Kaleem Caire is hosting a new online streaming radio show called “Perspectives” with one simple goal in mind: to get people in Madison to open up and listen to each other.
“We need to have that deeper dialog about what is most important. We need to get people thinking at the ‘soul’ level with each other and not whether I’m carrying a blue card or a red card when I walk into the voting booth,” Caire tells Madison365.
“I’m trying to tackle this issue of engagement. I’m really trying to bring people closer together to listen to each other,” he adds. “That’s why I’m calling it ‘Perspectives.’ It’s not a show where I’ll beat people up or sling mud … but I will ask the questions. It’s really about getting people to open up and tell us who they are and what motivates them, what they’re concerned about and why. It’s about finding that human side.”
“Perspectives” airs from 1-2 p.m. every Tuesday. Go to Madisontalks.com and click on the “Live” button where you can listen to the show live. If you miss it, the 60-minute weekly podcast is recorded and posted for the world to hear later. Caire just started his show but he’s already had interesting interviews with school board candidates Ali Muldrow and Kate Toews before the election and most recently with Dr. Mike Andrews about what it was like to grow up in Madison as a black male who is biracial, adopted and raised by two white parents who strongly identifies with his African-American roots.
Caire, whose day job is the founder, president, and CEO of One City Early Learning Centers, has handled himself pretty naturally as a radio host so far and he credits that to being on the other side of the microphone so many times in his life.
“I didn’t have any experience hosting a radio show before this but I’ve had a lot of experience being on national and local radio show, TV shows, and experience with public speaking,” Caire says. “I was a little hesitant to get on the other side of the microphone to interview people and ask questions. I’ve watched people do that and I didn’t know that I could do that.”
Caire credits long time Madison talk show host and stand-up comic Mitch Henck, whose show runs live 8-11 a.m. every morning on MadisonTalks.com, for helping him start his radio career.
“Mitch Henck started MadisonTalks and he has had me on his shows numerous times over the years since I’ve been back in Madison,” Caire says. “I watched him go through his own challenges of being very popular on WIBA and 92.1 and then having a stroke and coming back from that only to see the station get purchased by iHeart media. Eventually, they cut all of their talk radio off the air by last November. So, he created MadisonTalks to continue his own efforts but to also to give other people the opportunity to do it.”
MadisonTalks.com, a division of the Mitch Henck Show, LLC., is recorded and produced at a small studio in the basement of 433 W. Washington Ave., a few blocks west of the state Capitol in downtown Madison.
“That studio is very professional. The whole thing is just great,” Caire says. “Mitch has all the right stuff and all the right equipment and guys that have been in the business for years. The show is produced very well.”
Does Caire ever worry that he won’t be able to fill the hour?
“As long as I can get guests, I have no problem with that,” he says. “And Mitch and his guys are great in producing. They make it easy … and I’ve always wanted to do a radio show.”
Upcoming “Perspectives” shows will feature Fabiola Hamdan, who has been a prominent community activist in Madison for decades, especially for Latino issues, and a show featuring Dr. Howard Fuller and Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings.
“That is going to be a serious show. Those are two titans of education on the same show. I’m sure a lot of people will want to hear that,” Caire says. “They both have such a deep history of advocacy and they are both pretty radical in their fields. They are highly regarded nationally. They are pioneers. So to hear them give their perspective on the state of black education in this country and what we need to really do to move forward … that will be a great conversation.”
Caire says that he wants to do a mixture of national and local guests. Right now, he’s working to get Cory Booker on a show.
“I’ve known Cory since ’99, man. We were all in D.C. when Howard Fuller brought us all together to help found the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO), of which I was the first president of and Cory became a board member,” Caire says. “We’ve known each other a long time. I knew that he always wanted to be president of the United States. That’s been his goal for many years … and he’s on his way.”
As a person of color who grew up in Madison, went away for awhile to the east coast, and came back, Caire has his own unique perspectives on a variety of topics that are not represented in the local mainstream radio. Caire says that he appreciates what Madison365 Radio has been doing to bring important issues to the forefront for the community.
“I appreciate what those guys do. I think what Henry [Sanders] and Derrell [Connor] are doing to get these voices heard that need to be heard … is outstanding. We need more of that,” Caire says. “At the same time, I would like to see some black women more prominently on the radio in town. We should have shows with Latino hosts like a Fabiola [Hamdan]. We would all listen to that.
“We have to have more of our voices out there,” he adds. “I’m really trying to be different from [Madison365 Radio] – they really hone in on the current issues and events. They do a good job of getting good people on there to address those things. I really am about diving into the actual people.”
If he starts getting really good at the radio talk show business, is there any chance that he won’t be keeping his day job?
“Haha … No, brother. I’m more than satisfied with doing a weekly radio thing,” he says. “Once you start doing it too much, people don’t tune in as frequently. I want it to be something that people look forward to and that I really have an opportunity to promote so that people really listen to the show.
“I couldn’t do this every day. My passion is for growing schools. That’s my whole agenda,” he adds. “I want to have a positive impact on education nationwide. But we can’t do that if we’re always fighting each other. We need to come together over the common ground of our kids.”
Caire hopes that enough people will tune into “Perspectives” to not only learn something new each week, but to realize that we need to stop putting up borders and boundaries to each other.
“We need to understand people at their roots. Because until we do that, the policy changes that we seek will never happen if everybody is drawing circles around each other and staying on the other side of the tracks,” he says.
“Get people talking and get people listening and to help remove these boundaries,” he adds. “Right now, it’s really hurting us. When people go through shock value all the time, the benefit of shock value is you get people to pay attention, but if you shock them too much people tune out. I think that’s what we’re dealing with right now when it comes to public policy and issues that this country … we really need to be focused on right now. I’m worried about future and I’m hoping to engage people and be civically minded to help us all move forward.”