Black Astronauts is a weekly podcast that talks life, relationships, politics and random humor
Meet Kai Love, Aaron Bee, Can, Rock, Letitia, Fiq, CJ and Polo – the newest voices in Internet talk radio. These personalities are on a mission “to provide a comical, intellectual and realistic perspective on urban culture that cannot be found on mainstream radio.”
Why’d they choose the name Black Astronauts?
“The name Black Astronauts was chosen to reflect the uniqueness, rare yet achievable goal of being and doing something great. Just as black astronauts like Guion Bluford, Ronald McNair and Mae Jemison broke barriers traveling into space, we, The Black Astronauts Podcast, want to inspire and influence people to defy gravity and Be Great.” Additionally, the Black Astronauts Podcast has started the Support Ya Own-#syo movement, which encourages reciprocal support among peer groups. “This movement has moved beyond urban podcasting and is a growing hash tag on Twitter,” according to Kai Love.
This weekly adult comedy podcast airs on Stitcher Radio, iTunes, LibSyn, streams online at www.blackastronauts.com, and has an app now available on iPhone and Google Play Store. The Black Astronauts Podcast brand has recently expanded to include the all-female show Ladies Launch, Interview of the Week, and soon to be released #ThePiscesLife. The Black Astronauts Podcast can be found on Facebook and @blackastronaut1 on Twitter.
Read more here.
Define your brand.
The Black Astronauts Podcast brand is intelligent, witty, funny and informative conversations about everything and anything. We encourage our listeners to “Be Great”. Our tagline is “We’re Black Astronauts, We’re Tryna Go Far”, taken from our theme song.
What inspired you to be a voice in the community?
The Black Astronauts are a group of diverse, intelligent and insightful men and women. Seven of us are part of Black Greek organizations. All of us are college educated; one of us has a Ph.D. and three of us are currently in Ph.D. programs. We all live in different states. Our careers span across several disciplines, including education, psychology, retail, health, small business, non-profits and entrepreneurship. In our spare time we are writers, performing artists, comedians and motivational speakers. The Black Astronauts are either married with children, divorced, dating or single and mad about it. We are well-read, connected to popular culture, sensitive to social justice and race issues, opinionated and just plain silly at times.
When the Black Astronauts listened to mainstream radio, especially talk formats we struggled to identify with the hosts and their perspectives on politics, general life struggles, race relations and our generation. Where was the authentic black male voice in radio? Where is the black female voice in talk radio, period? We just felt like we had a story to tell and wanted to represent ourselves and our peer group well. We are the voice of this middle age, middle class urban experience.
How do you stay motivated?
Good question. All eight of the Black Astronauts Podcast hosts are either employed full-time or attending graduate school full-time or both. We have families, kids, businesses and just the regular life stuff that keeps us too busy. Yet, the hosts carve out four to six hours bi-weekly and the producer and assistant, Aaron Bee and Kai Love respectfully, each work 10 hours weekly to ensure the Black Astronauts Podcast provides quality programming and brand representation. All these hours are unpaid, but we love podcasting and this “Support Ya Own” movement and that is our motivation. You make time for what you love and we have all committed to loving the hell out of the Black Astronauts Podcast.
We have had to make some sacrifices in our personal lives and relationships, but our families have been super supportive of the Black Astronauts Podcast and they are our continuous motivation. Recording a podcast with multiple personalities in different geographies can be challenging at times, just due to scheduling. We get tired, as evident by our last “Air Em Out Sundays” show when one of our hosts fell asleep during the recording. It was super funny on the episode, but that’s our reality. We keep going because we know that our listeners want to hear from us and some of us would like to do podcasting full time. So, the grind continues.
Who is your audience?
The primary audience for the Black Astronauts Podcast is urban middle class individuals between the ages of 25 to 55. However, we have a growing listening audience outside of those demographics.
How do you know you’re making a difference?
The Black Astronauts Podcast receives feedback through iTunes, Gmail, Facebook and Twitter. We are still amazed at how our taped conversations move listeners to action by sharing their own stories in agreement, opportunities to respectfully disagree with us, and supporting other podcasts that we support. We have virtually met thousands of named and unnamed people who have made our podcast a regular part of their lives. We are so humbled by this experience, but really believe that our podcast is adding value to society, especially in middle class urban environments. Sometimes our episodes are funny, sometimes serious, sometimes very passionate but all the time real. Our hosts are all comical, intelligent, cynical with varying areas of expertise. Listening to the Black Astronauts Podcast may lead someone to check out an author, artist, media program, philosophical or business concept. In our own way, we are providing an informative and educational experience. That is the difference the Black Astronauts Podcast is making.
What have you learned about yourself since you’ve been doing your podcast?
We have learned that we have voices and perspectives that people outside of our immediate peer group find valuable. The Black Astronauts really LOVE, LOVE, LOVE podcasting and contributing to national and local conversations about a variety of topics.
What have you learned about people?
We continue to learn that despite being separated by geographies, people are generally the same and all subject to human conditioning and their own experiences. We continue to know that people want to feel connected to other people and listening to podcasts provides a social outlet for those connections to occur. We have met so many people from podcasting that have enriched our lives through those interactions. We also have learned that people are just genuinely funny, sometimes without even trying hard. The things we read on Facebook and Twitter from our listeners clearly could be a reality television show.
Who do you consider your peers in your field and a few that are great examples where you can get support and best practices?
There is certainly a list of urban podcasters that have provided inspiration, instruction and laid the path that we, the Black Astronauts Podcasts now travel on. First, we have to acknowledge Mr. Moody from Mr. Moody’s Neighborhood. They call him “Podcast Diddy” because he has been around for several years podcasting and just works and works and works and has some of the most real, solid and consistent content out.
Next, we would acknowledge the Black Guy Who Tips; the hosts Rod and Karen are married and have demonstrated how providing free and premium content can lead to monetizing podcasting. Rod is a full-time podcaster and at least four of the Black Astronauts desire to make podcasting their full-time job.
We also want to highlight the In Deep Show. All the hosts – Big B, Queen Neen, Mark “The Doc” Wiley, Drew Baybee and the 15 Word Assassin are witty and funny. Most importantly, the In Deep Show has some of the tightest production and sound in the podcast world, thanks to Big B and his studio setup. We strive to sound as good as the In Deep Show.
Lastly, there is another crew of podcasters, “Black Is” that is based out of Los Angeles. With shows like “The Brothers Lehman Sports Happy Hour”, “The Break” and “Culture Connection”, “Black Is” offers its audience an experience that includes podcasting, blogging and highlighting local cultural activities. The Black Astronauts Podcast desires to offer our audience that interactive web-based experience as well.
What software and tools of technology have made the biggest difference in your life?
We utilize a multitude of technology to support our daily activities. From a podcast perspective we use Skype, Audacity, Dropbox, Facebook, iTunes, Stitcher Radio and Twitter. We all follow several applications installed such as Buzz Feed, the Black Astronauts Podcast (of course), Amazon, CBS Sports Fantasy, Pinterest, and The White House.