This week, I sit down with Kevin Steinberg, host of the Frankly Kev podcast, where he talks to everyday heroes who have experienced one or more of life’s many challenges.
No experts giving you a checklist of how to perfectly do things. Or spokespeople and gurus to sell you products with pitch-perfect phrases. No celebrities to gawk at or fawn over. Just real people telling you real life stories.
You Know What? They’re People Too
When Kevin first started his show, he used to do a quick intro about his guest and then get straight to the “meat” of the topic they were talking about. But then he had an epiphany – you wouldn’t talk like this away from podcasting, so why do it now? This led to a much different, and more valued, approach to his show.
Putting Yourself in Someone Else’s Shoes
Kevin’s background is in acting, and he feels this is a key part of him being able to make guests feel comfortable when it comes to talking about very difficult topics. He tries to put himself in their shoes, to see what feels right and what shouldn’t be asked, and that helps him really empathize with his guests.
If this is a teachable moment, please tell me and we’ll move on.
My Sovereign Shield Has Been Humour
Despite the topics on the show being dark, Kevin shares how he and his guests often laugh while recording, because sometimes that’s the best defence – and offence – against the horrors that life can throw at us.
People Who Need People
Kevin takes his inspiration in life from other people. Whether that’s people whose views he agrees with, or those who differ greatly – just taking the time to talk, listen, and learn. Because at the end of the day, we’re all we’ve got.
The Heroes Behind the Scenes
While Kevin’s podcast is about everyday heroes and what they’ve overcome, his goal for the second season and beyond is an interesting take on the people behind the heroes.
Connect with Kevin:
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You know, they talk about their designer babies and if they could take away certain illnesses and whatever in the womb. I'm like if they could take away depression, I'm first in line because is life is tough enough and to feel like you're carrying around 150 pound weight in your arms. So imagine, like, your hands aren't even available for other things. Sometimes I'm like take away depression. Nobody needs that.Danny:
This week, I'm chatting with Kevin Steinberg, host of the Franklin Kev Podcast and a series, Everyday Heroes, a show that shares stories of people who endured life's biggest challenges to come out on the other side. Kevin, welcome to the show. How about you, yourself and your podcast?Kev:
First off, Danny, thank you so much for having me on podcast your stories. I really appreciate it. And let me tell you, I love your accent.Danny:
Thank you. My mom always complains it's getting softer because I've lived in Canada this long now. But thank you.Kev:
Oh, it's gorgeous. So I'm Kevin Steinberg, otherwise known as Frankly Kev. And I actually came up with a name because I just wanted to be honest and be Frank with people. The first name was actually getting Frank with Kev. And I was going to get somebody to be my co host, and we were going to call them Frank. So that is kind of a play on words. And then I just shortened it. I thought everything is shortened to the point these days. So I came up with Frankly Kev, and I figured that would be the umbrella for a lot of topics wherever I wanted to go. And the first place that I wanted to go was Everyday Heroes because I was looking at myself and realizing I'm 54 and I have been through a lot, not just one, two or three things. Like, I have been through a lot, and there's a lot of other people out there who have been through maybe not as much and maybe more. And I'm not going to qualify it or compare it to my own, but I wanted to shine a spotlight on all these people who have and regular people. The important thing is not to shine a spotlight on celebrities or athletes or people that you already see who are already getting the press in the media. And most of us are just regular people. And our lives are pretty good and somehow we're making it. So I wanted to focus on people who had met life's challenges and gotten through, and I wanted to know how they got through it, not telling other people how to live, just telling people how they did it. And then people can identify and say, yes, I've been through something like I've had cancer, then this is how I did it, or I had a heart attack. This is how I did it. But it's interesting to know how that person did it. And a lot of these people, they just didn't survive. A lot of them are just thriving.Danny:
And you mentioned, obviously, it's about everyday heroes and everyday people. And the show itself premiered early this year. Wasn't it? Was it August?Kev:
Yes. It's still brand new. I can't believe it feels like a year or two ago already because so much happens in our lives. And I look back and I'm like, oh, my God, I think I'm only on show like 15. And it was just the middle of August that I launched it.Danny:
And you mentioned there was a shine of light on everyday people overcoming, not everyday things, if you like how things evolved since that first episode when you first came up with Idea and Twitter is now even at such a young age of the show.Kev:
