Inupiaq Podcaster Alice Glenn Reflects on Transformative Journey from Coffee & Quaq to the True Detective Companion Podcast
In honor of the new Max series True Detective: Night Country, we spoke with the series’ Companion Podcast host Alice Q Glenn. She also hosts the Coffee & Quaq podcast and is part of the multimedia collaborative experience: Native Time. She grew up in x and looks to the future.
When did you first start producing podcasts?
I started Coffee & Quaq in 2018 on my own with nothing but a small idea and dream rooted in: What would an Indigenous-centered podcast sound like? Since then I’ve hosted and produced the Coffee & Quaq, Resolve, Alaska Natives on the Frontline, and the True Detective: Night Country podcasts. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has been the highlight of my career so far.
How much has changed since you published the first episode of Coffee and Quaq?
I think the two biggest things that have changed since my first episode are my podcasting equipment and my own educational “crash course” into podcasting. There are so many skills that you can only learn as you go, things like finding your voice, interview preparation, messaging and branding, and learning how to interact with an audience, etc. One thing that has remained the same is the Inupiaq values of humility and reciprocity that guide my work. My technical prowess has definitely improved, but the integrity of uplifting AK Native voices and ideas in a good way has always shined through.
What’s next in store for the Coffee and Quaq podcast?
That’s a good question! I think I’ll always have Coffee & Quaq running on a rolling basis, but as a one-manned show, sometimes I feel like I’ve hit my ceiling with that specific project. I have a few more creative goals in mind with our collaborative media platform that highlights the real Alaska Native experience Native Time, and I’m hoping to broaden my horizons after this experience with True Detective: Night Country. But you’ll definitely be hearing more of me in the future, stay tuned!
How has your experience been hosting the Official Companion podcast to the True Detective: Night Country series?
Working on True Detective: Night Country has been so fun and challenging in brand new ways! First, I’ve never worked with an audio production team like Tenderfoot Labs before. They are the real MVPs. I have such an appreciation for the folks behind the scenes, because I usually do it all by myself for Coffee & Quaq and I know the work it takes to get the sound just right. And Tenderfoot Labs has been so supportive in hearing out my ideas and being open and willing to learn from an Alaskan perspective. That is what really impresses me, because you don’t find that everywhere. Second, I had never considered working on a companion podcast before, let alone one for such a high-caliber popular streaming TV show like True Detective! Having to follow a theme and format around what we see and hear on the show, and then tie those themes to real life, has been exciting and challenging! It forces me to make conceptual connections like I had never done before and push myself out of my own brain sometimes. It’s been a lot of work in a short amount of time, and a bit intimidating sharing about myself, Inupiaq people, Alaska Native people, and Inuit on such a huge stage, but so far I’m really proud of my voice and what I’ve been able to do in the last few months.
What do you hope listeners will take away from the Companion podcast?
I hope listeners get a better idea and education of what real life in Alaska is truly like. I hope the wider audience feels and identifies with the sense of humanity, complexity, and richness about Alaska Native people. And I hope Indigenous people see and feel a sense of themselves in this podcast. Representation is so important today.
How do you feel about the current award season, considering Lily Gladstone’s historic achievement as the first Indigenous woman to receive a Golden Globe for acting?
I love it! Lily Gladstone has done such amazing work, and I applaud her for using her voice, her presence, her depth and force to bring about awareness for real-life issues Indigenous people face today. She is a beautifully complex woman with strong ideas who is finally being heard and celebrated. I am a fan!
Alice Glenn is a 30-something-year-old Native residing in Anchorage, Alaska. You can listen to the True Detective: Official Companion podcast following each episode released every Sunday on Max.