Jacoby Cochran

Troy Swanson: Jacoby, welcome to Circulating Ideas. I’m very excited to talk to you because I’m a big fan of City Cast Chicago.

Jacoby Cochran: It means a lot. Thank you for having me, Troy.

Troy Swanson: For the past few years, I’ve been interviewing journalists, neuroscientists to talk about misinformation, all kinds of experts that can that talk to us librarians. And there’s so much happening in Chicago and I’ve been so impressed with City Cast Chicago, I thought you would be a great guest to have on. So I wanted to ask you about perspectives on the upcoming election, what is happening with this magic moment in the media in Chicago that I think would be great to show off. So thank you so much. And to get us started, I just wanted to ask you about yourself. Could you tell us a little bit about your background and how did you get into this podcasting business?

Jacoby Cochran: For sure. Again, my name is Jacoby Cochran. I’m from the south side of Chicago, neighborhoods like Washington Heights, Gresham, Englewood, Woodlawn, right now I live in Hyde Park on the south side. And for me, that’s been a huge part of my identity most of my life. I’m a Chicago evangelist. When I went away to college in the grad school at Bradley University in Peoria and subsequently Syracuse to get my master’s, I spent a lot of time writing about Chicago, telling stories about Chicago, learning more about the city even as I was not here because as somebody who was raised here, everything was normalized to me. I didn’t realize how big it was, how far things expanded, how many neighborhoods they were.

So I’ve really spent a good amount of my adult life, really falling back in love and investigating the history of Chicago, and that’s taken a lot of different forms. When I first got back, I was an education technologist, and so I would travel around different universities and different schools helping, freshmen and sophomores adapt to the growing online presence of their textbooks, of their educational resources and training professors, librarians, on how to use these new digital products. And when that got a little stale, I kind of moved into storytelling, which was my artistic outlet in the city, which allowed me to perform at all of these different venues and to capture all of these childhood and adulthood stories about my time in the city.

I was also a public speaking professor at DePaul Harold Washington, and so I had this direct interaction with students that was really cool but also was probably the point when I realized that there’s a disconnect between maybe some of the things that are happening in the city and the lived experiences of most of the people in the city.

And so City Cast Chicago reached out to me or City Cast, there was no Chicago at that time, reached out to me in about October of 2020, still at one of the heights of the pandemic. It just gave me this vision of trying to bring local podcasting and local news together in a way that kind of gets the best of both worlds. I think so much of podcasting is personality driven and so much of news is if it’s not sensationally driven, it’s an attempt to be informative. And I think, in both worlds, there are pros and cons to the approach. And so City Cast was trying to see, can we capture having a host and contributors who really are personable and accessible and energized, but the stories that we cover are so vast and I think, create room for people to either empathize or see themselves in the show or learn about parts of the city that like me growing up I had no sense of.

Troy Swanson: Right. And I think one of the things I love about City Cast and I’m a regular NPR listener and I listen to a range of mainstream media, but City Cast gives me something that these other venues do not. And so can you tell us first off, what is City Cast, the broader organization and how does that work? And then what is City Cast Chicago, and how do you see yourself as being set apart from these other outlets that are out there?

Jacoby Cochran: That’s a very good question. And it was one that I asked when I first learned from them, like, what can they bring, what need were they feeling in a city that, even though I wasn’t doing journalism every day. I was pretty tapped in with some of the outlets that were in Chicago, some of the work that was being done.

 City Cast is a network of local podcasts and newsletters. It’s in about nine or 10 cities. Now, places like City Cast Houston, City Cast Boise, City Cast Portland and Madison are cities that are coming next, City Cast Denver was the second city to start. And the goal of the company really is to leverage local talent, local voices to report on the stories in their city, whether it was this morning when I was talking with a reporter Corli Jay from Crain’s Chicago Business and Block Club Chicago reporter Maxwell Evans, and us reflecting more general stories in Chicago. What’s going on with the Bears’ move to Arlington Heights, what’s going on in the community of Woodlawn that’s trying to negotiate its future alongside the Obama Library , the Obama center. Right? But then I just left Pilsen about 30 minutes ago where I visited a woman Claudia Sanchez, who turned her home into a butterfly sanctuary for the Monarch butterfly over off 19th and Wolcott.

