(By Robin Kinnie) What I love about podcasting is that it is an equal opportunity medium. There is no funnel of control (yet) like in the entertainment industry. You don’t have to pitch a podcast idea to a large corporation to be heard by the masses (yet). Anyone with a microphone and a recorder can share their thoughts, opinions and reflection instantly with the entire world. It doesn’t matter what the topic is – your passion is what can make a good podcast – great. I’ve noticed that podcasts have evolved. There will always be space for entertainment, interviews and pop culture. However, today podcasters are intentional with how to utilize their podcast to create change in their communities and culture.
Chatting with Asians, a newly launched podcast about Asian Americans leading unconventional careers, challenges stereotypes of Asian Americans. It’s creator, Angelica (Angie) Hom, interviews Asian Americans who do not fit into the rigid mold historically presented by popular media in television and film. “After some Google searching, I never saw a decent one-stop resource that highlighted Asians in non traditional careers. I decided to create a podcast first because I believe it’s more impactful to hear people tell their story (I also provide transcripts for accessibility)”, says Angie.
Representation matters. We want to see ourselves in the actors of a funny movie or enjoying a television show. Unfortunately, the images in media do not reflect the makeup of America. It has been a long time coming, but now we are beginning to see more diversity in media production. However, there is a long, winding road to getting a seat at the production table. With the low barrier of entry for podcasts, all of us have an opportunity without having to invest years of work, spend millions of dollars or have a stroke of luck. Angie agrees, “it took 25 years after the film Joy Luck Club was released to get Crazy Rich Asians. On the flip side, it took me three months to launch a podcast”.
In addition to her interviews with Asian Americans in unconventional careers, Chatting with Asians takes on serious subjects such as how Asian Americans are categorized in mainstream media as nerds, their higher rate of suicide and the “bamboo ceiling”. Up until now, these types of conversation were mainly behind closed doors. With podcasts, anyone can be a silent spectator and challenge their own personal stereotypes.
And, although her podcast was only released this past January, it is already making a positive impact. Angie shares, “some listeners have messaged me saying that they felt alone in their experiences until hearing these stories and some were inspired enough to seek out their own interest groups or communities”. This is a true example of the power of using our voice to create change and community. She continues with, “the audience seems really drawn to stories of personal struggles and taboo topics, which are the kinds on conversations that Asian communities typically internalize”.
The power of podcasting will continue to expand our reach and shrink our world. I applaud Angie, and other podcasters, who use their podcast to challenge the norm and ignite conversation. Future plans for the Chatting with Asians podcast include interviews with high-profile guests, directly engaging the community via collaborations and live events and launching an Asian podcast network.
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Robin Kinnie is the President of Motor City Woman and Audio Engineers of Detroit. She also serves as the head of Soundgirls.org, Detroit Chapter. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @RobinKinnie. or email firstname.lastname@example.org.