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Andre Goulet | December 1, 2021


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Listen to “How You Can Join the Harbinger Growth Mindset” on Spreaker.

If you had asked my 13-year-old self what I’d be doing in 30 years, I probably wouldn’t have said building a network of politically progressive podcast creators. But the first time I flipped on a mic in my small Prairie campus radio station at Augustana University College, I saw the potential of independent community radio to change the world. 

These days, I spend more hours behind a mic than most other activities combined. From hosting my own podcasts to producing other people’s shows and teaching students and community radio stations how to podcast, I’m convinced that telling stories through audio is the most intensely intimate way to connect with an audience.  

And I’m not alone. Three years ago a group of podcasters who share my passion for building a better world began to collaborate, publishing online at Ricochet Media while casually skill-sharing, doing crossovers and beginning the early work of building a community. As our group of like-minded podcasts grew, we started to think about presenting our community to listeners as a professional, independent nonprofit network. We wanted to create a common front of smart, irreverent voices overseen by an executive organizer and responsible to a board of directors, while maintaining a uniquely horizontal system of 100 per cent editorial independence for all of our shows and creators.   

So, in October 2020 we launched with a slate of 18 podcasts, including the titular show from Calgary’s elegantly educational and influential Alberta Advantage collective; the global reach of Paris Marx’s Tech Won’t Save Us in St. John’s; the smart and subversive interviews of Rob Rousseau’s 49th Parahell and the in-depth political analysis of Le plancher des vaches in Montreal; and with the archives of legacy podcasts such as Vancouver comedian Charlie Demers’ book review show Well Reds, and the Paris Podcast Award-winning series Fil Rouge from Indigenous and Inuit communities in northern Quebec.  

And the response has been incredible. Listeners have been super supportive, audiences have grown, and the momentum hasn’t let up. 

In the last year we’ve seen our community double to 36 shows with new arrivals like the pop culture analysis of Desmond Cole and Shama Rangwala’s Replay out of Toronto and Edmonton, the profoundly funny and provocative QAnon conspiracy round-up Faisez vos recherches!, Nora Loreto’s feminist theory show Take Back the Fight, and Paniz Khorhoshahy and Tamsyn Riddle’s incendiary Anti Girlboss Socialist Club.  

We also hosted a super epic 12-hour telethon on TwitchTV with more than 40 hosts and guests from the worlds of journalism, activism and comedy to “celebrate” the federal election in October, and we’re continually role-modelling what it looks like to intentionally nurture a community, as we build relationships with friends from progressive Canadian media and cultivate our shared vision for a better world. 

And we’re just getting started. 

Today, I’m one of more than 60 journalists, activists, academics and subversives broadcasting from B.C. to Newfoundland as part of the Harbinger Media Network. I’m also the network’s executive director. It’s a largely volunteer position but I am devoted to building it because the need for genuinely progressive, independent voices in Canadian media has never been more important. 

In an era of corporate media consolidation, Harbinger is committed to creating a space where progressive voices can thrive. With more than a million shows in the podcast universe it’s hard to get noticed and a show on its own will likely struggle to stand out, but working together we’ve seen incredible progress, with a half a dozen of our shows making the top 100 podcast news and commentary charts in any given week.  

The challenge is that right-wing American voices take up a terrifying 50 percent of Canadian podcast chart rankings, with most of the shows coming from new media spaces such as The Daily Wire and The Blaze, with hardline hacks like Glen Beck, Ben Shapiro and Steve Bannon. Harbinger is determined to hold space for voices we don’t hear elsewhere — whether they’re drowned out by right-wing rhetoric or silenced by mainstream media’s centrism and fear of confrontation, decades of media consolidation or the lurid levels of corporate financial support most outlets receive as Canada’s media sphere continues to lurch to the right. 

But we need your help.

We’re asking you to chip in to help us forge the Harbinger community. We’ve had an exceptional year but with your support we can:  

  • Further democratize Harbinger’s community with the launch of a fund to develop new shows to include more Indigenous and Gen Z voices
  • Pay online hosting fees to support our diverse podcasters and help them upgrade their equipment as needed
  • Provide a living wage for my work so I can devote my time to strengthening the network and building community 
  • Offer more podcast creation outreach to campus and community radio stations, schools, and community groups with shared values
  • Expand into video, streaming and new podcasts as we continue to grow

If just 100 of you reading this newsletter sign up right now to become a monthly sustainer, we’ll be able to hit the ground running in 2022. Will you help us reach our goal?

Together, we can build a strong, progressive, united opposition to mainstream Canadian media. But it won’t emerge on its own; it will take a deliberate, collaborative effort to share the resources and skills required to forge this community. 

I serve Harbinger with unflagging enthusiasm everyday because this is the kind of community I want to live in. Will you join us?

In solidarity,

Andre Goulet


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