So City Cast Chicago specifically is a small team of producers, newsletter writers and myself who, all of us have very different vantage points on the city from being transplants from being adult professionals here to being people like myself and our newsletter writer, Sidney, who grew up here in what I’d argue are two very different worlds. Her being a kid of Millennium Park and me being a kid of the South Side. And together alongside so many of the amazing organizations and community leaders and activists and journalists in this city. And again, people who turn their homes into nature sanctuaries.

We’re trying to capture every week and every couple episodes a really unique and beautiful story of Chicago, and I think what sets us apart is, you kinda wonder what you’re listening to when you listen to you’re just like, are these news journalists? Are these people who just live in the city? I think there’s such a fluid sense of like what we bring to the table that you always feel informed, I don’t think you feel bored. You feel like you’re listening to like a real person.

I never once pretended whether I was interviewing for the job or in the 380 episodes, we’ve done that. I’m an expert on Chicago. I’ve met in this job dozens of people who know this city’s trivia and who know this city’s history of politics and the topography of the land and the history of indigenous communities and the legacy of segregation in a way that is so much more dense and vast in my own, but I actually think my perspective is much more akin to the average Chicagoan who isn’t that much tapped in with war politics. And isn’t that concerned with how the legacy of the city impacts their day to day life, but is still a Chicagoan and still deserves to know that information, still deserves to be spoken to with the level of dignity and respect, that we’re not just gonna throw fine print at you. We’re we’re gonna break down these budgets and these public health responses and make it really accessible to the city.

Troy Swanson: From the librarian perspective, I feel like it feels almost like coming home. It’s like the conversations you’d have in your local public library, in your neighborhood library, in like our community college library, where you go from one time looking up, you know, whatever high level SEC filings, and then you’re talking about the issues down the street, right. And someone’s cousin that used to be here. Like those are, it just seems so familiar and that you can handle having like, Stacy Davis Gates from the Chicago Teachers Union, like bringing on people that don’t get that kind of exposure and still have government officials and then talk to the local podcasters about the Bears, right?

Jacoby Cochran: Exactly. That range has been really fun to me. It’s taking some time to build the confidence to handle and believe that I’m capable of doing all of them, but you know, that Stacy Davis Gates example, it was one of those interviews that I don’t know if I would’ve been able to do it the first couple months of City Cast Chicago, not only cuz I respect her. I’m slightly just intimidated by the work that she’s done in her career, the presence she holds in this city.

But at the same time, if you listen to the interview, I still wanna be a little playful with you. I still want to talk straight up to you. Like, that is not to take anyone down or to try to prop myself up. It’s more to just have a very real, kind of human conversational with a point. When I’m talking to the Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health. Dr. Allison Arwady, I want there to feel like I’m not being lectured to by a health official, but rather I’m in conversation with another neighbor in my city. I’m so grateful to all our guests who allow me to explore that tone with them, because I don’t know if that’s always made available to them in the same ways.

Troy Swanson: Yeah, that’s great. Can you talk a little bit about that process behind the scenes? We’ve touched on a little bit: how do you find your stories, especially as a daily podcast? So like keeping up that pace. I was joking with you before we started, like I do maybe two or three of these a year and I feel like that’s a lot so I don’t know how you do it every day, but like, what does your team look like, and how do you operate this system?

