Feature News

This Made-in-Fredericton Christmas Podcast For Kids Is Topping U.S. Charts

Left to right: Adam Ganong (co-writer, co-director, voice actor, audio producer), Alex Rioux (script editor, voice actor), Sharisse LeBrun (voice actor), and Jenna Knorr (co-writer, co-director, voice actor). Image: Submitted

FREDERICTON – If you’re looking for a story to gear the family up for Christmas, look no further!

Produced in Fredericton, Welcome to Tinsel Town is an after-school Christmas fiction podcast aimed at children aged 6-to-12.

The show has been downloaded over 30,000 times and has reached No. 8 in the U.S. podcast charts for Kids & Family. It’s also entered charts in Canada and Ireland and was recently featured on iTunes.

The show is executive-produced by Dave Keine, the CEO and Founder of media production company Triangle Content, It’s co-written and co-directed by Adam Ganong and Jenna Knorr, and features a cast of emerging actors from the Fredericton area. Knorr shared more about the podcast:

How did the idea for Welcome to Tinsel Town come about?

We were approached by Dave, who wanted to create a Christmas podcast, and the rest was the result of brainstorming between Adam and I, with additions from Dave along the way and from our script editor Alex Rioux.

What came of all the brainstorming, writing, and editing is the story of Holly, a young girl who finds herself popping in and out of Tinsel Town after making a wish on the Christmas Star. But after getting stuck in Tinsel Town, her friends – a giant candy cane, a mysterious ornament, and a polar bear Queen – need to band together to help her get home.

As things start to fall apart in Tinsel Town, the curmudgeonly Conductor accuses Holly of ruining Christmas and does everything in his power to try to ban her from celebrating ever again. Holly and her friends need to figure out where her wish went wrong in time to get her home for the holidays.

Why did you create this podcast?

[Adam and I] are avid podcast listeners, and we used to host our own podcast called The Rules as a hobby. We knew Dave from working on that show, and he really believed in our abilities to create something on the scale of Welcome to Tinsel Town. So when the opportunity arose, we ran with it.

We also wanted to take elements of the Christmas specials that we loved as kids and bring them all together into one mega-special: things like being guided through a story by a narrator, themes of family and friendship, elements of suspense, and so on. We both work in education-focused fields, so writing a podcast for kids was something near and dear to our hearts. Because we know the positive impact that storytelling has on young minds.

How has the reception been so far?

We’ve received so much support from people we know and people we don’t know. Thanks so much to everyone who has listened to the show so far, to everyone who has left us a rating or review, and to all those who have told a friend about us! Our show continues to grow because of you and we are so grateful.

There are many layers of interesting sounds in the podcast. What was the process of creating an episode like? 

After the writing came three big steps: figuring out the music, getting the actors’ performances, and finding or making the sound effects. Adam went through each scene and decided where he would want recurring motifs, which are little musical phrases that are tied to characters or themes.

After the music was all planned, we brought the actors in to record. While recording, Adam watched to ensure that the actors’ performances matched up with what the tone or mood of the music was going to be. And sometimes a performance would be so good, he would just change the music!

After all the dialogue was recorded, Adam started splicing everything together and adding in the sound effects. The whole podcast was built scene-by-scene. So the most difficult scenes, like those with lots of sound effects or musical changes, were done first, and then everything else followed.

One interesting use of sound effects is the footsteps. Though they were all recorded from actual footsteps (but with shoes being worn on the hands instead of the feet!), each character actually has a distinct shoe sound. It’s something small that’s hard to notice, but it’s there if you listen!

Where can people listen to the podcast?

You can find our podcast online on our website, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or on the podcasting app of your choice. The show consists of seven episodes that tell one complete story, so starting from the beginning is best.

Chapter 1: ‘Through the Archway’