Podcasting and Radio News

Konrad Szybisty- People of the Blue Basement episode 2


Hello ladies and gentlemen, welcome to episode 2 of people of the blue basement with Max Hsu. Special thanks to Max for his time.


TRACK: The Renzo Gracie academy. The world-famous jiu jitsu school in New York City. It’s filled to the brim with enthusiastic students who work on their craft daily. Each person setting goals, having aspirations, getting closer to where they want to be day by day.


AMBI: Neiman teaching a technique


TRACK: It’s a typical Wednesday afternoon class at Renzo’s, typical in that it’s as educational as it is arduous. After cooling down for a little, Max and I take to one of the empty training rooms. We’re surrounded by the blue mats, to our left is the weight lifting area. He says today’s class went well.


ACT: “I’ve been cutting down on the aggression a little bit, focusing more on technique, so,

you know, I feel like a lot of the times in life and in BJJ people try to force things, and they don’t really think about the complex problems that arise within our dynamic environment, but today you know I was able to keep up, I was able to put the puzzle pieces together, it was fun.”


TRACK: Most people don’t find rolling in sweat looking for chokes and arm locks fun, but jiu jitsu practitioners aren’t most people. People start their BJJ journey at different points in their lives, some old, some young. Max started his journey after feeling unfulfilled with what he was studying in college.


ACT: “I studied cyber security, homeland security and criminal justice as my double major. I graduated in May 2018, and I know that’s obviously different from what I’m doing now but you know I had some big time job offers from big 3 letter agencies down in DC, and with defense contractors down in the Arlington and Roseland virginia area, and you know what I realized something towards my senior year, this is not what I really want to do. I really don’t enjoy it, I don’t enjoy cyber security. It’s cool to learn how to password crack, people think its cool, once you really do it its like if you’re not about that life, you’re not about THAT life”

TRACK: Jiu-Jitsu had always been in the background. It hasn’t been a constant forward progression for him to get where he is. It started very rocky. He first tried it out when he was 17, six months before he went to college.


ACT: “I hated it. So I quit it. I basically took over 2 years of not doing anything, not having anything to do with it, just doing what college students do. Went to class, slept in, partied, got internships, I don’t really care about that stuff.


TRACK: But in the summer between his sophomore and junior years, he did an internship in London and spotted a familiar name.


ACT: I passed a Gracie school out there, and I was like “lets go back in” just you know a white belt who doesn’t know anything anymore. And I got choked out by a 21 year old Brazilian nurse. Who was 2 years older than me at the time, and it was like “what the hell” she’s 5 feet tall, 115 pounds, what is this magicianry that I didn’t see the first time around? So I was like you know what im STARTING BJJ now!


TRACK: When he got back to Albany, he kept it up.


ACT: I went from fucking absolutely hating to BJJ, to disliking it, to being neutral with it, to liking it, and then I realized it was the ONLY thing that I really loved. Like, something I was truly passionate about”


TRACK: Max always had a fighting spirit. As a kid he found himself channeling what would fuel his passion for BJJ in a much less healthy way. Its safe to say Jiu-Jitsu’s helped mellow and develop his character.


ACT: “But, in hindsight, looking back at myself as a kid, yeah I could see myself doing something in fighting. I’ve been fighting since I was like 5 years old. I’ve been fighting in school, I was fighting in middle school, I was fighting in high school, I was fighting outside of school, I was fighting with my family. I got into a fist fight with my father when I was 17 years old. And you know, I think at the time you know when I tried BJJ I was like “oh I knew how to fight” right? I had this ego, I had this young bravado. And I think I was insecure, and im still insecure, but im working on it. 7:38


TRACK: Max’s perspective on life has evolved a lot just through this former hobby turned full-time. Most people throw the term “live in the now” as a way to excuse them hurting themselves. Max uses it to improve himself, and at some point he would like to make a living doing it.