Jacoby Cochran: It’s gotten easier as we get closer to 400 episodes. We work very collaboratively between our lead producer Carrie Shepherd, our producer Simone Alicea, our team of producers who work throughout the national network in Philly and from producers in other cities and our hard work and newsletter writer, Sidney Madden, we’re always looking at Chicago stories. I’m talking 25, 30 articles a day. And we are breaking down pretty much every piece of journalism that is put out in this city. We are on message boards. We are on Facebook groups. We are on Instagram. We are checking in with TikTok influencers. We are looking at Reddit threads and we’re asking ourselves, what are the things we wanna learn about the city? What are the things that we have questions with? What are the things that we are so, maybe arrogant to think that people don’t have questions about them. And so we’ll just kind of treat them as common knowledge rather than understanding that in this city of a little under 3 million people, you can’t assume what information is readily available to people, what things interest people, what people have access to it.

So I think we try to cast a wide net, whether that is, again, just in the last couple of weeks, we’ve talked about the Bears, we’ve talked about what’s going on with the underground street racing scene, we’ve gone out to the west side to explore north Lawndale, we’ve talked about a guy who was on American Ninja Warrior. And so I think by casting a wide net, and trusting that people are interested in learning about so many different topics that we know we’re never gonna run out of anything. There’s so many cultural staples, so many new things popping up.

But the daily process, once we know where we’re going. So, you know, we’re recording this on Thursday, September 8th, I’ve had three interviews today, and each was prepared to a different level, you know, some are more conversational review, so I try not to over prepare. You know, one in the field. I’m gonna prepare a little bit more for that cause I don’t wanna just be staring at my phone or my notes the entire time. And then the one in the middle, if it’s a longer piece, I might put a little extra time, read a book or watch a documentary about it. It took me a while to build up the confidence to know when should I just kind of go in a little cold and let the authentic ignorance that I have about the subject carry me versus when should I really over prepare because it’s such a technical conversation, I need to be ready on the drop of a hat to narrate to the listener, but it’s gotten to the point where it’s pretty muscle memory.

We’ve got a really good system going because our ecosystem is as healthy as it is in terms of journalism. If we get close to a deadline, we’re usually able to pull something together while also taking the low hanging fruit, you know, our Friday shows are always gonna be recaps of weekly news where we’ve been for the last month doing these neighborhood guides, you know, so for at least the next 73 weeks, we know that we could probably rely on a community area, a neighborhood to kind of anchor us. And so you also wanna balance to make sure you’re working ahead where you can building in some episodes that are easier to produce than others, but it’s such a kind of beautifully organic process, and I’m so proud of the other three members of the team.

Troy Swanson: And I appreciate you giving us a little peek behind the scenes, cuz I do think it’s something, it seems so effortless, like you’re just sitting down and recording and I know there’s a lot more work behind the scenes than what we see. And I appreciate your point of the time it takes to really build those reflexes to get what you’re coming into. So that’s great. I gotta ask it. I hate to sing it, but every week or, you know…

Jacoby Cochran: Nah, you gotta sing it. You gotta sing it.

Troy Swanson: Some good news. I’m a awful singer, but…

Jacoby Cochran: Some good news.

Troy Swanson: Yes. Every week you include the good news. Can you tell us, tell our audience about the good news?

Jacoby Cochran: So at the end of every episode, we do a newscast where we’re giving you, you know what alderman left this week, you know, you can maybe apply to get lead pipes removed from your home, the Chicago Sky are playing tonight with a chance to go to the WNBA finals, but we also wanna leave you with some good news. So whether that’s an event that’s coming up to see me perform, or some anniversary in the city, maybe it’s a street festival that’s going on in your neighborhood, we just wanna make sure that there are ways to be active in the city. There are ways to participate, ways to get outside there. There is beauty happening, whether our episode was a tear jerker or it was lighthearted, we just wanna make sure every episode is reminding people of how much beauty exists in this city.

