Student hosts new podcast ‘Students For Liberty’


The Appalachian Online

Lovey Cooper

Senior appropriate technology major Zoe Little will provide the voice and driving personality behind SFL On Air, a new bi-monthly podcast run by international libertarian nonprofit Students For Liberty.

The show, which is broadcast live through a web seminar program and then later available for free on iTunes, is geared toward young intellectuals and encourages audience participation. Little is the voice that leads discussion between crowd-sourced experts on the topic of the week and student leaders across the country.

The first podcast was broadcast Sept. 3, setting the overall tone of the series with the topic of “Millennials, Politics, and the Modern World.” The show featured discussion with Emily Ekins, who did a poll on millennials that was highlighted in the cover story of The New York Times Magazine and SFL Executive Board member Matt La Corte.

Little’s involvement with SFL began her sophomore year at Appalachian State University, when she decided last minute to tag along with libertarian friends to a conference at UNC-Chapel Hill.

“I was pretty apprehensive about it because I really didn’t know what to expect from a crowd full of libertarians,” Little said. “I didn’t know more than three or four at the time and I knew they were all all right people – but I was pretty sure that there weren’t any other all right libertarians out there.”

However, she ended up encountering a network of young people with diverse interests that aligned with her own – in areas other than just taxes and the Second Amendment, Little said. The next spring she became a campus coordinator for Appalachian’s campus chapter of the organization.

Last year, the executive board selected Little to revamp the organization’s webinar series, which brought in guest professors, authors and other experts to speak on a topic related to liberty and take questions from the audience.

“It was a lot of fun for me, but it wasn’t really getting the turnout that we had hoped because it wasn’t always a great experience for the audience, even though we had some really awesome speakers,” Little said.

Seeing this gap in SFL’s public image, she decided to take on the project of rebranding the series in a new format of an engaging, youth-oriented podcast.

“When I got involved with the webinar series last year, one of the reasons I was recommended was because people thought that I had an interesting and unconventional perspective on libertarianism,” Little said. “As the host of a podcast, it’s important not just to have good guests and content but to be a personality that people are interested in, whether they are in agreement or not.”

Little cites her location at Appalachian one of the reasons she first got involved in political activism, which started with a protest she helped organize for Eustace Conway, when the city government tried to shut down the Turtle Island Preserve in 2012 due to violations of building codes. Little’s protest drew over 50 participants from across the country and attracted media attention.

“That experience with doing really successful activism and mobilizing the community made me want to get more involved and be available as a resource to help students elsewhere do similar things for members of their communities,” she said.

The initial podcast was as far-reaching as intended for the international organization, with higher hopes for powerful future broadcasts and publicity through the Internet.

“With social media, no geographic distance is too far to be a participant in events like this, especially because it was online,” said Chance Davies, a college student from Canada who provided the audience question for the initial podcast. “I believe that both Canadian youth, as well as American youth share very similar political views, and I don’t see regional differences to be very evident.”

For now, the podcast is all about using the Internet in generating buzz and sparking thoughtful discussion amongst a politically strong generation, wherever or whoever they may be.

“If you put a cover on a book that says ‘Taxation is Theft and I Own 100 Guns, and I Kind of Support Marijuana Legalization and Gay Marriage,’ it’s hard to get people who care about social justice, environmentalism and corporate capitalism to pick it up,” Little said. “We aren’t trying to convince anyone to vote a certain way or have the same beliefs, but to engage in a conversation about relevant issues from a perspective that might be new to them.”

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Story: Lovey Cooper, Senior A&E Reporter