For example, you know what the way that it has evolved is? I used to get, like, right to it. I used to just like, right after I did my intro for the person, we would jump right to the thing that it is that they survived and we would get into the thick of it in the meat of it. And then I started to realize, like, you know what? They're people, too. They've had a life. They've had a childhood. They've done some other interesting things. So now when I start the show and when I end the show, I asked them more about their childhood and where they came from and what their dreams were as a kid and what they thought they would be doing as an adult and some of their best memories. And so it's kind of like a nice, I guess, gearing up into. So we have a really nice conversation, which the feedback has been great. They said it's really nice because I just get them chatting and opening up, and it's very casual. And then in the end, I like to ask them where they are today and how they deal with life's challenges and things like that, because I wanted to end on a positive note, because it's an inspiring show. That's the final message. It's inspiring. I don't have people on there are people out there who are angry or there's people out there who have decided to victimize themselves. And those aren't the people that I have on because I wanted to inspire people and lift people up.Danny:
And the show you mentioned, it covers a lot of topics, and some of them are inspired and taken from your own experiences. And these include drug addiction and recovery, anti Semitism, homophobia, sexual assault. There's very dark, as you mentioned, and serious topics that are being discussed by your guests and yourself on the show. And I was curious, has there ever been any topics that you haven't addressed that you wouldn't want to address for any reason? Is it something that you just wouldn't touch? Or is this a show that's for everyone and everything?Kev:
That's a really good question and not that I can think of it because everything is valid. I want to hear what other people have come through. And there are guests who I can identify with because I have been through things like cancer, stroke, drug addiction, recovery. But there are things like sexual assault, I have to say, is so prevalent in society and it's so angering and frustrating and sad. It seems like may not be, but it seems like almost every other person that pictures himself for the shower that I talked to as a guest has sexual assault in their history. It's not like we've talked about this topic and I'm moving on. I want to keep hearing because it's so prevalent. It's so important to get these and to still in this day and age to make it a part of the conversation because people are still scared to report or scared to share it with their friend or their parents or they're worried about retaliation or things like that. So I think that to me is such an important story to get out there.Danny:
And on that topic, I know back in August 1 of your earlier shows, you spoke with Nathan Talutki about him being groomed from a young age. I think he was in grade was in grade seven. I believe he was in when the grooming first started by his teacher and then he was sexually assaulted by his teacher. I'm wondering, with such a traumatic and personal story like that, how do you make Nathan or our guests feel comfortable enough to get to open up and trust you with their story?Kev:
I think it's part of who I am. And maybe it also comes from being an actor is that I can easily put myself in someone else's shoes and try and figure out either by the way they look or sound or it's a feeling I get if I'm pushing too hard. I'm a super duper sensitive person and I automatically project that onto everyone. So I'm very cautious about where I step with my guests. And I do ask them. Sometimes I leave it in and maybe sometimes it's edited out. I will say to them, I said, I'm going to ask you a question, and if you don't want to answer it or if I'm way off base and this is a teachable moment, please tell me. And we'll move on. And a lot of them are very thankful that I've had the awareness to even approach a subject or a question that way. And I think just who I am organically, they do open up and they can see that I'm a very compassionate person. I have cried during interviews because I am truly touched. I'm not trying to act or show them how deep I can feel, like I truly have gotten choked up from some of these stories or I've truly gotten angry. And I have said, I don't know if I can say it here, but I've sworn and I said F that person and F that person and F that person. So they can see that I'm following along and I'm listening and I'm really feeling I definitely get that from you.Danny:
I know when I was looking at your story and I love your about page on your website about you and the questions, you're having an interview yourself and somebody answers, they got me. And I thought, I like this guy. Even before I chat with you today, I like this guy. So I can definitely see how that would come across with you. You do have a very common influence. I think that's the right term there. So I can definitely see how that would happen. What I do like about Nathan Store as well, he's incredibly inspiring. He's going to be a massive activist and very successful, and he stands up for a lot of wrongs. And it's been nice to see that story arc. You mentioned you're an actor. I guess if you were a character and movie that story, I could see Nathan where he was and where he is today.Kev:
Yeah, he's a good guy. I do know him personally and socially. And when I started the podcast, I reached out to first people I knew because that was easier to see who had a story. I wanted to be a guest because I already had a rapport with them. And Nathan stepped up to the plate with a story I didn't even know. And he said, I'm willing to be a guest. And I said, what would you like to share about? And he said, this is what I have to share about. And I said, Are you sure? Are you comfortable? And even during the pre interview and then when we went into the interview, I do always check where the guest is at, because sometimes people will promise something because they're in one place emotionally. But by the time you get to the interview, they're somewhere else. I do allow them at that out. I say, look, we could start this interview at any time. If you say So this goes in the garbage bin and I move on to another guest because it's also about their safety. But Nathan is such a talented and such a nice guy.Danny:
