Hey Party People!
Hope you had a great week! We kept busy learning, incubating, and ideating.
Incubator update: This week was pitch practice with other incubator folks. I ran through our 60-second pitch and it still needs a tad bit more tweaking.
Industry News: Facebook is starting to add its audio features that include podcasts, starting within the U.S. only.
Podcasts: According to podcastindex.org (we use them to get some of our podcast information on the platform), a whopping 4 million podcasts have been added. Not all of them have consistent updates, but that’s still a lot!
Newsletter Special edition: We didn’t forget about Pride month! We were cooking up an interview for this week’s newsletter. Our Head Writer, Olivia, had a chat with ABC News’ podcast Life Out Loud host, LZ Granderson for a Q&A sesh. As a bonus, we also got his podcast recommendations!
On to the interview and picks this week…
Podcast: Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson
Publisher: ABC News
Interview with LZ Granderson
By Olivia Ware
Happy Pride Month! We had the honor of speaking to LZ Granderson—an award-winning journalist, ESPN Radio host, Op-Ed columnist for the Los Angeles Times, and host of ABC’s first LGBTQ+ issue-focused podcast, Life Out Loud! LZ is clear about his inspiration behind the podcast and its cultural significance at this time—to preserve, share, and celebrate LGBTQ+ history.
The premiere episode of Life Out Loud kicks off with a conversation with Steven Canals, co-creator of the groundbreaking television series Pose, during which Canals tells Granderson that it took 166 meetings before getting a yes for Pose. Resilience and the intersection of identity—in this case, Black and gay—is what Life Out Loud is all about. The podcast’s conception was born of the LGBTQ+ community’s—particularly queers of color—lost histories and triumphs, including the loss of a generation of queer and trans elders to the AIDs crisis, and the impetus to ensure that these stories, both individual and collective, are recorded.
LZ calls Life Out Loud: “a letter to the queer kid who thinks she is alone; it’s for that kid’s parent who wonders what kind of life their baby can have if they come out; it’s for the activist and the pioneers who feel forgotten, and it’s for the bigots, who have tried to silence us...it didn’t work.”
Last year we saw Pride return to its original intent. Without corporate co-opting and rainbow branding, people took to the streets with the Black Lives Matter movement to march for justice while protesting the murder of George Floyd, systemic racism, police brutality, and rampant inequality.
What does Pride Month look like this year? Coming out of a global pandemic, has the momentum of last summer continued? The fight for equality is far from over and LZ Granderson certainly won’t be backing down anytime soon. Read what LZ Granderson was gracious enough to share with GreatPods below.
GreatPods: First of all, congratulations on hosting ABC’s first LGBTQ+ issue-focused podcast! In light of this cultural moment—amid a flood of anti-trans legislation and ongoing violence towards members of the community, specifically Black trans women—what does this project mean to you?
LZ: It means there are a lot of people willing to fight. This podcast has my name attached but I am hardly alone in the belief that there is a hunger for this kind of content, especially when you consider the incredible Pride team at ABC who worked tirelessly to make it happen, the women and men who made time to speak with me, or the response to the content from those who have listened to the episodes. Yes, with more than 250 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced, many targeting transgender children, it is clear that the fight for equality is far from over. But we will be victorious because we refuse to cower in fear. We will be victorious because our allies are willing to fight in spaces where we are not. We will be victorious because love wins. And this podcast is just a small representation of the kind of love and determination my community has always shown and relied upon in the face of hatred.
GP: In your conversation with Steven Canals, co-creator of the groundbreaking television series Pose, you mention falling in love in church as an adolescent. There’s a good bit of poetry in that sentiment. Where else does love live in your life? Have you found love in any other unexpected places?
LZ: I believe love is everywhere so there aren’t any unexpected places. Now the circumstances may make it difficult for that love to come through. There are places where love is hidden, discouraged, attacked…but it’s still there. Like fire needs oxygen, love just needs people courageous enough to breathe life into it. So as long as love has its defenders, we’ll always have love, no matter where we are. It’s on us, not on love.
GP: Are there any podcasts or podcast episodes you have listened to recently that have stuck with you and why? In addition to Life Out Loud, do you have any podcast recommendations for friends and listeners?
LZ: I mean I’m always consuming news so The Recount’s Battleground, NPR’s Fresh Air, ABC’s Start Here are in heavy rotation. The Laverne Cox Show is so good and necessary. Jemele Hill is Unbothered is amazing and intimate. The Friend Zone is just a fun listen. And as a sports fan, the 30 for 30 podcast is a must. (See below for links)
GP: Borrowing from the final question on Life Out Loud—in ten years, what does living out loud look like for the community?
LZ: When Black History Month lessons or lectures for Hispanic History Month include all of us. James Baldwin was gay, that should be talked about because he talked about it. That Jose Sarria, a WWII veteran, was the first open LGBTQ person to run for office. So the next phase of equality is a departure from isolationism and into full, intersectional inclusion.
GP: For you personally?
LZ: It’s a work in progress. I’m constantly being shown places where I still need to unlearn. You have to remember, for many LGBTQ people we grow up pretending to be someone else. As a result, we adopt or accept things that may not be authentic to us but is what we embrace for survival or to fit in. So unearthing the root cause of some of my views or behaviors is an ongoing process. So life out loud for me hopefully means a more authentic me.
GP: Lastly, as Pride Month is a time for celebration, what is bringing you joy right now?
LZ: Seeing aspects of the intersectionality from Pride 2020 emerge in 2021. Because of the murder of George Floyd, a number of cities combined BLM presence with Pride. I heard straight, cisgender people of color speak out on the murders of trans women of color. I’m sure it’s happened before but I’ve been covering this conversation for 20 years and I don’t recall seeing this intersectionality so prevalent this time of year. It was beautiful and thankfully it has not gone away because our AAPI sisters and brothers need us. Migrant children need us. The more we understand how connected our struggles are, the stronger we all become. That is what brings me joy this Pride.
In addition to Steven Canals, this season of Life Out Loud includes an array of moving guests—Pose star, Mj Rodriguez; Grammy Award-nominated musician Rufus Wainwright; Dr. Anthony Fauci on his response to the AIDS crisis; Sherry Cola, comedian and actress on Freeform’s Good Trouble; history-making politicians including Senator Tammy Baldwin; Super Bowl Winner Keyshawn Johnson; and Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black and husband Tom Daley, Olympic medal winner. Listen to Life Out Loud via Great Pods here!
“Listeners will appreciate the accomplishments of Granderson and his guests even more after hearing about the obstacles they overcame.”
Michael Walsh - Yonkers Public Library - Jun 8, 2021
LZ Granderson’s podcast picks:
Publisher: The Recount
Podcast: Fresh Air
Podcast: Start Here
Genre: Daily News
Publisher: ABC News
Podcast: The Laverne Cox Show
Publisher: iHeartRadio & Shondaland Audio
Podcast: Jemele Hill is Unbothered
Publisher: Spotify (Exclusive)
Podcast: The Friend Zone
Publisher: LoudSpeaker Network
Podcast: 30 for 30
Genre: Sports Documentary
Stay safe and get vaxxed!