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Title:Podcast-hosting web platform specializes in 'Giving Veterans a Voice'

Author:Mike Richman

Date:February 2024

Source:U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs © 2024, Reprinted with permission

Volume:Volume 3 Issue 208

In 2004, shortly after the start of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, a Humvee driven by Army combat engineer Joel Hunt was hit by a roadside bomb in the city of Tikrit. The blast rattled Hunt and caused a brain injury that has left lingering effects, such as speech impairment, double vision and numbness in his left leg.

He's struggled at times to regain his footing and find his place in society.

For that reason, Hunt is reaching out to other Veterans who are also confronting health-related challenges, namely PTSD and traumatic brain injury. He's the executive director of Military Broadcast Radio (MBR), a podcast-hosting web platform that specializes in "giving Veterans a voice" by allowing them to host talk and music shows.

'This is the best rehabilitation'

In Hunt's view, the shows serve as form of therapy for the Veterans who play music and lead conversations on topics of interest to the Veteran community. Nearly 13 shows now air on MBR, including two produced by Hunt: "The Revel Experience" and "The Blaque Surga Show." These podcasts provide their audiences with music of different genres, the latest world and entertainment news and helpful tips on the everyday life of Veterans, active-duty personnel and civilians.

"The truth is the only way you're going to stop suicide is if you bring Veterans to Veterans to talk to each other, because some of the guys that we battled and deployed with don't have families," Hunt said. "Maybe their mom passed away, maybe their dad passed away. Unfortunately, not everybody likes to post their whole life on Facebook. So if you don't get to know the Veteran, and you don't know what's going on in their life, and they commit suicide, it's because we didn't do enough to reach out before we got to that point. I believe that with a microphone and sharing their stories and talking to other Veterans and being inspired by stories, I honestly think this is the best rehabilitation."

Brandon Stokley, who played 15 seasons in the NFL for five teams as a wide receiver, is a spokesperson for Military Broadcast Radio.

"I support the ultimate vision of putting our military Veterans to work from home as a DJ," he said on MBR's website. "Music is very therapeutic and can be healing. Having one DJ will give them a purpose for others and themselves. I am proud to be a spokesperson for a station, such as MBR, that is 'Giving Veterans a Voice.'"

Brandon Stokley

Jim Butler first launched Military Broadcast Radio in 2015 while serving in the Air Force. After returning from the paralympics in 2015, he met up with Butler, inquired about hosting his own podcast and received the go-ahead. He had graduated with honors from the Colorado Media School in Denver and was familiar with the broadcasting industry.

Hunt took over the station in 2018 and established it as a non-profit organization. He's now the executive director of Military Broadcast Radio.

"I said if I'm going to take it over, I'm going to create it as a non-profit," Hunt said. "I don't just want to be a radio station. I want to create a program that helps Veterans buy the equipment so they can be DJs and host talk shows from the comfort of their house. I gave [MBR] the tagline 'Giving Veterans a Voice' because I believe that those who fought for this country should be those that get that voice. There are so many programs out there that want to help Veterans. MBR does its part to get the word out there even more. I have future visions for this nonprofit."


Veterans are trained to host their own podcasts

Hunt and his staff teach the hosts how to use the equipment, such as the live webinar platform StreamYard, and explain how to run a show from their desktop, iPhone and mixer. After a few months of training, Veterans are ready to host their own podcast. Military Broadcast Radio has a studio in downtown Denver that the hosts can also access to broadcast their shows if they prefer.

Marine Veteran Travis Partington hosts "Oscar Mike Radio", which airs on MBR and focuses on real-life stories of active-duty military and Veterans. He has nothing but praise for how Hunt manages the station.

"The best thing about Military Broadcast Radio is a host can be new or experienced and have a place on the network," Partington said. "Joel can get you started easily. If you have more experience like me, he lets me be me and will make suggestions from time to time to improve.

"What I have learned from Joel being on Military Broadcast Radio is how much effort it takes to manage multiple hosts and systems all at the same time," he added. "As a host, I only have my show to worry about. But Joel has to make sure everyone's show is set and aligns to that standard he has for Military Broadcast Radio. This has opened my eyes to a whole different side of things, and I have looked for ways for Oscar Mike Radio better to not make more work for Joel. All in all, it has been a positive experience, and I would encourage anyone to check out MBR's amazing list of Veteran hosts and shows!"

In addition to MBR's web site, the shows air on social media, including Facebook and Twitter (X). Military Broadcast Radio also has a phone app so listeners can follow the stream. Hunt instructs his hosts to air at least one of the public service announcements (PSAs) produced by VA's radio outreach program during their show. Those PSAs are aimed at educating Veterans on important programs, services and benefits.

"A lot of Veterans are out there who we don't think might want to do a podcast," Hunt said. "They're homeless or they live in a low-budget apartment and can hear the person in the other room. It's like cardboard walls. So I'm just trying to give every Veteran that opportunity to be heard because you never know. They could be that one Veteran who really speaks to people."

How to sign up for free training or to host a show on Military Broadcast Radio

Those interested in free training or in hosting a show on Military Broadcast Radio can contact the station or email Joel Hunt directly at

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