Yeah. And I like the fact that you have that out because as mentioned, you showed covers very emotional and raw topics, and people get at different stages of life. They're ready to talk, but then they want to hold back because maybe the family didn't know about it's. This going to raise a whole new level of conversations and discussions.Kev:
Exactly. I do have to say the one thing that I was pleasantly surprised about from most of the interviews is that these people are sharing something so deep and so painful. But we know they're through it. They know they're through it because I can't believe how much we laugh. We laugh if somebody heard and some more than others. But I can't believe how much we're laughing or also to light in a moment like that's how I get through life. Humor has always been I say if I'm Captain America, my certain shield has been humor. And that's how you have to otherwise life is just so tough.Danny:
Yeah. Well, especially at the moment, so much if your personal life isn't suffering enough and now you've got all the fractures.Kev:
I'm reading Joan Didion, who just recently passed away, and I'm reading her book The White Album, which is from the 70s, which is essays from the 60s. And if you thought the late 60s and early 70s were just a bunch of turmoil in the world, and then you look at today and you go.Danny:
We go through phases.Kev:
I mentioned it to my wife. I almost feels like Mother Earth is just giving up on us and we're on our death rows now. And this will be like the next 20 years. It'll be Back to the dinosaurs. Let's hope now, one of the episodes I listened to recently, it was the one with Nancy McKay, and she shared a really inspiring story about so many personal losses in her life and how that shaped her not only personally, obviously, but professionally, what she's doing now. And she had this phrase that I really liked about she realized she was at the intersection of desperation and Grace. And that really I don't know, it just stuck with me. It really got to me. And I'm wondering, do you feel like we almost always have to hit rock bottom before we realize we can be graceful and almost like rise like a Phoenix?Kev:
If you like, we don't have to, but it seems like we do truly that. And sometimes you think this is the bottom. This is the bottom. This is the bottom until you really hit it and get to the bottom. And it seems from my own experience and from speaking with other people. Yeah, you do like I said, we don't have to, but it seems like we do.Danny:
I guess like the movies, you always have that dark. If you got a trilogy, you always have that dark middle act. Right. And then from that, you always redeem yourself or whatever.Kev:
Now you get over this year stories of really traumatic and personal issues that they've gone through and overcame. And as you mentioned at the start, your show is meant to be like a beacon of hope at the end because you want to show that no matter what, there is light and there is redemption.Kev:
But your own life and you alluded to that earlier. Your own life has seen some very difficult challenges to overcome. And you'd mentioned life changing illnesses and drug addiction yourself. And I'm wondering this is probably a stupid question. I apologize in advance. How difficult was it to overcome these? And what did you do? How did you overcome these? I guess.Kev:
Okay, first off, Danny, that's not a stupid question. And you know what? Each one is different. I mean, I have had a few strokes and Bell's palsy episodes. I have had cancer twice. I'm actually living with it right now. And the drug addiction and recovery, they're all different. How do I put this? It's like the effort to overcome them and the way to overcome them is different with each thing I have to say. I mean, my cancer story, knock wood, is not the horror story of some other people who have suffered or passed away and cancer. I mostly shrug my shoulders. I have been pretty healthy and pretty fortunate and have had a great medical team. And it's something that hasn't really affected my overall health. Like, my doctor could say, you're really healthy, you're really young, except you have cancer and it's there by the side and we have to watch it. So that's something that's, like, not very hard to overcome. Then we go probably to the bottom to the worst thing is drug addiction and recovery. Oh my God, like that and depression. I put depression with it. I keep saying if they talk about their designer babies and if they could take away certain illnesses or whatever in the womb, I'm like, if they could take away depression, I'm first in line because life is tough enough and to feel like you're carrying around 150 pound weight in your arms. So imagine, like, your hands aren't even available for other things sometimes I'm like, take away depression. Nobody needs that.Danny:
I'm wondering because obviously depression is one of these things that never goes away. It's like an addiction, I guess. It's always in the background ready to grab you and challenge you again. And I'm wondering if with some of the topics that you guys speak about, do you ever fear that a topic may be a tipping point that pushes you back over the edge? Or is that something that's not really come up?Kev:
No, that might push me personally.Danny:
Yeah. I'm just thinking maybe something that's really get you.Kev:
