‘The Heart’ originated in Montreal back in 1998 as ‘Audio Smut’ when Prest joined an independent, experimental and erotic college radio show. Four years later, Prest took the radio show to New York City with Mitra Kaboli, another of the show’s producers. There they had a few unsuccessful attempts of getting Audio Smut aired to the American public as it was considered too explicit but finally got their big break 2 years later when they landed a deal with Radiotopia. Over the last year, it has steadily climbed the iTunes podcast charts with each episode of the show being downloaded by 50-60,000 podcast followers.
Episodes are often born out of a combination of their own stories and backyard pitch parties for their friends who may have stories. Despite transitioning from being an independent radio show to a public independent podcast, Prest says that the fundamental core mission will never change. The show is constantly evolving but that mission will always remain ‘to create a culture that challenges the way that we think about love, sex, and gender’.
One particular episode, a fictionalized documentary called ‘Movies in your Head’, recently won the Golden Award for New Radio Formats at Prix Italia 2015. The program is about the reality-altering effect of infatuation and the jury called it ‘exquisite storytelling, sophisticated in its sound design, and fearless in its risk taking’.