ACT: “But what im more worried about, is being 35, 45, 55, 65, or any age, and looking back and going the fuck did I do with my life? I got a job in cyber security. I went for a 401k, I got benefits and pension, and what did I do? I spent 9-10 hours a day doing something I truly didn’t want to do because people who have what I don’t fucking care about told me to do it. And at the end of the day its like, there are obvious insecurities and worries I have but what trumps all of those is looking back in 15 years and going what did I do?”


TRACK: BJJ is also a great foundation for establishing a person’s confidence. For Max, it completely changed his view of himself in his day-to-day life. It’s not about hurting others or putting other people down, its all about self-improvement.


ACT: “it might seem like, we wanna hurt people, but I don’t wanna hurt anybody. When I was younger, and especially in college, id get drunk and wanna go out and fight. And its like I look back and im like “yo dude you’d get crushed man.” Like that’s such a bad physical and emotional mentality to have. It makes no sense. So now when I train, unless someones being extra aggressive and you know jamming their elbow in my eye or raking my face, I don’t try to hurt people. I don’t wanna hurt anybody, I wanna get better”


TRACK: BJJ is a real community. People practice with each other, point out each other’s mistakes in technique and execution. Some go a step further, and go out of their way to devote their time to teaching others. Max is one of those people.


ACT: “I teach BJJ and regular martial arts. In the regular class it’s a mix of basic boxing and karate punches, crosses and jabs, then its you know games also theyre kids they gotta play they gotta have fun, some wrestling some BJJ, no submissions though. But then on our BJJ team we let these kids go all out. They’re doing real stuff, like they’re doing legit world class techniques. They get hurt, they cry, we make them brush it off and throw em back in. Kids need adversity, PEOPLE need adversity”


TRACK: I tried capping off the interview with some sort of profound question, something eye opening. I asked Max who he looked up to, what kind of person inspires him. I found myself realizing his answer was a lot like how I would answer.


ACT: “One of my friends here, Deshawn, that dude works 56 hours a week, trains almost as much as I do, and he’s a beast. Think about that. This guy is training at least 20 hours a week, working 56, that’s like an 80 hour work week. And nobody understands it, how much it takes, how much energy you need to do this thing. This is a lot, theres different types of energies but this is a lot. That’s extremely admirable, and if I feel like I have to make an excuse, its like nah dude shut up, get to work get to training, people are always working.”


TRACK: His next tournament’s coming up next month. Needless to say, he’s aiming for first place. This has been another episode of people of the blue basement. I’m your host Konrad Szybisty, thanks for listening.

Hidden Gems Ep. 2

This episode is all about Jaela DonMartin, an 18-year-old freshman at Baruch College who started her career as Lil Boo just 3 years ago.


AMBI: Music plays for 3-4 seconds then fades out, but still in the background.

INTRO: The late Aretha Franklin once said, “Music does a lot of things for a lot of people. It’s transporting, for sure. It can take you right back, years back, to the very moment certain things happened in your life. It’s uplifting, it’s encouraging, it’s strengthening.” I’m Giselle Medina and welcome back to Hidden Gems, a podcast where we meet upcoming artists and talk about their drive in becoming well-known. 

AMBI: Music plays for 3-4 seconds then fades out.

TRACK: Jaela DonMartin is an 18-year-old freshman at Baruch College from Bushwick who started rapping around 3 years ago. I met Jaela this semester at WBMB Baruch College’s Radio Station. I didn’t know she was an artist because of how quiet and timid she is that is until one of my friends recommended her for this podcast. When I’m about to interview Jaela, she’s wearing black on black with big gold hoops, which is pretty comfortable and warm considering it’s snowing heavily this Monday morning. Then we start to talk about how she got into music.

ACT [JAELA DONMARTIN]: Um, I always wanted to be a performer since I was little. Um, I actually got into acting first before anything, so I was in like theater classes when I was younger, so I always liked performing. It was just like the transition from that to musical performance.

TRACK: Jaela made it apparent that her family has no rhythm she, however, is a very artistic person and has always loved to express herself through some form of art. 

