You can’t read a newspaper, listen to the radio or talk to a friend without hearing about this podcast “you have to download.”
So although cyberspace seems saturated with podcasts, Chris Peterson says there is room for many more.
The Westporter has spent his entire career in audio, on both coasts. Working in the Bay Area, he landed a new job at a New York investment bank, Westport was the only town he and his wife Christy looked at.
Years earlier, while single in New York, a friend had invited him to his home here for Thanksgiving. “They spent the next decade talking about how much they loved the place,” Peterson says. “How could we live anywhere else?”
It felt like home quickly. They enjoy raising their 2 daughters here.
For years, Peterson focused on podcasts — both on the network and investment banking sides. He’s bullish on its growth potential, and with his two-pronged background realized he could help audio-focused companies grow with capital, as well as experience.
Branching out on his own to work full time on podcasts was an easy decision.
His new company, DWNLOAD Media, will make “significant investments” in networks, producers, and any business focused on growing the podcast space.
His goal is to find companies to help by streamlining areas like sales and marketing.
In addition to increasing profits quickly, those companies will have more power when negotiating deals with platforms, agencies and media buyers.
His firm is in discussions with companies across the US, and overseas.
Peterson’s wife works remotely. He could have started DWNLOAD Media anywhere. But they love the schools and the community, so they never considered moving.
Commuting to New York every day was not appealing. So although DWNLOAD Media has an office there for meetings, most of his time is spent in a co-working space here — after dropping the girls off at school.
Also, he says, “Westport has such an interesting mix of media and finance, both people living here and the companies based here. It’s the perfect home for DWNLOAD Media.”
Though the podcast industry has seen exponential growth in both popularity and revenue over the last few years, most people still don’t listen regularly. Radio is still king.
However, like all media — though at a slower pace — radio is moving to digital.
A large part of the reason is that most cars still don’t have CarPlay or Android Auto. Without that, listening to anything on a smartphone is “a clunky experience — like trying to listen to CDs in the car back when you needed that little tape adapter,” Peterson says.
But as more cars with phone interfaces hit the road, “it almost becomes easier to listen to content via your phone than on a more traditional method.”
Another area for growth: podcasts for kids. They’re a great way, he thinks, for youngsters to not only take a break from screens, but also use their imaginations.
He cites “Wow in the World” and “Story Pirates” as excellent kids’ podcasts. But there are opportunities for more.
Cocomelon (“which any parent with young kids surely knows”) signed a podcast deal last year. He looks for more larger kids’ brands to join the podcast world.
And, he adds, “if anyone knows anyone at Bluey, I’m more than happy to help create it.”
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The Surgeon General’s report about social media’s effects on young people is may not surprise many adults.
But what do teenagers themselves think? I asked one.
Staples High School senior — and “06880” intern — Colin Morgeson writes:
Last Tuesday, the New York Times ran an article about the dangers of social media. Surgeon General Vivek Murphy issued a public warning, citing social media’s possible “harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents.”
I mean, yeah, fair enough.
From my own experience, it’s the addictiveness of social media that’s truly the problem. As a regular Instagram user and a semi-frequent Twitter browser, I’ve spent hours on end scrolling through reels I don’t truly care about, and wading through endless seas of tweets about the latest controversies that don’t affect me in any way at all.
Of course these platforms don’t have any feature to remind you to stop browsing, so it’s easy to lose track of time.
Colin Morgeson checks his social media feed, in the Staples High School cafeteria.
The article also mentions the health detriments of social media use displacing sleep and exercise. While I think any technology is capable of distracting from more important activities, I often push my bedtime back (in small, “okay, this time is actually the last one” increments) to accommodate particularly interesting events unfolding on social media. (I will not remember anything about them in a week.)
The article also highlights social media’s destructive potential towards mental health, claiming “as social media use has risen, so have self-reports and clinical diagnoses among adolescents of anxiety and depression, along with emergency room visits for self-harm and suicidal ideation.”
It’s not difficult to see how social media can cause such negativity towards oneself. Online, people tend to present idealized versions of themselves and their lives, making the reality of one’s own life pale in comparison.
