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On the New Podcast, The Sound of Love

Love is hard to find these days. Apps that turn people into games. Pandemics are deadly for bacteria. Adele dominated the Billboard charts, singing stories of her longing and suffering.

Is romance dead? Not in the cold podcast world, where there have been two recent audio dating shows -”This is Dating” and “Nice to hear from you”- aims to recreate the practice of matchmaking during isolation.

“This Is Dating,” from indie studio Magnificent Noise, follows four data professionals as they find ways to break out of old stereotypes and start meaningful relationships. In exchange for their participation (the show uses real voices but fake names), the subjects receive a team of fairy godmothers tasked with restoring their love lives.

A dating coach, Logan Ury, director of relationship science at dating app Hinge and author of the book “How Not to Die Alone: ​​The Surprising Science That Will Help You Find It” love” – helps each person identify his or her bad habit. Manufacturers do matchmaking, recruiting a steady stream of potential partners based on the preferences of the eater. Listeners get to hear one actual day per episode, done via Zoom because of Covid, and the producer and Ury help there, too. Sitting among (mostly) silent participants, they occasionally drop icebreakers into the conversation to keep the momentum going.

Jesse Baker, co-founder of Magnificent Noise and co-creator of This is Dating, which premiered earlier this month and is produced by Baker, Hiwote Getaneh and Eleanor Kagan, said: incredible trust. “You talk to us about the problems you feel you have, and we offer this one-of-a-kind doodle to approach things differently.”

Baker, an executive producer of the celebrity couples therapy podcast “Where Should We Start? With Esther Perel,” which she helped create, has brought some of that show’s analytical capabilities to her new podcast. The show balances MTV’s game-show-style elements – individually recorded side commentary clipped to the sounds of the dates – with the more earnest ambitions of modern social psychology. .

Throughout the season, listeners will follow datasets as they go through multiple first dates, each presented as a step on the path of self-discovery.

“We don’t just want a half-hour of glamor on someone’s awkward blind date,” says Baker. “For us, it’s important to show growth.”

“Nice to hear you” also applies the narrative framework to the dating game. The show, which finished its six-episode first season last spring (a second episode is in development), follows three couples who are allowed to exchange letters once a day for 30 days. On the other hand, couples use pseudonyms and can only communicate via voice memos, with no photos or other identifying information exchanged. At the end of the experiment, each person will find out if their connection is more than one-way.

Part of the appeal of “Nice to hear you” is the implication that looks and other physical concerns are unnecessary to romance. Program creators and publisher, Heather Li, developed it after watching the Netflix dating series “Love Is Blind” in which the contestants, who have known their future partners for about a week, agree to marry. without ever meeting them.

“Nice to hear you” avoids such high stakes, but it is remarkable to hear how close the couples are within its fixed framework. Two weeks into the project, one woman claims that she has shared more with her partner than she has in any previous real relationship. “I feel like I’ve known him for years,” she said.

Li, a retail consultant who created the podcast during her own period of dating failure, said the restrictions have helped some participants get out of their own way. surname. “You don’t get distracted by someone’s appearance or their background,” says Li. “I think it’s harder to prejudice someone if you don’t have a lot of data points.”

In both “This Is Dating” and “It’s Nice to Hear You,” the limitations of the medium are turned into strengths. Listeners’ inability to see the show’s data set makes it easier for them to see where they are. And the relatively unobtrusive nature of the production apparatus – a smartphone recorder in the case of “Nice to hear you” and a Zoom account for “This is a date” – all exclude the “I’m not here to make friends” opinion, the effect is noticeable by the presence of reality TV crews.

Among the biggest challenges are finding enough participants to provide matches – both programs say they have more women signing up than men – and ensuring that interactions across days is interesting to listen to. In “This Is Dating,” virtual datasets will mix cocktails, play impromptu games, and give each other bedroom tours, among other mood-boosting activities.

Getaneh, one of the producers of “This Is Dating,” said: “None of us are professional matchmakers, but creating an environment where everyone can have fun and feel connected like something we can absolutely do.”

One question that both programs face is how to provide a satisfying resolution. Here, Li got lucky. Shortly before she begins “It’s nice to hear you,” she is ghosted by a guy she happened to see. Li decided to put her personal journey into an episodic storyline, confessing her struggles with intimacy and communicating with the same relationship coach who interviewed her subjects.

When she finally meets her current boyfriend, with whom she’s been with for over a year, her happy ending becomes a podcast.

“Listening to other people’s hours of open communication has made me realize that I need to be bolder and more assertive,” says Li. “If they did it, why can’t I?”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/26/arts/dating-podcasts-love.html On the New Podcast, The Sound of Love

Fry Electronics Team

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