New P.E.I. podcast explores politics, policy and pop culture

·4 min read

Two Island women are tackling policy, politics and pop culture in a new podcast called Dialogue with Drake and Daboo.

Sweta Daboo and Emma Drake are both in their early 20s and are self-professed "policy nerds." Drake is the elections office co-ordinator with Elections P.E.I., and Daboo is the executive director for the P.E.I. Coalition for Women in Government. They met and became friends at UPEI where they were on the student union executive.

"We understand that talking about policy is not necessarily the most accessible thing to everyone, be it in terms of jargon, be it in terms of trying to figure out what falls in what jurisdiction," Daboo told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier.

"That's why we're here — we're here to provide, really, an explanation of policy in layman's terms, and try and connect it to pop culture and make it fun throughout."

"It's so exciting, because I think a lot of people are interested in policy without knowing it," Drake added.

"They're excited about mental health, or they're excited about education. And so when you can expose the people — here's a particular policy decision and here's how it breaks down and relates to something you're exactly passionate about — and I think that's the exciting thing."

'Provide an insight'

The podcast's inaugural guest was Jane Ledwell, executive director of the P.E.I. Advisory Council on the Status of Women, who was invited to talk about the council's new report on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting Island women.

Sarah MacEachern
Sarah MacEachern

They chose the topic because it was timely, with much discussion recently of the pandemic disproportionately affecting women economically and personally.

"That's something we really wanted to provide an insight on," Daboo said.

We're excited to provide something that's of value to Island listeners. — Emma Drake

They say they plan to have guests on many topics, focusing on policies that are being discussed in the P.E.I. Legislature or the House of Commons and breaking down how they affect Islanders.

While they work for non-partisan organizations and said they are committed to remaining objective and neutral, they said it's always interesting to see how campaigns went and what the results mean for people.

Coming up, they're excited to speak with their mentor, UPEI political science Prof. Don Desserud about elections in B.C., Saskatchewan and P.E.I.

'Enough room for everyone' in podcasting

Podcasting has become very popular over the last few years, and there are hundreds of thousands available now to listen to — so how will Dialogue With Drake and Daboo stand out and garner listeners?

Daboo said their marketing strategy has mostly been word of mouth and social media sharing.

"Really right now what we're trying to do is not compete with other podcasts, because I think there's more than enough room for everyone," Daboo said.

"Even if different podcasts are covering the same topic no two takes, no two perspectives, will be the exact same."

The women said they are hoping to be able to share their "progressive perspective" while learning along the way.

"We're both very, very far from experts and we're just taking this as an opportunity to research more topics and to learn more from the real experts, who we'll be inviting on our show," Daboo said.

"We really want to hone in on what are people passionate about, what is taking place, what is being discussed, and we feel as though that is going to appeal to a broad audience here on P.E.I.," Drake said.

'Steep learning curve'

The two are from different backgrounds — Drake grew up and went to school on P.E.I., and Daboo is from Mauritius, an African island nation in the Indian Ocean.

Drake pitched the idea to Daboo just a few weeks ago, and within two days they had hashed out the podcast's concept. They tweeted about their plan and got such positive feedback it buoyed their confidence to continue.

Neither of them had any background in podcasting, and said they had no idea the amount of work required. They've divvied up duties, with Drake recording and editing sound and Daboo in charge of the website, distribution and script writing.

"It's been a steep learning curve but now that we're starting to get the hang of it, it's getting a lot more fun," Daboo said.

"We've come so far in just a couple weeks that right now we're just excited about the possibilities," said Daboo. "Not only to just learn ourselves, but provide a platform for a lot of people who have a lot of stories, experiences and thoughts that deserve to be heard."

"We're excited to provide something that's of value to Island listeners," Drake said.

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