Vox Populi Interview

April 26, 2012

Sean has long been a political junky, and he likes to talk. What makes more sense than combining the two in a weekly internet audio/video podcast? “Vox Populi: The Voice of the (occasionally interested) People,” hosted by Sean, will premiere Thursday, May 3, noon - 2 pm PT, on the growing Toadhop Network.

(You may recall Sean was a guest earlier this year on Two Guys and a Mic on the Toadhop Network. Watch/listen to that podcast here. Sean comes in around 32 minutes into the show.)

Sean graciously agreed to answer a few questions about his new show.

How did the idea for doing a radio blog come about?

I've had the idea of doing a politically themed show for longer than I can remember. My mom [Patty Duke] was President of the Screen Actors Guild and my father [John Astin] did lots of Directors Union business. They were very active with causes they believed in, like gay rights, water safety, Muscular Dystrophy and many others. In my house there was much discussion of the world and the ways that people could work—including in politics—that might improve our world. From student to Presidential elections and many in between, I have fallen in love with government and political leadership. Campaigning is a natural for me and while I'm not quite a wonk, I do watch CSPAN for pleasure, as well as download Supreme Court decisions so I don't have to trust news commentators' analysis.

Recently, I did a string of media appearances to promote an inspirational Twitter campaign I am doing called #Run3rd. It is about encouraging people to make dedications about their loved ones and causes they believe in. One outlet that I wanted to do was the ToadHop Network on a show called Two Guys and a Mic. I had a great time and the setup looked perfect for the show I had in mind. I pitched it and they went for it. Ta Da, a show was born.

What unique talents or perspective to you hope to bring to the show to make it “Radio Worth Watching?” [ToadHop Network’s tag line]

I am me. It's hard to encapsulate the variety of experiences I've had that give me a unique vantage point to work from. But, at the risk of throwing out my resume, I've served on two Presidential appointments and campaigned seriously and visibly in three Presidential elections. I've appeared on countless political shows, Bill Mahr, Bill O'Riley, Chuck Todd, Larry King, etc. I was educated at UCLA with degrees in History and American literature and Culture. I could go on for a while, but let it suffice to say that I think my personality and perspective on the world, combined with a burning curiosity to learn, and what I hope is a core fairness and a genuine desire to help give people a platform to express themselves, are hopefully the recipe for a successful show.

Tell us about the name “Vox Populi.”

My favorite television show in the history of the medium is "The West Wing." There is an episode where President Bartlet [Martin Sheen] is at a Hollywood mogul's mansion for a fundraiser and Josh [Bradley Witford] is sitting at a table. Marlee Matlin (who is hearing impaired) and he are chatting, and at the end of their conversation she signs "Vox Populi Vox Deus." Trying to sort it out, Josh asks, "The voice of the people is the voice of dog?" She corrects him by mouthing, "The voice of the people is the voice of God." It's a funny, sweet and poignant moment. I've always liked to believe I have a populist streak. So, because the ToadHop Network has really bold, colorful titles, I thought Vox Populi would look good in a cool graffiti font. We ended up with something different, but there it is.

I used to call it Civic Duty in my mind, but that didn't sound pompous enough so I went for Vox Populi instead.

What is the format of the show? Will listeners be able to call in?

There will be callers in. The tone of the conversation will be both serious and fun, but constructive not combative. I expect that we will pick through current events and news stories, and have segments dedicated to different aspects of our political culture and government. I hope to bring interesting people into the show and conduct interviews that are meaningful and worth listening to.

Will you have guests? Anyone lined up? Who would your LOVE to have on your show?

It's a surprise who will be on the show. As soon as I start calling people to invite them, I will begin keeping it secret. I'm interested in interviewing elected officials and people who have significant insight into the process. As the Presidential election cycle gets even more spun up, I'm eager to interview surrogates and others. I also want to interview opinion makers, historians, etc. I could go on forever. I just want to find really cool people who love and live government, politics, news, etc.

What topics do you want to cover? Will you take suggestions for topics from your listeners?

My appetite for this stuff is huge, so the topics will run the spectrum from hot button issues to the inner workings of government and current events. Topics suggested by listeners will be vital to the success of the show!

At the beginning I expect that the show will succeed or fail on the strength (or not) of my personality. Going forward, I'm hoping to shape the show into an experience that people become familiar with, enjoy and really get something out of.

Be sure to check out Vox Populi with Sean Astin, available worldwide on the Toadhop Network: Radio Worth Watching, Thursdays noon-2pm PT! Note that you can watch/listen on the website after the show ends, or subscribe to the podcast via RSS feed or iTunes.

While you are waiting for next week, read Sean's Toadhop bio here and follow him on Twitter @HostVoxPopuli. You can send email to the show at seanastinvoxpopuli@gmail.com or leave a voice message at 1-626-VOX-TALK. Also check out the Vox Populi web site.

See the FAQ for details on how to watch/listen to the show!

No comments:

Post a Comment