Banana Split

As a feminist group on campus, we're always looking for other women doing cool things here at Augie. We recently had the privilege of talking with Thea Gonzales and Siena Oliveri about their radio show, Banana Split. Our former Augie Her Campus co-correspondent LuAnna Gerdemann started the radio show last year and passed it down to these two! Here's what they had to say about the crazy adventure that has been setting up their show!


Who are you? Names, interests, your sign, whatever you want people to know about you!

Siena:  My name is Siena Oliveri. I am a freshman and I'm involved in Augie Choir, Rowing Crew, Sustained Dialogue, WAUG, and I am a prospective Vocal Performance/CSD major. I love singing, and everything music related. I am a Gemini. I am super obsessed with NPR, Nalgene water bottles, my cats, and popcorn. I am half- Filipino. I was on a club rowing crew for 2 years in high school. I am from Rockford, IL. I think I've been told that if I were a food, I'd be a pita chip... that is my vibe. My all-time favorite musical artist is Jamila Woods.

Thea: My name’s Thea Gonzales; I’ve got a triple major (environmental studies, MJMC, pre-law) and six jobs. I don’t really know how I do it, either. I’m assistant news editor on the Augustana Observer, a tutor in the Reading-Writing Center, a member of Chi Alpha Pi, Best Buddies, Camp Kesem, Electric Theatre Unplugged, and Augustana Choir. I’m also a Gemini but in a super stereotypical way (wowie look at us – the twin signs takin’ on this show). I’m tired but excited most of the time, and I think my most valuable asset is that I’m naturally curious and willing to listen.

I wasn’t even looking to host Banana Split – Lu just gave me the show one day! Right before she graduated, Lu invited me onto her show a couple of times because she got bored of listening to herself alone for an hour. When Andre, the general manager of WAUG, overheard us bantering and said we had “good on-air rapport,” Lu just asked me if I wanted her show! And then when I was walking to the first WAUG meeting of the term, I ran into Siena who was just trying to get home, and I dragged her into the meeting with me. Now we’re co-hosts.

I don’t know why I said yes to Lu that first day, but planning for Banana Split has made me realize how important and empowering it is that there’s a space for women of color and other marginalized people to have public discussions that then may go on to encourage further discussion among the public and people who might not necessarily identify as “marginalized.” I hope we make Lu proud.


What is Banana Split all about?

Siena: Banana Split is a WAUG radio show Thea and I inherited from Lu Gerdemann. It's a podcast style show that explores the Asian-American experience through female college students' perspective. The idea is that Asian-Americans often feel white on the inside but are seen as yellow on the outside (like a banana).

This perspective is often overlooked and not very well represented in the media and in college communities. Throughout the season we will be featuring guests from the Augustana Community, the Quad Cities, and the Asian-American activist and artist community in the United States. We will be featuring original music, poetry, and discussion on a variety of topics.

Thea: To me, the most integral part of what we’re trying to do with this show is to give insight into the way that people of color, especially Asian-Americans, experience their culture. Because this campus and this country are environments where it’s expected that immigrants and the children of immigrants assimilate to the larger, more dominant culture practiced by the white majority, we aim to take a look at the different ways that people of Asian descent reconcile their cultural identity in America. We want to tell the stories of the hard moments when you realize you’re different through our voices and the voices of activists, professors, musicians, artists, scientists and more who have experienced both the complications and the joys of trying to find your place within multiple worlds.


Who's the target audience?

Siena: Our target audience is the Augustana Community, college students, high-schoolers, Asian-Americans, honestly anyone interested in what we are talking about!


Tell us about the music choices for your show. How do you want your audience to feel?

Thea: The playlists that we have so far have targeted artists of color, including alternative, r&b, hip-hop, and jazz. Because Siena and I are also singer-songwriters, we’re hoping to perform some live music on the show, too! After listening to our show, we hope the next time someone asks our listeners “how many Asian-American musicians do you know?” they’ll be able to list more than one.


What excited you the most about inheriting this show from LuAnna?

Siena: We are pumped to produce each unique episode. We have a plan of the topics we want to cover in each episode and the guests we are going to interview! I am personally most excited to grow and learn more about my own Asian-American identity. Since I am biracial, I often excuse myself for not knowing much about my culture and the struggles some Asian-Americans face and have faced in the past. This project will be an awesome learning opportunity for me. We are also excited to be posting the episodes on Soundcloud as a podcast. Before, the episodes were only live, but Thea and I want them to be accessible at any time.


When is your show on and how do people listen?

It will be live on on Wednesdays at 7-8, but we will be posting the Podcasts on Soundcloud and the playlists on Spotify. Searchable @ Banana Split. We have an Instagram too! @bananasplitpodcast