No, I thought about that and I thought, why aren't I getting really dark and shutting down? I asked myself, is this not affecting me? And why aren't I stopping this and saying, Enough, I can't take any more of these stories. This is too tough. I don't know why. I certainly don't take it's not some sick pleasure. I was asking myself that, am I taking a sick pleasure and like airing these people stories and digging for stuff? And it's about connecting. My thing always in my whole life is Barbara Streisand sings People who need people. I'm one of those people. And my whole life I have needed to talk to people and this is what this is like. And I need to find connection in people and where we're similar and where we're not similar and how we might be able to help each other. And this is almost like my favorite thing would be to go to a party. And instead of meeting everyone or 30 people at the party, I would rather be stuck in a corner with Danny Brown having a two hour conversation. And maybe we never meet or talk again. But that was the best party because the depth of the conversation we have had. So that's what this podcast is like. That's my favorite part of the podcast. It's like these people dialing in from Australia or London or wherever in the world who I wouldn't get to meet. And we're so open with each other, which is just beautiful. And there's strength in that.Danny:
And I think that's one of the things I mean, a lot of people say podcast and it's gone for this sort of Renaissance. It's very popular. People seem to be starting a new podcast every day of the week at home. But I think it is to your point, it's one of these mediums compared to, say, on YouTube, it's one person in your rear or maybe two, because obviously we're chatting like this. It's got two people in your ear, but it's still a very intimate medium. And I feel that maybe this is why people were more willing to open up, because it feels like a conversation between two friends as opposed to, well, I just met you. Let's talk about something.Kev:
And it is so amazing. Like this woman who I met Renee Marie Simpson in Australia, who went on this incredible sailing expedition for three months about which she was running from with sexual assault in her life. And then also this Pam Warren in London, who had survived one of the worst train incidents in UK history and survived that. And she wasn't supposed to. They didn't expect her to. And it's just so amazing that I don't know if I reached out to them or they reached out to me as a guest and so forth. And to have them. I always do a pre interview because sometimes I just find people this will sound really judgmental, but they're just not right for the show. And I just want to make sure that they're able to speak well, not a speaker, but that they can tell their story and they don't get stuck and that they have enough story there. And then we come back for the interview and they are they're just so open and trusting. And so I do as a host, I do have to not only make them feel welcome, but also I have to take care of them. It's like having somebody as a guest in your house, you take care of them and make sure they feel safe and they feel welcome.Danny:
And that definitely comes across in your shop. We spoke about earlier about your common influence there. And I feel that definitely would help. It's almost like for one of a bad description, being a friendly neighborhood psychiatrist that has a nice so far, you've got a snack. But it's not psychiatrist. It's just a friendly shower there ready for people to lean on and talk with and chat with them. I get that a lot from your episodes that I've listened so far so I can see how that happens.Kev:
I do that in person. It's actually one of my favorite things is cooking for people. And I used to have dinner parties in this past week because of the holidays. I had two parties and cooked. And I just like to see people nourish themselves and have a good time and leave full. I always make way too much food. And I think that's the Jewish person in me better than too much than not enough.Danny:
And people still want to know is that one of the reasons you got yourself a scooter so you could get out and about and just meet people and start up a conversation.Kev:
No, you know what, I wish that's a great idea. I should take a little portable microphone pack with me and Danny Brown. That is a fantastic idea. I just got it because living in La, when I resettled back here six years ago or whatever, I was like, I am not putting up with La traffic. And the way to do that is with a scooter. So you can just zip around and zip in and out of wherever they're working on the road or wherever traffic is. And you can actually legally you're allowed if there's a long line up at a red light. So you're not sucking in the fumes of the other cars. You're actually allowed to go between the cars to the front of the line.Danny:
Oh, nice. I know that's kind of frowned on upon here, but I'm sure the Canadian traffic can be like on the highways at times. But yeah, we always see more cycles going on between the traffic and everything, right?Kev:
No, they actually hear I'm actually surprised because I thought that they're swearing and shaking their fists at me. And actually the sweet thing is some cars, they like steer a little bit of room. They have they steer their car out of the way to give me room. And I'm like, wow, that's awesome.Danny:
Yeah. Good luck with that. In Canada we might be a friend. Good luck with trying to approach the Canadian Highway. You have to bring it across. Next thing you come, bring it over to.Kev:
I think probably because of the College kids over at UCLA and USC and being a twelve month a year city, weather wise, the scooters lend themselves to a place like at least Southern California.Danny:
As you mentioned at the start of the show, your own podcast that launched in August of this year or August 2021, I guess when this episode goes out early next year, just let anybody listen. And you mentioned how it came about and what you wanted to achieve with it and what you want to achieve with it. I'm curious, what are your goals for the future of the show? Continuous infamous. You experiment with video. You mentioned that earlier. So what next, do you think?Kev:
