Marvin Yueh’s Top 5 Podcasts Hosted by Asian Americans in 2015

Marvin Yueh is the Associate Director for the Kollaboration Global Organization, Managing Editor for the Kollaboration Blog, Host/Producer of the KollabCast, and Producer of Kollaboration’s video projects. In between those responsibilities, he manages to squeeze in time for food, sleep, and the occasional trip, and yup he really did just write his own intro in third person.

It’s no secret that I love podcasts. As an Angeleno, I spend a lot of time in my car, and I’ve found that having people talk at me is a great way to pass the time. That’s part of the reason I was excited to launch the KollabCast this year, throwing my own hat into this emerging media format. Besides the KollabCast, 2015 has been a really great year for podcasts featuring Asian American hosts and it’s been great having more APA perspectives out in the world for people to consume. Here’s my top 5 (in no particular order) podcasts that I think followers of Kollaboration should check out!

1. Bullet Train


Ada Tseng, the mastermind behind the Haikus with Hotties calendar and Managing Editor of Asia Pacific Arts, hosts this fun and informational podcast that launched earlier this year. Ada provides narration on an interesting topic in Asian American pop culture, ranging from gender representation all the way to dating sims. Along the way, we hear excerpts from interviews with other subject matter and pop culture experts while Ada refuses to apologize for anything. We’re still waiting for episode 5, but if you have a few hours to kill, you can’t go wrong with this podcast.

2. What Just Happened


David Chang started as a fan of podcasts like Serial, eventually deciding to launch his own. The premise is simple. Pick a topic David wants to learn more about, and then research the crap out of it. The result is a very informative, easy to listen to podcast that leaves listeners better informed. David’s clear articulation and neutral perspective is a breath of fresh air in today’s media environment. Need a primer on the “Black Lives Matter” and California’s common core so you can sound smart at parties? Give What Just Happened a listen!

3. Drunk Monk


Re-watch podcasts, where pocasters recap already departed shows episode by episode in real time,  have started to become quite popular as streaming services have started to bulk up their TV catalog. This podcast, which recaps the Tony Shaloub neurotic detective show Monk, is hosted by improv partners Keiko Agena (of Gilmore Girls fame) and Will Choi (who had never watched Monk prior to the podcast). As the title suggests, Adult beverages are consumed in the course of recording, and hijinks ensue. You won’t need to even like Monk to listen to these two riff on each other.

4. Good Muslim Bad Muslim

The Good Muslim Bad Muslim podcast started with a hashtag conversation discussing what makes a good and bad Muslim in the eyes of society. Writer/activist Taz Ahmed and actor/comedian Zahra Noorbakhsh host this monthly podcast where they fearlessly shatter preconceptions on what a Muslim American, and specifically a Muslim American woman, can be. With some comedy, some social commentary, and a whole lot of attitude, this podcast is a refreshing look into a uniquely American story that isn’t seen much in mainstream media.

5. Explain Things to Me


Ever wonder what a professional Santas does or how some people remember stuff better than others? Internet personality Anna Akana and her partner Brad Gage host this podcast where they find an expert to explain these things to them. The result is an always fascinating conversation where listeners learn about cool stuff happening in the world of entertainment, science, art, and more from awesome and interesting people who made them their life’s work.

Honorable Mentions

Of course these aren’t the only podcasts out there hosted by Asian Americans. I’ve limited my top 5 list to Podcasts that launched this year, but there are a few other great shows in my podcatcher hosted by Asian Americans that I wanted to give a shout out to!

This is Only a Test


The official podcast of, This is Only a Test is an awesome podcast about tech, pop culture, and science hosted by Norman Chan that’s been running for 332 episodes (that’s almost 5 years). This was the second podcast that I started to listen to regularly and it’s been fascinating watching Tested go from an indie tech website to being attached to Adam Savage and Jamie Hyman of Mythbusters fame. One of the founding members, Norm Chan recently ascended from co-host to host when longtime host and co-founder Will Smith (the tech editor, not the actor) decided to leave Tested to pursue a personal startup project in VR.

Sound and Fury


The official podcast of Angry Asian Man, this is an interview-style podcast a la Marc Maron, where host Phil Yu (the eponymous Angry Asian Man) conducts a intimate one-on-one interview with esteemed members of the APA community from what one can only assume is his kitchen table. Phil’s been in the game a long time and it’s telling how much respect his guests have for him. Listen to this podcast to learn more about the man behind the blog as well as interesting stories from his amazing guests.

Pop Rocket


Pop Rocket, part of the NPR affiliated Maximum Fun network, is a podcast that brings you hot takes on current pop culture trends and news from a variety of minority perspectives. While not exactly hosted by Asian Americans, Pop Rocket features one of our community’s coolest (and smoothest) voices in Oliver Wang as one of their regular panelists. An academic, author, and DJ, Oliver brings a cool and collected persona to an otherwise fiery panel, and always seems to have the hottest of jams to contribute during their weekly “What is your Jam” segment. Host Guy Branum and the two other regular panelists Wynter Mitchell and Margaret Wappler are no slouches neither, each bringing a unique perspective from their own backgrounds and areas of expertise, and listeners are always left with a more well-rounded understanding of current pop culture issues.


