Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed podcasters Randi Lavik and Sylvia Park about their work, their love of BTS, and the work that goes into their podcast, BTS7.
Tell me a bit about who you are. How and why did you start podcasting?
R: I have an unusual radio background, starting in the 1980’s–I worked at four major market Los Angeles stations before the age of 25.
Formats: New Wave, AOR, Oldies and Hair Metal(!)
I spin them all on FM today, along with BTS from South Korea, and no one is more surprised or delighted than I.
In the 80s & early 90s, I was so curious about the music industry & took advantage of many rare opportunities to ask an awful lot of pesky questions of both LA radio legends and musical artists–while oftentimes bringing terrible coffee–to some of the best in the business.
For example, one morning I answered the request lines & The Traveling Wilburys called.
All of them.
From someone’s kitchen in the Valley.
Asking for Scott Shannon, New York ‘Morning Zoo’ format pioneer.
I got to shamelessly tell whoever was on the speakerphone, “…please please tell ‘Mr. Harrison Wilbury’ that the girl on the phone loooooves him soooo much” & heard peals of laughter with beautiful UK accents.
It was like that.
I left the oftentimes pure chaos that was FM back then, to obtain a more formal, college education and raise a family.
And while I was away, some of my heroes and contemporaries literally invented Podcasting.
Years back, I was a guest of the Headliner at a Podcasting Convention at the historic Biltmore Hotel, in Downtown Los Angeles, where I got to witness live Podcasts & meet some of the Podcast Industries’ now top-rated names. I cried laughing. Gilbert Gottfried & Niki Glaser are very nice.
I returned to my first love, live & local FM, firstly as a CoHost & CoProducer for our big Alternative Music & Talk Show, and earned my own show on the station.
It took off quickly & we gathered a worldwide following, when as a member of the BTS fan Army for years, I incorporated more & more of their music into my dance and electronic music show on Community-Supported Radio (The Drop Sound, KXFM 104.7, Laguna Beach, Orange County, Southern California www.kxfmradio.org).
The success of the FM show(s) led to our new Podcast! I never would have dreamed this.
Stardate 2022: USA Corporate Radio is in the Podcasting Business, more or less.
What is your current podcast called, and how did you come up with the name?
R: Our Podcast is called BTS7. We knew we wanted BTS in our show title from the beginning, because our program is all about BTS, the internationally-acclaimed music group from South Korea.
We added the number ‘7’ to honor the seven members that make up BTS: Kim Namjoon, Kim Seokjin, Min Yoongi, Jung Hoseok, Park Jimin, Kim Taehyung and Jeon Jungkook.
What platforms can we find BTS7 on?
R: Snippet is the world’s first short podcast platform. Our mission is to deliver meaningful content and unique, original show concepts in a concise and powerful package; under 20 minutes an episode.
We aim to create compelling listening experiences that get straight to the point from the moment you press play.
New music, lifestyle, and scripted shows are added weekly, with an added focus on hosts representing diverse backgrounds.”
We have links to Spotify and Anchor on our homepage, and additionally, we can be found wherever you listen to Podcasts, on your favorite platform of choice.
What is BTS7 about?
R: We present the first-of-its-kind, all-BTS Podcast … made by Army for Army. The show features BTS music, analysis, history, news, and interviews.
Co-hosts Randi Lavik and Sidekick Sylvia bring their enthusiasm and curiosity about all things BTS from FM radio to Podcasting.
The show includes BTS songs from the band’s eight-year catalog in their entirety with a Spotify Premium subscription.
We are the first BTS-centric music, news & culture podcast in the West.
Do you host BTS7 alone, or have guest hosts/partners?
R: With the growing popularity and interest in entertainment from South Korea (thanks to BTS, Parasite, and Squid Game to name a few), what we often found was missing in discussions about these topics in the West was commentary from the Korean perspective, first-hand, which is one of the many reasons we brought in Sylvia Park to CoHost BTS7.
She’s a good dream both on & off the airwaves. Her professional career off the air as a Social Worker and Liaison to the AAPI Community is wonderful.
Do you edit BTS7 or have someone who does it for you?
