Downtown Riverhead civic group launches podcast to discuss local issues

Heart of Riverhead Civic Association, a new organization founded last spring, is offering members and residents another way to keep up with what’s going on in downtown Riverhead through a new podcast launched Jan. 31.

The first episode, which was 12 minutes long, served as an introduction to the association and what the organization does. The hosts of the podcasts and founding members of the civic — Cindy Clifford, Juan Micieli-Martinez, and Steve Kramer — answered the question, “what is the heart of Riverhead?”

“We wanted to have a group that represented the heart of Riverhead,” Ms. Clifford said on the podcast. “Because this is an area that’s been seriously impacted by decisions made in Town Hall and has never had a collective voice to say, ‘we’re good with that or we’re not good with that.’ ”

Going forward, the podcast will not only provide a recap of some of the conversations going on within the civic group’s meetings but cover a wide variety of topics concerning downtown Riverhead residents and the civic group’s members, such as “zombie” homes and litter, to name a few.

“Hopefully this will prove that we’ll be able to get out and put our message out into a wider group of people and act as a tool to bring people into the fold and have them participate in our civic association, because selfishly we need more folks to help us out with what we’re doing,” Mr. Kramer said.

The podcast is available on Spotify under “Heart of Riverhead.” The goal is to put out a new episode once to twice a month. There is no set schedule yet on how often they will meet to record the episodes.

The hosts are currently recording every episode at Lantern Sound Recording Rig in Manorville, thanks to its owner, Mick Hargreaves, who chose to offer his studio as his contribution to the civic association’s efforts.

“I’m basically capturing the talent interacting part of this podcast,” Mr. Hargreaves said. “We’re establishing a workflow making it easy for the talent to just stroll in, have the chat and get on with their day. I just want to enable people to put their heads together and embolden, empower and enable the conversation.”

The idea for the podcast came from a conversation within the civic association’s founding committee a couple of months ago, Mr. Micieli-Martinez said.

Ms. Clifford, who has a background in broadcasting and runs her own personal podcast, edits the podcasts after they are recorded.

“We’re trying to stay within 10 to 15 minutes,” she said. “We were keeping an eye on the clock, because you can be succinct enough and respectful of people’s time.”

The hope is that this podcast helps strengthen the voice of the civic association and the people it represents.

“One of the reasons that we wanted to do the podcast, in addition to helping to inform our members … is there are a lot of people in Riverhead and we’re hoping to expand, because the more people become part of this civic, the louder the voice of the civic is and the more substantial what we want and what we need become,” Ms. Clifford said. This is also a bit of a different way to try to reach people who might not know what this is or understand what it is.”

The next civic association meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, at Riverhead Free Library, with special guest Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski (D- Cutchogue).