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The Pod Squad: Belizeans in Podcasting #549532
04/16/21 04:13 AM
04/16/21 04:13 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 79,820
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Our grandparents got their news and information from Radio Belize and the Beacon Newspaper, the next generation benefitted from independent television stations and more varied radio and newspaper choices.  Today’s young people tap into social media and live stream as citizen journalists.  But somewhere in between, connecting the past, present and the future of Belizean media are the podcasters.  This small band of independent influencers takes on everything from political controversy to potluck cuisine.  But whether they upload content every week, or simply whenever they feel like it, podcasters are blurring the lines between broadcast genres.  This week, News Five’s Paul Lopez went in search of the Belizean Pod Squad.

Brent Toombs, Brent’s Two Cents: The Semiserious thoughts of a guy in Belize

“Hey welcome to the Podcast, for the week of March the fifteenth. Well, when the P.U.P. won the General Elections on November eleventh , I heard a few people comment that it was like getting back with an ex-lover. An ex that you had good reason to dump back in the day and after all these years later haven’t changed.”

Paul Lopez, Reporting

Meet Brent Toombs of Brent’s Two Cents, the Semi-Serious Thoughts of a Guy in Belize. From his studio in Belize City, Toombs pushes all the hot button news headlines.

Brent Toombs

“I started my podcast in July, so I have been doing this for less than a year now.”

Toombs, a former news cameraman who now has his own production company, is part of new wave of Belizean podcasting that includes Dominque Noralez. She is young, independent-thinking and started her podcast on Anchor FM, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dominque Noralez, Belizean Podcaster

“Hi everyone. This is Dominique Noralez. There is something that has been on my mind since I found out about it. And I wrote about it in my column, mussing by the curious nonconformist. The name of my podcast is Walasaha’. It’s not Walasaha, its Walasaha.”

Paul Lopez


Dominque Noralez

“Yeah, yeah, that is ok.”

Paul Lopez

“What does it mean?”

Dominque Noralez

“It means “our search.”

And then there is the Natasha Stuart on Apple Podcast. Stewart is based on Ambergris Caye in the town of San Pedro. She uses her platform to engage with inspirational stories and inspirational Belizeans.

Natasha Stuart, The Natasha Stuart Podcast

“Why podcast? Because also like in the pandemic when everything was becoming chaotic towards the beginning. People were really posting everything on Facebook, sort of these panic reaction. And I became one of them. I was like this is not how I want to contribute to the people around me or in my life or anything. I was like I need to channel my energy elsewhere. And I read a lot of books and I also listen to audio books as well, not just physical book. I figured from those books, I learnt you become who you spend the most time with. So, I was like I am going to find people who inspire me.”

Roneisha S. Gentle and the Gentle Perspective on Anchor Fm and YouTube take a different approach. Gentle is a final year student at the University of the West Indies, majoring in political science.

Roneisha S. Gentle, The Gentle Perspective

“I enjoy talking about politics. You know for most people that is not the most ideal topic to discuss. But I find it highly informative and intriguing and especially for us as young people, we need to be in the inside of this, because we are the future. So, all of my episodes surround politics, policy and other social issues that not only Belize is going through but also the Caribbean and I try my hardest to tie it in.”

The community of Belizean podcasters is relatively small, but this lets them to connect more intimately to share tips and advice.

Brent Toombs

“The fact that so many other people are starting to do their own podcast. And they have reached out to me to say hey I have heard your podcast. I am thinking about doing something myself. Can you give me a few tips? And that’s really what I am hoping with that we will see with podcast, that this will become something that a lot of Belizeans will get into producing their own podcast, because the more Belizeans who produce their own podcast the more Belizeans will start listening to podcasts.”

Dominique Noralez

“I t is not a large pool of us. Butit is a substantial enough pool to know that Belizeans know what podcast are and we are creating it. So, we have people like Brent’s Two Cents who focuses on news, Two Teaspoons of Belize who focuses on comedy and yet still focuses on Belizean politics. There are different strokes for different  folks. I think it’s growing in the Belizean population, I think it is a great space for us to remain connected to each other no matter what borders exist.”

Podcasting has been in existence since the 1980’s; at that time it was called audio blogging. However, it really began to really catch on in 2004, with the advent of the iPod. Today there are hundreds of thousands of podcasts out there, on numerous platforms, covering a wide variety of topics. Paul Schmidt III told us why more Belizeans should engage in locally produced podcast.

Paul Schmidt III, Opinionated Cruffy

“I think it’s more, it gives a diversity of opinions of what is happening. Like I said, there are different genres. It could be that someone wants to start a podcast about cooking. It could be that someone wants to start a podcast about going Pokémon hunting. So even young people can get involved and they can definitely form and start a community out of that. So there are different options that are out there and some people want to connect. So it just one different way of connecting.”

