• Marjorie Asturias of Irving covers the gamut of animal rescue, protection and rights issues on 'Radio Free Rescue' Mondays at 8 p.m.
By Julie Thibodeaux
Irving-based marketing whiz Marjorie Asturias knows how to reach people in her business. Now she’s hoping to give animals a voice with her radio show Radio Free Rescue. Asturias, who founded the local boutique marketing company Blue Volcano Media in 2010, also has a passion for helping animals. Last year, when she set out to carve out more volunteer time in her busy schedule, she hit on a way to broadcast the animal welfare message from home: start a radio show.
Launched in November through an online hosting service, the show airs every Monday night at 8 pm and can be heard worldwide via the internet. The name of the show plays off Radio Free Europe -- a news outlet funded by the U.S. government to broadcast uncensored news in countries where the free press is stifled.
Asturias, a former newspaper columnist and longtime blogger, features guests from local pet rescue and adoption groups but goes beyond companion animal issues. She’s covered everything from shark finning to factory farms to Buddhism, which promotes veganism and compassion towards all creatures. In addition to local advocates, guests have included national figures such as Zach Weismann, spokesperson from WildAid; Gene Baur, founder of Farm Sanctuary; and Steven Wise, founder of the Nonhuman Rights Project. (Photo: Marjorie Asturias)
“I like to be able to cover the depth and breadth of animal issues,” said Asturias. “I don’t have lofty goals. I find guests that I think would be interesting and something about their mission speaks to me.”
With a noise-canceling microphone, Asturias interviews guests after calling them from her computer dashboard. Listeners can call, email or post questions on Facebook or Twitter. While local guests tend to draw a North Texas-based audience, nationally known figures attract listeners from across the U.S. Typically, around 200 listeners tune into the weekly live show. However, archived shows have been downloaded as many as 12,000 times.
A seasoned interviewer, Asturias admits live radio has its challenges, like the time a guest took a nap before the show and fell asleep. They woke her with a phone call only after the show went live before plunging into the interview.
“We’ve learned to wing it and become comfortable with glitches,” she said.
Her husband Brian Lochlaer, the founder of marine welfare groups HarpSealsDFW and Friends of George and Gracie, partners in the production. A former DJ in college, he screens callers, manages online questions and fills in when Asturias can’t host. (Photo: Gene Baur, founder of Farm Sanctuary)
The couple is taking a hiatus in May but will be back June 3. This summer, they’ll host their first international guest, a woman who operates a dog rescue group in the Philippines, where Asturias was born and lived as a youth. She also plans to interview a panel for the first time. The theme is “Mothers for Others” and she’ll bring in three Dallas-area women, Anna Clark of Texas Shark Stewards, Alex Dorer of Fins and Flukes and Chasity Reed of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society -- all mothers and busy professionals who devote time to animal welfare causes.
“Every woman wants to know how you do it all,” she said.
Of the animal welfare movement, she said while there is still much to be done, she finds reason to be encouraged. The good news is that the internet and social media are bringing people together around the globe, she said.
“I think there’s a lot of hope,” she said. “There’s a growing number of people who care. Americans are very generous. They just need to know how they can help.”
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Julie Thibodeaux covers environmental issues, green topics and sustainable living for Green Source DFW. Previously, she worked as an editor and writer at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Send your green bulletin items to Julie@greensourcedfw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @greensourcedfw.