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Animated Discussions

Kelly Smemo ’16 and Richard Monari ’16 are two peas in a pod … er, podcast.

Inseparable at Swarthmore, they shared a major (linguistics), a job (at McCabe), and even a leadership position (co-president of the Anime Club).

So when assignments with AmeriCorps pulled them apart—Smemo to Philly, Monari to Colorado—the “eternal partners in crime” drew up a solution: Animate the World, an original anime-themed podcast.

“We’ll discuss whether animation has to be aesthetically pleasing to be watchable, or how anime deals with budget cuts,” says Smemo. “And I also make fun of Richard for an hour, which is pretty amazing.”

When their conversations veered toward yet another shared obsession—the K-pop band Seventeen—Smemo and Monari launched a spinoff, Sixteen: A Seventeen Fancast. The pair now alternate discussions each Sunday, with hourlong episodes going live on iTunes and Google Play every Tuesday.

Though they don’t track their audience, Smemo and Monari do know they’re reaching beyond their circle of friends: An unknown commenter left a glowing iTunes review. But with this passion project, the listeners who matter most are the two doing the talking.

“The podcasts have been an easy way to keep in touch,” says Smemo. “It’s a nice log of our friendship.”