Throughout the pandemic, the basement level of The Washington Informer headquarters has been the epicenter of a movement that not only strives to continue the Black oral tradition, but do so with Black millennials in the District metropolitan area and beyond at the forefront.
The Bridge Podcast Network, named for this millennial lifestyle media platform, currently features six independently launched media programs touching on a bevy of topics, including politics, entertainment, and marijuana legalization.
However, with the multitude to Black perspectives in the cyber realm that have yet to be highlighted, the minds behind this network said they see the potential for a lucrative expansion that benefits those who provide original content.
“I want this to be a Black-centric podcast backed by The Informer and The Bridge, [so that it can] become a bridge for more Black voices,” said Bryant Brown, also known as BeMo.
Before the pandemic, BeMo, a media maven who likens his marketing strategy for The Bridge Podcast Network to that of Steve Stoute, produced his podcast on Full Service Radio, based in LINE DC Hotel in Adams Morgan. Once the economic downturn forced the venue to shutter, he set his sights on creating an all-Black platform he said would follow in the footsteps of the Black Effect Podcast Network.
Since February, three shows have launched on The Bridge Podcast Network, including BeMo’s morning podcast “Wake and Bake with BeMo” and “Over the Shoulder.” BeMo also mentioned an up-and-coming political program by Markus Batchelor titled “What’s Next?” and a music show with DJ Geena Marie on the ones and twos.
Those who join The Bridge Podcast Network either record their programs at The Washington Informer or produce their content offsite.
“We’re oral people,” BeMo said. “How can we translate that into physical media and make money? Imagine if we can get 80 diverse Black voices, pulling our demographics and marketing money, doing all of this in a Black way straight out of Southeast.”
The Bridge Podcast Network represents the newest stage in the development of The Bridge, a platform that launched out The Washington Informer, a Black woman-owned publication that’s three generations strong. As has been the case with The Bridge, this new platform aims to represent millennials in the District.
BeMo and Bridge Publisher Lafayette Barnes IV collaborated on this project at a critical juncture in Black-owned media history, and that of the nation.
In the wake of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s police-involved deaths, attention has pivoted to issues facing Black people, which has led to the proliferation of media programs, whether they be podcasts, or radio and television shows, about aspects of the Black experience. A concern among Black people in the media space however centers on the degree to which Black entities are telling the narratives and financing culturally centric projects.
Above all else, some people like DJ Geena Marie describe the quintessential podcast as one that fosters a sense of community among its listeners. Geena Marie, who hails from Silver Spring, Md, said she hopes to achieve that goal through her program that features a mix of R&B, hip-hop, and house music centered on themes of relevance to Black people.
Geena Marie, a DJ for seven years, likened this up-and-coming program on The Bridge Podcast Network to online functions she facilitated throughout the pandemic that have allowed her to form relationships with people living far beyond the Beltway.
“I’ve [connected with people] that I would not have been able to see in different parts of the country who can see me play,” Geena Marie told The Bridge. “People heard my mixes and [I was able to] build with them through that. Just being online and sharing talents either by releasing music and being able to DJ.”