As podcasts catch on as an open-to-the-masses form of radio, more Lakelanders are using the online audio medium to express themselves, share their passions, inform the public or promote their businesses.
Since LkldNow is about connecting readers to news and information about Lakeland, we sought podcasts that shed light on our town and its people. Here’s a roundup, including recent episodes.
- Host: Bump Galletta
- Frequency: 10-episode seasons
- Topics: Lakelanders, inspirational individuals
Bump Galletta, a freelance illustrator, released the first 10-episode season of his podcast ‘The Low Down with Bump’ in January 2018. The episodes are straightforward in nature: Galletta chooses guests who inspire him and who he thinks have an inspiring story to tell his listeners.
“A couple years ago I was telling my wife, like, complaining about a podcast that I listen to; I felt like the monologues were going too long or they didn’t ask the questions I wanted them to ask or they were too soft,” Galletta said, “So that following Christmas she gave me a microphone and said, ‘Here, do it yourself,’ as a push, an encouragement.”
Galletta chose to release his podcast in seasons because of his workload as a freelancer. It’s difficult to schedule in recording sessions as frequently as once a week, so he records each season over a one-month period and releases them over the weeks that follow.
“I’ll also have coffee with the speaker beforehand,” Galletta said, during which time they discuss the topics that they want to cover in the conversation. “I’m a very visual person, so I have almost like a timeline so I know the main thing I want to talk about, but I don’t want to just dive into it.”
Galletta has interviewed dozens of people on ‘The Low Down,’ including musicians (his first episode features Eric Collins, who performs under the name MrENC), local politicians (including Lakeland Mayor Bill Mutz), business owners and managers, church leaders and other podcasters.
At first, Galletta recorded most of his episodes in his own dining room. Today, the majority of his episodes are produced in the Vanguard Room, a music recording studio in Dixieland Village. “You can tell the difference too, right?” Galletta said.
Galletta says he was approached by the Vanguard Room as a “perfect vehicle” for getting the production company’s name out with quality, varied material — as a “promotional thing” in advance of their opening a podcast room.
“The more we collaborate with each other, the better it is for everybody,” Galletta said. “I want to get some great stories out there for people that I know and feel inspired by.”
Dream interview: “I think having my wife on would be kind of fun, too — I mean also who knows where she would go; she has plenty of stories about me.”
A recent episode:
- Host: Jae Choe
- Frequency: Weekly
- Topics: “Nothing’s off limits”
“Nothing is forbidden on this show,” he says in its first episode. “You can talk about anything you want. Anything from religion to politics; even though people try to steer away from those topics, you can talk about it.”
Choe’s podcast isn’t tied to the city, to a business, or to a movement: it’s just tied to him. He’s unabashed about the simplicity of the premise for ‘The Jae Choe Show’— “I just wanted to do a podcast because I enjoy talking to interesting people doing interesting things, locally, right in my backyard,” he said.
‘The Jae Choe Show’ is “organic:” Choe doesn’t structure out his interviews except for one open-ended question at the end of the episodes. He prefers guests that he can walk with on a “journey,” guests who he can separate from whatever organization they work for and hear for who they are.
Though Choe will mention his dojo on the podcast, he doesn’t monetize his videos, nor does he seek outside advertising. Choe records his episodes and posts them with almost no editing.
“We hit the record button and that’s that,” Choe said, “The word collaboration I think is kind of — is a bigger word than necessary … Like, no, just go in there and record the damn thing and be done with it; share the file and be done with it! It’s not rocket science.”
Dream interview: Elon Musk, Sam Harris (the neuroscientist), Keanu Reeves. “I like to interview people I admire… They’ve got to be interesting, though.”
A recent episode:
- Hosts: Lakeland Vision board members
- Frequency: Monthly
- Topics: City development, Lakeland Vision
‘Listen Lakeland,’ beyond being a monthly podcast in its own right, also airs on two AM (1430 & 1230) and two FM (97.5 & 98.3) radio stations on the first Sunday of each month. Its 30-minute programs are more structured than other talk shows, and feature spokespeople and leaders from City Hall, among others.
The monthly 2020 episodes are available in the YouTube feed of the Central Florida Regional Planning Council. Some earlier episodes can be found in the city-hall-oriented LkldGov podcast feed, whose last entry was posted in September.
Four segments generally make up the podcast’s body: “The Arts,” “Off the Beaten Path,” “Education & Services” and a profile piece.
