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Podcast unites generations

Image by Amanda Vermeer The logo for the “Gen X, Y and I” podcast shows the three hosts, each from different generations: Darnishia Slade (Gen X), Jennifer Wall (millennial) and Bob Wenc (Silent Generation).

HOUGHTON — A trio of people from different generations and backgrounds are sharing stories about their lives on a podcast.

Bob Wenc, Darnishia Slade and Jennifer Wall launched “Gen X, Y and I” in August, posting new episodes every three weeks.

Slade and Wenc knew each other from Michigan Technological University, where they worked in International Programs and Services. Shortly before Wenc retired, Slade told him with his voice, he should be on the radio.

That idea lay dormant until May, when Wall, who had worked in Career Services at Tech, made a Facebook post about wanting to be a radio DJ.

“So I brought Bob and Jen together and said, ‘We should do this,'” Slade said.

They found a bond as Christians, though having different beliefs within that. As evidenced by the title of the podcast, they’re also from different generations. “Not-So-Silent Bob” Wenc is from the Silent Generation, though he identifies more with the Baby Boomers he served with in the Army. “Real World Dar” Slade is from Generation X, one ahead of “Millennial Jen” Wall.

“Oftentimes people want to hear something they can connect with or identify with, and I think having multiple generations helps,” Slade said.

While they considered a podcast from the beginning, their discussions started as a radio show.

“One day, we just decided, ‘Let’s surprise each other,'” Wall said. “So Dar would just show up with two questions and we would discuss those two questions on an hour-long radio program.”

Those questions were then turned into podcast episodes. Generally between 15 and 20 minutes, episodes have tackled topics such as first jobs, their grandmothers and what brought them to Houghton.

Through the episodes, they’ve each gotten to know each other better, both in small ways — asked what animal he wanted to be, Wenc chose a porpoise, surprising Wall — and in bigger ones, such as Slade’s “bucket list” item, having children.

“I didn’t know that about her, and it made my jaw drop,” Wall said.

They’ve gotten some ideas from listeners already, and could record a year’s worth of episodes from the backlog they have, Wenc said.

“We’re hoping we get more and more interactions from our listeners, and we’re hoping they’ll also make more suggestions as we go along,” he said.

A listener suggestion to talk about their wills spawned Wall’s favorite episode, about end-of-life preparations. Despite the seriousness of the topic, they still found room for humor.

“I still chuckle when I listen to that episode,” she said.

Though launching in a turbulent year, the show is intended as a respite from the headlines.

“We don’t talk politics, we don’t talk religion, we don’t talk things that are controversial,” Wall said. “We just share our own stories and experiences and perspectives, and I think it can be uplifting for people, as times have been hard.”

Future episodes might also have special guests from the Boomers or Generation Z, Slade said.

They recorded episodes in August and September at the WMTU studios before those shut down. For the next round of episodes, they’re recording while videoconferencing from their individual homes.

“I think it’s fun when we’re all in the same room, but this should work too, because we can physically see each other,” Slade said.

More information about the podcast is available at audioboom.com/channels/5030272. It is also available through a variety of services, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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