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Megan Jasen ’22 (right, with Andrew Haze) beams a weekly ration of cheer from the basement of her family’s home 40 minutes from campus. It’s a formula that has earned her podcast partnership a place in Apple’s Top 100.

Trending Student Podcast Partnership Continues Through Safer-at-Home

“The most we can do is make you laugh today,” Megan Jasen ’22 says into a microphone in the basement of her family’s home 40 minutes from campus, where she beams a weekly ration of cheer as co-host of the award-winning podcast “Haze & Jasen.”

The podcast – listed in Apple’s Top 100 – provides Jasen an opportunity to create “a happy place” amid COVID-19 concerns, she says. With the show’s creator and producer, UW Oshkosh’s Andrew Haze, Jasen coaxes listeners through the transition to online classes and softens the edge of uncomfortable times with a stream of popular culture, music and hilarity.

COVID-19 hasn’t interfered with the podcast pair’s work: “We’re lucky that we can both carry on with the show from home,” she says. “We usually aren’t together when we record anyway, because we’re at separate colleges, so it’s business as usual, and we decided that we will acknowledge what’s going on and how we all need to stay safe, but give people a chance to get away.

“The stuff we’re talking about hasn’t changed. It might not seem so important with what’s going on in the world at the moment – but if it makes people happy, it is important. And we want to keep posting every week, because we love to do it.”

Building success
The process of growing the podcast through three seasons has run parallel to Jasen’s college career. She was recruited as co-host by Haze, who took home the Wisconsin Broadcasting Association’s 2019 Best Podcast and Best Entertainment awards, just after they both left West Bend West (Wis.) High School.

“I’d known Andrew since middle school, when he gave me his business card. Nobody else at middle school had business cards,” Jasen says. “He had all the lead roles in our high school musicals. I was usually in the chorus, but the chorus is important. Then by the summer after high school he had set up his radio station, a100, and asked me to host a show. It was terrible; I was so nervous. But everything we’ve done since, steering the podcast through three seasons, has taught me so much. Now I’m learning about editing and producing. I know it will help me with my future career in media.”

Jasen says the breakthrough for the pair has been the podcast’s place in Apple’s Top 100 podcasts. “It’s given me so much more confidence. I seriously thought for ages that my mom was the only person listening every week. Now I really understand that we have an audience and that they love us.”

A playlist to entertain
Jasen’s lifelong passion for entertainment news is poured into the show’s celebrity gossip slot, compiled through forensic trawling of Instagram and YouTube. “I have always loved celebrity gossip,” Jasen says. “I’m obsessed with the Kardashians, for example. They’re such a close-knit family, and so funny. Perhaps some of it’s scripted, but it’s really hard to tell. It’s fascinating.”

Jasen and Haze bill themselves as “your two sassy best friends,” and regular listeners get to know their world: Haze’s roommates and their dogs, Jasen’s roommate’s guide to age-appropriate dating, and Jasen’s boyfriend and their relationship hiccups (Jasen: “He went bowling without me! That’s our thing!”).

They obsess over actress Amanda Bynes’ briefly worn engagement ring (Jasen: “It’s not my taste, but it’s beautiful on her. I mean, it was fake.”) and Justin Bieber’s lost cat. (Jasen: “I don’t have pets. I had old Webkins, but they died because my mom wouldn’t let me buy any more. It taught me how to deal with death. It sucks, but life goes on. Does that sound harsh?”).

Then there’s “grugging” (Jasen sings with a mouth full of water and Haze tries to guess the song), fast-food adventures in the Kwik Trip mukbang (Haze invents a fried-chicken sandwich made with two Glazer donuts and Jasen eats it), and guests like the Instagram comedian @christines_snaps (Jasen: “How awesome was she? As soon as quarantine is over we’re going to see her in Chicago!”).

Through it all, Jasen’s goal is to give listeners an escape during a time of upheaval and uncertainty, signing out another day with, “I hope I made you feel that you’re not the only crazy person out there.”

April 21, 2020