And that never comes at the cost of being critical or being skeptical about our topics. But just reminding, there’s always a little bit of balance here. And so you’re gonna leave regardless of what the episode is with something to do, something to look forward to, something to cherish and the singing… honestly, until I started hearing myself every day on mic, I didn’t realize how much I sung, but just throughout the day, I’m like “time to get outta bed, gonna light a candle, gotta put the battery in my camera.” I’m just randomly singing just my day to day tasks. And so it was a natural fit for me to introduce that into the show and it’s been cool for them to give me the space to try different things, different transition phrases, different melodies that for it to be such a cool City Cast company with this goal of, you know, systematizing to some degree, local podcasting and newsletter, each city, especially Chicago, has such a individual feel, taste and sound to it. And you’re not gonna hear a host singing their newscast in any other show in City Cast, because that’s just a very Coby thing. And so that’s why we do it.

Troy Swanson: I love it. Well, let me ask you about the business now. I don’t wanna ask you about your tax returns, but you know, for the last 20 years we have witnessed the collapse of media in so many ways. And one of the biggest problems is that business model, how can professional journalists, how can professional media platforms make money to stay alive? And I wanted to ask you not so much about the actual dollars and cents for sure, but, you know, are you seeing a model for the future, that City Cast is gonna be around, that people can make a living at it, that you can pay your rent? So where are we, I guess, is what I’m asking in this evolution that we’re living through with media?

Jacoby Cochran: We’re very privileged, not only because of the organization that City Cast has built, but Graham Holdings the company behind it, and so at least coming out the gate as a startup podcast, I was a little hesitant, but I’ve been told at every turn that we’ve been in good positions since the beginning that Graham Holdings and City Cast really believes in what they are pushing. And I believe that their goal is to grow and with enough cities, with enough talent that the model will be sustainable. Very quickly, I believe we’ve pulled into maybe top 15, 20% performance wise of all podcasts that exist. And so we’re running a very professional establishment here. And so our relationships with other media companies, our relationship with advertisers is something that has been easier to organically build because I’m not just a dude doing this podcast in his room by himself with a small team of maybe people who aren’t as connected, and so I do believe that with enough growth, pretty much anything is sustainable with enough growth. And so if we’re able to bring more listeners, more readers to the platform, I think we’ll be good in the long run.

I mean, it’s the best job I’ve had since I got back to Chicago, it’s been sustainable. It’s allowed me to do more for my family. I’m in a very comfortable position. And so, I try to keep my head down and do the work.

Troy Swanson: It seems like if you have people that can do the work and you’re not also out there knocking on doors to get advertisers, like you’re part of a system that let you focus on the content. Like that seems like a key, right?

Jacoby Cochran: Yeah. And I think we spent a good amount of time. You know, we came out March 17th, 2021. It’s now September 2022. I think we spent probably the first four or five, six months in like a soft launch. Like not a lot of advertising, not a lot of marketing. I think we’re actually just at the point now where we’re really building our marketing strategy out beyond radio ads and other podcast hosts that people trust and that they listen to vouching for us. And so I’m really excited to see the rest of this year going into next year. Now that we’ve built some momentum, now that we got a sense of ourselves, what our show sounds like, and we know what our package is, I’m really excited to see what we can accomplish with a stronger focus on that marketing, because the trends show when people listen to us, they’re likely to stick around.

We haven’t had any major drop offs. Growth is something that we’re constantly monitoring, constantly trying to push up. But I think we all feel very confident and very comfortable with what we’ve built in just this first year and a half.

Troy Swanson: Yeah. And, you know, quality hopefully brings the people, right. And I guess related to that, there’s all kinds of innovation happening all over the place, but I do feel like, and I’m biased because I’m in Chicagoland, there’s some great things happening in Chicago, whether it’s Chicago Public Media buying out the Sun-Times, whether it’s Block Club Chicago, as you mentioned, whether it’s City Cast Chicago, and I did want to ask like, what’s the state of journalism, what’s the state of media in Chicago, is it something in the water? But I feel like it’s a special moment happening in the city for sure.