Good question. And I've been talking about it this past week, and I've already been thinking about it and planning it. So season one is probably going to end with about 25 episodes where I stay focused on everyday heroes. And what I would like to do for season two is then I would like to dig deep but talk to the other side of it and talk to experts in each field. So if it's an expert in cancer, if it's an expert in stroke, if it's a social worker who deals with sexual assault victims, if it's somebody who runs a drug recovery house or a psychiatrist who deals with patients who are in recovery. So I want to go onto the expert side and talk to them. And another place I want to go is I want to talk to parents if they're straight, lesbian, gay, if they're single parents, whatever, because parents I don't have kids. I'm not going to have kids. Parenting is tough, and there's no one way to do it. And you hear, I mean, parents have a lot to say. So I find that interesting.Danny:
That's like a pretty cool approach. It's almost like you've got phase one, but I'm going movies. I'm thinking Marvel Universe, sorry, you got phase one, which is the story of the people, and then you've got the people behind the people. I guess that'd be really interesting to listen to.Kev:
Yeah. And I also thought to what I might like to do, I would have to plan this out, have like a special podcast that's outside the series and maybe either check in with former guests and see where they're at, or maybe do a round table of guests or a mix of guests and experts and see what comes out of a round table and having four people chatting and do like a two hour podcast and get all these different points of views and shared experiences.Danny:
And because obviously you mentioned all of the open nature of your show, where it's not about people telling you what to do, it's how they talk and how they got by, it'd be a cool dynamic to see everybody and how each person changed individually.Kev:
So a relatively new podcast yourself, then what do you think? What would be the one piece of advice that you would give someone looking to start either in a similar vein to yourself, using your own experience or just getting in the podcast in general?Kev:
Oh, my God, I would be like, don't do what I did. Just make it easy. Make it easy on yourself. I had to do maybe again, who I am or coming from the field of entertainment, it had to look like this. And even a friend said to me, aren't you making it harder than it's supposed to be. And I would just tell somebody out there, just go park your podcast. That like Anchor or wherever where they have room. They have the storage room for all your content. But people can go there. But from there, Anchor sends it out automatically to about six different other places. And just focus on your podcast. You don't have to make a website like I made. You don't have to start promoting all of our social media like I made it important and just get it out there.Danny:
I feel to your point, I think a lot of people tend to worry about the mechanics behind it. Like you say, jump on the phone, use your smartphone and record something, see if you like it, see if you feel comfortable with it.Kev:
Yeah, I've heard from people who started like that. And when you put it out there, first of all, aside from your mum and your best friend, you're going to have an audience of about no one. And this is the truth, unless you're already a big celebrity or star. So you have time to work on it and make it better. And I have crossed paths with people who said I just started talking into a phone. And then I learned about the microphone and then I learned about the editing tool and you can make it better as you go along. Trust me, it is okay.Danny:
Good advice. So, Kevin, I've really enjoyed chatting with this afternoon and I'm definitely going to get you back onto the show when you're new season out because I'm Super interested to see the follow ups to the stories that I'm catching up on for your show at the moment with the professional side for anybody that's looking to connect with you and learn more about your story and check out your awesome about page of these questions that I mentioned earlier, Where's the best place for them to connect with you, either online or social media, et cetera.Kev:
So I mean, they can go to my website, which is just franklycav, all one word, all lower case f.com, Frankly Kev.com. But they can also go if you go to Apple Podcast or Spotify or Anchor or even if you Google Frankly Cav. I think I should start like it's been long enough now that I should start coming up in all the different places that carry the podcast. But the only difference with the home. I love Apple Podcasts because everyone knows Apple and it seems like they're on there. So that's a great default. The only difference with the website is you get to have a page for every guest and they have a picture, they have a bio, they have their links. So I have started putting them out across the internet so they should repeat in Apple and Spotify and everywhere else. But the website is ground zero to find out more about them. And you can actually type in questions and you can actually suggest yourself if you want. I'm just firstname.lastname@example.org K e email@example.com so you can reach out to me and I'll make sure to put all that information in the show notes as usual. Thank you.Danny:
So if you're listening on your favorite podcast app, hit that show note section as always and click through the links and as I mentioned if for no other reason but I do want you to listen to the podcast obviously but if for no other reason sit down with a nice cup of coffee or a cup of tea and just go through the above section with Kevin's question about himself because it's very entertaining but it's also very humbling as well so that's one of the best I've seen but I will certainly leave all that information in the show notes for sure. So again Kevin, I really appreciate coming on this afternoon.Kev:
This has been such a wonderful conversation. Thank you so much for having me on Podcaster Stories.