Former roommates Andrew Cunningham '08 and Craig Getting '08 remain connected by co-hosting a popular podcast to review books.
Most people keep a running list of books they want to read. In 2013, Andrew Cunningham ’08 and Craig Getting ’08 started tackling theirs on an engaging podcast that now boasts over 30,000 total downloads.
Each week, the friends and former Kenyon roommates read and discuss a book from what they call their “life queues” in a podcast they appropriately named “Overdue.” What initially began out of a desire to keep in touch on a weekly basis has blossomed into a podcast that has over 130 episodes in the backlog and was selected as the iTunes Podcast For Booklovers list in 2014.
“The show became a chance to engage with other people’s works and find what’s interesting,” Getting said. Cunningham added, “We’re always coming at it with a layperson’s perspective, which I think makes the show more approachable.”
Each week, either Cunningham or Getting will read the assigned book, while the other one serves as the interviewer about the themes and storyline. They combine background information about the author and history of the book, providing context, before diving into the plot. The delivery is also entertaining — Cunningham and Getting’s friendship is made clear through their banter, and their perspectives on the story complement each other, too.
The two discuss the chosen book over Google Hangouts while recording each side of the audio separately, Cunningham in Jersey City, New Jersey, and Getting in Philadelphia. Then, they edit both together to seamlessly recreate the conversation for release on Mondays. The two have covered everything from "1984" to "Looking for Alaska," "Lolita" to "Gone Girl," and even "50 Shades of Grey."
In January 2015, the duo discussed how they could broaden engagement with listeners instead of just selecting books they wanted to read themselves. They launched a crowd-funding campaign to help fund recording expenses and book purchases and to create merchandise for the show. Donators at a certain level were allowed to send in suggestions, which have carried the blog choices ever since. In addition to funds, the duo found that the campaign also created a deeper level of engagement and dialogue with their most dedicated supporters.
Cunningham and Getting recorded a live “Overdue” show in August for the Philadelphia Podcast Festival and hope to do similar events in the future.
“The way we discuss books on our podcast is very similar to how we’d discuss them while students at Kenyon. There’s a willingness to approach something not just from the canonical perspective,” Cunningham said. “You can talk seriously about something while still being informal and establishing a relationship with the person you’re talking to,” Getting added.
Neither claims the podcast as a full-time job. Cunningham, a classics major, worked within Kenyon’s LBIS for three years immediately after graduating. In 2012, he began freelance writing for Ars Technica, a technology website, and soon became a full-time reviews editor. Getting, a drama major, serves as the Theater Director at Lantern Theater Company within the Philadelphia High Schools systems.
Kenyon influences abound on the show. Fellow Kenyon alumni and friends such as Chris Holden ’08, Cunningham’s wife, Suzannah Rosenberg ’08, and Margaret H. Willison ’07, who co-writes her own newsletter for NPR called “Two Bossy Dames,” have appeared as guests.
Cunningham also recalls a class with P.F. Kluge ’64, writer-in-residence, his first year that particularly affected him. “I learned what works and what doesn’t work in stories, and we talk about that a lot on the show — the intent behind the author’s decisions and how it affects the audience.”
Web extra: Listen to episode 228, "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis, and find more episodes at overduepodcast.com.