Michael Diaz, aka Juan Bago, had a feeling that he and Rachel Strauss-Muñiz, his longtime friend and collaborator, could create something special in the podcast space if they put in the work. But Strauss-Muñiz, best known as Rachel La Loca, was initially unsure there was an audience for that (her first words, as a matter of fact, were: “Ain’t nobody listenin’ to podcasts!”). But after doing a little research, she realized the medium’s potential, and just how underrepresented Latinos were.
“So we set out on a mission to move Latinos forward, while making them laugh,” she says.
Dozens of episodes later, Rachel La Loca and Juan Bago – alongside JFernz and Frank Nibbs – have cemented their place in the podcast world with Latinos Out Loud, a weekly show featuring improv, pranks, character segments, and guest interviews. In 2018, the podcast won a Tecla Award at Hispanicize. On Monday, the team will host a live show at the at The Greene Space at WNYC to celebrate its 100th episode. Special guests include Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, his father, Luis A. Miranda Jr., and Saturday Night Live’s film unit director, Oz Rodriguez.
Since January 2018, the crew has covered mental health, food, and music, while interviewing Curly Velasquez, Kat Lazo, and Maria Hinojosa, which is Juan Bago’s favorite moment so far.
“That show was magical to me. She was such a great guest and having her show in front of an audience was electrifying,” he says. “The combination of her advice and perspective created an energy in the room that will last forever for me.”
With this podcast, they have provided an opportunity for audiences to hear about Latinos who have succeeded in their fields. With the media still dominated by negative narratives about our communities, this is an important component of Latinos Out Loud.
There’s a little bit of something for everyone, but what really makes Latinos Out Loud work is how much of themselves they put into it, which in turn makes the show so fun to tune into.
“[One of my favorite moments] is hosting the spoof game shows we play on the show,” Rachel says. “It satisfies my life-long dream of being a real game show host, and I truly enjoy writing them. I distinctly remember how hard it was to control my bladder while being pregnant and hosting ‘So You Think You Can Bronx,’ a Bronx trivia game show played with guest Kid Mero on Season 3, Episode 26.”
As they look back on the first 100 episodes, they’re proud of what they’ve accomplished and excited to see what comes next. They’re also happy to see how, like them, more Latinos have started their own podcasts in the last few years.
“Moving the needle for Latinos in the space [has been one of the best parts of working on LOL],” Rachel says. “Five seasons later, now when I search the term ‘Latino’ or ‘Latinx’ in the Apple podcast search bar, I am pleasantly pleased to see the vast selection of content powered by Latinos.”
Tickets for the 100th episode of Latinos Out Loud are sold out, but the show will be available as a live video stream here.