100 Women We Love: Class Of 2019

Jenna Weiss-Berman

Photo by Jon Premosch

Jenna Weiss-Berman is a master of podcasts. She is the co-founder of Pineapple Street Media, a full-service and self-financed podcast company that helps potential podcasters get comfortable with this burgeoning audio form. The company has made shows like “Missing Richard Simmons,” the serial-style miniseries about the disappearance of the fitness diva, and the New York Times culture podcast “Still Processing” with staff writer Jenna Wortham and critic-at-large Wesley Morris. Pineapple has produced other buzzy podcasts too, like the behind-the-scenes look at Hillary Clinton’s election year in “With Her” and a talk show with Lena Dunham. Weiss-Berman honed her auditory skills at the Moth and StoryCorps, and also started a podcast department at Buzzfeed. An out and proud queer person, Weiss-Berman says that she “never exactly ‘came out’—my early obsessions with my babysitters and requests for ‘Prince Arthur’ haircuts made the situation pretty clear,” she says. Growing up in the very queer city of Northampton, Mass., which Weiss-Berman acknowledges was “an incredibly lucky break,” her supportive parents took her to gay a cappella as a kid. She first discovered her interest in music and radio while making Ani DiFranco mix tapes and loving musical theater. At Oberlin College, she achieved auditory success running the radio station. But it was moving to New York after school and joining StoryCorps that opened her eyes to the diverse life experiences of folks across the U.S., and truly got her hooked on storytelling. “I would have been happy being a broke public radio producer and never thought podcasts would become such a hot medium,” she says. “I took some risks starting a company but I’m so glad I did.” —AE

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