New Cover5


This is a shameless plug, but it’s my list so deal with it. The KollabCast, hosted by myself and Kollaboration Executive Director Christine Minji Chang, is a podcast about pop culture and social commentary from an Asian American Perspective. We talk about a wide variety of topics and it often turns out to be interesting. You should listen in sometime!


That’s a Wrap! LA’s Peter Chung wins Kollaboration Star 2015

It was a beautiful night in Los Angeles this past Saturday, November 14 as Kollaboration wrapped up it’s 16th season with Kollaboration Star 2015, a grand celebration of the creative passion and talents of the Asian American community. Six up-and-coming Asian American artists, all winners of their local Kollaboration showcases,  gave the performances of their lives on stage. In the end, it was Peter Chung, representing Kollaboration Los Angeles, who took the title of Kollaboration Star 2016!

Congratulations to Peter and thanks to all of the finalists and guest performers for a great night! Videos and a full recap of the night will be coming soon to so keep checking in!


Kollaboration SF 6 Brought Musical Mash-ups and Familiar Faces

On the evening of Saturday October 10th, in the midst of San Francisco’s Fleet Week, the Marines’ Memorial Theater was occupied by excitement of a different kind: the 6th Annual Kollaboration SF Showcase. Unlike past Kollaboration shows featuring fresh-faced finalists competing in front of a panel of judges, all of the acts this year were alumni of past shows, with each of the six alumni would collaborate with another in a non-competitive exhibition of talent.


R&B group ANAK – winner of Kollaboration SF 2 – and R&B/Soul band The Delivery – a finalist of Kollaboration SF 3 and 4 – were the first mash-up to perform. From original songs to covers, the two groups were a good mesh as vocals (from both sides) and instrumentals collided in an almost Motown-esque kind of vibe. They kept the energy high onstage and the performers were really engaging with the audience.


The energy went from high to mellow as the next collaboration took to the stage. Melvin Sings!– a finalist of Kollaboration SF 4 – and &Blue – winner of both Kollaboration SF 4 and 2013 Kollaboration Star – were accompanied only by a guitar as they sang their set in a chill, laidback vibe. Their voices blended harmoniously together with each song they sang, as the audience soaked in their serene yet fun performance.


The final performance brought together the musical talents of violinist CryWolffs Violin – a finalist of Kollaboration SF 3 – and a cappella group SanFran6 (whose members include a number of finalists from Kollaboration SF 4 and 5). Kicking off with a showdown between CryWolffs and SanFran6 member DRC Beatbox – winner of Kollaboration SF 5 – the rest of the a cappella group, who were also previously seen on NBC’s The Sing-Off, came together for a musical explosion made up with covers of hit songs. Together with CryWolffs as the solo instrumentalist, the singers of this collaboration performed along with him with melodic voices and skilled beatboxing.


Host Ashly Perez of Buzzfeed Motion Pictures kept the audience entertained throughout the show and in between acts. From making her first appearance by dancing out onstage to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” to recounts of youthful shenanigans and even a rendition of “Smelly Cat,” she was an enjoyable and hilarious host. She even served as the judge for the audience singing competition that immediately followed the intermission and she, along with everyone else in the audience, was blown away by the astounding vocals of the eventual winner, Kollaboration SF staff member Layla Yu.

It was a fun night of tunes, jokes, and cheers; all without the stress of wondering who would be the winner at the end of the night. If anything, the night’s events served as a reflection of the words spoken by Executive Director Daisuke Kojitani in his introductory speech, explaining how powerful entertainment is in its ability to send messages and influence thoughts and lives, and why it’s so crucial now than ever before to provide a platform for a more accurate representation of the Asian American community.

In other words, it’s all about “Empowerment through Entertainment.”


Recapping the Kollaboration EMPOWER Conference

I’m new to this sprawling city. In fact it has only been about two months since I officially moved here. Naturally, being the new girl, I’m always on the lookout for things to do and learn. Enter Kollaboration’s inaugural Leadership Conference.

Quite honestly, I did not know what Kollaboration was until I came to Los Angeles. I had heard about it in passing a few times, since it does exist across the country (14 cities to be exact), and I understood it to be an Asian American talent competition. It is an annual talent showcase but over the years Kollaboration has morphed from a platform for Korean American artists to share their talents to a pan-Asian Pacific Islander movement that unites and inspires aspiring artists to pursue creative careers. Kollaboration is all about challenging the status quo, creating change (not just talking about it) and dreaming big- and as cliché as that may sound, that’s exactly what my move here to LA and my life in general is about.


Needless to say, Kollaboration brought together a great group of speakers and perspectives from all corners of the entertainment and media industry. It was also nice to have like-minded individuals- people who challenge expectations, are curious about possibility and aren’t afraid to talk about fear, in the same room. It was a pretty empowering way to start my weekend, to say the least.

To do a summary of each session would be overkill, so instead, here are some quotables and highlights from the conference.