Roneisha S. Gentle

“I do believe the popularity of traditional media is still very much here within our society. So, it is the nightly news the Amandala and the radio. Those are the three main sources of information for us as Belizeans. The trend of podcasting is new to Belize, though it is popular around the world. But I do believe that if we really want to be well rounded and be a bit more dynamic, we need to come out of the boundaries that we have here in our communities to say look, there is other things out there available. And I did not know there a podcast for every single genre you can think about, gospel, hip-hop, books everything under this sun.”

Channel 5

Re: The Pod Squad: Belizeans in Podcasting [Re: Marty] #549947
05/04/21 04:46 AM
05/04/21 04:46 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 79,820
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Podcasts To The People

And turning away from crime news now… our next story is about a new kind of non traditional media - a way to get the message, that takes the messenger - (folks like us) - out of the equation. They're podcasts and while they are very popular in developed countries, they are only just now catching on as a way to get fresh views and perspectives - in what the experts call - a dis-mediated space - that means you don't have to turn on your TV or your radio - or even facebook. All you need is an internet connection.

More and more Belizeans are joining in this new and uniquely creative way to express themselves directly and without going through any established media portal.

So whether the subject is climate change, Belizean history, or people that inspire you, there's a podcast for that. Courtney Menzies spoke with a few podcasters and has this story.

Podcasts: they're a form of new media that allows listeners to dive into a new world with no visual elements - usually just the sound of the host and their guest.

And now Belizeans have started hopping on to this trend and sharing their views on various issues that's unique to our history, culture, and everyday life.

And Belize's distinct offerings has also allowed international podcasters to make episodes about our country. Podcasters like Chris Morgan, host of The Wild, who had featured the scarlet macaws and jaguars of Belize in two episodes of its third season. He spoke with us via Zoom last month when the episodes first premiered.

Chris Morgan, The Wild
"I quickly met Rafael Manzanero from Friends for Conservation and Development so we learnt about his scarlet macaw project that the FCD is doing and where his team of guys are researching and protecting the scarlet macaws at their resting sites in the Chiquibul forest so we went down the Macal River by boat with these guys and you can hear in the episode we come across a tapir and monkeys in the trees and finally these scarlet macaws and it was a magical moment. And they're mostly safe in the Chiquibul Forest because so much of Belize is protected but they do suffer from poaching and that's impacting these small number of scarlet macaws."

"Before you ask, I didn't see jaguar sadly. I saw some glowing eyes in the forest quite close to Caracol, it was coming down this muddy slope in the darkness, had my head lamp on, looking into the forest and there were these two big eyes so it wasn't a small animal and they blinked twice with my headlight reflecting them and turned and melted into the forest and I'll never know if it was a puma or a jaguar."

Morgan explained that to transform such a visual story into a podcast that's just audio starts with having a good story that can easily pull listeners in.

But there are those who make video podcasts - which may seem contrary to the point of a podcast - but allows the listeners to see the reactions of their host. And Natasha Stuart, based in San Pedro, does exactly this. She began her journey on Instagram Live during the pandemic and has since transitioned to podcast websites and YouTube.

Natasha Stuart, The Natasha Stuart Podcast
"Generally my podcast is just me interviewing Belizeans who inspire me in some way, shape or form. All Belizeans who are following their dreams or doing something different because I was really hoping to inspire myself and other Belizeans to pursue their dreams and to realise there are so many different things that we can be and do and that there is the support and there is the potential and there is so much opportunity to be had and I listen to a lot of podcast myself and I would use the excuse of being in a different world so my situation is different, my circumstances are different so I decided to find Belizeans who are doing things regardless of their circumstance so I can't use that excuse anymore when I am finding these people who are able to do things regardless."

"I'm always looking and always thinking about my podcast, I'm always thinking of who I want as a guest, I kinda write down a dream list essentially and I reach out to people at any moment in time and tell them that some day I want you on my podcast, I don't know when, I try to think about what's happening in society and make it kinda going in conjunction with whatever it's happening so that's kinda when I would call on them."

And while her podcast is in its early stages, so is Dominique Norales' one. Walasaha, which launched on December 31st, covers a wide array of topics stemming from Belize's rich past and present. Norales explained that this was her way of creating a creative space while studying abroad, and hopes to be inspirational as well as informational. She spoke with us back in March.

Dominique Norales, Walasaha
"My podcast is called Walasaha which is a Garifuna word meaning our search so I wanted to make it meaningful, I wanted to make it represent my culture and so yeah that's what the podcast is named and about, of course, I'm a huge lover of politics, history, art so I wanted to highlight that with Belize and Belizeaness as you see there with my flag and of course my nationality being at this conjunction of Latina American and Caribbean culture."

"I generally have on - one of the podcasts had on some of my friends, we spoke a bit about racism, about their experiences all around the world and as really black Belizean men and men of color, I have a serious called tun up di ting where I talk to different artists - I've had Nello Player, I've had Daryn Casanova."

Both Norales and Stuart's podcasts can be heard on AnchorFM, Spotify, Google Podcasts and more.

Other Belizeans podcasts include Mada Fyah, The Opinionated Kruffy, Two Teaspoons of Belize, and The Blind Spot.

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