Last Updated on November 23, 2022 by Jeremy
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Over the course of running Discover the Burgh, we've met hundreds of amazing Pittsburghers doing cool things in the city be it running a restaurant, operating a unique store, publishing on a media platform of their own, and so much more.
Our reviews here often focus on the unique aspects of the place/experience over the people behind it. So to dive a bit deeper, we decided to start this Pittsburgh interview series to get to know the people doing cool things in the city, how they got started, advice they may have for others looking to do something similar, and of course, learn about their favorite places in Pittsburgh!
For our very first interview, our friends John and Rachael of the popular local podcast, YaJagoff!, join us to talk a bit more about all things podcasting, their new radio show, and their favorite things about Pittsburgh at large.
1) When did you start YaJagoff! and what inspired you to get into podcasting?
Our first blog was posted on December 28th, 2010, and was a posting of Mother Nature as a jagoff for making the weather too warm to play the Winter Classic- the game was delayed until evening.
John contacted legendary, social media guru, Jason Falls, to learn how to grow the blog, and his advice was that a podcast would be the next step. It was always about all things Pittsburgh!
2) How did you two meet and decide to work on the podcast together?
Rachael was working as an independent PR/marketing professional. John was doing the same. We seemed to have a good working relationship, brainstorming with each other frequently after crossing paths at various PR events, and one thing led to another to officially partner as YaJagoff Media, LLC in 2018.
3) How is being on the radio different than recording your podcast?
It’s shorter! Each break on the radio is only 4 minutes, so we have to be more succinct with our interviews. The radio just keeps us aware that it’s two different, but similar, mediums. Both tell stories, but we must shut up more for the radio! It makes us be more to the point on the podcast- at least we hope!
4) What is the most challenging part about running a podcast?
John: Consistency of every week and making sure every week is as good as the last one. People only have so much time to listen to podcasts, we have to make sure they want to listen to ours.
Rachael: Making the not-so-interesting ones sound interesting. It is a matter of preference, but what I may be into John isn’t. Plus, we all kind of know when the subject matter just isn’t on, so we have to be ready to talk or beef up the content if that is the case.
5) What is the best/most unique Pittsburgh experience you have had as a result of having your podcast?
John: Definitely the moon lander podcast from Astrobotics or podcasting from an old standard Pittsburgh location like Gus and YiaYa's on the North Side.
Rachael: The demolition derby is the most recent unique experience, but I loved the panel discussion regarding diversity and inclusion shortly after the George Floyd incident/social unrest.
Discover the Burgh note: Our favorite experience with YaJagoff! is always at Picklesburgh where they often host the pickle juice drinking competition. We got a chance to judge one of the preliminary rounds with them and were constantly goaded to try and participate in a qualifying round, too. It was a hard no for us there, but a whole lot of fun to watch people chug brine with John and Rachael narrating.
6) Who has been your favorite person to interview and why?
John: Most entertaining to interview was definitely the Tiger King cast members. They were crazy, lighting up a blunt while talking to one of them and hearing their life stories since Tiger King.
Rachael: Cyril Wecht because he is an icon. He is known for so many things and remains a wealth of knowledge on any topic. He talked for over an hour.
7) What advice do you have for someone looking to get into podcasting?
John: Start with passion for the topic vs. the goal to make money.
Rachael: Establish your niche, particularly how you will be different than others, and then take time to plan your episodes vs. winging them.
8) What is your favorite restaurant in Pittsburgh and what is your go-to order?
John: So many to choose from thankfully, due to Pittsburgh’s food growth, but I definitely get cravings for a Primanti salami sandwich.
Rachael: Guuuh! So hard to choose. I think I’d say salmon poke at Revel based on just being there.
9) What is a spot in Pittsburgh you consider a hidden gem that you wish more people would know about?
John: We recently did a podcast from a place I had never heard about, the Bayernof Museum in O’Hara Township. The view of the city is incredibly different and the inside mind-boggling.
Rachael: Ditto OR the Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens as a lesser-known gem compared to Phipps.
10) Finally, we love pointing our readers to find new things, so what is one Pittsburgh podcast you love to listen to in your free time?
John: I like the Mary Mac Bakehouse podcast. Totally organic and from the heart, and it makes me believe I could actually make some of the things they talk about… if I had time!
Rachael: Just started listening to Making a Martini podcast after meeting Caleb at the City Paper Best of Party.
We want to thank John and Rachael from YaJagoff! for taking the time to join us for this great interview. In addition to their podcast, be sure to listen to them on their new radio show YaJagoff! on Q92.9 weekdays from 7 to 10 pm.
Have a request on a Pittsburgher doing cool things we should interview next? Get in touch via our contact page to let us know. Check back soon for more great Pittsburgh interviews very soon!