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  • Writer's pictureJane Leder


A friend who'd been my boss during my short stint at the Chicago ABC-TV affiliate called to tell me how much she's enjoying the "Older Women & Friends" podcast. She'd been an on-air reporter and tutored me before I went out on my first book tour these many decades ago. So, a compliment from her meant a lot.

"Have you heard about WIIFM?" she asked.

"No," I said. I felt rather embarrassed that I didn't know this radio station. "What am I missing?"

My friend paused. "It stands for 'What's in it for me?'"

I laughed. "So, it's not . . . "

"It's an important creed to remember when thinking about guests and topics for your podcast."

"Right," I said.

"People press the PLAY arrow, and within a few seconds, they will decide whether or not to hit STOP or continue to listen."

"I get it," I said. Already, I was taking stock of my upcoming episodes. "But it's impossible to please all the people all the time."

"Of course," she said. "But you have to ask yourself constantly whether or not a listener will find something in it for her."

My brain was spinning. Had I been scheduling topics of interest to me without considering the interests of potential listeners? The episode on weight and loving your body has turned out to be the least popular of the other seven podcast episodes. I was surprised. Maybe it was the guest who was less than stellar. Or maybe I'd assumed that many older women had issues with their body image when, in fact, they've put all of that behind them.

I sighed and, for a moment, thought about dumping the whole podcast thing. Who did I think I was, anyway? What gave me the creds to jump into the middle of the discussion about women and aging?

"Hey," my friend said. "You're doing a great job. I'm just here to encourage an even better product."

"I appreciate that," I said. I did. But appreciation doesn't always trump (You should excuse the expression) doubt.

We talked about my friend's move to Seattle six months ago at seventy-seven. Before she left St. Louis for good, she asked everyone she knew if they had a contact in Seattle and, if so, if they'd mind giving her an email introduction. "I'm just halfway through the list," my friend said. "Everyone has been terrific; many have introduced me to someone they know. I'm busy every day."

So, here's a topic: How to make a big move alone as an older woman and develop a community in a new city that can feel like home.

Since that phone conversation, I've spent time asking the question over and over again: "What's in it for me (them)"?

That's where you come in. What topics/issues/questions do you want to be explored? Ageism? Following your passion no matter your age? Decluttering your physical and mental space? Older women and sex? Reconnecting with your authentic self? Wisdom? Mindfulness?

That list should get your mojo working! I know mine is!

OR listen wherever you hear your podcasts.


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