The Wisconsin Podcast Association honored Dr. Alex Gee’s “Black Like Me” podcast as “Wisconsin’s favorite podcast for 2020” on Thursday night at the Wisconsin Choice Podcast Awards.
“I found out a month and a half ago that I was one of the finalists. And then I got an e-mail just a few days ago saying, ‘Congratulations!’ I wrote back and said, ‘This is really great. I’m honored. Thank you. In what category? New podcasts? Something cultural? City life?’ And then they told me it was ‘Overall Podcast from the Wisconsin Podcast Association.’ So, I was really elated. I just felt really proud,” Gee tells Madison365.
“This started as a concept of wanting to use my voice to tell stories about successfully, yet sometimes regrettably, navigating white spaces in the pursuit of Black excellence and benefitting the whole community,” Gee says. “You sit in the studio and you kind of forget that podcast associations are listening to what you are doing and what you’re saying, so this award just made me feel really proud.”
Gee has 153 podcasts under his belt so far for “Black Like Me” and he says the key to good podcasting is content that it grabs you and makes you think.
“But it’s also got to grab your heart. It can’t just be knowledge, it just can’t be talk radio where there’s a head trip but you don’t really have to respond to anything you’re hearing,” Gee says. “I think it has to be compelling and it has to be relevant.
“I’m a storyteller. Not just because I’m a preacher because there are some preachers who are teachers but not storytellers. I was a storyteller before I was a preacher,” he adds. “I remember [my sister] Lilada made me tell her stories when she was little and had trouble sleeping. She’d say, ‘Hey, can you tell me a story?’ and I’d make up a story. I’ve always enjoyed the art of communication and storytelling is really about bringing people into what you’re saying.”
Gee says that he likes to bring people into the story and wants them to feel like the conversation they’re having is a conversation that they’ve been meaning to have. Gee enjoys the social aspect of podcasts as well as getting to know his guests and adds that he appreciates that he gets to speak truthfully about today’s issues.
“I like to invite people in who tell stories that corroborate mine – Black people, people of color navigating this kind of space is costly, it’s risky, it’s tiring – but if we don’t do it, we lose out,” he says.
Most of Gee’s Black Like Me podcast listeners are white, he says.
“So, I’ve even created a patron page where people who like the content become my supporters and they are telling me that they’re in Washington State, they’re in California, they’re in Texas,” Gee says. “They are telling me that this allowing them to eavesdrop on conversations about Blackness that they were never aware of and it’s completely turning their world around because they did not know our reality was so starkly different.”
“Black Like Me” has subscribers in all 50 states and is now listened to in 117 countries worldwide. The podcast has seen its listenership and downloads increase sixfold this year. With its big award last night – Wisconsin’s Favorite Podcast for 2020 – at the 2nd Annual Wisconsin Podcast Choice Awards 2020 LIVE, hosted by Wes McKane, those listenership numbers will continue to grow.
“I’m very happy. I’m very proud,” Gee says. “I’m honored that people are listening to the podcast and that people think we are doing a great job.”