Entertainment

The First Ever Bilingual Podcast Is Also Telenovela

Telenovelas are known for their drama. The tears, the slapping, the screaming “desgraciado!” at someone – it’s all part of what makes them so great. Now, all that drama is coming to a new medium.

Podcast producer Gisele Regatao wanted to bring the telenovela level of extra-ness to the podcasting world while also bringing some much needed diversity to the art form.

Producer Gisele Regatao. Photo credit: Mark Scheffler

She managed to do all of that with “Celestial Blood“/“Sangre Celestial” the first-ever bilingual podcast on KCRW, with episodes released in both English and Spanish. The eight-part “radionovela,” created with KCRW, tells the story of Sol and Mundo Lucero, brother and sister twins who travel to Mexico from New York for their estranged father’s funeral. Once there, they discover they have nine long-lost siblings who help them learn family secrets about their father and themselves. The story was written by playwrights Mariana Carreño King and Inda Craig-Galván, and is narrated in both languages by actress Kate del Castillo.

“I’m Brazilian. We have produced some of the best telenovelas in the world,” says Regatao. “I grew up watching them. I’ve always loved it, but also found they were too melodramatic or too intense. So I want to create something inspired by telenovelas as an homage to the genre, but with a twist. Something funny, contemporary and tongue-in-cheek.”

The producer, who’s worked as a journalist for 20 years, says podcasts are the perfect medium for this kind of storytelling and can be easily accessible to the Latino and Hispanic market because they’re free, mobile and easy to stream.

While podcasting is slowly becoming more diverse in the voices and stories being told, Regatao says Latinos are still the minority, with very few podcasts reflecting their experience.

Kate del Castillo recording “Celestial Blood” at KCRW. Photo credit: Aaron Fallon

“A lot of my work in journalism is to make sure that different kinds of voices and people are being included, and we hear from them,” she says. “So I really wanted to create a podcast for a public that’s being ignored for the most part. My goal is to start a small revolution and bring more Latinos to the medium, and get more people to listen to them.”


READ: Podcasting Tends To Be A White Field, And This Producer Says It’s Time For More POC Voices


mitú’s Accelerator and Delta Aeroméxico bring a unique and empowering opportunity to the next generation of diverse video creators through the mitú/Delta Aeroméxico Accelerator Program. APPLY NOW for the opportunity to team up with industry professionals to travel and tell your story of choice this fall.

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Podcasting Tends To Be A White Field, And This Producer Says It’s Time For More POC Voices

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Podcasting Tends To Be A White Field, And This Producer Says It’s Time For More POC Voices

Stepping up to a microphone can be a nerve-wracking experience, whether you’re a singer, comedian, politician or, like Kristina Lopez, a podcaster.

As the producer and co-host of ‘Plz Advise,’ an advice show makes with her best friend, comedy writer Molly McAleer, Lopez is one of the few Latinas working in the podcast world. That can make taking the mic feel like an even bigger responsibility.

Lopez and McAleer, a former writer for CBS’s “2 Broke Girls,” started the podcast three years ago when they were both between jobs. Their love of the sex advice podcast and longtime New York Times column ‘Modern Love’ as well as McAleer having an advice column of her own spurred them to pull themselves by the bootstraps and make the project happen. Luckily, Lopez is a self-proclaimed research nerd who likes learning about equipment. That came in handy when setting up those mics she’d be stepping up to.

While they went into the project looking to help people, Lopez found herself discovering a lot about herself throughout the process. Her Nuyorican background doesn’t often come up in her work, it definitely informs it. Especially when listeners call in with questions that touch on race or social justice.

For example, one caller asked the Plz Advise crew how to handle a conversation with his white roommate, who didn’t quite get the Black Lives Matter movement. As a black person, the caller was struggling to discuss the movement in a way that wouldn’t cause a rupture of their friendship. In the process of giving him advice, Lopez learned important things about herself.

“I told him ‘you’re the only person that can possibly explain it to him,'” she recalls. “I got a lot of feedback from listeners saying maybe that wasn’t the right way to go. They were like, ‘he doesn’t have to do that, and Kristina, you don’t have to either. You don’t have to do this emotional labor.'”

As a brown person that often finds herself in a lot of white circles, Lopez often felt the need to be the “ambassador,” explaining to white people the perspective of women of color. However, those conversations often came at the cost of her own comfort. Going through this with her callers helped her come to a better place of understanding self-care.

“I’m second generation American, so there’s a little distance. Some people would make me feel like I’m not real Puerto Rican because I wan’t born on the island. It would make me question if I’m an authority. But I am a Latina. Every part of me tells me I am,” she says. “Having these conversations on air solidified how I felt about my identity as a person of color. I don’t have to live up to other people’s experiences. I live up to my own.”

This has all helped her see first-hand the need for more brown voices in podcasting.

“Because we are so multi-faceted within the Latino umbrella, there’s so much opportunity to explore experience and identity that can teach people within our own culture and ethnicity what our life experiences are, how they’re different and how they’re the same,” says Lopez. “People need to hear those voices. Your voice matters. Latino means a lot of things and we need to show people that.”

Credit: Plz Advise/Soundcloud

Lopez was happy to impart the wisdom she’s gained in podcast at Werk It: A Women’s Podcast Festival, held earlier this week in Los Angeles.

“It’s a very white industry. I’ve had the most success in my life, whether in podcasting or in my professional life, when I’ve just been myself and speak how I am. That’s when people embrace me. Lean into who you are, because that’s when you shine the most. And if you don’t know, figure it out. We’re all just winging it. No one has it all figured out. Even Oprah is winging it.”


READ: 7 Woke Squads For Girls Of Color That Need To Be On Your Radar




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mitú’s Accelerator and Delta Aeroméxico bring a unique and empowering opportunity to the next generation of diverse video creators through the mitú/Delta Aeroméxico Accelerator Program. APPLY NOW for the opportunity to team up with industry professionals to travel and tell your story of choice this fall.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com