With Jeff and Callie Dauler
Words by Mitchell Goodbar
Photos by Jonathan Wade
Podcasts have proven a vital platform for people who seek comfort, connection, and community to converge. The surge in podcast popularity, however, has made it difficult to distinguish the slick podcasters from the sincere. Often, audiences are plied with advice and encouragement by self-proclaimed self-help gurus, whose interest isn’t so much in seeing your well-being blossom, but in your wallet wilting. Callie Dauler, half of the husband-wife duo behind The Upside podcast, says, “I think there’s a lot out there, especially as it pertains to the self-help of ‘I am the smartest person ever, and I know everything.’ We are not going to tell people that we know everything, because we don’t. We want to be inspiring to people and give people hope and make them feel good, but we don’t want to do it in a way where you’re exhausted by the positivity, like ‘everything’s great all the time,’ because it’s not.” Released July 2019, The Upside made an epic entrance in the podcasting world, becoming the sixth most popular podcast within a day of its launch.
Jeff Dauler brings to the podcast his 25 years of morning radio broadcast experience, most recently hosting the Star 94.1FM show in Atlanta before being publicly dismissed. Rather than nurse a grudge, Jeff channeled his creative energy into the couple’s planned podcast. “Because of my experience in radio, we were pretty strategic with the way we launched it, in terms of production and timing. We also did some practice shows. There was also the fact that I had been absent from the airwaves for, by the time we launched it, three months. So, people were curious,” says Jeff.
Callie and Jeff are quick to acknowledge the true spark behind the podcast’s blazing success: their fans. “I mean, the
audience that we do have, those people over Jeff ’s career and over the couple years that I’ve been growing my career onInstagram, they’ve become our friends, and when they hear something [like the podcast’s launch], they’re so amazing, and they immediately ask, ‘What can we do? How can we tell people?’ Truly, it’s because of them telling everyone they know that the podcast went so well,” says Callie.
Jeff ’s 25-year involvement in radio broadcasting is apparent in the podcast; he finds the perfect balance between sharp and snappy sarcasm and heartfelt inspirational support. Although Callie had “zero experience” behind the microphone before the podcast, she proves to be a brilliant broadcasting talent. “I actually spent my life behind the cameras. I truly have been someone who loves to be behind the scenes and really thrives there,” says Callie. She credits her podcast-hosting talent to Jeff ’s well-informed guidance and her experience on Instagram. Equally helpful has been Callie’s career in the news industry, currently serving as celebrated newscaster Robin Meade’s assistant. “She’s taught me more than she even knows. The little things like helping read scripts out loud or just hearing the process of how she works has given me insight,” says Callie.
Listeners may come to Callie and Jeff’s podcast for the couple’s rollicking repartee, but they stay for the show’s bracing authenticity. “It’s exhausting to hear people who you think have it completely together. We don’t, and we want to tell people that and be honest about it. All that it takes to be honestly inspiring is to be real and to say, ‘Hey, I’m not perfect, but I want to be better,’” says Callie. This brand of candid conversation is a signature trait of Callie and Jeff ’s podcast. The couple’s mission to produce an honest podcast has not only been realized, but has flourished.
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