At every stage of this project, we're working with our friends, our homegirls, our community members, artists that we know locally in the community that we've shared space with. So we're reaching out to our friends to collaborate and paying our friends, right, to put these flyers together, to do the graphics, to do the photos, to do the makeup, what have you.
Dessa: How can you take your podcast out of the studio and into real life? Diosa Femme and Mala Muñoz explain how they use their podcast, Locatora Radio, to help create community in East LA.
I’m Dessa, the host of Werk It, the podcast -- a compilation of some of the best moments from the live event. This session was part of the Womxnifestos series. They’re moments distilled wisdom presented by people with lived experience and real conviction.
And a heads up: Diosa and Mala’s podcast is about creating a safe space for survivors of sexual assault, so you'll hear about that in this episode.
Mala Muñoz: Hi everybody. Hi Werk it. Hello. Hello. I'm Mala.
Diosa Femme: I'm Diosa.
Mala Muñoz: And we are Las Locatoras of Locatora Radio.
Diosa Femme: We are a radiophonic novella.
Mala Muñoz: Which has really honestly just a very extra way of saying:
Diosa + Mala in unison: A podcast.
Mala Muñoz: So, uh, we are co cohost and co-producers of this indie podcast, Locatora Radio, and we're here to talk to you about, uh, podcast parties and popups, how to build community and cultivate a real sense of a family with your audience through podcasting.
Diosa Femme: Yeah. So before we get into it, we just want to do a quick introduction onto who we are and how we met. Uh, we are millennials, right? So we actually met, yes, yes, yes. All millennials. Um, we actually met on the internet. So we met on Twitter and then our friendship moved on to Instagram. And we met -- we were following each other for about four years before we actually met in the flesh and then a couple months later decided to start a podcast together.
Mala Muñoz: A true millennial love story.
Diosa Femme: A true millennial love story. Honestly, truly.
Mala Muñoz: And here we are.
Diosa Femme: Here we are today -- three years later. We have been podcasting since 2016 so I don't know, I feel like we're still baby podcasters but we've also, you know, have learned a lot along the way. So we're excited to share what we've learned with y'all today, especially about community building. We both come from organizing backgrounds, student activists and we were doing when we were in our undergrad. So we're really excited to just talk.
Mala Muñoz: Absolutely. And something that we feel is really important to talk about is we're not with any podcast studio. We're completely indie, DIY. We have been since the beginning. We record out of a community radio station in Boyle Heights over here, east ,just over the bridge called Espacio 1839 so everything that we've worked on though, we're going to show you guys the installations, the popups, the podcast parties. It is home grown, it is community level and it's completely DIY. So we feel like that's really important to talk about, to show you really what strength of a community can help you to build, when everybody's on onboard and when we're working together.
Diosa Femme: Yeah. And also something to point out is that I am the audio editor, so I edit all of our sound and Mala is our sound board operator. So when we tell you that we are DIY, we are really DIY. For better or for worse, honestly.
Mala Muñoz: Right.
Diosa Femme: And something that also so Mala, can you tell them what we call DIY for us?
Mala Muñoz: What we call DIY for us? Oh, Dollar tree DIY. Like it's dollar. She DIY because we're balling on a budget where podcasting on a penny and that's okay.
[theme music plays]
Mala Muñoz: This is our jingle we wanted to share with you our vibe and our energy and uh, yeah. So now we're going to be talking about the power of podcasting. You know, podcasting, I think in a lot of ways can be this sort of one way street, right? Your audience is going to end up knowing a lot more about you as a host than you will ever know about your audience. Right? Especially on a podcast like ours, we're talking about sexcapades, we're talking about relationships, we're talking about feminism, rape culture. So we're sharing a lot of firsthand personal information, stories, narratives, and when we meet our folks and our listeners, they're calling back two different episodes and sharing details about our lives that we even forgot that we shared, right?
Diosa Femme: Yes. Yeah. And one thing that we've done through the podcast is, is name our community. So our community, our listeners, we called them Locamores. So they’re our little locomotives and they're, they're loquitas, their fellow survivors, whatever that may mean to them. And we like really by, uh, we borrow from the school of thought of Beyonce.
Mala Muñoz: Yes,
Diosa Femme: So, you know, Beyonce has her beehive, Rihanna has her Navy, Amber Rose has her Rosebud. So we like take inspo from the really amazing women and what they're doing. So being able to call our community something, right? And so that we have this kind of even exchange of energy that's being shared when we meet them. And what's really cool is that they also self identify as Locamores, they'll come up to us and say, I'm a Locomore, I'm from wherever part of LA or -- And it's really great. That's a part of the community building, I feel.
