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Downtown Podcast Creating Culture in Las Vegas

By James Pelz
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This local show fuses together Jimmy Fallon’s late night talk show with a TED talk and makes big cities feel small again by highlighting fun, intelligent and creative people.

The Downtown Podcast films with a live studio audience every Thursday night at the Inspire Theater in downtown Las Vegas. The show highlights Las Vegas locals making a difference in the areas of entertainment, technology, science, education and art.

“It’s a place to get to know the people around you,” said Dylan Jorgensen, founder and host of the show. “It gives you a sense of warmth and security.”

A group of local volunteers work to attract the attention of locals. The downtown location embraces culture, creativity, and collaboration. It binds people and businesses together by offering a way to connect in a small town fashion.

Anywhere from 50 to 100 people attend the live show each week. Last week’s show hosted local photographer, Kris LeVasseur, Jesy Simons from Friends of Nevada Wilderness, and live musical entertainment by Pistol Shoebox, local independent rock band.

“It is a place to learn, grow, and share ideas with people in the community,” said Donevon Martinez, creative director of the show. As the show continues to grow amongst the community, more volunteers will need to help keep up with the demand.

Producers are in talks with the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs to have UNLV students intern on the show for class credit in the coming semesters, Martinez said.

It started as an original podcast three years ago in Jorgensen’s downtown apartment. The podcast then decided to add video as the show increased in popularity.

“I would like it to be a nationally recognized show like Jimmy Fallon one day, but with TED quality guests, no pop culture guests,” Jorgensen said.

Not only do locals support the show, but they also have the attention of people nationally and overseas. Every episode of the show is put up on their Youtube channel for maximum exposure to potential viewers. The show is also aired on the local, Cox cable channel 96, three times a week.

“Just this past week we had five students from UNLV help us with the show,” said Vanessa Woodman, promotions manager. “Hopefully next semester students can get an official internship with the podcast, and maybe a full-time career in the future.”

The future of the Downtown Podcast looks promising as it strives to grow to the next level, and as it continues to make a positive impact on the community.

“In the near future, I hope to get contracts with Netflix, Hulu and other partners,” Jorgensen said.

Jorgensen also plans to connect more with students of all ages in the community by keeping the show educational. The constant need to grow and learn, as a person, is a big philosophy that Jorgensen has imbedded into the heart of the show.

Branching out to arts and tech nonprofits to get young children involved is another aspect they plan to add to the existing model of the show, Woodman said.

The show makes big plans to invest in the next generation of Las Vegas locals, but for now they continue to host their weekly shows every Thursday at 9 p.m., at the Inspire theater.

“We have a full volunteer staff for every aspect of the show from editing to marketing,” Martinez said. “If anyone is interested in being involved, we would love to meet you.”

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