It’s amazing to see the contrast between idealization and reality: the accounts of many of the people I follow present over-exaggerated happiness and success, which I know is completely different from their real life experiences. It becomes clear how addiction and idealization can be a dangerous combination.
A 2022 study noted in the article points out a positive effect of social media. Social media allows young people to connect with others that they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise, allowing them to find communities and build connections.
Finding community, within the social media chaos.
In my experience, this is social media’s greatest strength. But I also believe social media’s ability to connect people is overstated. I’ve had online exchanges with others with similar interests, allowing me to learn new perspectives and the prevailing issues of the day in certain online communities. Movies, sports, music — everyone seems to have an opinion on everything.
However, I think these exchanges primarily serve someone’s own interest, rather than building genuine connections. Unless you truly commit to delving into the (often dangerous) world of regularly corresponding with strangers, at the end of the day the only “community” you’ll have built is a collection of familiar usernames and profiles.
Can social media be used for good? Absolutely.
For example, I use the “story” feature of Instagram to collect information for “06880 On The Go.”
Ultimately, I believe it’s a matter of spending time wisely — and remembering the value of real world experiences and connections.
Yesterday afternoon, a group of SLOBs — more formally, Staples Service League of Boys — stopped by Westport Fire Department headquarters.
They handed a check for $1,340 to the Westport Uniformed Firefighters Charitable Foundation. The money — proceeds from a fundraising basketball tournament — will help buy smoke alarms for hearing impaired people.
Meanwhile, Staples’ broadcast news program “On the Wreckord” took first place in the state, and honorable mention nationally, for “Best Newscast: Radio or Television” for Episode 6. The executive producer was Finnegan Courtney; the team included broadcast directors Diorio and Abby Nevin; anchors Zach Brody, Diorio and Ela Shi; intro producer Diorio, and other students who provided content and theme music.
Joseph DelGobboo and Mary Elizabeth Fulco serve as advisors for Inklings and “On the Wreckord.”
The 10th annual Dale Hopkins Memorial Golf Tourney will be held today, on Armed Forces Day. Fittingly, it is his birthday.
The event — this year, in Bermuda — raises money in honor of the man Carl Addison Swanson calls “everybody’s giant.” The Staples High School Class of 1966 athlete gained All-FCIAC honors in football and basketball. But it was his easy-going, friendly nature that attracted so many people of all ages to him.
After graduation, Dale served 2 tours in Vietnam as a Marine. He then moved into the construction business. he died in 2008.
The Dale Hopkins Memorial Fund, in correlation with the Semper Fi Fund, Annie and John Charitable Foundation and the Swanson Charitable Trust, was formed to assist a homeless classmate. It then assisted other Staples alumni who needed helping hands, and the Semper Fi Fund. 84% goes directly to veterans.
The New Works Initiative — the Westport Country Playhouse opportunity to see the first public meeting of a new play (and meet young playwrights) — continues June 5.
The play — “Quick Service,” by May Treuhaft-Ali — is about the precariousness of the food service industry. Four employees of a Chicago empanada shop try to make it through the dinner rush as something sinister rises up from the basement, ex-workers enact their revenge, and the oven has a mind of its own.
All tickets are $25. Click here to purchase, and for more information.
Punk rock from New York-based Darling blasted in MoCA Westport’s gallery Thursday — a different part of the usual “Cocktails and Conversation” event.
The evening also included a talk by Emann Odufu, curator of MoCA’s “Rainbow in the Dark”exhibition of German contemporary artist Anselm Reyle. Inspired by punk and heavy metal, his color palette utilizes Day-Glo colors as an outgrowth of his fascination with psychedelic and punk aesthetics.
The next “Cocktails and Conversation” (Thursday, May 25, 6 p.m.) features a discussion on design and female entrepreneurship with Barbara Sallick of Waterworks and Shari Lebowitz of Bespoke Designs, moderated by Jen Berniker of Designport. Click here for tickets.
Bob Gill, a longtime Westport resident and Boy Scout leader, died peacefully at home on Monday. He was 96.
