The podcast that asks ‘Who Knows?’
How did you come up with the name? I asked Taylor Dankovich, the host/creator of Who Knows?, a podcast that analyzes the “simply complicated questions of life.”
“Cause who knows, man,” she said with a laugh. “Who knows what the hell we are doing…I feel like the name speaks to the true essence of life, like who knows what is going to happen.”
Dankovich has a background in audio production for live theatre and worked at Triad Stage for two years as the sound supervisor.
She then decided to go to grad school at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts to get her Master’s degree in sound design/engineering. Dankovich said she never thought she would start her own podcast because she was not familiar with the medium at first.
“I didn’t know what podcasts were until very shortly before I started, but I have been doing sound for a long time,” she said.
Dankovich said she was working with her friend, Maria Württele, who introduced her to podcasts.
“I didn’t even know there was a podcast app on my phone,” she said. “I just started listening to them and felt like that was the medium that I wanted to be apart of.”
The first podcast she listened to was called Death, Sex, and Money, by Anna Sale at WNYC, and said that she draws inspiration from it because it’s a podcast about the discussions “often left out of polite conversation.”
“Hearing people talk about what they go through,” she said, “it makes you feel connected to society in a way that you don’t feel in your normal day-to-day life. It feels good to hear other people’s stories, get inspired by other people, and learning about stuff you don’t normally hear about.”
Dankovich said her favorite aspects of podcasts are its easy-accessibility as well as the level of intimacy it provides. Dankovich said the audio production side of podcasting was a piece of cake for her, but it was a bit challenging with everything else.
“It is a lot more work than you think that it is at first, it is a business,” she said.
She started Who Knows? in December 2017, with Württele taking over as editor. (Now, Lynn Barbera has taken over as the new Who Knows? editor and producer.)
“This podcast is an opportunity to explore life’s questions,” Dankovich said of Who Knows? “A lot of the stuff that I explore, we encounter in our everyday lives: race, religion, relationships, that kind of stuff.”
She said Who Knows? is all about opening up and reflecting. Dankovich said she started this podcast to help cope with mental illness.
“The reason why I started this show is because a lot of people that struggle with mental health, I feel like they sit around thinking that they are the only ones who are thinking about the things they are thinking,” she said. “There is a lot of loneliness that comes with life; if we just talk with each other a lot more, we would realize we are all just trying to figure it out.”
Dankovich wants to normalize the tough questions and lighten the load.
The first thing that caught my eye about Who Knows? was the profile picture: A hand-drawn portrait of Dankovich and her cat, the Who Knows? “mascot and CEO,” Claude. Another was the first episode about body positivity. This episode resonated with me because as someone who struggles with an eating disorder, body positivity has not been something that I have always embraced. Dankovich said she agreed with me and felt the same, which was why she wanted the first episode to be about body positivity.
“I was struggling really heavily with body positivity and body image issues,” Dankovich said. “I am currently recovering from an eating disorder. I was just bombarded constantly with images on social media, and this idea that thin was the way to be happy.”
Dankovich said she started to feel better once she started talking about it. She hopes that Who Knows? will encourage dialogue and be a resource to educate and facilitate people who don’t understand a feeling or an idea, so that they can “talk it out.”
The Who Knows? open discussion format interested me because growing up in the South, talking it out wasn’t something that was encouraged or celebrated. Dankovich, a South Floridian native, wants to challenge those Southern norms and encourage communications.
“Florida is the South, but I lived in Ft. Lauderdale and that is where it basically turns into New York City, where everyone is all up in your business,” she explained. “It was very open. But when I moved to South Carolina, my life changed. I was like ‘What the hell is going on?’ Why is everyone so weird?’ Weird meaning, weird about being open. That was a shock for me, and it kind of set me on this path. My body image issues, my anxiety and depression I’ve had. It was really bad going to the college in the South; it was rough.”
Season 3 of Who Knows? will focus on creativity and innovation. Dankovich said she would be interview innovators, creatives, entrepreneurs and self-starters to learn more about their journeys and how doing what they do has helped shape their lives. Her first episode premiering on Sept. 2 will feature an interview with yours truly and some other Greensboro Roller Derby skaters.
“I really want to highlight this because it is women coming together and doing something fucking amazing,” Dankovich, aka, “Dank the Tank” said, “and it is something people don’t know about. It is not nearly the same as it is portrayed on T.V.”
Dankovich’s dream is to watch her podcast grow and become something huge.
“It is the first thing I think of when I wake up and the last thing I think of when I go to bed,” she said. “I’ve never been as passionate about something before (besides theatre)…The best way to help a podcast is to listen to their show, visit them on social media, and talk about them and review them.”
Who Knows? is available wherever you get your podcasts. For more information, visit the website and help grow Dankovich’s following on social media on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@whoknowspod).
Katie Murawski is the editor of YES! Weekly. She is from Mooresville, North Carolina and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in film studies from Appalachian State University in 2017.