ACT [JAELA DONMARTIN]: Like I draw, I act I do a bunch of different things, but like music was the only thing that really spoke to me and it was the only thing that I saw like people really responding to and I was, um, performing and like putting things out. So this was it. In middle school, I was playing instruments and I was performing with like instruments and stuff like that. And I just felt like I wasn’t expressing myself properly. Like I just love, I love playing music. I love music, period. Um, but I felt like I wasn’t expressing myself. So once I started writing, I can’t sing, so I’ll be writing actual songs at first and then I realized I really cannot sing. So then I found rap. So when I started rapping and I started sounding good, I was like, okay, okay. So I decided to stop performing with um rap.

TRACK: Jaela sometimes uses the studio at WBMB and she locks herself in there and you can hear a beat going and her just freestyling over it. 

ACT [JAELA DONMARTIN]: My process is different for everything. Um, sometimes I’ll have just words in my head and I’ll write it out and find a beat and like see how it fits. Other times I’ll hear a beat and like the song comes to me. It just depends like what vibe I’m going for.

TRACK: On her Youtube Channel, she not only has her own songs but her freestyles as well. Here’s a clip of her freestyle of ‘Act Up’ by City Girls.

AMBI: Freestyle of ‘Act Up’ by City Girls. 

TRACK: Jaela became Lil Boo at around 15 years old. Her first song is L’s and she shot a music video for it and everything, she even paid for it with her summer youth check. She was pretty excited about it in the beginning but looking back at it, she’s not too fond of the song anymore. Now, Lil Boo is performing all around Brooklyn and even doing small shows.

ACT [JAELA DONMARTIN]: I usually just perform in Brooklyn ‘cause that’s where most of the venues are at. I mostly like the connections I have. Um, but I performed at S.O.B.’s in Manhattan, Black Dorm Club in Queens um, do like little smaller venues. But my biggest one was at S.O.B.’s. I did the Bushwick Block Party. That was my biggest performance I had opened up for um, Cameron, CS Move all the dips that actually, um, Foxy Brown. So that was cool.

TRACK: Here’s a clip of Lil Boo’s verse off of the Ray Rav song “War” at a show in Bushwick mid-November.

AMBI: “War” fades in.

TRACK: Jaela told me that she performs at least once a month during the week and weekends. My first thought, “When does she have the time?” She’s a full-time student and the first semester of freshman year is pretty tough transition wise. So, when I asked her how do you balance both your lives, she dropped her head and eyes as if she were saying “well damn” and I could tell in her face, that it’s a lot for her. 

ACT [JAELA DONMARTIN]: Um, it’s hard, it’s really hard because I’ll be in the middle of doing an essay and then a song idea comes to my head and I’m not gonna let the song idea go. So it’s just a challenge. I don’t sleep a lot. Um, there’s sometimes where I have shows and I’m outside until three o’clock in the morning and I have to come to a 7:00 AM class the next day. So there’s no like real balance and being an artist and then coming to school, um, I just make it work. 

Do you have most of your shows on the weekends or during the week?

Um, well, a lot of the like not great shows on the weekends where it’s just like small little venues, but more like the industry performances. Like I did a couple of shows with Power 105 and those are all during the week, like Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays are usually like the day that they had those shows.

And would you say music then is your priority?

I would say music and my priority just because of the fact that I’m choosing my major in that field. So it’s like I’m not really trying to do anything else besides music.

TRACK: Despite having to juggle both her lives, Jaela loves performing and putting out music. 

ACT [JAELA DONMARTIN]: Like the most fulfilling part. Um, just like feeling everybody’s energy when I get on stage, seeing people’s reactions when I’m performing music. Um, that’s the most fulfilling part. Like of course it’s always self-fulfillment. When I finish a song, when I get out the studio and like the songs done, not hear it from like the idea I had to be in like completely done. But performing gives us like a whole ‘nother energy.

AMBI: “Levels” by Lil Boo feat. Ray Rav (play for a few seconds and leave in the background).

TRACK: About a month ago, Lil Boo released “Levels” featuring Ray Rav and this past Friday, their music video came out. 

AMBI: Fade in “Levels” by Lil Boo feat. Ray Rav for a few seconds then fade out (leave in the background).

