If you have been following FRQNCY for long, you know that we are a first-of-its-kind podcast production and audio innovation company founded by anti-capitalism capitalist Michelle Khouri, on a mission to heal, enlighten, and uplift through the power of sound.
It’s a bit of a mouthful, but every word is super intentional. To help clear things up, we put together some questions that you may not be asking, but are probably thinking.
We present our FTQs….Frequently Thought Questions.
Q: First-of-its-kind? Sure.
A: No, seriously. We are a first-of-its-kind production company and continue to be.
From our research, we are the only ones in this space who bridge the gap between low cost and high budget production support. We provide the same level of service to every customer no matter their size.
Nobody else does that. Nobody works with Fortune 500 companies and ALSO provides affordable and accessible packages for small businesses, independent creators, and podcast enthusiasts.
Q: What do you mean by “healing” through the power of sound? That’s a bit lofty, no?
A: Nope! And we’ve got science to prove it. Research has found that sound has a measurable impact on our mental and physical health. Think about listening to the song that got you through your first heartbreak or your high school dance. Sound has the power to amplify whatever you are feeling. It provides an outlet for you to feel your feels. More than that, studies show that sound is physiologically connected to us. Vibrations reverberate through our bodies and cause a physical reaction.
So, when we talk about this mission of healing through sound, that’s what we mean. If science shows that sound has an affect on people, we want to harness that power and use it for good.
Q: Do you even make original content, bro?
A: Unlike most well-known podcast production companies, we were founded as a client service company first. Big delineation. For us, serving clients is not just a means to the end of funding our own original content. Our whole mission from the beginning has been in service to the artform and idea, not our egos.
That being said, when we talk about “audio innovation” we’re alluding to the big, game-changing ideas we’ve been quietly simmering on and developing. Our first priority is to find a home for these ideas with clients. But with big vision comes a big sell – and the bottom line is, most clients are still learning about the power of podcasting, let alone ready to help reinvent what it means to experience audio. And so, we created FRQNCY Labs (more to come on that) to give us the creative space to make our wildest dreams a reality without having to spend so much energy on selling ideas.
Q: You talk a big game about diversity. How does your team reflect that lip service?
A: Our team reflects this in every way with background, ethnicity, upbringing, industry, race, and perspective. We have a wide breadth of industry experience from marketing, brand management, and consulting, to TV, film, advertising, and music.
Our hiring practices place an emphasis on hiring BIPOC talent first. And with self-awareness as core to our culture, we also understand that we all have internal biases – whether that’s misogyny because we’re all part of a patriarchy or racism because we’re all part of a white supremacist society – and work actively to replace those biases with open hearts who see the extraordinary inherent value of our differences.
Also, while we are diverse, we try to never token-ize ourselves. We aren’t a podcast production company that silos ourselves or the productions we make according to how we identify. We don’t just make podcasts about women because women are the majority in our team. We don’t just make podcasts about the Latinx or immigrant experiences because of our founder’s background. We are just a dope ass team of diverse voices producing super cool audio projects.
Q: What’s so special about a regular degular podcast production company?
A: EVERYTHING. We are not regular. We are purpose- and mission-driven, focused on uplifting through the power of sound.
You can see this through the amazing podcasts we produce. For Coca-Cola’s “Total Refresh,” our goal has been to boost transparency and enlighten employees about the company’s largest strategic, cultural, and social justice changes in its history. With “Untying the Knots,” Dawn Smith and Kristen Files directly heal and help listeners who are enduring traumatic family dynamics. With the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, “Hidden Voices” enlightens by telling untold stories and bridging the gap between society and those with disabilities.
The beauty of our mission is that we get to live it out through so many different avenues, in so many different ways, with so many different messages. We strive to be a versatile, diverse, and flexible company whose magic wand is sound.
Q: “Audio innovation”? That’s a whole lotta buzzword.
A: Yeah, we guess it does sound buzzy, but at the end of the day, audio innovation boils down to: How do we reframe what it means to “consume” content? How do we enrich daily life experiences through audio?
Especially during this pandemic, we’re asking ourselves how we bring the world to the listener. How do we bridge the gap between landmarks and visitors? How can we collapse time and space through audio?
…And we have some pretty big ideas around how to do just that.
Innovation has gotten a bad wrap because of how often it’s thrown out to self-aggrandize without any real intentions or plans behind it. But it’s something that we actively work on, talk about, think over every day. That might mean partnering with new technologies, listening to new things, and thinking about those who can’t listen in traditional ways.
To us, audio innovation means constantly asking questions and not relying solely on what has already been done.
Q: How is it even possible to be an anti-capitalism capitalist? Isn’t that a bit hypocritical?
A: Unfortunately, in order to change a major system, you have to participate in that system because it’s the only option. In today’s world, building a business means you have to do it in the confines of capitalism, but working in ways that are at odds with how capitalism tells you to work. It’s an uphill battle, but well worth the determination it takes.
And sometimes something that seems simple is in fact a revolutionary act. For instance, we focus steadfastly on our people above our profits. In capitalism, you’ll often hear “It’s just business. It’s not personal.” We believe that business is fundamentally personal because people are the ones that make the abstract concept that is a company into the tangible reality that is a product or service.
FRQNCY is nothing but an essence made real by the collective energies of the people who dedicate themselves to it. Thus, FRQNCY is a non-existent thing made possible by individual people doing the work. Profit is the result of people, and people need to be cared for first and foremost.
If money and currency disappeared tomorrow, what would we be left with?
So, yes, we are anti-capitalism capitalists existing within the confines of the system while also working every day to change it.
Paige McCauley is FRQNCY Media’s digital marketing maven and resident musical wunderkind. Paige has a long history with the power of sound as an award-winning recording artist and songwriter, performing at venues like The Fox Theatre, House of Blues in West Hollywood, and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. She also has extensive experience in the music industry, interning for the Recording Academy and working with artists like Billie Eilish, Travis Scott, and Brandi Carlile during her time in college.