After Trenton High School where he won a New Jersey diving championship, Bob enlisted in the Navy. He became a pilot, serving in the Pacific out of Hawaii’s Hickam Field until 1949.
Upon his discharge Bob was hired by American Airlines as a New York-based pilot. He married Olivia, a stewardess for American, in 1953.
In 1963 they and their 5 children moved to Westport. The next year he became a captain at American. A
As a young man Bob had enjoyed his time in the Boy Scouts, earning Eagle Scout His sons joined Troop 36. Bob became scoutmaster, spending much of his free time organizing monthly hikes and campouts throughout Connecticut. He also led the troop to national and international jamborees.
Bob took great pride in seeing his sons earn their Eagle Scout award, as well as grandson Odin, and watching daughter Kirsten participate in Girl Scouts. Even after his children left scouting, he continued on for years with the troop.
He was also an active board member of the Compo Beach Improvement Association, member of the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston, and a volunteer Red Cross driver.
Bob also flew for 20 years in the Naval Reserves, retiring as a commander.
After 36 years with American Captain Gill retired in 1987, He continued his love of aviation by piloting his Mooney 252, flying all over the US until he was 87. He was named an FAA Wilbur and Orville Wright “Master Pilot” for 50 years of accident-free flying.
Bob was proud and honored to have his children take up professional flying with the major airlines. His granddaughter Amelia become a flight instructor.
In retirement, Robert and Olivia traveled the world by sea and air. He enjoyed physical fitness training, sailing and skiing. He marched in many Memorial Day parades as a scoutmaster, and in his Navy uniform.
He was a member of the Grey Eagles, a retired American Airlines pilots’ organization, and of the First Church of Christ Scientist Westport.
Bob was predeceased by his brother, sister, and oldest son Gary. He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Olivia; their children Robert of Hawaii; Jeffrey (Dana) of Elgin, Illinois; Steven (Sally) of Exton, Pennsylvania; Kirsten (Steve Bartie) of Westport, and 10 grandchildren.
Services will be held tomorrow (Sunday, May 21, Harding Funeral Home; viewing at 10:30 a.m., funeral at noon).
Sometimes, “Westport … Naturally” photographers have to work quickly. Birds, bobcats, and most other creatures tend to move rapidly.
Rowene Weems had no such problem Thursday, at the Library Riverwalk. This trio never budged — not before she snapped her shot, or long afterward.
And finally … on this day in 1927 Charles Lindbergh took off for Paris from Roosevelt Field in Long Island. His Spirit of St. Louis landed in Paris 33 1/2 hours later: the first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic.
(“06880” will be as lucky as Lindy, if you click here to donate to Westport’s hyper-local blog. Thank you!
Lynsey Addario’s stunning image of the immediate aftermath of a Russian attack in Irpin, in the early days after their invasion of Ukraine, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Photography.
The 1991 Staples High School graduate did not win.
But she — and her New York Times photography colleague, 1988 Staples grad Tyler Hicks — were part of the prestigious journalism awards nonetheless.
The Times staff received a Pulitzer for International Reporting, for its “unflinching coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.” Addario and Hicks contributed many photos to those stories.
Both Addario and Hicks are previous Pulitzer Prize winners, for their individual work.
Congratulations to them, to the Times staff, and all the other winners.
Ukrainian soldiers trying to save the only person in a group of 4 who had a pulse, moments after a mortar attack in Irpin, near Kyiv, in March 2022. (Photo/Lynsey Addario for the New York Times)
If spring cleaning includes getting rid of old mattresses and box springs — hold on until May 20.
That morning Earthplace, Sustainable Westport and Bye Bye Mattress will sponsor a free mattress and box spring recycling event. Up to 90% of them can be recycled into carpet pads, exercise equipment and bike seat cushions, insulation, air filters and steel materials.
The event runs from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., at Earthplace.
Can’t transport your mattress or box spring? No problem!
Boy Scout Troop 36 will provide pickup service, for a small donation. Click here to sign up.