Mala Muñoz: Yeah. Helping the audience to have a sense of identity and unity in this shared experience. And it's been really fun to see our audience and our listeners like pick that up and run with it. Right. Um, it's really important to us also to take podcasting out of the studio space and into the community. And when we through our very first podcast party, it was, it was for our one year anniversary of podcasting. So we have been positive podcasting for 12 months and we said, well, you know what, let's throw a party. Like what else can we do? Let's invite everybody. Let's go downtown. Uh, we linked up with a local party crew called La Junta LA. Um, they had an invited us to be enmees at some of their like, um, summer rooftop day parties. And when they first reached out to us about femcee-ing, and that's what we call it when we emcee, we femcee. So when they reached out to us and asked us to femcee their party, we were like, do we do that? Yeah. Do we host parties? We do now. Now we do. So that's kinda how it started. And you want to talk about that first, um, anniversary party? Yes.
Diosa Femme: Yeah. So the first party, it was really great to partner with a local party collective because they have been organizing and curating nightlife for many years. So thinking about the logistics of going into a party, we were really brand new, right? We were green when it came to that. So being able to partner with basically experts in nightlife was amazing. So what we did was we picked a DJ and she was a guest DJ for the night. And then we invited all of our people to come out, all of our listeners. And what we did was we decorated the bar with pink boas and we tried to make it like as Locatora, as us, as possible. And so that was, uh, that was the first time where we saw people actually come out and attend an event for us. And that was the first time that we organized it. Co-organized it with the group and that's when like the light went off. Like we saw something, our listeners, our community came through for us. So there's something here and we want to hone in on that and keep growing that. So that was the first of many.
Mala Muñoz: That was the first of many and we went on, um, and we continue to throw parties and we like a theme. We love a theme. So, um, our next big party, we call, we call it: Locatora Live: A Podcast Party. And this first flyer that you see on the left was really the, um, no here on the right. This was the first Locatora live podcast party that we threw and it was here at civic center studios. We had our homegirl DJ Sizzle Fantastic. Yes. That's her name. She's amazing and adorable. DJ Sizzle accompanied us on stage and we kind of recreated the variety shows.
So we took Sábado Gigante, Sonny & Cher -- our favorite variety shows -- and we said, let's make it millennial. Let's make it now. Let's make it Latinx. Let's make it a podcast party. So we invited 'em, Curly Velasquez and Maya Murillo of Buzzfeed's Pero Like to be our first guests as interviews. So, uh, the first part of the podcast party Locatora live is the interview and doing some fun games with our guests accompanied by DJ Sizzle. And then we had a party, a rager until 2:00 AM and it was fabulous and it was so much fun.
Diosa Femme: Yeah. And that's one thing that we're really intentional about when we organize the party because we are a survivor centered podcast. We are all about taking back the night, reclaiming the night and making the party space safe. Right? So there's a saying that we have in the beginning that we open up all our shows is um, women and friends to the front. Consent is sexy, keep your hands to yourself. And those are the kinds of things that we reiterate throughout the night to really set the tone for the space and that there's a lot of intention behind it. So allowing it to be fun and have these, you know, guests and have these games and have them talk about their art and what they're doing. And then also being able to have a very intentional and safe night that's a lot of fun. Right? So being able to talk about the party, the politic, the praxis, all of it combined.
Mala Muñoz: Yeah, and we like our parties to also mirror some of the themes and the topics that we talk about on the podcast itself. So one of our favorite recurring episodes, topics on Locatora is femme revenge. And femme revenge is a really fun topic for us to delve into, especially because we so frequently examine rape culture, street harassment, machismo, patriarchy throughout our content. So we like to add in a little bit of that escapism. We talk about the media, the art that women and survivors create, where we're exacting revenge against men, against rapists, against sexual predators. And we ask ourselves, why is there so much of that media out there? But when we see a lack of justice in real life, we turn to the creative to imagine what justice could look like, right? So we took that notion of femme revenge and we created a party around it.
So our next Locatora live: turn up, show out and smash the patriarchy. And that was a fun party too because we like to give a prop, we like our party guests to have a prop that also has something to do with the theme. So everybody got a pink Locatora rape whistle at the beginning of the party, right? And what ended up happening, which was so cool, synergy and we were not anticipating this. The DJ picked up on the fact that everybody had a pink whistle around their neck and the DJ was playing every song with whistles in it. And then those rape whistles became party whistles and became noisemakers for the party. And what a take back the night like role reversal, like what an amazing experience, right? So that's what we try and do with our events.
