Local author, Watershed Voice columnist, and limited licensed psychologist Charles Thomas returns to Keep Your Voice Down to discuss mental health options in Southwest Michigan, his book Headcase (The Remix), his daughter’s high school graduation party, the genius of Erin Schultes, and Josh Brolin and Al Pacino’s avid listenership of KYVD. Doug, Alek, and Charles also break down the lineup for the upcoming Watershed Voice Artist Showcase.

Alek was contemplating podcast retirement after technical issues ruined two completed interviews, and forced he and his cohost Doug into a longer than expected hiatus. But don’t fret: They’re finally back, and mediocre as ever.

So join your favorite duo (besides Tina Fey and Amy Poehler), as they catch you up on all that has happened erstwhile in the lives of Doug & Alek. There was of course, Watershed Voice’s Birthday Celebration, Alek’s birthday party, Doug’s dalliance with baseball history, and best laid plans for the second annual Watershed Voice Artist Showcase. Also check out this episode for a one minute teaser about a new podcast called NerdPop Radio, set to premiere May 2.

Aspiring TikTok influencer and Newport News, Virginia native Micah Temple drops by Keep Your Voice Down this week for a chat with hosts Alek Haak-Frost and Doug Sears, Jr. The trio discuss Micah’s burgeoning social media presence, the fleeting nature of Tumblr fame, discovering one’s people, pop cultural blindspots, and their respective Mount Rushmores of favorite films.

Poet and spoken word artist Madison “Mocha” Hunter drops by Keep Your Voice Down for a chat. Alek, Doug, and Madison discuss the poet’s current locale, Memphis, Tennessee, where she is pursuing a Master’s degree in creative writing and a certificate in African American literature, and how it compares to her previous stops in Alabama and her hometown Detroit. The trio touch on Afrofuturism, Black history and culture, fathers and their impact on us, the American South, subtle racism and the legacy of Fannie Lou Hammer. Madison also performs her piece “Fannie Lou Hamer: Appropriating Nikki Giovanni’s Rosa Parks,” which you can read on Watershed Voice.

Alek and Doug address the Georgia Bulldog in the room: Former Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is Super Bowl bound, and they’re here for it. After fawning over Stafford and what he meant to Detroit, Doug and Alek discuss rooting for a player after they leave your favorite team, silver linings from the trade that sent Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams and the Lions’ ensuing rebuild, and the man standing between Stafford and his first championship, Cincinnati Bengals’ sophomore phenom Joe Burrow.

Doug and Alek wanted to discuss all things holidays, and felt it was necessary to bring in an expert, so we called Mrs. Christmas herself, Steph Hightree. These three wise people discuss Steph’s lack of egg nog experience, ridiculous Hallmark Christmas movie plots, determining whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie or not (it certainly is), surviving Elf on the Shelf, and their favorite Christmas songs.

At the top of this week’s episode Alek and Doug address Monday’s troubling news that teachers within the Three Rivers Community Schools system were asked to remove Pride flags in their classrooms in response to an “external challenge” by an unidentified party.   

The hosts of Keep Your Voice Down are also joined by Sarah Lee, Director of Marketing Communications at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation. The trio discusses Sarah’s role at KZCF, her upbringing in Malaysia and how she became deeply rooted in Kalamazoo, the importance of being “equity-minded” when addressing matters of social and racial injustice, the foundation’s efforts to support local journalism, and the story behind the formation of the Southwest Michigan Journalism Collaborative.

Doug rejoins Alek and the podcast this week to interview Podcaster Dan Moyle (I’m Not In An Abusive Relationship, My America, Antiracism in Action). Doug, Alek, and Dan discuss domestic violence and ways victims AND abusers can get help, his experience as a Domestic and Sexual Abuse Services board member, becoming an antiracist, asking “dumb white guy questions” en route to becoming an ally, and having productive political conversations with those who may have opposing views from yours.

WSV’s Charles Thomas writes about importance of beauty, as well as the risk and reward of sharing one’s creative efforts with the world. “Why do they take the risk? Why put yourself in a position to have something you worked on for hundreds of hours become the subject of ridicule? Why risk openness and honesty when we live in a culture that has a strong tendency to mock almost everything? I’m sure there is no single answer to those questions, but I think an important reason that we take those risks is because deep down, all of us want to be a part of something beautiful. In fact, I think that a drive to merge with the beautiful is essential to who we are as human beings.”

Doug and Alek are joined by Layne Deuel (Spartans, Wolverines and Beards Podcast) to discuss the best and WORST of sports cinema. Alek tells all of the stories including how he and his brother Shane used The Waterboy against their sister Kayla, why his Uncle Andy got in trouble for showing Mystery, Alaska to his niece and nephews, and the tragedy that occurred with Alek’s VHS copy of Space Jam. Doug finally gets to talk about hockey before absolutely roasting The Natural, while Layne waxes poetic about Little Giants, Dodgeball, and Semi-Pro in an episode that has something for everyone.