Jacoby Cochran: At least from my vantage point, it’s special. And it’s because despite all of the hindrances in this field, the journalists in Chicago who I’ve gotten to like really intimately sit down with, they’ve got a passion for this work. And the relationships and the collaboration that we see… I mean, when I look at some of these names, it’s really cool to be able to think as I go down the list of some of the Chicago media, I think of Block Club. And I had just talked with Maxwell Evans who covers the Southeast side or Mina Bloom who’s on the Northwest side and Logan or Jamie Nesbitt Golden who’s in my neighborhood. When I think of WBEZ, Sasha-Ann Simons and Mariah Woelfel, really every place I think of right. A.D. Quig at the Trib, Nader Issa at the Sun-Times, Becky Vevea and Sarah Karp and Mauricio Peña over at chalk beat and the Triibe, right, which is this black digital media company, shout out to Tiff and Morgan, and Bella and Tonia.

Like I’ve been able to have all these conversations with so many amazing journalists who just desire to do the work who are energized, who are collaborating. It seems that while everyone is trying to find investment and sustain themselves and build out their audiences, it’s cool to see that Block Club Chicago, in just the last few years has gone from this online media outlet to producing these weekly newsletters to now having their own news program on WCIU to see the Triibe take the steps that it has in terms of its newsletter, its online presence, the interviews they’ve been able to accomplish, how they’ve utilized social media to get out the message to an often and religiously underserved community of black and brown folks in Chicago. I got to interview Amethyst, a woman who, not single-handedly cuz no one does anything by themselves, but very much on her own merit and her own initiative re sparked journalism in Harvey with the Harvey World Herald and is the only news outlet in this largely black forgotten township right on the south side of Chicago.

And so, if anything, I think the moment is being served, not particularly, or just by the organizational moves and the growth of individual organizations, but the passion that each of these journalists have, you know, maybe they just don’t respond to my emails, but when I reach out to somebody, whether it’s Injustice Watch or the Invisible Institute or South Side Weekly or the Reader, people reach out to us with enthusiasm. They want to talk to us. They want to share their story. They want more eyes on the things that are happening in Chicago. And that type of passion is hard to cultivate. It’s hard to find, but it’s very clear despite the challenges that our journalists face, they are so inspired to do the work. And so I’m really grateful for them making time to come walk me through and teach me about the things that are happening around me.

Troy Swanson: It seems like, at some level, the barrier for entry has gone down. And a lot of voices that weren’t in traditional media are now able to rise up and be heard. So I think that’s especially promising and it’s one of the things I actually, I love about City Cast Chicago is I do hear voices that I don’t hear on Chicago Public Radio.

Jacoby Cochran: Yeah, and those barriers, you know, they still exist, going into journalism as a field, studying it in school, breaking into the industry, finding good mentors, finding collaborators. It can still be difficult. Last week I went to a picnic that was put on by the National Association of Black Journalists, the Asian American Journalist Association, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the LGBTQ faction in Chicago, and the spirit of that environment, just how many people know each other, how many people are working with each other, how many people have switched organizations? There just seems to be a healthy desire to do good work in the city. You know, people still gotta get paid more and make sure that their organizations take care of them, and they feel like they are dignified and looked after and have the right resources and benefits to do their job. And so Chicago organizations still have more to do to make sure that their talent is taken care of and that they feel adequately supported, but on an individual level, they are fighting for what they want, what they need and are putting out some of the best investigative work, informative work, expose features. I’m reading 25 to 40 articles a day and I’m loving it because of the people who are behind it and the voices that they capture around the city.

Troy Swanson: Right, there’s steps to take, but we’ve taken some initial ones that are good, and speaking of those voices, and I guess the bigger, the national conversation with misinformation and disinformation, which I always like to talk about with guests on this podcast, you know, how do you see something like City Cast Chicago having a role in that challenge that that’s out there before us?