Diosa Femme: Right And if you can't tell by now, we love a theme. We’re really extra, right? So thinking about, sorry, just going back Mala. So when thinking about designing our flyers, the photos are really important to us, right? We're talking about being a podcast, which means we're online, right? And being able to translate that into in real life. For us, the photos are just as important as the audio because our biggest media, our biggest platform is Instagram. So being able to share the photos as kind of a, um, I'm sorry, I'm blanking right now. A anticipation, right? And being able to have it be like a countdown for the party is a really big deal for us. So having a full on photo shoot and then being able to post the photos and then have them on at the party all night is another thing that we do. Right? We'll have a little screen, a backdrop and have the photos playing all night. So the images for us are just as important as everything else.
Mala Muñoz: And going back to the notion of a DIY podcast, a DIY project, and working at the community level. At every stage of this project, we're working with our friends, our homegirls, our community members, artists that we know locally in the community that we've shared space with. So we're reaching out to our friends to collaborate and paying our friends, right, to put these flyers together, to do the graphics, to do the photos, to do the makeup, what have you. Um, and I think that's something really powerful as well. Issa Rae tweeted once, um, about how it's really important to build horizontally and we really took that to heart and that's what we try and do. I think that a lot of times thinking about getting into media or creating media, we're thinking about how can I get an internship or get involved with this studio or that studio or this company. Um, and all of that can sometimes be unaccessible, inaccessible, and difficult to enter into those worlds. But we are surrounded with so much genius and creativity in our communities, especially we're Latinas, we're women of color here from Los Angeles and we know that our communities are filled with genius. So we try to tap into that as often and as much as we, you can.
Diosa Femme: Yeah. Yeah. From our DJ's. Mala’s sister is our stage manager whenever we have a live show, our graphic designer is a friend that she also designed our logo. So really being able to bring our whole community with us is important and what we do.
Mala Muñoz: Yeah. And then you never know. Right. And then when we got picked up and we were in Forbes, our friend Danny who took our photos, then he got a credit in Forbes. Right? So there is like something to say about that, about working with your friends. You don't know where it's gonna end up.
Diosa Femme: Yeah. So another thing that we do, aside from the podcast is also pop ups. So a pop up that we did back in February, around Valentine's Day, we had a pop up called the mejor sola pop up. So, which means I'm, I'm better off alone. So “mejor sola que mal acompanada” is the, is the dicho the, the phrase. So I'm better off alone than within in bad company, right. So better to be single. So we created a whole art installation off of that mood, off of that feeling, off of that phrase. And we had a, a big art installation. Do you want to talk about that Mala?
Mala Muñoz: Yeah, so again, the community, right there are a several different sorts of uh, artists and craft and community mercados, markets. One of them is called Molcajete Dominguero, um, a regular market with artisans and vendors from the community, most of whom are people of color, um, and queer trans people of color who are selling their arts, um, their food, all that good stuff, small businesses. So Molcajete Dominguero, um, reached out to us about doing some type of art installation with the community right at this mercado. And so we had an installation and interactive one setup where folks could come and they could write affirmations on mirrors, um, love notes to themselves. We had several mirrors set up and they could write love notes to themselves. Then we had a big heart shaped pinata and we invited all of our guests to come and to write like a goodbye note to an ex or to drop something in the pinata.
And then we hung it up and everybody got to come up and take a turn swinging at that pinata that and just releasing and letting go. So it was a whole lot of fun. Um, we've only done it once. We hope to do it again. And it also showed us that podcasting, we consider it to be an art. We consider it to very artistic and allowing ourselves to really explore creatively and harnessing that community and that audience so that there are people to engage with the installation. And it was really cool to see our listeners come out and participate in the Mejor Sola pop up in that way.
Diosa Femme: Yeah. And another thing is, like I mentioned earlier, we live on Instagram, right? That's where are the majority of our listeners are. Our followers are. So being able to have a photo opportunity for our listeners. You can see in the photo that we have our step and repeat with our logo. We have all these different props. We had large roses, which also calls upon the logo, which has roses in it. So being able to create that photo opportunity for our listeners to be able to, to come together and have a community release and like hopefully like let go of that ex that's hard to stop thinking about. So that was really the energy behind it is being able to think about sisterhood, being able to think about coming together and how can we let go of what no longer serves us, which also calls upon the podcast.
Mala Muñoz: Yeah. So I think we have time now for questions and we'd love to answer whatever questions you all might have.
Audience Member: hi, I'm just wondering, um, I'm a big fan. I've been listening since 2016.
Diosa + Mala: Yeah. Thank you for being here.
Audience Member: Since SoundCloud. Yeah. Um, so I'm just wondering, I think it's really cool how you all do, like how you engage the community and that's like really big value for me and I haven't started my podcast. Um, and me and my friend are thinking about starting one. And one thing that I think about is just like, these all sound really cool, but also like realizing that y'all are on a budget, like, you know, and so how do you balance, like, or like, do you look at it as an investment or like how do you put your own money into this and like what does that conversation look like?
