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Out Of The Lab And On The Air

Department of Pharmaceutics student Kendan Jones-Issac has found his voice.

Third-year Department of Pharmaceutics graduate student Kendan Jones-Issac has participated in several ambitious projects during his tenure at UW, including working on the development of a bioengineered kidney tissue chip that will improve the safety and efficacy of drugs in development, and sending the tissue chip to the International Space Station to explore the effects of microgravity and space travel on kidney function. Although Kendan has space age aspirations for his research and future career, his primary personal passion is a little bit more, shall we say, Earthbound: enter the premier digital pastime known as podcasting.

Podcast power-couple (L to R): Chalia Stallings-Ala'ilima and Kendan Jones-Isaac.
Podcast power-couple (L to R): Chalia Stallings-Ala’ilima and Kendan Jones-Isaac.

Considering the complex and sophisticated nature of his work, one might expect Kendan to host a series of highbrow conversations on science- and research-driven topics, but

the truth is, he and his guests would rather discuss 1980s film classics like 1985’s Back To The Future, than the future of nanotechnology.

Dissecting and discussing pop culture has long been a favorite pastime of Kendan, his wife Chalia, and the couple’s group of friends. And thankfully, in this era of evolving social media sharing and audio storytelling, they’ve found the perfect forum to connect with kindred spirits.

“We’ve always enjoyed talking about movies, current events, and podcasts, so we thought it would be fun to record our discussions,” Kendan explained. “When deciding on a theme, Chalia pitched the 1980s, because she was in the middle of watching an episode of Cheers and was fascinated with how her childhood memories of the show differed so greatly from her perceptions watching as an adult – and as someone living in a society that’s progressed thirty years.”

With that nostalgia-fused eureka moment, the couple’s podcast – the appropriately titled “Made In The 80s” – was born. The debut episode was published on August 18, 2017 and revealed a wide-ranging discussion on the cinematic one-two punch of Rocky III (1982) and Rocky IV (1985).

For the “Made In The 80s” team, the podcast medium offers more than a waltz down memory lane. It’s a nostalgia trip that investigates how the cultural pulse of one generation reverberates and impacts the next.

“So much from the 80s was influenced by the war on drugs, the cold war, and a rise in consumerism,” said co-host and Seattle film critic, Tim Hall, whose “People’s Critic” blog is posted at the Seattle P. I. “It makes 80s television and film an interesting re-watch.”

Prior to the pandemic, the trio conducted their podcast in Kendan and Chalia’s spare bedroom, which was outfitted to as a makeshift recording studio, but these days work and play share the same space.

“Pre-COVID, we recorded from home with our friends visiting and participating as guest hosts,” said Kendan. “Currently, our recording room doubles as my COVID workspace.”

Though Kendan, Chalia and their friends continue to enjoy the process of producing their on-air gatherings and lively discussions, there are no plans to join the ranks of full-time commercial podcasts.

“It’s something enjoyable we do to share with our friends,” said Kendan. “Adding a commercial aspect to what is now an enjoyable hobby would transform it into something different. I’ve seen it happen with several other podcasts that I have enjoyed throughout the years. Also, all three of us have put a lot of investment into our day jobs which we all find fulfilling.”

Chalia, a lawyer by day who serves as podcast editor and technical guru, agrees, and adds that she can’t believe they’re been producing “Made In The 80s” for three years.

“Time flies when you’re having fun,” she said. “Somehow, our topics stay relevant and we have so much more content that will keep us going indefinitely. I’m excited for the day that we finally make it into our 90s years, too.”

You read it here first, podcast enthusiasts, “Made In The 90s” is right around the corner.

Check out Kendan and Chalia’s podcast “Made In The 80s” here:
Listeners can also find the podcast on Spotify, iTunes, Google Music, and other podcast apps.