Exploring The Audio Mastery Of Chris Wotherspoon: Award-Winning Composer And Producer Transforming Digital Media

Introducing Chris Wotherspoon, an esteemed audio producer and composer whose skills have greatly influenced the audio landscapes of many impactful digital projects. With oversight of more than 30 programs on the SiriusXM app, Chris consistently achieves remarkable engagement, generating over 100,000 monthly impressions per program and reaching millions worldwide.

His outstanding abilities have earned him two Webby Awards and several nominations, underscoring his significant impact on the industry. Beyond his responsibilities at SiriusXM & Pandora, Chris has partnered with well-known individuals and platforms, playing a vital role in the success of numerous acclaimed endeavors.

Chris Wotherspoon Interview Article Image


Thank you for speaking with us today, Chris.

When did it click for you that composing for podcasts, film, and digital media was something you wanted to do?

I started composing at a very young age- I think my first composition was at six- and I knew from listening to music used in all types of media that I wanted to do the same. Music has always been my favorite part of the media I consume, and adds so much emotional range and depth. To me, music is a make-or-break component of any project.

Knowing I had a talent for musical storytelling, composing for podcasts, films, and digital media, and exploring how music helps shape a story has been a fantastic venture.

Handling a portfolio of more than 30 programs on the SiriusXM app must present significant challenges. How do you guarantee smooth production from the beginning to the release of a wide variety of content?

It’s all about experience and how you work with your team. Every piece of media has unique needs and experiences that will help inform how to meet those needs when you come up against a roadblock or are trying to do something completely different or new.

An example would be knowing your tech and how you can transform audio using various software, plugins, sample packs, functions, and distortions. One of my favorite audio effects relies on an automation glitch in a reverb plugin that I can use. As I said, the other part is working functionally with your team and having superb communication skills.

How do you clearly articulate something intangible, like the emotional integrity of music? It’s tricky but essential so that everyone can get on the same page about what a show will sound and feel like and what will set it apart.

How long have you been working as a Lead Composer for podcasts, film, and digital media, and how has your role evolved, particularly at SiriusXM & Pandora, where you significantly contributed to audience growth and retention?

I’ve worked as a Lead Composer on professional projects for over ten years. Early in my career, I took more of an observer role in the process and followed through with instruction. I met the wants and needs of the directors and executive producers I worked with but lacked the confidence to innovate or add anything new.

It’s an essential part of the job – what sets you and your projects apart – so now, the role is partly listening and informing your team on what is possible. When you’ve done it several times and succeeded, you start to build trust with the people you work with, and it’s not long before you get a metaphorical blank check to do whatever you want and try everything.

So now, at this stage in my career, I’m providing a lot of consultation on what is possible, opening doors for the people I work with and showing them what is likely that they couldn’t have come up with themselves- things that there might be no reference for. That’s when you elevate your work, which becomes the most rewarding.

For podcasts, that’s so essential, and at SiriusXM, with each new project, one of the first things we discuss is an overall soundscape. With Shattering Gleam, for example, we did something exceptional that contributed to the show’s success and why it got its recognition.

Can you share some key strategies or tactics you’ve implemented to drive the impressive growth in listenership for the ‘Have Kids, They Said’ podcast, considering the dynamic hosting duo of Nicole Ryan and Rich Davis, along with their respective successful ventures in radio hosting?

As I said, every project has specific needs, and Have Kids, They Said is no different. It’s a comedy show and a parenting show, so I created a soundscape informing the audience of both components. Leaning into the familiar comedy tropes while introducing new components unique to the show helped elevate this show. It set it apart from other programs that might be similar in content.”

Could you elaborate on the significance of winning two Webby Awards for your digital productions and share your feelings about achieving such recognition?

Receiving any type of award is always an honor, and winning two Webby Awards is no different. The Webby Awards are a unique endeavor to find the best content on the internet, and with so much competition, it’s an incredible victory and a point of pride to be distinguished in this way.

When taking risks on shows, it’s always lovely to receive this type of validation that a panel of your peers and industry experts recognize your contributions to various projects as exceptional.

I look forward to contributing more to the industry and seeing what is possible within digital media.

Can you discuss your role as a Sound Editor/Composer for the award-winning ‘To The Point’ podcast at KCRW/NPR? Specifically, how did you contribute to its success, and what collaborative efforts were involved in achieving the desired auditory experience?

“To The Point” was a unique experience, and my favorite award-winning episode was about Artificial Intelligence before AI was integrated into popular culture or society.

I wanted to elevate this episode and explore all the possibilities of what podcasting could sound like and how music could be used to elaborate on this crucial topic. I pulled out all the stops for that show, and it won the L.A. Press Club Award for Best Hard News Feature of that year.

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