Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

Erika Ensign

Erika, wearing a TARDIS key necklace

Erika is podcast-happy. She’s won several Hugo Awards for her work on Uncanny Magazine‘s monthly fiction/interview podcast and Parsec Awards for Verity! and The Incomparable. She co-hosts Lazy Doctor Who, Earp Chirp, Beginner’s Puck, and Saga of Rereading Epics, she completed The Audio Guide to Babylon 5 and In The Village, plus she plays a lot of Dungeons and Dragons on Total Party Kill (available in both video and audio formats).

She and her podcaster-spouse Steven Schapansky are the two halves of Castria. They provide first-rate podcast assistance, production, communications, and media solutions of all sorts.

Erika’s nonfiction essays about genre properties and podcasting appear in a variety of books and magazines. She’s active on Twitter @HollyGoDarkly and very occasionally blogs about Doctor Who, media, mental health, and more at

She may have started a new podcast since you started reading this bio.

Comments on: "Erika Ensign" (12)

  1. Erika: Pleased to have met you at the Parsec Awards in Atlanta. Just want to reiterate my praise for Verity! from someone who hasn’t watched much Dr. Who but has been inspired to experience the new Doctor when Peter Capaldi takes the helm! Congratulations to you all for your nomination and also to Tansy for her Hugo award. Well done!

    • Mary Ellen–It was lovely to meet you too! I’m humbled that you’ve enjoyed the show with so little context for it. That makes me think we’re doing something right. 🙂 I hope that when you start watching more regularly, you’ll come to love it even half as deeply as we do–there’s so much to love! 😀

  2. Miss Heather from Perth Western Australia said:

    Erika, love the photo to put a face to the voice.Thanks for a great show last week, it is great to hear. In this the new wilderness months of no new on TV Dr Who. Thank goodness for DVD’s, downloads (legal of course) and big finish books. I think the next Doctor after Peter C. Should be a black faced ginger haired gay woman. That should get some interesting discussions going in male WASP fandom.

    • You are quite welcome for the pic! I love for listeners to approach me at cons, so I want folks to know what I look like. I hadn’t even thought of the face-to-a-voice aspect, but that makes so much sense.

      I’m glad we can give you something to listen to while we wait, and I love “the new wilderness months.” That is awesome. 🙂

  3. HI Erika, love the podcast, love the diverse opinions on the panel. Very refreshing, very funny. Yours is the podcast I put to the top of the queue every time.

    I have a technical question – and you seem the one to ask. I noticed in the ep with the interview with Una that you apologised for the bad quality using Skype. This surprised me. I do my own podcast and I have always used Skype to record the hosts and put them together in Adobe Audition. You seemed to insinuate that you don’t use Skype unless you have to. Is there another software that does a similar thing with better results. I’d love to hear about it.

    If this is a question better suited to email, I’ve included my email. Otherwise, I’d love to hear how you guys go about it.

    Many thanks!

    • Joel, thanks for your kind words!

      And I’ll happily answer your questions here, as others might be interested too. First, I should point out that some of my favorite podcasts use Skype to record, and the sound quality is often quite listenable. The problem is it isn’t consistent, and you can’t count on it–especially when talking to folks in four different countries!

      Deb and I are admitted audio-snobs, so we decided that everyone would record their own track locally. We each use a free program called Audacity to record our own track while we talk to each other on Skype. (I created a brief Audacity training document for the technically-challenged among us.) Then we all export our files to a 128kbs mp3 file. We use Dropbox to upload those files, and then I download them all and edit them together. (I’m currently using Sony Movie Studio Platinum for that.)

      The result is a much cleaner sound than what’s achieved over Skype’s often-tenuous connection. I do also record the Skype call itself in case anyone’s local recording goes awry/astray.

      I hope that answers your questions. If not, hit me with a follow-up! And I do have a question for you. We don’t ask interviewees to record their own track, and I’m less-than-in-love with the Skype recording program I currently use (Amolto). What do you use to record the Skype calls for your podcast?

      • Hi Erika,

        Thanks for the reply. Ok, firstly, I use the Pamela for Skype add-on The quality is not great, but I never know if that’s from my basic microphone/headphones kit or because of Skype.

        Your way is interesting. Yes, I know about Skype. So you all are on Skype together, you all press record on your audacity at the same time. Does that make editing a nightmare? Or do you merge everyone’s tracks first and then do the edit?

      • Yep, we’re all on Skype while we record, but we don’t all press record simultaneously. That would be too hard to time. Instead, I use the bit where we say “This is Deb in Philadelphia, Erika in Madison, etc…” to line up the track. We say it both at the beginning and the end of the recording, so as long as both those points line up, I know everything in the middle will too.

        So then if we need to edit something out, I just slice and dice on all the tracks at once (but no, I don’t merge things–though my program gives me the option of “grouping” so if you so something to one track, it affects them all). Luckily that doesn’t happen very often. We don’t really edit much unless Skype completely drops out on someone or if I have to “sonic” a naughty word. 🙂

  4. Thanks Erika. That’s pretty clever actually. I’ll definitely try that next time. Thanks!

  5. […] links: Chicago TARDIS “Podcast Playground” panel on WHO 37 (feat. Erika and Lynne) io9′s anniversary guide Watsonian Versus Doylist Simon Guerrier’s Five […]

  6. Devichan said:

    Came to you as a result of your panel with my husband (John Seavey) and others at CONvergence 2015. He spoke highly of you and the podcast, Erika, so now I’m following Verity!

    Thanks for coming to CONVergence! Hope to see you next year!

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