Meet these aspiring podcast hosts in WFAE’s Queen City PodQuest finals

Photo courtesy of WFAE/Jeff Cravotta

NPR station WFAE has selected five teams of finalists in its Queen City PodQuest competition, with podcast series ideas as diverse as pop culture, education and medicine.

Now, the finalists are busy learning a few tricks of the radio trade, preparing presentations that they hope will win them the opportunity to produce their podcast series in conjunction with the station.

On May 4, WFAE is hosting the Queen City PodQuest Live Finale, where the finalists will present their ideas to a panel of three judges. The event runs from 4-7 p.m., and general admission tickets are $5, but a limited number of seats are available free.

Before you go, get to know the Queen City PodQuest competition’s five teams here:

(1) Bicycling in Queen City and Beyond

Ann Groninger and Jeff Viscount. Photo courtesy of WFAE/Jeff Cravotta

Hosts: Ann Groninger and Jeff Viscount
What it’s about: Biking

Groninger and Viscount plan to talk about all things biking and the benefits of bicycling—but not just those that readily come to mind, like more exercise and less pollution. They’ll discuss protected bike lanes and infrastructure, benefits for kids, obstacles to biking, social rides, routes and more.

Groninger said she always loved biking as a kid, and it gave her a sense of freedom and independence. “We want people to see that biking is a very diverse culture and impacts the community beyond the obvious ways.”

(2) Choose Our Own Adventure

Lesley Elsworth, Jermone Jackson, Brian Martin and Darryl Mansel. Photo courtesy of WFAE/Jeff Cravotta

Hosts: Lesley Elsworth, Jermone Jackson, Brian Martin and Darryl Mansel
What it’s about: Pop culture/entertainment

Each week, Choose Our Own Adventure’s audience would pick a particular pop culture topic—it could be a new movie, a comic series, video games, or anything and everything entertainment. The team would discuss, debate and answer questions from the audience on that topic.

Mansel said he wants the series to be an entertaining show for commuters, but also a platform to highlight the South’s entertainment and theater contributions. “Entertainment is about New York and L.A. You don’t hear much about the South. We would love to be a stage for them.”

(3) NextDoorDocs

Bryant Allen and Sean Fox. Courtesy of WFAE/Jeff Cravotta

Hosts: Bryant Allen and Sean Fox
What it’s about: Common medical issues

Fox and Allen, both emergency room physicians at Atrium Health, would offer conversational episodes on commonly misunderstood medical topics. They hope to cover topics like concussion and minor head injuries, fever, minor motor vehicle collisions and more.

The aim of the podcast, they said, is to clear up confusion on common medical questions and build trust with the community.

(4) Teachable Moments

Jennifer Chaffman and Sara Behnke. Photo courtesy of WFAE/Jeff Cravotta

Hosts: Jennifer Chaffman and Sara Behnke
What it’s about: Education

Teachable Moments hosts Chaffman and Behnke said they were inspired by their school to pitch this idea, as both have worked in education for years. They plan to discuss obstacles facing schools, teachers’ best practices, ways to solve common education problems and more.

“We want to focus on best practices, things that have been proven to work,” they said. “So often who you hear from are the education reporters or people high up in the administration, so we want to hear from the people doing the day-to-day work.”

(5) Work It

Kevin Young and Stephanie Hale. Photo courtesy of WFAE/Jeff Cravotta

Hosts: Stephanie Hale, Jill Bjers (not pictured) and Kevin Young
What it’s about: Work life and identity

We spend a ton of time at our jobs, and what better topic than work life to explore on your daily commute? In this show, Hale, Bjers and Young would dive deep into the nuances of work life and how it shapes who we are.

“It’s fascinating how people have so many different perspectives on what can and can’t happen in the space of their jobs,” Hale said.


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