‘Go Wonk Yourself’: Two freshmen launch podcast on bipartisan politics
Pair hopes to engage listeners across the political spectrum
If you’re walking on campus and hear someone shout, “go wonk yourself!”, it’s likely that they’re friends with freshman Lucas Anderton and his roommate, Eddie Mikkelson. The pair have channeled their passion for politics into a new podcast recorded from their dorm room entitled “Go Wonk Yourself.”
Mikkelson recalled meeting Anderton for the first time at a café, and politics quickly rose to the surface of their conversation. Despite coming from different sides of the aisle, the two bonded over their political fervor, and the idea to record themselves came to fruition.
Before they could put their clothes away on move-in day, Anderton was badgering Mikkelson to get a microphone so the two could start recording their political discourses.
“We just kind of sat down unscripted,” Mikkelson said. “Then, we just started talking about what was going on recently in politics, and it went pretty well.”
In the first two episodes, which are currently on iTunes and SoundCloud, Anderton and Mikkelson spend a lot of time criticizing their own parties, something they see as a strength of their conversations. Mikkelson identifies as conservative and Anderton as a Democrat.
“You’d think if you take a conservative and a liberal and sit them down together, and tell them, ‘Hey, talk about the news stories of the week,’ they’re not going to find a lot of common ground,” Mikkelson said. “But, we actually did find a lot of things that we agreed on.”
Anderton and Mikkelson want to show listeners that two people on opposite sides of the political spectrum can engage in political conversations that are critical of their own party’s beliefs.
“When we were having these political conversations, we were like, ‘Wow, we don’t disagree on everything,’’’ Anderton said. “There’s a lot of things we see in common, so let’s have a podcast to show that’s the example.”
In addition to having their own conversations, Anderton and Mikkelson have also had guests appear on their show. In their second episode, the two sat down with Kimberly Anne Tucker, the founder of the Hampton Roads, Virginia chapter of Indivisible, a progressive organization, to discuss resistance in the current political sphere.
They say the podcast has been received well by listeners, and Mikkelson said that’s because it’s “refreshing” for people to hear conversations between people of differing political beliefs who have not become overly cynical about the opposing party.
“No one’s talking,” Mikkelson added. “Everyone’s saying a lot of things, but they aren’t talking to each other, they’re just talking amongst themselves.”
Anderton and Mikkelson have plans to build up their audience and hopefully monetize the podcast in the future. This would help them buy better equipment and create better content for listeners throughout their college careers, Anderton said.
“We aren’t trying to be something we’re not,” Anderton said. “We want people to know we’re college kids, and that’s what makes our podcast unique.”