TRACK: Thanks for listening, catch another “hidden gem” in the next episode!

AMBI: Fade in “Levels” by Lil Boo feat. Ray Rav for a few seconds.

Alternative Perspective on the lives of Homeless people

Intro: You are now listening to the alternative perspective podcast where we explore stories of less fortunate people who are battling with homelessness. I am your host Tevin Fairclough.

Track: On November 20th a cold and windy day in New York City sitting on the side of the cold and busy street is David Washington a homeless men with nothing but the belongings he has his in a small plastic bag, sheets he sits on and blankets he covered himself with. Sitting next to him was his wife according to him, who he states his pregnant. David opened up to me about his life going.

Act: (David) I was born upstate in Albany but I grew up in New York City. I went to school as a kid I went to special education class I had a hard time I went to a remedial classes for anger problems and Educational Learning and I got better. I did always have a problem growing up in school so that was always my issues at home, my problems in school ended up coming home, my behaviors and relationship affected me and my parents leading to me growing up as a teenager doing the things I wanted to do as all teenagers [have] got to find their own way sometimes. I was kicked out on the street side 16 I’ve been on the streets ever since

Track: Things quickly spiraled down words for him as he was kicked out of his home at the age of 16 by his own biological mother

Act(David): I robbed somebody when I was 16 years old I made a bad mistake and a choice I went to jail for it I learned my lesson when I was in jail and I got my GED I figured that while I was there I would do something with my time instead of just sitting up there doing nothing so I went to school and I utilize my time to get my GED and I got it I’m proud of myself in that accomplishment my mom was proud of me too but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to let me back in the house hold so..

Track: He also mentioned that his dad wasn’t in the picture and also that he and his mom isn’t not on the best terms at the moment.

Act(David): My dad wasn’t really in the picture he’s just now starting to get into the picture which is really really great to say me and him never really had a relationship but now we’re going to have a good relationship.

Track: When he got out of jail he got a job as a digital printer and shipping clerk for Rick’s AEC Reprographics

Act(David): I worked there for a few years with my cousin really really good stuff. I got budget cut they had to cut people back because they couldn’t afford the extra staff that were working there so some of us got cut back.

Track: While working there he even had an apartment across from his mom.

Act(David): It was really good actually that was fly because and I did it across the hall from her because I wanted to show her that on my own I could do it, you know? And I showed her that.

Track: Once he was laid off he was struggling to find another source of income in order to support himself and make ends meet

Act(David): I turned selling drugs and I got arrested again for drug dealing. And I ended up getting two felonies behind it and that led me to not be able to work again. I was struggling with public assistance, food stamps, living from place to place which led me to be homeless now.

Track: Despite his downfalls Manchester mentions that he is constantly looking for new job opportunities.

Act(David): I’m always looking for a new job places. I go online or I go on my phone or I go to the library and I apply and I post my resume.

Track: He also mentioned that he does odd jobs here and there to get him and his family by

Act(David): A little bit of carpentry. I work at a barbershop where I clean their windows and I sweep and I clean up for them when they’re done. I work in another bar call The Heights on Bedford Stuyvesant where I go on certain days when they have like baby showers or different events and conventions and I’ll be like an extra help for them. They’ll call me and then they’ll let me know that they need an extra hand and they’ll pay me like three hundred bucks in the mean to be there for the night and I set up and clean up it depends every couple days and like 2 to 3 days sometimes a week.

Track: While I tried to further examine the reasons as to why he hasn’t been able to find housing at a homeless shelter his wife sitting next to him quickly interjected.

Act(Melvoun): The shelter system here for couples sucks in New York. For a single individual they get $3,500, for a couple they get the same amount, so every time you apply and get denied they get paid. But, monthly when a couple is in the shelter they only get $3500 so they deny the couple’s multiple times to put a wedge between the couples so they’ll separate. 35-35 you’d rather $7000 than $3,500.

Track: According to Manchester her name is Malvern Diane.

Track: She said she’s been homeless from the small age of 8 years old.

