Interview with Gena Kirby, host of Progressive Parenting
Milkmakers recently interviewed Gena Kirby—Doula, Childbirth Educator, LLLI breastfeeding peer counselor, tv and radio host, and mother of three—about her celebrated show, Progressive Parenting.
Milkmakers: What do you do professionally and how does it relate to your media work?
Gena Kirby: I am a Doula and childbirth educator. All the media work I do, from radio, to internet tv and blogging, it’s ALL about mothers, babies, and parents, just like my work. I have served on the Board of Directors for Attachment Parenting International for the past five years, so parenting is a huge focus of mine.
MM: Tell us a bit about the radio shows that you have done. Why/how did you become involved?
GK: It all started when I used to own a maternity store. I would come home telling my husband about how women would come in looking for maternity clothes and walk out having learned about birth and breastfeeding! I would be over the moon because I would talk to someone about their choices and rights in birth and they would become wide eyed and want to know more. They would come in wanting stuff and leave wanting knowledge. One night my husband said, it’s too bad you only help one woman or two a day. It’s too bad you don’t have your own radio show. Within a week, I had found a radio station that would let me do a show about parenting. It was an AM station that aired Air America. Their tagline was, “The Valley’s Progressive Talk Station.” So I named my show Progressive Parenting. The show kind of took off on its own and before I knew it, I was talking about pregnancy, birth, and the first 5 years of life with world renowned experts!
MM: You recently decided to move your show online (and on video)! What was your motivation for this? What is the format?
GK: Well, we are keeping the radio and ADDING the video. I have been dying to get back to a visual format. After we started doing the radio show back in California, we also did a live local cable show. It was interactive and I loved it! I have been wanting to do it since we moved to Austin, Texas. When I found out about Vokle and learned I could reach a broader audience, I jumped at the chance. It’s great because people can watch our shows on OUR site just by clicking on the TV tab.
MM: How large of an audience do you have? How do you mostly communicate with them? Do you have a facebook page? Twitter? Pinterest? Do you post a calendar of your shows? How can people find you?
GK: We have about 2000-5000 people a month listen to our radio show. The internet tv shows (we do 4 different shows: LACTATION NATION, PPR AFTER THE SHOW, PROGRESSIVE PARENTING LIVE & DOULA MENTOR TV) are BRAND new so far, though we have had about 100 people watching live to any given show. The shows are archived so people are watching it even when we are not live. I LOVE IT! Our audience can chat live with us and even video in their questions or comments. They can call us live during the radio show. We also talk with our fans through email, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. We have a schedule of our upcoming shows on our website. People can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.
MM: Are there any inspiring stories that your audience has shared with you…as a result of the work that you have done?
GK: Oh my goodness, absolutely! Just the other night we had three women call in with stories about their home births that gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes. The most recent was an email from an OB/GYN who said our show has changed her life! There are just too many to share here. Listen to some archived shows and you will hear a ton for yourself.
MM: Have you encountered any resistance to the work that you do?
GK: No. But I suspect the more well known we become, we will run into detractors. But that’s okay. Anyone who’s ever tried to make a difference has encountered resistance, usually it means you are on the right track.
MM: Why do you think that your show is important? Who is it important to?
GK: I think all of our shows are important. Our shows help parents realize they aren’t alone in their experiences, while sharing important information that will help them make informed decisions for their families.
MM: Could you sum up your motivation for this work in one sentence?
GK: I am passionate about parents becoming empowered to be the kind of parents they want to be.