A Network for Foodies: Interview with Heritage Radio Network

By Tyneisha Lewis

Hey Rebel Foodies!

Imagine a whole radio network dedicated to food. A network where you can listen to a variety of food themed programs, updated content, and something for everyone. No, this is not just a dream…it is Heritage Radio Network(HRN), and I love it! I found this network while looking for a podcast to listen to and write about for my Journalism class in Fall Semester.

You may recall from my first blog, Podcasts for Foodies, that many of the podcasts I wrote about like, A Taste of the Past, and Japan Eats!, are part of this network. Lucky for all of us, I was able to contact this amazing, independent, member-supported, based in Brooklyn, NY since ‘09, non-profit network and ask a few questions.

Dylan Heuer

Dylan Heuer, Special Projects Coordinator at HRN, answered my questions. She has worked as a Producer for HRN programs, Meat +Three, Beer Sessions Radio, and Hard Core: A Cider Podcast. She also produced WBAL local news and managed audiences for the Making Contact Radio Project.

Here is the interview:

How was Heritage Radio Network formed?

 Answer: In 2009, largely inspired by Carlo Petrini’s pirate radio station in Italy, Radio Bra Onde Rosse, Patrick Martins founded the Heritage Radio Network, an Internet-based radio station out behind Roberta’s restaurant in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Carlo was the founder of Slow Food, and Patrick was the first president of Slow Food USA.

Chris Parancini, Brandon Hoy, and Carlo Mirachi had opened Roberta’s a few months earlier, and were at the vanguard of a new generation of restaurants. Roberta’s was unlike any other in America – the restaurant itself was built out of an old auto body shop with rescued and recycled materials, in an industrial district that nearly burned to the ground during the great blackout of 1977. Patrick Martins built Heritage Radio Network's studio on Roberta's property out of a couple of recycled shipping containers and put a garden on the roof. Now Roberta's is very much at the hub of a fantastic new food movement and HRN reaches millions of listeners around the world.

Are there any upcoming or new food themed programs on the network?

Answer:  HRN is expanding its educational programming with a show launching soon for elementary school children. Each episode of Time for Lunch will cover a new subject; taking a close look at one item, or ingredient, that might be found at the lunch table. Young listeners will be invited to participate, sharing jokes on-air or following along with in-episode quizzes and games. Hosted by Harry Rosenblum and Hannah Fordin, the show will look at food through the lens of history, culture, and play to celebrate and learn about the people and places that feed us. We’re excited to move up the release date of this show to provide a source of entertainment and education for kids who are home from school during the coronavirus pandemic. 

 We're also looking forward to releasing Cooking in Mexican. The hosts are mother and son, but also award-winning celebrity chefs, restaurateurs, and cookbook authors. Aarón Sánchez and Zarela Martínez will take listeners on a culinary journey featuring regional ingredients that are the soul of Mexican cuisine. From chilis to chocolate and everything in between, Aaron, Zarela and special guests will share stories, tips, techniques, and quintessential recipes in spirited kitchen table conversations.

What advice would you give to anyone interested in food writing, food journalism, or interested in radio broadcasting?

 Answer: My advice is to get to know what’s out there by familiarizing yourself with various writers and radio producers and to expose yourself to different styles of food journalism. Then go out and start creating. You don’t have to wait to perfect all of your skills. There are rich food stories in every community - start talking to people and sharing what you find. (And you can always check out HRN's internship program, for which applications are open seasonally).

What were some of the early programs on the network?

Answer:  When the network started, HRN’s founder Patrick Martins was broadcasting alone for most of the day. Then came Eat Your Words, and What Doesn't Kill You - those are some of the network's oldest shows that are still on the air today. Over the past decade we have been proud to develop a robust program, with 35 weekly shows. HRN's collaborations with chefs, restaurant owners, cookbook authors, journalists and many others in our network of hosts has been particularly rewarding. Inside Julia's Kitchen is a result of HRN's strong partnership with the Julia Child Foundation, and we recently began working with The feedfeed, which has produced 12 podcast episodes and counting with HRN.

Where can people find out more about Heritage Radio Network?

Answer:  You can browse HRN’s 35+ weekly shows and our archive of over 14,000 episodes on our website, heritageradionetwork.org. You can also get to know our content by listening to our flagship show, Meat and Three, where we often share clips from shows across the network. HRN's shows can also be found on all of the major podcast apps, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.

I highly recommend checking out HRN, as it has a wonderful variety of entertaining, food themed podcast programs for everyone. You can learn even more by signing up for their newsletter to get the latest news, events, recipes, and more. You might be interested to know that HRN also offers internships for college students! Learn more here: heritageradionetwork.org/intern.

Many thanks to Dylan Heuer of HRN for taking the time to answer my questions so I can share them with all of you. Be sure to check HRN out at: heritageradionetwork.org.

Leave a reply