You are the Founder of the Podcast Brunch Club. What’s it all about?
The best way to describe Podcast Brunch Club (PBC) is “like a book club, but for podcasts.” Conversation and dialogue are at the heart of PBC. So, every month a theme is chosen and one member of PBC will curate a list of 3-5 podcast episodes into a listening list. The listening list is sent out via the newsletter to members worldwide. Then, people meet in smaller groups (called chapters) around the world to discuss what they heard.
Finally, I just launched a Podcast Brunch Club podcast. Very meta, I know! The idea is to bring a variation of the PBC conversations happening around the globe directly to your earbuds. Each month, I invite a guest and we discuss that month’s listening list. Because my favorite part of PBC is the community, I’m also working on figuring out how to give PBC friends worldwide a voice on the podcast. That’s coming soon. In the meantime, you can find the PBC podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and wherever you get your podcasts.
How did this venture come about?
I am a huge podcast fan, but one day while I was listening to one of my favorites, it occurred to me how solitary podcast listening is. Much like reading a great book, you sometimes find yourself laughing out loud, crying with true empathy, or stunned by people’s (fill in the blank here: kindness, ingenuity, audacity, etc.). You’re left looking around to share it with someone only to realize that you are listening alone. For a true podcast enthusiast, you ultimately try to weave these pieces into the conversation, just for the sake of trying to connect the people you care about with the interesting content you spend so much time listening to. That is until a friend points out that the last three sentences you said started with “that’s like this one podcast I listened to….”
I was having one of those days when it hit me that a podcast club would be a great idea. I talked to a friend who agreed to be my co-founder and the very first chapter was born in Chicago. About a year later, I was talking to another friend of mine who lives in Geneva, Switzerland. She loved the idea and we decided to start another group there. I then decided to put the concept out in the world and it took off! We now have chapters in 25 cities on 4 continents and it’s growing every month.
I should also mention why “brunch” is included. The original Chicago group decided to meet once a month for brunch. Our other chapters meet when it’s convenient for them, whether that’s brunch, happy hour, coffee, etc.
How is the club organized?
We have chapters worldwide and they are open for anyone to join. Each chapter has a chapter leader who volunteers to do the on-the-ground coordination.
If a city isn’t listed and someone is willing to coordinate a chapter where they live, they can simply fill out this form and I can give them more information about what being a chapter leader means (it’s pretty easy) and I can help them launch their chapter. We have two types of chapters: private and public. Private chapters are limited to the chapter leader’s network. Public chapters are open to anyone and are listed on the website. It’s up to the chapter leader to decide whether they’d like their chapter to be public or private. I try to make it as easy on chapter leaders as possible and I would consider quite a few of them friends even though I’ve never met them in person.
Tell us about some of the interesting themes you’ve had in the past, and others coming up.
We’ve had such a huge range of themes over the past few years.
One of my favorites was our “Starting a Family” theme. It included episodes that talked about the wide range of ways people feel about whether or not to start a family and the lengths some will go to have one when society has made it incredibly difficult for them.
Another theme that prompted interesting discussion was “The World We’re Inheriting.” This was a very special theme because it was curated by our first-ever high school chapter. A teacher in Colorado decided to start a PBC chapter with her junior- and senior-level sociology class. They had a few lively conversations around various PBC themes over the course of the semester. Their final project was to curate the PBC listening list for January of 2017. They did an amazing job and it was so fun to partner with the students. I am hoping to start more classroom PBC chapters in the future.
Who participates in these groups?
All sorts of people participate in the PBC groups. These days especially, I think it’s important to get people with diverse viewpoints and backgrounds to sit around a table, look each other in the eye, and talk. More than ever, we are so connected to each other, but it’s usually through the computer or our mobile devices. PBC gives people the opportunity to un-tether for a few hours once a month, sit down with people they may not have met otherwise, and discuss topics they may not have otherwise discussed.
Women in midlife and beyond are a perfect addition to any PBC conversation. The experience that they bring to the table can be very enlightening. It also provides a vibrant social network. As an adult, whether you are right out of college or in midlife, it is often very challenging to meet new people. PBC provides an opportunity for meaningful discussion with thoughtful people from a wide variety of backgrounds.
One thing I am constantly amazed by are how many wonderful people are out there. It’s so easy to hear all of the bad news coming out of the mainstream media. PBC has shown me that there are so many more wonderful people in the world than terrible people. Our NYC group is now doing potluck dinners and inviting strangers over to share in a meal and conversation. The chapter leader in Pittsburgh has started putting together music playlists to go along with our podcast listening list theme every month. A teacher in Colorado is bringing PBC to her classroom. These are just a few examples of the fabulous people I have encountered through PBC.
What are some of your favorite podcast series you might recommend?
Wow. Where to start!?!
The podcast that got me hooked was Radiolab. It’s a smart podcast that takes curiosity to the next level. And, for me, curiosity is one of the most important human traits.
I also love Invisibilia (exploring human behavior), Reply All (a show about the Internet, but not really), Sleepover (3 strangers get together to help each other with their problems), Strangers (stories about beautiful humans), The Moth (true stories told on stage, live), and Reveal (investigative reporting). I can go on and on, but I think those give a good and varied place to start.
Contact Adela Mizrachi at firstname.lastname@example.org
PBC Twitter: @podcastbrunch
Adela’s Twitter: @adelamiz
Adela Mizrachi is a curious human who is always looking for new ways to explore the world. She’s traveled all over the world, filling her passport once and living in Ethiopia for a year. Her background is international education, but she now works as a communications specialist. She describes herself as “a jack of all trades, master of none, but always trying.” Her passions include podcasts, real estate (she and her boyfriend flip houses), and travel.