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‘Lead Balloon’ Flies High, Becoming First Podcast Episode Recorded In An F-18.

The show may be called Lead Balloon, but host Dusty Weis was flying high for his recent episode. It was recorded during a ride along with the famed U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron at the unit’s Pensacola, Fla. headquarters.

Each year, dozens of media reps, influencers and VIPs are invited to take a ride in the back seat of one of the squadron's F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets. And, in order to help tell the story of the Blue Angels public affairs team, Lead Balloon was invited to be the first podcast to take one of those rides this year. In the episode, Weis is paired up with Lt. Commander Griffin Stangel, No. 7 Blue Angels pilot and air show narrator, who is tasked with giving media reps the ride of a lifetime, while at the same time serving as an on-the-record spokesman for the unit. He not only flies the plane, but fields questions and hits talking points with a smile on his face—all while enduring the extreme physical punishment of high-G aviation.

Lead Balloon does not typically produce videos of its episodes, but this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Weis and the show resulted in a companion video version of the podcast. It was recorded by pilot Stangel, who often flies members of the Blue Angels public affairs team to capture photos and videos of the squadron in action.

“Riding with the Blue Angels was a life-changing experience for me, and a great chance to learn from some of the best strategic communicators in the business,” Weis says. “As much as I enjoy telling stories via podcasting, it was a special opportunity for us to share this tale as a visual experience as well.”

Lead Balloon is the creation of Podcamp Media, a Milwaukee production agency specializing in branded podcasts. The monthly show typically revisits epic PR disasters, intense communications scenarios, professional crises and half-baked marketing campaigns gone awry.

Watch the 52-minute video of the latest Lead Balloon episode HERE.

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