The program calls itself “a show that highlights people, places, activities and organizations that make our community an exceptional place to call home.” It’s hosted by Lakeland Vision, a nonprofit organization that sets goals for community improvement based on surveys it conducts.
Each of the episodes is hosted by a different board member.
‘Listen Lakeland’ is deeply positive: “Isn’t Lakeland such a nice place to live?” asked one host. “Oh yes,” their guest said.
A recent episode:
- Hosts : Chrissanne Long and Rob Arturi
- Frequency: Weekly
- Topics : Polk County, entrepreneurship
While “Elevate Polk’’ co-hosts Chrissanne Long and Rob Arturi hope to expand the range of focus in the podcast into the surrounding county, they have used Lakeland as the starting point for a podcast focused on, in Long’s words, “bring[ing] a personal connection to people who live, work and play in Polk County.”
Long’s interest in community connection isn’t just limited to the podcast. As the CEO of Maximize Digital Lakeland and the founder of Bridge Local (formerly Lakeland Business Leaders), it’s a part of her job.
“Rob Arturi, who is my co-host … He told me I was going to do a podcast,” Long said. “I laughed at him and said, ‘Nobody wants to hear what I have to say,’ and he said, ‘I disagree,’ and he kept at me for about a year — and then we launched.”
Arturi is podcast producer at Viden Media Group, and he runs two other audio productions besides ‘Elevate Polk.’ While those are broadly topic-based, ‘Elevate Polk’ is a majority guest-centric podcast that focuses on people and their businesses.
“One of the biggest messages that I’m trying to convey through this little piece of the podcasting puzzle is that Polk has so many great assets in the community and I want to elevate that,” Long said. “I want to bring our game up to a higher level.”
Long: “Seth Godin. I already asked him; he said no.”
Arturi: “Jordan Peterson. That would be a personal dream interview for me; I don’t know if it would ever make sense to do it with Elevate Polk. The everyday heroes, the people who are out here investing in our community—those are big stories for us.”
A recent episode:
- Hosts : Joe and Chad McLeod
- Frequency : Weekly
- Topics : Public relations, political news
The McLeod brothers’ podcast is an extension of their business, McLeod Communications, a public relations firm based in downtown Lakeland. Their content is business-focused and instructive. The topics tend to be national in scope, although the brothers occasionally interview local people.
Joe McLeod and his brother, the recently elected City Commissioner Chad McLeod speak directly to their listeners, giving them tips for how (or how not) to deal with public relations problems often based on what is happening in the news.
PR & Politics has recorded more than 100 episodes and is the older sibling of a more Lakeland-centric podcast that Chad McLeod also produced: ‘Chad for Lakeland.’ Whereas the former structures around four longer segments, topping out at around 50 minutes, the latter averages only 12, and focused exclusively on McLeod’s campaign for city commissioner.
Chad McLeod said that he has weighed the idea of continuing ‘Chad for Lakeland’ into the new year and leveraging the podcast to give people a better idea of how city government works.
Dream interview: Todd Graham, the director of debate at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.
A recent episode:
- Host: Catapult Lakeland
- Frequency: TBD
- Topics: Lakeland Entrepreneurship
‘Startup Stories’ began as a podcast intended to highlight members of the Catapult Lakeland small business incubator: Honeycomb Bread Bakers, Drone Launch Academy, Dave Pappas Creative Studio, among others — but it hasn’t carried over into the new year yet.
“Because of the many changes we are undergoing right now as a company, we have let the podcast slip from the top of the priority list for now,” Catapult marketing and operations coordinator Nichole Jones said, “but hopefully we will pick it up again very soon, once things have settled around here.”
Other Podcasts by Lakelanders:
‘Casa de Arte,’ hosted by Ashley and Louis Holstein, aims to be a commuter’s perfect podcast and addresses general topics of interest, especially love and art in its many forms.
‘The Pink Script’, hosted by Kimber Antrobus, Lindsey Hilligoss, and Anastasia Brokas, speaks to young women and asks them to take their community, wellness, and story in their own hands.
‘Speak Brave,’ hosted by Mark Gai, routinely features Lakelanders in its quest to help entrepreneurs, teaching them to speak up for themselves and self-actualize.
Podcasts featuring Lakeland:
‘Fluent in Floridian’: Episode 59, Florida Polytechnic University President Dr. Randy Avent
‘PolkCast’ at Polk State College
College of Arts & Media at Southeastern University