How did the podcast start?

The original Facebook exchange where Dan and Rachel agree to do a podcast
The original Facebook message that started the podcast.

We started Radio Free Bay Ridge on a lark one evening in 2017 when Rachel, a local activist, asked on Facebook if anyone wanted to start a podcast about Bay Ridge. Dan decided sure, why not, and replied. We really didn’t know what we were getting into.  After a few meetings over coffee, and a few scrappy early recording sessions with just a laptop mic in a guest bedroom, we’d started our own podcast. Dan and Rachel were soon joined by Dan’s wife Mary and one of our first listeners, Erik Shell, to form a team of burgeoning local political podcasters. Along the way, we also worked with local issue experts, like our transit correspondent Brian Hedden. Our team is constantly changing, so take a look below to learn a bit more about the Radio Free Bay Ridge family… and by the way, feel free to contact us if you want to get involved! This platform is as much for you as it is for us!

Meet the Team

Dan Hetteix

Producer & Co-Host, Radio Free Bay Ridge
In addition to his work editing and co-hosting the podcast, Dan ran The Ambrose Light satirical blog, which pokes fun at the ridiculousness of small-town politics in the neighborhood. He often volunteers as a videographer for local events, protests, and political campaigns. His background is in technology, urban planning, architecture, and historic preservation. He spends whatever free time he has avidly reading and researching, obsessing over tea, and playing with the studio’s cat (an adopted stray). His favorite episode so far is our deep-dive into how hyper-local nativism surfaces in political discussions and speech.

Rachel Brody

Producer & Co-Host, Radio Free Bay Ridge
In addition to her work producing and co-hosting the podcast, Rachel is an activist and organizer working in digital, communications and strategy. Rachel credits Bay Ridge with her drawing her into electoral politics, and is currently leading NY-11’s #DefeatMalliotakis movement to expose Nicole Malliotakis as the far-right radical extremist she is. Rachel’s background is in social media, fashion, playwriting and film production, and she’s extremely proud of Radio Free Bay Ridge episode The Art of the Gerrymander, exploring the intersection of activism, redistricting and the arts.

Ember Ollom

Lifestyle Correspondent, Radio Free Bay Ridge
Ember works for the Working Families Party, but let’s face it, you know her from Twitter. Her passion projects usually revolve around youth organizing and all of the weird adventures that come along with that. Her favorite way to spend the day is introducing people to Bay Ridge for the first time, and she’d be happy to tell you all about why she considers it our nation’s capital. You can frequently find her at Caffe Cafe, drinking lemonade and eavesdropping. Say hi!

Mary Hetteix

Cultural Correspondent and Production Manager, Radio Free Bay Ridge
A former ESL teacher, Mary has volunteered for a variety of activist organizations, including the Khader El-Yateem Campaign, Fight Back Bay Ridge, South Brooklyn Progressive Resistance, and Bay Ridge for Social Justice.  She can often be found working on crafts, writing historical fiction, and getting drunk with socialists. Her favorite episode so far is the round-table analysis of our last City Council election.

Radio Free Bay Ridge is an all-volunteer podcast, and we refuse advertisers in order to maintain a flexible, accountable podcast that can center progressive voices. We’re always happy to get in touch with you if you want to know more about the podcast, and you can generally find us in-person at any of the numerous progressive events and organizations in Bay Ridge.