91短视频

Tackling the Issues: 91短视频 Professor Hosts New VPM Podcast on Local Politics

News Story categories: Academics Faculty Political Science 91短视频 Up Close
A person with glasses and beard is seated at a desk in a radio studio, equipped with computer monitors, control panels, and sound equipment.

Political science professor Rich Meagher has launched , a biweekly podcast on VPM that delves into the politics and hot-button issues of the Greater Richmond area.

A central thesis of the podcast, and really, of Meagher鈥檚 advocacy in the classroom too, is that while national politics are important, the landscape of local and state politics is more accessible and equally important.

鈥淚 think particularly national politics can feel overwhelming and dispiriting and disheartening. And I find that if you focus more on the local level, you can really get your hands dirty more,鈥 Meagher explained. 鈥淭he stuff that happens here is just as important.鈥

The content of the podcast bears a resemblance to the coursework in PSCI 212, Meagher鈥檚 State and Local Government and Politics course. And just as with his work with 91短视频 students, Meagher hopes the podcast goes beyond informing listeners and inspires them to be engaged.

An example he uses in class illustrates the importance of that civic engagement. He tells his students that most of them have spent 13 years interacting with an important local government agency: a public school system.

鈥淲ho鈥檚 on your school board? How do those school board people get selected? How do they get funding from their county or city?鈥 Meagher said. 鈥淭hat鈥檚 going to be a really important part of your life, no matter how much you care about politics.鈥

The biweekly podcast has three segments: RVA鈥檚 Got Issues, RVA鈥檚 Got Questions, and RVA鈥檚 Community Spotlight. The first segment features local experts as guests to help listeners explore issues relevant to the city. So far, Meagher has interviewed Jovan Burton from the Partnership for Affordable Housing and Faith Walker, the Executive Director of RVA Rapid Transit.

Future episodes will cover topics like food insecurity, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, and participatory budgeting, in addition to local angles on national issues like green energy and gun violence. Meagher even plans to branch into cultural topics like the Richmond Ballet.

In addition to macro-level topics like affordable housing and public transportation, the RVA鈥檚 Got Questions segment gives listeners a chance to ask questions about the smaller details that affect city life, like sidewalks and speed cameras.

It鈥檚 not all issues and problems, though. The Community Spotlight segment features community members who are doing interesting work, like urban gardens and a baker who helps adults with developmental disabilities find work. And while the podcast may tackle the big issues of the day, Meagher鈥檚 ethos is to leave listeners with a sense of how they can get involved to solve them.

鈥淭he worst thing you can do is go 鈥楾he world is terrible. Bye!鈥 That is not what we want to do,鈥 Meagher said. 鈥淥ne of the things that excites me about local politics is that it鈥檚 so accessible. It鈥檚 graspable.鈥

鈥淚t鈥檚 not all doomscrolling,鈥 he continued. 鈥淚nstead, there are things you can do. You can get involved, you can fix problems, you can make a difference in your community. And that really starts at a local level.”

RVA鈥檚 Got Issues can be and on Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, and anywhere you get podcasts, with new episodes every other Wednesday.

Photo courtesy of Scott Elmquist/VPM News