Diosa Femme: Do you want to take that one?
Mala Muñoz: Yeah. So the podcast in a way is sort of self-sustaining. So we work full time. Like I just came from school from like a field trip, right? Um, like we have jobs and stuff. And so this is our second, third, fourth job. We do a lot of university talks, we lead workshops, we do things like this. So when we do our university talks, when we're invited somewhere to do a presentation and we get paid, those paychecks go directly back into podcast production costs and things like this. We also have been really fortunate to build relationships again with local artists, um, community members, vendors who will do things like talk about in-kind donations and exchanges. Right. Uh, you know, if, if such and such restaurant is interested in working with us and wants to donate food for our cast and crew for something we're working on, we'll do an exchange and, you know, model clothes for them and do photos for free or whatever it is. Right. So there's a couple of different ways that we've kind of figured out how to pay for these things and make it work. Yeah. Thank you. Some of these events are ticketed also. That helps.
Audience Member: hi, I'm, I'm Alex Homer, reporter with KQD public radio, uh, the NPR station in San Francisco, but I'm based in Fresno and I'm, I'm wondering if you've put thought into doing an event like this that creates community and gets people out that is kind of around issues that are like less fun and uplifting because, uh, I'm working on a project that's about priest sex abuse of adult men and it's an issue that I think is affecting a lot more people than are coming out and talking about it really openly. And so I feel like that's the kind of situation where you would want to kind of create community and get people to come out, but it's not like a blow the whistle. This is fun party type vibe. And I'm just wondering if like you have any tips for doing events?
Mala Muñoz: Do you wanna talk about Locatora After Dark? We got an event for everything. There's events that are not even included on here.
Diosa Femme: Yeah. You know, Mala loves alliterations of the podcast, parties, and popups just made the most sense for the title of this talk. Um, but what one thing that we did, this that we launched this past summer was a Locatora After Dark. So it was a ticketed event where we talked about consent, pleasure, and play. So in that conversation, naturally subjects like sexual abuse, sexual violence came up. So what we did was we invited a therapist, uh, a LMF -- licensed marriage and family -- therapist to come and chat with us. So we had a dialogue, we interviewed, we asked her questions, we opened it up for our guests to have a Q and A. So again, thinking about, um, topics that are really important for us in the Latinx community and how we can foster community around those topics. So being able to have open dialogues is another part of what we do with the in real life events. So being able to curate that and navigate it with a lot of sensitivity is really important. So having the trigger warnings, having the, the content warnings before events is very important. Um, and yeah, I think just doing everything with lots of intention and sensitivity is, is one way to do that. Um, so that's one event that we've done. The Locatora After Dark.
Mala Muñoz: Yeah. I would say too, you know, I have a background -- before I started teaching, I worked for four years, three years and one year as a volunteer, as a rape crisis counselor advocate at Peace Over Violence, which is our local rape crisis and domestic violence resource center. So I was one of the on-call emergency responders. So a lot of that informs the podcast. And the thing, the reason why we do parties is because survivors want to have fun, too, you know. And like release and let go and be able to enjoy life safely, especially when we know nightlife can be so dangerous for folks. Bring in professionals who work in the field, you know, the intention pieces is huge there. Thank you for that question. Yeah.
Audience Member: hi, I'm Naomi and I produce and created a firecracker department and it's a community of firecracker women. And, uh, I wondered about the choice you made to go DIY and not. Would you ever take somebody else's? Um, network and work with them.
Mala Muñoz: Yes. Yeah. Networks that are interested. We're here.
Diosa Femme: The DIY started because we both had really intense jobs. As Mala mentioned, she was a rape crisis counselor when we started. I was a community organizer so it made sense when we started the podcast to do it DIY because we didn't actually have the intention for it to become a business for it to become this practically full time job. Right? It was started as a passion project. So that is really the intention behind the DIY. Now we're very open to partnering with the network, to possibly signing. Um, so we'll see what happens in 2020. Yeah, we are assuming.
Mala Muñoz: Yes, we're open. We're very open. So thank you everybody so much for being here and for listening.
Diosa Femme: We are Locatora Radio, you can follow us at Locatora underscore radio on the Instagram. You can tune in on Audioboom, Spotify, SoundCloud and Apple Podcasts.
Mala Muñoz: And we're at Locatora radio dot com.
Dessa: That was Diosa Femme and Mala Muñoz, speaking at the 2019 Werk It festival.
Both the festival and the podcast are produced by WNYC Studios and are made possible by major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting with additional support from the Annenberg Foundation.
Event sponsors include Luminary, Spotify, Spreaker, Acast, Himalaya, and the Women’s Foundation of California.