Liner Notes

How Long Gone Radio

ft. Chris Black and Jason Stewart

April 16, 2021

For Chris Black and Jason Stewart, one podcast wasn't quite enough; they needed a side-pod. The friends and podcasters already host the popular How Long Gone, on which they discuss a bit of everything and often dabble outside of music. (Black also runs a creative agency in New York City, while Stewart, a former professional DJ, is a podcast producer in L.A.) But they always wanted to dive deeper on music, and along came Anchor's Music + Talk feature, enabling them to play new songs in their entirety on HLG Radio–and react.


That's pretty much what Black and Stewart get up to on HLG Radio: They listen to new releases from artists all over the map, and discuss it as music-fan friends do: passionately and sometimes snarkily. Sometimes, they also look up lyrics midshow, like any of us would for some additional context. You never know quite where the critiquing will land, and that's part of what makes their reviews feel spontaneous and fun, like the antithesis of a carefully written Serious Music Review.

Intro

Chris Black: My name is Chris Black (@donetodeathprojects). I am originally from Atlanta but now live in New York City. My agency, Done To Death Projects, works with brands on strategy and communications.

Jason Stewart: I’m Jason Stewart (@themjeans). I’m born and raised in Southern California. I used to be a professional DJ and now I produce and host podcasts, and do some creative strategy as well.

What’s your show about?

CB: New music. Good, bad, and otherwise.

JS: We scan through all the new music that comes out every Friday, then pick 10 songs to listen to live on the show. Then we discuss our thoughts, tell stories—sometimes we even like the music.

How is this show different from the HLG podcast, and what motivated you to start it?

CB: We flirt with music criticism on How Long Gone, but with How Long Gone Radio we are able to go a little deeper. For example, Jason likes to go Google lyrics...stuff you could do, but it’s more fun to hear us do it.

JS: When you do a podcast about everything and nothing, it’s nice to have a different outlet that's hyper-focused on something specific. We always flirted with the idea of talking about music like this on our podcasts, but now that Spotify released this new function, it was a no-brainer.

Creating the show

What was your thought process when choosing HLG Radio's format?

CB: We both follow music closely, so it made sense for us to do a weekly show that spotlights the most interesting new releases.

JS: I just wanted to make something entertaining. Chris is really good at hating the things I like, and I’m really good at liking things that Chris hates. This translates well to popular music because everyone in the world has an opinion on it.

How do you select which songs to include in each episode?

CB: Troll the new-release page desperately looking for reissues of music made before I was born.

JS: I browse the new music releases on Spotify, as well as my New Release Radar [playlist on Spotify]. We always try to have a good mix of interesting music from artists we actually like, and then some pop music disasters to give a good thrashing to.

What kind of research goes into making a show like this?

CB: Not much!

JS: After all the years of DJing, my ability to scroll through music is just a reflex at this point–, it’s like checking my email. I categorize songs by how they make me feel, good or bad. If a song doesn’t make me feel anything at all, then it won’t even be fun to talk shit on.

How do you choose what parts of your show to edit or publish organically?

CB: Luckily for me, big TJ [Stewart] does all of the editing. I don’t even have Ableton on my MacBook Air.

JS: We don’t really edit much at all, to be honest. Spotify makes it really easy to just pull up our playlist when we’re uploading. I just drag and drop our songs into the audio file and they do the rest. Thank god, because we make four podcasts a week.

Finding your fans

What audience are you trying to reach with your show?

CB: Music fans who have a sense of humor and a deep respect for the Goo Goo Dolls.

JS: People out there who don’t have time to sift through all the thousands of songs that come out every week, lovers of awful EDM, fans of gatekeeping curators.

What do you hope your listeners will take away from it?

CB: That music of all genres is worth exploring, especially with friends!

JS: Everyone’s a critic, but the ones who talk the most shit, are often the ones who know how to help you the most.

What are some creative ways that you’ve promoted your show?

CB: We list and ghost-tag all of the artists we include each week on our Instagram Stories posts. You never know when Future or Shawn Mendes will check his mentions and repost!

JS: There is an art to including the artists who are small enough to repost us, but big enough to be verified, hopefully.

"We always flirted with the idea of talking about music like this on our podcasts, but now that Spotify released this new function, it was a no-brainer.”

Outro

Do you have any advice for people who want to create a music show like How Long Gone Radio?

CB: Good luck!

JS: Spotify makes it so easy, literally anyone could do it, but I would like to see you try, buddy. Good luck indeed.

What are you most looking forward to as you think about the future of the show?

CB: Having guests pick songs. They will never be as good as we are, but it would be fun to watch someone try.

JS: I thought about creating a collaborative playlist on Spotify that anyone could just submit their music to, which would be an amazing idea that would make our lives easier. Sadly, it would only work if everyone actually did that instead of just spamming us with 45,000 Taylor Swift songs.

Listen to How Long Gone Radio:

The opinions expressed above are those of the interviewees and not Anchor or Spotify.