WFTV’s Jorge Estevez tackles LGBTQ issues in new podcast ‘Under The Rainbow’

By : Jeremy Williams
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Podcasts are fast becoming a primary medium for people to get their news. A CBS News poll conducted earlier this year found that nearly two-thirds of Americans listen to podcasts at least occasionally, with nearly a quarter of the people polled saying they listen several times a week.

With numbers like those, Central Florida’s WFTV Channel 9 knew they needed to get into the podcast business.

“Katy Camp oversees everything at WFTV with a ‘www dot’ and she was a big fan of getting out a podcast—she pushed and pushed to get us on,” says WFTV newscaster Jorge Estevez.

Estevez hosts one of four podcasts currently being produced by WFTV. The first one, “Colorblind: Race Across Generations” with host Vanessa Echols, launched in April 2018. It takes different generations and talks race in an “open, honest, sometime controversial” discussion. “Colorblind” was followed by the politics-focused “Battleground Florida with Christopher Heath” and the all-sports podcast aptly named “Sports Brothers.”

When they approached Estevez to host a podcast he knew exactly what he wanted its focus to be.

“Podcasts to me are like writing a book, you have to write about what you know, and if you are going to host a podcast you have to host a podcast about a topic you know,” Estevez says, “and what do I know? I know the LGBTQ+ community. More importantly, I know people in the LGBTQ+ community who can come on as experts, as well as those with first-hand stories that can reach a global audience.”

A global audience to speak to and a show he knew he would be able to have creative control over was a recipe Estevez says he definitely wanted to get in on.

“I saw the opportunity for another medium to get my message out, the message of my community out. Educate people in a simple, easy and fast way,” he says. “And it’s a very simple medium. It’s so fascinatingly simple to get your message out these days.”

Estevez had his medium and message but needed a name. He consulted with the man he calls his “secret Millennial weapon,” podcast producer William Folkes.

“We had a few names that we liked but they were already taken or too identifiable with other things because everyone has a podcast these days,” Estevez says. “Then I was with Greg Warmoth in the greenroom before a newscast while William and I were coming up with names and Greg said ‘You have to include the rainbow in there somewhere, something like under the rainbow.’”

The name clicked and instantly made sense to Estevez.

“Obviously the rainbow is a symbol of the LGBTQ+ community but we are ALL under the rainbow,” he says. “We are all there as one community and we should all exist to learn about each other.”

“Under The Rainbow” is a “talk show in your ear” that will focus on one LGBTQ+ topic per episode.

“It’s picking a topic and sticking to that topic. Having an expert, having someone who experienced that topic you’re discussing and someone who is going to put it into perspective,” Estevez says. “And it is a beautiful format. It is freewheeling, no commercial breaks and we can go as long as we want. We can talk for 30 minutes, 40, 45 if we want. It just depends on the topic.”

Estevez says he will record “Under The Rainbow” on a bi-weekly basis and build up a library of content before hopefully moving to a weekly series. The first episode was released on Aug. 27 with the inaugural panel of The LGBT+ Center’s George Wallace and Equality Florida’s Gina Duncan and Esmé Rodríguez, and focused on the topic of labels.

“Do we need them? What are they for? I wanted to tackle that first,” Estevez says. “The goal of this is to approach the podcast from a prospective of I may know a thing or two about the LGBTQ+ community, and I want this to be about them and us, but also for people on the outside … I want them to listen too. I want it to be about topics that we need to learn more about.”

The first episode not only allowed listeners to learn about LGBTQ labels, but also afforded Estevez to learn a few new things.

“I learned that it is OK to make a mistake. To call a he a she, or a she a they, or a they a him; because as long as you do it while asking a legitimate question and come from a place of no malice no one is offended,” he says. “I also learned that there are so many things I don’t know and that’s a secret for my desire to do this, I want to learn more. There’s so much about the LGBTQ+ community I don’t even know.”

Topics being prepped for future shows include discussions on conversion therapy which will include someone who has been through the discredited practice as well as talking about what it is like to come out at work when your career is traditionally seen as unaccepting. But the conversations won’t always cover a heavy subject matter.

“I want to talk about open relationships within the LGBTQ+ community. I would like to discuss dating in the LGBTQ+ community versus dating outside of that. Dating apps: how they work, check in with the Grindrs, Hers and Scruffs of the world,” Estevez says. “I want to take a fun look at that stuff because why not. These are topics we all know exist, but I want to give them a little spin and go more in depth and you can do that with this format.”

“Under The Rainbow” with Jorge Estevez premieres new episodes every other Wednesday, with the first episode now available. You can listen at WFTV.com/Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts including Stitcher, iTunes and Google Play.

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