Glen Ellyn, Ill., Oct. 11, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- College of DuPage alumnus Bradley Kirouac and his husband, Matt Kirouac, recently signed a contract with iHeart Radio and launched Parklandia, a podcast that documents the couple’s experiences traveling the country with the goal of visiting as many national parks as possible.

The Kirouacs, who would previously spend extended periods of time away from each other while on the road for work, decided to begin traveling full-time in their RV as a way to spend more time together. The podcast shares discoveries about what makes the parks unique, including the Everglades, Redwood and Congaree.

“It was one of those decisions that we both jumped into,” Bradley said. “We did some research, but neither of us grew up going camping or traveling in RVs and motor homes or anything like that.”

The subject grew from a work trip that Matt took to western South Dakota in 2016.

“I sort of became obsessed with national parks and writing about them,” Matt said. “I went to Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills and a few other places. That was a turning point for me where I realized how amazing national parks are. It made me want to explore for both personal reasons and to incorporate it more into my work.”

When Bradley and Matt initially discussed the idea of starting a podcast, both were hesitant as they were not familiar enough with the process in order to move forward on their own. Coincidentally, Christopher Hassiotis, a former colleague of Matt’s who is now an executive producer at iHeart Radio, reached out shortly after and informed Matt that he was looking for new travel-related podcast ideas.

With the help of Hassiotis and producer Myke Johns, Parklandia, which is recorded at iHeart Radio’s studio in Atlanta, began in August and will feature three seasons per year and 13 episodes per season.

“Season one is laying the groundwork on how we got into the lifestyle,” Bradley said. “Going forward, we’re going to talk more about the reasoning, research and work ethic behind these types of travels. It’s one of those things where listeners are going to get an idea how to do this and learn from our mistakes.”

After serving in the Marines, Bradley earned his Associate in Arts degree from COD and then transferred to Robert Morris University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in management.

Of all of Bradley’s experiences at COD, his greatest was joining Pride Alliance, COD’s gay-straight alliance.

“When I first walked in, I didn’t know what to expect. I was nervous, happy and also felt alone,” he said. “But within the first five minutes, I was a changed person. And, for the first time in my life, I felt accepted for who I was. My objective was to expand Pride to help more students than it had in the past, so I applied for the president position and, with a great team of officers, we did just that.”

Because of his efforts, the Office of Student Life named Pride Alliance its Club of the Year and Bradley received the Benjamin P. Hyink Student Leader of the Year Award.

He said the goal of Parklandia is to share with listeners the joys of exploring new environments and living life with less restrictions.

“Listeners should expect to hear the American dream,” Bradley said. “To be able to work anywhere you want across the entire country is fun. Our office can one day be a beach. The next day it could be a coffee shop and, the day after that, a rodeo.”

While the podcast recently began, the couple already is thinking about expanding their storytelling beyond national travels.

“We would ideally want to incorporate international travels,” Matt said. “We want to explore the world and take this idea of outdoor travel a step further in the future.”

Listen to Parklandia on iHeart Radio and Apple Podcasts.

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Jennifer Duda
College of DuPage
(630) 942-3097
dudajen@cod.edu