’Casting a Wide Net - 405 Magazine

’Casting a Wide Net

  Podcasts are to the ’20s what blogs were to the aughts, only on steroids and with AirPods.


Yvette Walker, host of Positively Joy


Podcasts are to the ’20s what blogs were to the aughts, only on steroids and with AirPods. 


Fifteen years ago, a study reported that 32 million Americans read blogs. Today there are, according to podcasthosting.com, more than 1 million podcasts in production with more than 29 million episodes. About 155 million Americans report having listened to at least one, and 68 million listen weekly. If you are a person with any interest in any subject, there’s a podcast for you, and possibly one produced right here in Oklahoma. 


People produce their podcasts in all kinds of places, in fancy sound studios or, more likely these days, in their apartments – that’s where you’ll find the women behind the popular Ladies Who Law School. Oklahoma City University School of Law students Haylie Davis and Samantha Lemke, both in their second year, are just two of the multitude of Oklahomans who’ve hopped on the podcast-producing bandwagon. 


Yvette Walker, whose up-and-coming spiritual and inspirational podcast Positively Joy, now in its second season, is another. By day she is the assistant dean of student affairs at the OU Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. When the university implemented a mandatory work-from-home policy last spring, Walker decided to fill some of her newfound extra time with podcast production.


Lemke and Davis met as they were starting law school, and they often talked about the things they wish they’d known, or things they were afraid to ask. They kicked around the idea of doing a podcast but as new law students, they had more pressing matters to attend to. But then they decided to do it anyway.      


“We ordered some equipment from Amazon and rented OCU’s podcast studio,” Davis says. It took the pair about three hours to record the first episode. “The first one was honestly rough, but at the time we were so nervous.” Grades had just come out and, not surprisingly, the women led with an episode focused on how law students shouldn’t let grades define them.


Now, Ladies Who Law School is listened to around the world and has an internet headquarters at ladieswholawschool.com – and its social media presence is growing by the day. “We have about 1,000 listeners per episode, and we’ve had more than 20,000 downloads,” Lemke says. “We even have merchandise. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that this is a hobby.”


The women were inspired in part by the Girls Gotta Eat lifestyle podcast, and Lemke said that their dynamic is similar. She’s a fan of true crime podcasts (aren’t we all) such as Up and Vanished and Court Junkie. Davis gets her news from podcasts and lists The Daily, produced by The New York Times, along with those from National Public Radio, among her go-tos. 


Walker’s entry into the podcast fray in May was something she’d pondered for some time. “I had wanted to do one about beauty, politics and hair. I prayed about it and God said ‘joy.’ So, I launched Positively Joy, which is a faith-based podcast about finding joy in one’s life.”  


Her first season contains 30 episodes, and though says she was flying by the seat of her pants, she led with a timely discussion of COVID-19 with a Christian woman who’d survived the illness, and what role her faith played during the worst of it.


Then she started reaching out to people she knew, whose reliance on their faith, she felt, would speak to and uplift her audience as much as it did her.  She’s had some 2,000 downloads so far and is starting small intentionally. “I’m not doing this for money yet. My goal is to get the message of love and God’s grace to as many people as I can. I’ve started meeting people in the faith-based podcast space and am guesting on shows, and I’m learning how to market my podcast.”


She now premieres each episode in her Facebook group. “Hundreds will come online and we’ll have lunch together. I make sure something is always happening on my Facebook page. I’ll do a giveaway, I post a scripture every morning, or I’ll ask a funny question at noon.” Find episodes and join the Positively Joy community at positivelyjoy.com.    


Intrigued? Here’s a wide-ranging list of Oklahoma-produced podcasts for your listening enjoyment.

Oklahoma Podcasts

Find these and more at https://podcasts.apple.com

Film Crew 101 pulls back the curtain on all the different roles that go into making a film or TV show. Ever wondered what a Gaffer or Best Boy does? Have you dreamt about working in the art department of a major movie but don’t know where to start? Or perhaps you are well on your way building a career in film and TV but want to get more insight into how other departments work. Film Crew 101 has all the answers. Produced by The Oklahoma Film & TV Academy. Executive producers are Amy Janes, Richard Janes and Melodie Gameau.

Ladies Who Law School. Law School can be a scary and challenging experience. However, hearing firsthand real advice can always make the process easier; Tune in to every Monday for an insider’s perspective from Haylie and Samantha, two aspiring women, about their journeys to becoming Lawyers. Whether you are just starting out your legal journey, still considering if law school is for you, or simply want some lighthearted legal laughs, this is the podcast for you. Produced by Samantha Lemke and Haylie Davis.

This is Oklahoma. Mike Hearne, originally from Wales, made Oklahoma his home after falling in love with its people and the southern hospitality. This podcast is full of the stories of the people who embody the spirit of Oklahoma.

Tunes/Toons. Harold Storey heads up the Tunes/Toons Podcast – a show dedicated to all things concerning animation and music.

Miscellaneous Important Stuff. The goal of this podcast is to have interesting conversations in a 40-minute time frame. I work in advertising and spend most of my days editing content to sell products and ideas. I wanted to have a podcast where I could engage with people about ideas and not feel the urge to edit the conversation to be different or better than it actually was. Entertaining feature: “Would You Rather Wednesdays.”

Eerie Okie. An Oklahoma podcast that focuses on true crime, unexplained phenomena, and local legends. Host Marnie Vinge explores a different case each week with the help of an ensemble cast of friends. If you’re an Oklahoma ghoul who enjoys the morbid and macabre, this is the podcast for you.

This Land. Understanding the history behind the recent historic U.S. Supreme Court decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma. An 1839 assassination of a Cherokee leader. A 1999 small-town murder. Two crimes collide in a Supreme Court case that will decide the fate of one man and nearly half of the land in Oklahoma. Hosted by Rebecca Nagle, Oklahoma journalist and citizen of Cherokee Nation, This Land traces how a cut and dry homicide opened up an investigation into the treaty rights of five Native American tribes. Tune in to Crooked Media’s 8-episode series to find out how this unique case resulted in the largest restoration of tribal land in U.S. history.

Positively Joy. A Christian look at the search for joy in all seasons. Positively Joy is a multicultural, multiethnic podcast that takes a Christian look at the search for joy and light in all seasons of life. New episodes Mondays and Thursdays. On this podcast, you’ll hear stories that show how to choose joy in a bird’s song, in the kitchen, in your job, and more. Produced and hosted by Yvette Walker.