Jacoby Cochran: We do our due diligence to make sure we’re fact checking ourselves. But I think there is a few things at play here. One, I think outlets have a responsibility to again, make the information more accessible, right? Break it down for people, you don’t have to spell it out in a way where every episode is an hour long, but give people context, trust people with the facts and the information and we don’t play into sensational journalism. We don’t cover stories just for the sake of them. We don’t lean into problematic and toxic guests who might improve numbers for a day, but don’t actually serve the goal that we have for listeners and for readers to be more informed, to feel more connected.

So I feel that our responsibility is to not only put out good information to challenge incomplete narratives, the way government officials, public officials spin health data and budget numbers, and the progress or lack thereof of schools in our community, breaking down and analyzing data is very difficult and it often is not just misinformation, but that disinformation, that you haven’t prepared people to read the information. You haven’t prepared people to understand it contextually. You’re only giving them so much of the picture that they’re not even sure how to make that information applicable to their lives or see why it’s important to their lives.

And I think that is one of the roles we play. How can we keep people from being jaded over because they don’t give a damn about ward remapping, but they need to know it’s only happened 10 times in a century and this shapes how city resources are developed, how a neighborhood or a community area is seeing what political power looks like and how it’s concentrated, what the future of development and zoning and environmental work looks like in our city. It’s 50 people talking about a map that is so confusing to see on its face. I feel like when I talk about the map, I’m bringing a healthy amount of, let me help you break it down, but I also share your frustration with this, and I think that connection and vulnerability allows us to maybe communicate our information in a way that makes people feel heard or feel seen.

Troy Swanson: Yeah. I feel like there’s a particular power of City Cast and with what you’re doing in that, it does feel like it is like just down the street. It’s not some big national thing. It’s not got, you know, Donald Trump’s face, isn’t showing up on there, Joe Biden, whoever you wanna talk about. But when you say this is a issue, it feels like you’re talking to your neighbor, to your friend.

Jacoby Cochran: If you don’t live here, we try to, again, make sure that we’re explaining some things, break some things down for people who may be transplants. People who lived here their whole lives and are just not tapped in, somebody who lived here, there are plenty of things I’ve learned in the last year that I would’ve thought I should just know this because I live here, but I have a deeper appreciation and now a deeper empathy. I wasn’t this person before, but I’m less like how didn’t you know that? Are you not paying attention? Are you living under a rock? No. To live your life and late stage capitalism can often be sole focused on your survival.

And let’s be real. The minutia of daily politics and daily ward, alderman battle and who’s retiring today and what restaurant is or isn’t opening, or how to buy a vacant lot. These things might not help people move from day to day and get through their lives. And so understanding that I think has brought me a sensitivity and understanding. But if you’re listening, you know, when I listen to City Cast Denver, City Cast Houston, I don’t know what they’re talking about. I have no frame of reference. I appreciate the work that they’re doing. I love listening to them, but often I feel like an outsider, but that’s okay. Cuz they’re not making. We’re not making a Chicago show for the national audience. We’re making a Chicago show that maybe the national audience is curious to learn, but this is gonna be from our perspective, from our language, from our cultural background. And when I say our, I’m not always included in that because I’m not the voice of Chicago. I don’t own the Chicago narrative. And so I’m exposed to different ways of being in this city every day, which really blows my mind.

Troy Swanson: Yeah. And I’d like to just focus in a little bit more on these upcoming elections, especially with the November general election coming and just for people around the country that are listening to this, to know that that the city has its own election in February, which it, of course it purposely has in its own timeline. So what’s the strategy? How do you cover a big election like that through something like City Cast?

Jacoby Cochran: We’ve been brainstorming. Going into the primary, we took an approach where we would go to the different congressional districts, the first, the third, and really talk about how they’ve changed, what is at stake in these upcoming elections. And a lot of that was easy to do because for a lot of people, like the first congressional district in Jonathan Jackson, he is likely to be the new first Congressman. And so covering it in the primaries really was helpful, especially with a lot of our state races, for all the talk of Darren Bailey and the money he’s getting, buddy ain’t got a shot in hell, let’s be real. He ain’t got a shot, and I’ll put my money on it, and if I have to swallow that I will be disappointed.