Saving the planet, one mattress at a time. (Photo and hat tip: Pippa Bell Ader)
David Pogue drew a standing room only crowd yesterday, for his Y’s Women’s talk on AI.
It was informative, fun — and a bit scary. The Westporter/”CBS Sunday Morning” and PBS “Nova” correspondent described coming changes in many fields, from writing, music, art and movies to politics.
He also noted “preventive measures.” The large crowd at Green’s Farms Church — all actual human beings — was very appreciative.
David Pogue with (from left) Y’s Women vice president Vera DeStefano and president Margaret Mitchell.
Now the small, scrumptious shop in the Joe’s Pizza Main Street shopping center just north of Avery Place has gotten national attention.
Forbes magazine features it on their Lifestyle/Dining page. “Decadent Treats with a Huge Helping of Goodwill” describes owner Aarti Khosla’s surprising career path, and honors her constant giving back.
Aarti’s donations of chocolates to first responders, students and many others get a shout-out; so does her fundraising for a variety of causes.
Click here for the full, well-deserved story. (Hat tip: Kristin Schneeman)
Aarti Khosla, in her Le Rouge store. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)
Staples High School students Ryan Sunjka, Jack Schwartz, Jackson Tracey and Lucy Barney are members of the Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital junior board.
They’re helping organize a May 20 event at Row House, in Compo Acres Shopping Center.
Contestants see which team of 3 people can row farthest on the machines in 30 minutes. The students’ goal is $10,000. Each team is asked to raise $300 (plus a $10 entry fee per person). They’ll be eligible for prizes — for both the distance rowed and the money raised — like Knicks, Nets, Yankees and Red Sox tickets, and a signed Derrick Rose basketball.
Junior board members promote the Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital Row House event.
Dozens of volunteers showed up this weekend, to help make the Long Lots Preserve a reality.
Phase III of the project — which is taking shape around the perimeter of the Westport Community Gardens, just south of Long Lots Elementary School — includes planting Connecticut natives like sweet gum and winter king hawthorn.
All ages took part. Among them, in the photo below: Emma and Melody Wilkinson. “They’re planting trees for the future, working with nature’s creatures,” says proud grandfather Joe Wilkinson.
The music series at VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 continues its celebration of one of the greatest jazz bandleaders ever: drummer Art Blakey.
An all-star lineup will play classics from the ’80s: Antonio Hart (alto sax), Michael Mossman (trumpet), David Morgan (piano), Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” Wall (tenor sax), David Berkman (piano), Phil Bowler (bass) and Tim Horner (drums).
Even more special: Staples High School jazz combos will play at 7 p.m., before the shows.
Advance tickets are available here for the 7 p.m. show (guaranteed seats, including dinner at 6:45); click here for the 8:45 p.m. show (with dinner). For the 8:45 show without dinner, click here.
Who says the Board of Selectwomen don’t have their finger on the pulse of the town?
There are 5 items on the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting (9 a.m., Town Hall auditorium; livestream on www.westportct.gov; televised on Optimum Channel 79).
Item #2: “Acting as the Local Traffic Authority, upon the recommendation of the Westport Police Department, to take such action as the meeting may determine to approve a request to the Office of the State Traffic Administration – Division of Traffic Engineering, to increase the exclusive green light left hand turn timing at the State-controlled traffic signal located at the intersection of CT Route 1 (Post Road East) and Myrtle Avenue.”
Longtime Westporter Audrey Magida died last week. She was 93.
She was a lifelong lover of New York City, where she was born, raised, and graduated from George Washington High School.
She moved to Westport in 1961. Audrey had a long career as a real estate broker, most recently with Prudential Real Estate.
She was an honorary life member of Temple Israel, having served as president of the Sisterhood, board member, and vice president of the congregation.
Audrey was an avid book reader and bridge player, theater devotee, classical music concert-goer, ballet and dance connoisseur, and enthusiastic sailboat passenger.
She was married for 65 years to Nathan Magida. She is survived by her children Dan (Nancy), Meg, and Matt (Pat); grandchildren Ben, Sarah, Jane, Emily and Sam, and great-grandchildren Nathan and Aiden.
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