Colleen Thomas | Shame Pinata | Rites of Passage

“In a roundabout way, one of my own rites of passage led me to start a podcast (about rites of passage) …”

This series is all about Libsyn podcasters. Its sole purpose is to introduce these awesome podcasts to the world as well as share their podcasting insight to empower the community!

Q & A with Colleen from Shame Piñata

When did you think about starting a podcast?

I launched Shame Piñata in 2020 after a year researching everything on podcasting (mostly through NPR, Women’s Audio Mission, and Google Podcasts/PRX). 

Originally envisioned as an interview show, the format changed when COVID hit a month after launch (!). After 4 episodes, I decided that when it came to rites of passage, COVID was one unto itself.

With no experts on COVID-related ceremony to call on, I branched into my first solo show on episode 5 with COVID-19: A Ritual for Balance.

Why did you start podcasting?

In a roundabout way, one of my own rites of passage led me to start podcasting (about rites of passage). 

The year after my father died, I returned to my hometown to keep an eye on my mom. 

During that year, I audited a radio workshop at the local liberal arts college. I read the news on air and hosted 2 shows on WCWS: Loungeroom Lizard (an eclectic mix of rock, indie rock, folk, electronics, blues and fusion) and Oh Joy, Oh Rapture! (light opera). 

Clearly, I had an interest in audio and VoiceOver, but didn’t expect the radio bug to bite so hard.

I decided to podcast while I awaited my next radio experience.

What’s the name of your show and what is it about?

My show is called Shame Piñata. It’s about creating rites of passage for real life transitions. 

Hence, it focuses on two types of ceremonies: how to personalize the familiar ones (weddings, graduations, funerals), and how to design new ones (seeing the last child leave the house, grieving the passing of a parent we might be estranged from). 

In a nutshell, Shame Piñata explores how ritual/ceremony/intentional connections provide focus, structure, and an emotional container for life changes.

I’m so happy to let you know that I’ve just released a second podcast in response to recent events! In addition to marking life transitions, ritual can be useful in times of crisis.

My new show, Daily Magic for Peace, invites the listener to focus their intentions, prayers, and actions toward healing the crisis in Ukraine.

My hope is that it will inspire the west to stay tuned-into and fully supportive of the humanitarian needs arising as a result of the conflict in Ukraine.

What’s your podcast set up?

Here’s a quick run-down of what I use:

  • Hindenburg Journalist Pro (DAW)
  • Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio – 2nd generation (interface + headphones)
  • AT8010 (mic)
  • ATH-M50x (monitoring headphones)
  • Zoom (to establish a visual connection with guest)
  • iPhone (guest records self on phone & uploads the file to Dropbox)
  • Canva (show/episode artwork)
  • Podcast Video Maker (audiograms)

For additional details about basic tools, episode workflow, and show growth, check out this presentation I created on the Shame Piñata Podcast Process.

How have you promoted your podcast?

First, I spent way too much $ on Instagram ads my first year! 

So in season 2, I ditched that approach and focused on guesting on similar shows, promo swaps, and episode drops. 

For season 3, I will continue that + get back into posting current articles related to rituals and ceremonies (sourced from google alerts) on the podcast Facebook page.


Colleen Thomas explores how ritual/ceremony/intentional connections can provide focus, structure, and an emotional container for life changes. Her podcast Shame Pinata is a unique look at creating rites of passage for real-life transitions. Intrigued? Listen to it on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.



What rituals or rites of passage have informed your life? Have they helped you move through one life journey to the next, building bridges or finding new paths? Are you thinking about what it meant to get married, have a baby or lose a mom? Start your own podcast and share your insights!

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