Rockford native produces weekly podcast Budacast

BUDAPEST, Hungary—Hungary’s first English language podcast, Budacast, debuted this month. A weekly show dedicated to Hungary’s arts and culture scene, Budacast’s home page can be found at (RSS feed:

Budacast is the brainchild of a long-term transplant to Hungary, Drew Leifheit, an American who got his start in radio on an English language show in Budapest in the early 1990s. Leifheit currently produces Budacast with a few volunteers.

“We would like to give foreign residents of Budapest and visitors to Hungary a taste of why we love this city,” he explained, “introducing them to an important writer or filmmaker, transporting them to an eclectic modern dance performance or a cool underground club that they might not necessarily find on their own.”

Leifheit said he thinks Budacast could be kind of a supplement to guidebooks and other information sources about Budapest. “I can imagine foreign visitors to Hungary downloading a few episodes of our show and listening to them on their mp3 players on a transatlantic flight to Budapest,” he said.

Budacast embraces the podcast format not only to reach an affluent target audience in the U.S. and western Europe, but also to find listeners locally in Budapest as Hungarian commercial radio channels are typically reluctant to provide airtime for foreign language programming, according to Leifheit.

“The conventional wisdom in Hungary is that if an English language show comes on a station, all of the taxi drivers change the channel—most people still just don’t speak English,” Leifheit said. “I think the majority of my target audience has high-speed Internet access as well as mp3 players, so it’s also a great format for reaching the international community and young, English speaking Hungarians here.”

Recent segments on Budacast include a feature on the survivors of Hungary’s failed uprising against the Soviets in 1956, a tour of an interactive museum for kids, and a profile of a tawdry tabloid media star. One weekly segment called “Time Off” is basically a chat with a Budapest resident to find out what they’re doing on the upcoming weekend, followed by some recommendations for concerts, theater performances, or museum exhibitions.

From the Dec. 21-27, 2005, issue

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