Jim Kwik, memory expert and founder of Kwik Learning, started the conference with some handy tricks on memory, particularly remembering names. He left us with a few mnemonics but the key message was that “Reasons reap results.” Basically,  all behaviors are belief driven whether it’s with memory or with following through with your thoughts. If you can believe that you will, you can. Also, “Practice means progress.”


Bing Chen, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Victorious, a new media company, philosophized about the effects of technology before moderating a panel. Something he said really struck me: “It’s incredibly hard being yourself in 2015.”


Chris Pan, founder of, asked us a very profound question: What is your (life) intention? We all had to think of a word we wanted to focus our energy on or have more of in our life during a moment of silence. We then got this word stamped on a bracelet (or necklace) as a reminder. My word was Trust.


Tamlyn Tomita, actress known for her roles in Joy Luck Club, The Karate Kid Part II, and Teen wolf enlightened us with seasoned advice: “Acknowledge your fear and be fearless. Leave people thinking oh my gosh. What was her name? All I can leave people with is the energy you give them.”

Christine Chen, Producer at Wong Fu Productions, when asked what she wish she knew when she was 21 said:  “You get what you put in. This life is ready to bless you but no one is going to hand it to you. Check your ego at the door.”

Paul PK Kim, founder of Kollaboration (which is now in it’s 16th year) among many other accomplishments, spoke on the importance of focus. “If you chase two rabbits you won’t catch either.”

Eric Kim, Vice President of Current Programs at CBS Television Studios, where he oversees all phases of production for the network’s television programming said that in this day and age “you have no excuse not to do what you want to. The technology is readily available. If you’re a director, go direct something.”


Sunil Malhotra, writer, producer and actor spoke on the importance of “Be[ing] a human being.” No matter what it is your doing or who you’re talking to, it’s key to maintain perspective and treat each other like, a person.


Alex Hwang, Lead singer of indie folk-rock band, Run River North, spoke about the difficulties of being a musician. But the things he knows for sure: “Believe in the product. Relationships mean a lot.”

Travis Graham, lead singer of New Heights mentioned Trust as an important factor of creating. “I think the main concern with working with someone in LA, is if you vibe. There has to be trust for the best work.”

Peter Hong, label executive, musician and producer never saw the kind of music he wanted to hear, so he did it himself. “I’ve always been the guy to create my own work.”

There was so much more (I had difficulty choosing between sessions) but you get the idea. It was a conference that reconfirmed and reminded me of the things that I already knew- the things that maybe we’re afraid to talk about out loud, but should talk about more.


One thing became very clear as I sat in the audience listening to these stories. These panelists are just like us. They have hopes, dreams and fear. But the difference and why they were on the stage giving us advice was that they not only started somewhere, believed in something, and worked for/towards it. They tried and failed but kept going and lived, so to speak, to tell the story of what they created.

The fact is, you can do it too. You just have to find out what your voice is. Like Beau Sia, Tony Award winning poet and performer put it, “Thank G-d all of you are out there doing you and sharing your story. It’s all about getting together but honoring each person’s unique way.”

I don’t know about you but hearing things like this make me want to keep doing, keep dreaming.

Give yourself a pat on the back if you were there that Saturday like I was, and if you weren’t it’s ok, everyday is a day to begin again and…. Kollaboration has many more events to come.

This article was guest written by Andrea M, a New Yorker navigating her new home of Los Angeles one day at a time. You can find her personal blog at

We Have a New Trailer – Come See What’s New!

Today marks the kickoff of Kollaboration’s new content strategy and starting this week, you can check back for regular blog and media content updates brought to you by the national Kollaboration teams! To commemorate this moment, we’ve cut a new “sizzle” reel for you all to re-introduce our programs. Come see what’s new, and we hope you’ll stay a while!

You’re Invited to be EMPOWERED

Kollaboration Executive Director Minji Chang invites you to Kollaboration’s inaugural EMPOWER Leadership Conference, taking place on Saturday August 29 2015 at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, CA. Join us for a day of inspiring keynotes and engaging panel discussions with some of the API communities brightest leaders!

Learn more and register at

Dare to Dream at the Kollaboration Empower Conference

Kollaboration is proud to present our very first annual EMPOWER Conference!

The Kollaboration EMPOWER Conference is an event where API youth & young professionals gather to learn directly from some of the community’s most inspirational professionals. At EMPOWER, attendees will be able to explore a variety of creative career paths, industries, and best practices to apply to making their dreams a reality. This unique experience will bridge communities, generations, industries, and innovative minds.

Exciting Speakers & Panels

Learn from APA leaders and professionals at the top of their game. Topics and focus areas include media production, starting your own company, the relationship between arts & activism, switching careers, and more!

Engaging Interactive Workshops

Become a more effective communicator, team member, and leader through guided workshops covering the arts of storytelling, improvisation, leadership styles, and public speaking.

Inspiring Mentorship Office Hours

Take the opportunity to engage with inspiring leaders from the community in a small group setting.

Find out more at and Eventbrite - Kollaboration EMPOWER Conference