Act(Melvoun): Nobody knows when my mother threw me in that estrangement man’s lap and said I don’t want her. I was born a homeless girl, so yeah this is home the system fucked up, I was born homeless.

Track: In addition to the rejection from her biological mother, she was rejected from homeless shelters plenty of times.

Act(Melvoun): From the age of 8 to 21 on the streets: homeless, because New York forgot about me in this system a long time ago, the system sucks. Period. I’m 8, from 8 to 39 years old that’s 31 years of a homelessness off and on, you tell me that’s fair as a kid and it’s getting worse it’s hard on families and couples it took 14 tries my first time going through the homeless system. Everybody said it is the homeless’ fault, no it’s not, it’s the system the system denied me 16 times and it took my mother to die for them to say I can and that was in 2011. I got away from my abuser finally. I moved on got a new husband finally got my life together and yet we’ve been denied multiple times. We’re telling you we can’t go to these places and you’re telling us oh yes you can. You get denied multiple times, yes. At the end of the day people don’t get it, it’s the system that screwing you. You see me sleeping on the street for three for five, six months in the same spot that must mean I’m homeless but this is what they’re doing to us.

Track: When she finally got her acceptance and it was time for her to move into her new apartment. she was put in jail.

Act(Melvoun): I’ve done 17 years in and out of prison for not switch snitching on people. I was already approved, I was three or four days away from my apartment. I was working with breaking ground and because I went to jail I had to start all over. I didn’t know anything I just know I was born homeless and everybody said it’s the homeless’ fault, people label you early I’ve been in and out of jail because the people shame me beforehand. I’ve never been to jail for my own crimes because I don’t commit crimes. I’ve always went away for somebody else is bullshit look at my records; for not telling. I went down for other people’s shit. I can take you to everybody I went down for and they will verify yes she did.

Track: She said that in order to get accepted to homeless shelters you need proof of homelessness in your housing history

Act(Melvoun): You mean to tell me you have a right to tell me that I have to walk around and get proof that I’m homeless. Where is that fair? okay I can get proof but let out reach do their job, there’s proof. I should’nt have to get a year Housing history.

Track: According to the Coalition for homelessness, you would also need to proove the identity
of each member of your family, with either benefit card from public assistance, a green card, drivers liscense, government ID, Passport or visa or an emplyment ID with a picture. She then told me of a time when she once met a girl who had an order of protection out against her mother and she was told she had to stay with her mother.

Act(Melvoun): They told a girl who had an order of protection against her that she can still stay with her mother. Tell the courts that!

Track: She also told me of couple who was denied housing when they had an infant.

Act(Melvoun): you know how many couple are out here with their kids, that the system’s loosing and forgeting. We saw a couple get on the train and they were denied, and they had an infant bro.

Track: She also mentions thay people are denied from homeless shelter because of the policies they have against pets as many homeless people with pets are denied housing for these same policies.

Act(Melvoun): There’s street people out here that has a dog that needs to be endorced that cant get endorsed because hes not a service animal. thats not fair to that man or that animal. That animal is keeping that man alive whether its a service animal or not why cant he take it with him. New Yorks so Dog Friendly right? anybody’ll accept it, so should the shelters. Its been happening for years, and years.

Track: I tried to continue my interview with following up with another question when manchester told me shes no longer open to speaking.

Track: I tried to aproach him with remaining questions when he states: “We’re just gunna end this now.”

Track: I tried to stand next to them as I tried to gather ambient sounds from the environment as another homeless individual charged at me while asking me to leave.

Track: Next episode we will explore the life of pastor Micheal Vincent crea, another individual battling with homelessness.

Class Agenda: Monday, Nov. 25


We’ll listen to your first podcast episodes and talk about them.

Upcoming Dates:

Class this Wednesday, Nov. 27 will be optional. Studio H will be open and I will be here if you need help with anything. Feel free to use that time to work on reporting your second episode or just get a head start on any holiday travel or festivities.

Scripts for episode 2 due Monday, Dec. 2. We will do an edit session that day as usual. Sign-up sheet is here.