Community Podcast Lab Helps Detroiters Get Their Start in Podcasting

Futuro Media and WDET have teamed up to host an intensive podcast lab in Detroit for people of color.

While the popularity of podcasts has exploded in recent years, opportunities for people of color to get their start in the industry are still few and far between. That’s the inspiration behind Futuro Media’s Community Podcast Lab.

Futuro Media partnered with WDET to bring the lab to Detroit after previous stops in Boston; Hartford, Connecticut; and Akron, Ohio.

The Community Podcast Lab is a 15-week program that helps prepare its cohort with the storytelling and technical skills needed to create their own podcasts.

“We are excited to work with Detroit residents to help develop their storytelling skills and hear the creative stories that are shaping the health and vibrancy of the city,” said Julio Ricardo Varela, interim co-executive director of Futuro Media.

The program provides hands-on training and experience in audio storytelling and editing for podcasts. Ella Turenne, an artist, activist educator and podcaster, and Joaquin Cotler, a producer at Futuro Media, will be the instructors for the Detroit program.

More than 90 Detroit area residents applied for the program, and eight were selected. The selection committee included Rhonda Welsh, a poet, community activist, and executive director for Detroit outreach at Central Michigan University; Erik Paul Howard, a community organizer, photographer and co-founder of Inside Southwest Detroit; and, David Leins, podcast coordinator and producer at WDET, who also oversees WDET’s StoryMakers program.

The lab runs through January 2022 and will conclude with a listening party and celebration.

Meet the Participants

Nezaa Bandele is a poet, artist and community chef, working to build a healthier Detroit through her cooking. Born in Jamaica and now living in Detroit by way of Canada, Nezaa fuses different cultures through her work in food justice, health and wellness through her podcast.
Bryce Detroit is a performing artist, community organizer and record producer. His entertainment justice work focuses on racial, economic, social and environmental justice. Bryce is looking to the Podcast Lab as a new vehicle to broadcast his ideas to his audiences. 

Arlyssa Heard is an education justice organizer at 482 Forward. She can’t wait to get behind the microphone at the Podcast Lab as an opportunity to work with students and parents to build a new vehicle to broadcast creative, engaging and impactful stories and voices for change. 

Saundra Little is an architect at Quinn Evans and Co-founder of Noir Design Parti. Her work focuses on the revitalization of the urban buildings and public spaces to renew and lift up vulnerable communities. Her podcast will focus on the role and design that Black women architects play in the revitalization of American cities. 

Eladio Nino is a youth specialist at the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation in Southwest Detroit. He works with returning citizens, drawing from his 17 years as an incarcerated person. He looks forward to creating podcasts about real stories from his community.

Catalina Rios is a poet, author and organizer who works for We the People Michigan. She looks forward to developing podcasts to highlight the work of artists who are uplifting their community through their creativity.
David Rudolph lives on the west side of Detroit and has been in the public relations business for 27 years. He’s excited to dive into the Podcast Lab to speak for himself (not others) about the homeless recovery and mental health issues that many Black men in Detroit face. 

Reda Taleb is a decarceration and healing justice advocate. She was born to Lebanese Muslim parents and focuses her work on Muslim women impacted by incarceration. Her podcasts will work to combat Islamophobia.

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  • David Leins
    David Leins is a Podcast Coordinator and Producer at WDET. He also oversees the StoryMakers program. When he isn't making radio and podcasts, David is probably on a hike somewhere marveling at the trees.