Pop music blared and neon lights accented the walls of a room in East Las Vegas Library on June 13 as about 30 people gathered for the first live taping of Wild and Free: A Battle Born Podcast.
The biweekly podcast, hosted by Alison Yanez-McKay, 34, of east Las Vegas, and 39-year-old Jacob Murdock, of Spring Valley, highlights Las Vegas community efforts and people. This was the podcast’s 33rd episode since it began over a year ago, and episodes last 30 minutes to an hour. The pair focus on social justice issues and have highlighted topics such as immigration, community outreach and a potential Oprah Winfrey run for president.
On June 13, the focus was the local nonprofit Leaders in Training, an organization designed by longtime teacher Erica Mosca to empower first-generation college students to become leaders.
“There are voices that don’t get heard at nonprofits, and it’s oftentimes the people doing the work who don’t get noticed,” Murdock said. “The voices are the CEOs and executive directors, which is fine, but it’s the people behind the scenes who are doing the work.”
After the taping, the Las Vegas Review-Journal caught up with Yanez-McKay and Murdock to learn more about the podcast.
Q: How do you make the episodes easily accessible and the language easy to understand?
Murdock: Alison and I aren’t attorneys, so we’re asking questions your average person would ask — if police stop you, what are simple questions you can ask so you don’t get yourself in trouble? — basic things the community should know. Breaking down barriers, making things more understandable. I think it’s very easy to get lost in legal jargon or other types, and we really want to break that down so the community understands what exists around them.
Q: About how many people listen to the podcast?
Murdock: It’s hard to specifically tell. We read it by our RSS feed. The number of people who subscribe to our blog or podcast audio feed is about 600 to 1,000 people a month. We had a public defender episode a few weeks ago that was really popular. We talked about civil rights and what we should know in order to protect them.
Q: How do you find people or nonprofits to feature? What demographic are you targeting?
Yanez-McKay: I’ve worked in the nonprofit realm for 13 years, so many of the people we have on the show are friends of ours. When we decided to launch this we had 50 interviews in mind already. We’re featuring primarily women, people of color, and people in the LGBTQ community.
Q: What’s your inspiration to continue this work?
Yanez-McKay: I thought this would be a good way for people to tune in and find out about ways to involve themselves in the community. No one knows what’s going on in different parts of the city. The idea is that people will tune in to donate their time to the community, arts and culture of this town. This is the platform for people to know what’s going on around our communities.