Originally published on The Phoenix News on March 2nd, 2017.
On Tuesday, January 31, Ben Moody launched his new Queer Lives podcast with a live recording at the Wine & Art tapas restaurant located downtown. I walked into the venue with a friend of mine and breathed in the smell of wine and food that lingered in the air. The restaurant was smaller than expected, but warm and inviting. Ben was setting up his sound equipment in the far end of the corner when we walked in, and I noticed how close the set up was relative to the audience. It was very cozy, and I liked it that way. The crowd trickled in slowly. Everyone was talking to each other liked they have known each for a long time. My friend and I looked at each other and shrugged. His face was just as lost as mine because we didn’t know anybody there.
It didn’t stop us from having a good time, though. The Queer Lives podcast premiere was amazing, the production quality was fantastic and the content was off the charts. Speakers from all over Kelowna and the Okanagan talked about their experiences with the LGBTQIA+ community and shared their diverse backgrounds and stories. Wilbur told his painful story describing his journey on coming out as gay and how his 91-year-old mother cut ties from him. Peter Breeze talked about his life in Hollywood, how he met Paris Hilton, and how he wanted to be rich and famous. These were just snippets of the whole night. I cried, I laughed, and I smiled. This was the first podcast of its kind to ever be recorded and aired in Kelowna, and it definitely had potential to grow and expand.
I sat down with Ben on the Friday after the premiere in the Well to talk about Queer Lives. I asked him a few questions. What was his inspiration to create the podcast? Why a podcast and not a written blog that compiled experiences from the LGBTQIA+ community
He told me that he wanted to connect the LGBTQIA+ community with people living in rural areas who don’t have many interactions with the queer community. Podcasts were also a passionate way of getting the content out into the world, because there were little to no space confinements which means more people have access to it. No stories were inappropriate, and everyone was encouraged to share their stories.
In terms of finding speakers for the premiere, Ben had personal connections from the Pride Resource Centre on campus but also from local organizations aimed at spreading awareness of the LGBTQIA+ community, men’s health, etc. When we talked about the speakers at the live recording, Ben said he knew each speaker for this live recording event, which made it easier to contact and help generate content.
The podcast’s success also meant that there were a series of challenges during the creation process. One of the biggest challenges for Ben was trying to coordinate details for the event. Who was going to speak? What should they talk about? Where would he get the funding and the recording equipment? What venue should he use? It would be months of planning and brainstorming with sponsors and speakers before the podcast could officially kick off.
For now, the next steps would be to edit the audio recording and cut the recording into different episodes before publishing the podcast onto the internet. There is no set date for the next recording, but Ben anticipates a mid-February, early March recording date for the next few episodes. Making a podcast is a learning curve, and Ben will gage reactions from the community before he will generate more content.