Danny was born in the US. He is a musician and has been living in Hungary since 2010. He met Melinda, a cultural manager and programme organiser, in the VEB2023 region, in the Valley of Arts. Danny says she was the prettiest girl in the courtyard where they met, so perhaps it's not surprising that their story didn’t end there. They got married a few years later and have three children today.
You seem to owe it all to the region. What are your connections to Veszprém?
Melinda: Yes, we do! And the Arts Valley Festival has been our great favourite since we met there. We go back every year. Danny has worked with the Kabóca Puppet Theatre in Veszprém for a long time, together they have produced several children's performances, and I have also worked with them as an organiser. In the summer, we spend a lot of time around Lake Balaton; we visit several festivals where Danny often performs. It was at the Bondoró Festival that the podcast organiser noticed us.
Danny. I am American. Melinda and I speak English, and I also speak English with the children, so we’ve been asked to do the English language podcast. We happily accepted the offer.
Do you have any experience with podcasts?
Melinda. We listen to podcasts quite frequently; we know the genre. Danny has given interviews on podcasts, but being the host was a new experience for us. It's like radio, so it takes work. Fortunately, we can prepare for it in advance, and we can edit the recorded interviews before they go on the air. We get a lot of help from Gábor Gellért. He proposes topics for us, and then we do a lot of research on exactly which direction to pursue.
Danny: Melinda is particularly good at this because she knows a lot of people through her work, so we can always share a bit more insider information on a topic with the listeners.
Give us a few examples.
Melinda: Interesting facts always add to the event in question because we discuss more than just the program. For example, in our first English-language podcast, we talked about the opening ceremony and one of its biggest attractions, the giant Queen Gisela balloon. I happen to know the lady who created the balloon, Andrea Székely. She gave us all sorts of interesting background information, which we could share with the audience.
Danny. Such details always make the whole conversation more personal; like us just telling our stories. It makes the podcast more digestible for the listener.
What is the biggest challenge for you in doing the podcasts?
Melinda: It’s probably that we don’t only do the podcasts for foreigners who live in Hungary and don't speak Hungarian, but also for listeners who are not familiar with the country and Veszprém. So, we have to start from the basics and present the programmes in a way they can fully understand.
To what extent do you have a free hand in treating a given theme?
Danny: It's absolutely flexible. We'll get a proposed topic for the broadcast, for example, the upcoming Off-Season Festival. It is then up to us to develop the theme and construct the conversations around it. For example, there will be over a hundred events at the Off-Season Festival, and it is up to us to decide what aspects we want to start the conversations on.
What are the plans for the near future? Will you be attending the programmes you recommend?
Melinda: So far, there have been three broadcasts; the first one was in Hungarian with Gábor Gellért. There will be a new podcast every week, and we will report on all the major programmes and events. For example, the Veszprém Blues Festival in April will be exhilarating. Unfortunately, we won't be there because we will be away. That aside, we would like to attend as many events as possible in person and report live on location from a mobile studio. We would also love to present discussions from Veszprém restaurants, but this is just an idea at the moment. We'll see how it turns out.
Danny: I will be performing in several places in Veszprém and the region, in shows for both children and adults, so we will definitely report on those. One of our favourites is the previously mentioned Valley of Arts festival, where Melinda is helping organise a new courtyard. We will go to the Kabóciádé and Bondoró Festival in the summer.
Will you listen to your broadcasts?
Melinda: I don't think so, because we are nervous and have too many butterflies in our stomachs during the shows. We’ve, however, already had feedback from Danny's family in the US. They were happy to hear us in English, and they said they liked the programme.