had full confidence in their product.
Yet, when they went to male-dominated media outlets — something felt off.
“Sometimes, when you're pitching shows to men, you feel like you have more to prove. When we pitched with TV, they’d say ‘oh, two female leads? That’s not gonna happen,’” recounted Lund in an interview with Know Your Value. “There’s this feeling that they may not fully understand why this is funny and that you’re not being trusted ... We feel like we know what we're doing, and we trust our creative vision.”
The two, who are both actresses and comedians, didn’t hear “no,” but they didn’t hear excitement from the other side of the table either. Instead of settling, they decided to launch their own all-female podcast media network — the first of its kind — called Earios. The outlet is now home to 12 podcasts, including “The Margaret Cho,” an interview show hosted by the A-list comedian and “Pleasure Studies,” hosted by musician Feist.
In the early days of Earios, Lund and Blasucci hired Priyanka Mattoo, a former agent and business partner of actor Jack Black, to build Earios. They raised about $26,000 on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to jumpstart the company. The women then solicited trusted, professional female comedians who might want to submit their ideas for shows. The criteria was relatively loose.
“Not to get all Marie Kondo, but whatever sparked joy,” said Lund.
The name Earios comes from the word “curio,” since their podcasts are somewhat like a varied cabinet of curiosities. “Something for everyone!” they wrote in their Earios release statement. “Then we slapped the ‘Ear’ on there to make it more ‘podcasty.’ Listen, we had a lot of options for names but for some reason we just gravitated toward Earios, and used it as a placeholder until one day we realized it was too late to turn back. But we love it!” said Lund.
The subject matter of the podcasts include motherhood, history, the underbelly of social media and more. Lund and Blasucci also host their own podcast “The Big Ones” where they discuss heavy moral dilemmas, while Mattoo and comedian Camilla Blackett host “Foxy Browns,” which discusses beauty from a women of color perspective. Most of the podcasts are comedy-based.
Mattoo said that Cho’s agent reached out to them after hearing about the all-female concept. Her podcast “The Margaret Cho” premiered last week.
“She's so great and enthusiastic. We couldn’t ask for a better anchor talent piece,” said Mattoo.
Thanks to Cho and all the buzz, Earios is steadily growing. They now have a bare-bones recording studio in Los Angeles.
“Let's just say it’s subterranean,” said Lund. “There’s no cold brew on tap.”
“It’s welcoming and adorable,” argued Mattoo. “There is an espresso machine. We like to take care of our guests. The sound is great.”
Everyone working on the podcast is female-identifying.
“Our coordinator is a woman, our editor is a woman, all the hosts obviously are women, our graphic designer, and we work with an ad sales team at Acast that’s all women,” said Mattoo. “I’ve only worked with men at agencies and working with the girls has been such an amazing relief ... When there's conflict, we approach it in a way that makes everyone feel good. We anticipate needs before they happen instead of letting them happen. Skills that women are supposedly better at come in handy.”
Currently, all of the podcasts are based in Los Angeles.
“We’re trying to grow organically. We’re not trying to raise a bunch of money to explode overnight,” said Mattoo. “The idea is to get to a slate that we're happy with this year. We don’t want to grow so fast that we can’t promote and build listenerships for all the shows.”
The all-women model appears to be working, according to Blasucci.
“We've worked with tons of men that are great, but it's just an environment where we all seem to be on the same wavelength,” said Blasucci. “I don’t know what part of that is being around like-minded people or due to gender, but it feels comfortable.”