But for the statewide elections, for federal races, I think covering the primaries with a little more general knowledge with like, who are these people? What are the races? What are the significance, the changing of these districts, what would they look like? Especially coming out of a census year and with the aldermanic races or with the city election. When you think about aldermanic races, when you think about city seats, the new police district races, the mayoral race, I think we will focus in on those different levels. Who are the 10 people running for mayor as of right now? When we look at alderman races, we may break it down in the categories. Like who are these nine people who have announced their retirement thus far? Who are these three people, Lopez, Sawyer, and King who are running for mayor, and is it likely, I don’t think an alderman has gone straight from being an alderman to being a mayor since the 12th ward in 1876. I wanna say their name was Monroe Heath. I may be wrong on that. But 1876 last time so like that type of history, like, is it smart to run for mayor from just being an alderman?

We’ll cover the new police districts, like, what does that mean? Is that real accountability? What does it look like to get closer to an elected school board? And so we definitely are going to be talking about these forthcoming elections from so many different angles and vantage points, and hopefully having conversations with the stakeholders, talking to people like Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who is the incumbent at this point, talking to potential alderpeople. We’ve talked to folks like Nicole Lee, who’s an alderwoman in Bridgeport in the Chinatown area, Canaryville, which was a long stronghold of the Daleys and is now, she was appointed because Patrick Daley Thompson was convicted and sentenced to jail for corruption and so what does it look like to be an alderperson now running their first election?

And so the conversation is ripe for exploration, but we wanna make sure it’s in a way that people can see how does this directly relate to me? How has the mayor’s race shaped city politics, city culture, city activity and development, and just those four years. What does an alderman do? What does an alderwoman do on day to day basis? And so just knowing that we have that range, everything from like, let me define what this role is all the way up to, what is the context of this role? It’s so freeing as a team because we know how much we can explore and it is so fulfilling as an individual because I feel so much closer to this city over the last year and a half, and I’m gonna go out into the forthcoming elections and this will be my first mayoral election, aldermanic election since joining the City Cast. And if I know one thing I never felt as informed as I did going into that booth during the primaries.

So I know on a personal level, I’m gonna be going into that booth a more engaged citizen, but because of that, I take my job even more seriously, because I now know as somebody who was already tapped in somebody who was involved in current events by way of being an instructor, I can see how much effort it takes me to feel as informed as I did. Knowing that this is my job, and I get paid to do it. And 99% of the people in our city don’t, then I’ll do that work and provide those resources to people to make healthier and more informed decisions who don’t have the time that I have, or the job that I have to do it. So I definitely take this very seriously.

Troy Swanson: Well, I look forward to following along as you explore this upcoming election. Well, Jacoby, I thank you so much for your time. I’ve loved the conversation. I love your work. If our listeners want to connect with you online, where can they find you?

Jacoby Cochran: They could find us chicago.citycast.fm, we’re @CityCastChicago, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. You can find us wherever you get your podcast. If you are hearing this for the first time, you know nothing of us, you hear 300 plus episodes and that’s intimidating, some of my favorite episodes are our coverage of the legacy of the Cabrini-Green public housing development, which at one point was the largest public housing development in America on the near North Side. We’ve done episodes over cultural staples, like Harold’s Chicken. We have talked about Paseo Boricua, which is this now historical landmark in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. We have talked about house music and stepping, which are between music and dance, two cultural staples, and so find us, look up some of those episodes, but trust me, there is something for everybody. We have gone as far southeast as east side in Hegewisch, as far as south central as Pullman, as far northwest as Jefferson Park, as far southwest as Mount Greenwood, as north as Robbins Park in uptown. And so there is a story for every single person who loves or is curious about the past, present, and future of our great city.

Troy Swanson: All right. Thank you so much, Jacoby.

Jacoby Cochran: Hey, thank you so much, Troy, for having me, this is a great conversation. I don’t often get to sit on this side of the mic.