S: Tyler McCusker & Steph Weaver-Weinberg produce and edit our show, on behalf of Snippet.FM
Do you script BTS7, or just chat as you go?
S: A little bit of both. I don’t have any experience in radio or broadcasting so having a general outline of each episode and notes on the topics I want to cover are very helpful.
R: Since we are both new to the medium, we are using a script, and our natural reactions and insights are incorporated as well.
How has BTS7 changed or developed since you began?
R: We shifted from all-music format to more of a journalistic, historical focus, and we play music to accompany the theme of each Podcast.
As of 2022, BTS has a now eight-plus year catalog to explore.
Perhaps of interest in the UK especially, BTS have generously provided us with as much ground to cover as a Beatles show, with many collaborations, solo work, covers and writing/producing credits under their belts.
Many will be surprised to know that their music spans an impressive array of musical genres.
As important as their music is their message. It’s raw, honest and inspiring to many.
What are your biggest challenges with BTS7?
S: This is something completely new to me, so everything has been challenging, but I’m learning.
R: As an on-air voice, Podcasting is new to me too so it’s extra cool that Sylvia & I are starting here as true partners & collaborators on BTS7.
It’s a new skill set; on live FM you are filling in spaces and oftentimes holding on for life, vs. lour Podcast, which involves careful planning, show prep and fact-checking.
Hearing our first few scripted shows–our words ‘come to life’ so to speak; has been joyous.
What are your favourite podcasts to listen to?
S: I like The Catch and Kill Podcast with Ronan Farrow and Welcome to Nightvale.
R: Team Coco! Conan O’Brien does everything great.
I’m also enjoying listening to our fellow Podcasters at Snippet.FM I met “Slim Jim” Phantom from the Stray Cats at our live Podcast launch party for Snippet.FM, & now Slim Jim wants to know more about BTS too.
How and where do you promote BTS7?
R: Via Snippet’s marketing team, Sylvia & I just had our first interview on camera with our new PR firm in New York City and trust they will get the word out.
We hope that our user-friendly format will make anyone feel comfortable listening to our Podcast, whether they are new fans of BTS or long-time Army.
I especially love our Twitter friends, that’s where I’ve found my Tribe, including Sylvia! My CoHost is on Twitter & Instagram.
Do you earn money from podcasting, or is it a hobby?
R: Sylvia & I work for our fellow BTS ARMY. The shows have to be right. If we do BTS and Army justice, the rest will follow.
Supporting BTS officially via our Spotify platform at Snippet, programming BTS on local FM, and most importantly, interacting with ARMY all over the world via Social Media, brings tremendous, unparalleled, creative joy.
What’s something you never expected about podcasting? What have you learned that surprised you?
S: Just how much work it is. I thought a podcast was just sitting and chatting with friends, but there’s so much prep work involved, especially with a show like ours, a lot of research needs to be done prior to recording.
What is the first piece of advice you would give to anyone inspired to start podcasting?
R: I believe that everyone is an expert in something that’s meaningful to them. The more passionate you are about a subject, the more your audience will be interested too.
The element of discovery and surprise are especially fun, while conducting Interviews in particular. Stay honest. Sincerity is a big plus.
We found Sidekick Sylvia to be a gifted communicator from the get go; she’s a charming addition to the BTS7 Podcast; entertaining while educating, bilingually for the bonus.
And, finally, are you proud of what you’re accomplishing with your podcast? Is it worth the effort?
R: Absolutely. I’m a professionally trained Librarian; this worthy project ultimately utilizes the same skill set: writing, interviewing & research. This is my ‘Day Job’ now.
I’m so grateful to decades of Broadcasting Mentors and University Professors along the way, as well as to my daughter Simone who introduced me to BTS years ago, thank goodness. And to my son Bjorn, studying Engineering at Sonoma State, who helped me get a show. I still can’t run the Board.
S: It’s so worth the effort! Especially for a group like BTS that have had so much unfair, unjustified scrutiny in Western media.
We are getting accurate information out there, finally, about this amazing, life-changing group, so EVERYONE can see & hear just how amazing they are.
Pop all your work, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:
#ArmyDJ Randi Lavik:
#SidekickSylvia “Pixie” Park:
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