Natalie Gross and Andrea Scott host the Spouse Angle Podcast, where they bring news and relevant content to military spouses and their families.
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Scott DeLuzio: 00:03 Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast, where we talk about issues affecting Veterans after they get out of the military. Before we get started, I'd like to ask a favor if you haven't done so already, please rate and review the show on Apple podcast. If you've already done that, thank you. These ratings help the show get discovered so it can reach a wider audience. And while you're there click the subscribe button so that you get notified of new episodes as soon as they come out. If you don't use Apple podcasts, you can visit DriveOnPodcast.com/subscribe to find other ways of subscribing, including our email list. I'm your host, Scott DeLuzio. And now let's get on with the show.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:44 Hi everybody. Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast. Today my guests are Natalie Gross and Andrea Scott. Natalie and Andrea are co-founders of the Spouse Angle, a podcast and news site that brings trusted relevant news to military spouses and their families. So, Natalie and Andrea, welcome to the show. Why don't you tell us a little about yourselves and your background? Natalie, maybe start with you.
Natalie Gross 01:13 Sure. Thanks so much, Scott, for having us, we are excited to be here, so I am Natalie Gross. I am the host and producer of the Spouse Angle podcast, which, like you mentioned, is a podcast and a website breaking down the news for military spouses and their families. That's our tagline. We launched last October. I'm a military kid. My dad was in the Army for 20 years. So, I moved around a lot as an Army brat. I'm taking these experiences as an Army brat then turned journalist and I'm bringing that into the Spouse Angle as well. Andrea and I met at Military Times when I was working there for two years. And I'm now a freelance journalist covering mostly the military, but also education as well.
Scott DeLuzio: 01:59 Awesome. Andrea, how about you?
Andrea Scott: 02:02 Yeah, thanks so much for having us here today, Scott. My family is also a military family. I like to joke and Natalie hates my joke, but I'm the loser of my family. My family is all Air Force and Navy pilots. And I am a journalist that sits behind the desk a lot of times and no one in my family can understand how I know how to read and write. I don't understand how they all know how to fly airplanes, but my father was an A10 pilot in the Air Force when I was young and both my younger brothers right now are Air Force pilots flying the B 52 and the F35. I'm very proud of them and grew up with that military spirit, but it wasn't necessarily my calling. So, my background is journalism. Like I said, reading and writing is what I'm good at.
Andrea Scott 02:46 And I ended up at Military Times, as editor of Marine Corps Times. That's where I met Natalie. I'm still there, but I think both Natalie and I were inspired by our military-spouse mothers and the perseverance and strength that they had and just being in the military space. Seeing that there hasn't been an authoritative news site for military spouses to give them resources, to give them broader community other than just a Facebook page or something. So we really wanted to bring this as a service to our military spouses to give them the support that they deserve.
Scott DeLuzio: 03:20 Yeah, absolutely. And it's actually interesting. My story is just the opposite of yours where my parents did not serve in the military at all. And then my brother and I both decided to join the military. And so, their confusion was a little bit backwards. Why are you doing this? And you know, why aren't you following in our footsteps and that type of stuff. It is interesting to hear everyone's backgrounds and where people came from and how you got involved with this type of stuff. So, talking about the Spouse Angle, what was the inspiration behind that? I know you talked a little bit about your families and seeing how they live the military spouse life, but what was the inspiration to actually start this as a resource for military spouses?
Andrea Scott 04:21 Well, I'll start with that. I had an idea when I was in grad school. Natalie and I both actually got our master's degree from Georgetown in the same program at different times. She inspired me to go to that program, but I took an entrepreneurship class, specifically for media and for our final project, we had to come up with an idea and I was thinking, “Oh, I know nothing about business. I'm going to fail this class.” I started looking at the statistics, at least in our Military Times newsroom and saying that a lot of the readership was male heavy, with the military, there's a lot of male readership and saying that it was 75% male. Just thinking as far as a media outlet, that there's not really something that's serving that female service member or the spouse demographic.
Andrea Scott 05:10 And so I pitched that as my project and was the only one in the class to get an A, not to brag, but I'm very proud of that.
Scott DeLuzio: You should be.
Andrea Scott: It was years later when Natalie, she can explain, but she was transitioning from working full time to working full time from home or taking a break with her first child that we realized she wanted to do a military spouse podcast and I wanted to do a military spouse brand that we thought they would go hand in hand together.
Scott DeLuzio: Awesome.
Natalie Gross: So, I'll just add onto that. I had the inspiration to start a podcast, and I knew that I wanted to have it military related and reach the spouse community. And I didn't quite decide on the journalism niche of that until I was talking to my military spouse friends, “what would you want to see what
Natalie Gross 05:57 is missing out there?” And a lot of them were saying, “well, you know, as far as news goes, we’re reliant on our service member, on our spouse to tell us what's going on as far as the latest military policy changes or different laws that would affect them.” And that information wasn't always getting communicated to them at home. So, they'd be sifting through Facebook trying to piece together what actually applies to them, what doesn't. And so, Andrea and I talked and we saw this information gap that we thought that a podcast could fill. You can listen to it on the go. Military spouses are always busy it seems. And so that's why we decided on the podcast format to start with. We also have a website where we have other news and things like that. So that's what the inspiration was, let’s fill this information gap and help military spouses stay connected to the changes in policy and different things in the news cycle that affect them and clear out the clutter.
Scott DeLuzio: 07:02 Yeah. And speaking at this point now a veteran, but someone who was in the shoes of the service member, who oftentimes had to relay information to my wife, I didn't always understand all of the information and how it applied to us as a family or to her as an individual who may have been at home while I was deployed and things like that. And, quite frankly, when you're in the middle of a deployment and you're training up to go overseas to go fight a war, you're not always thinking of Tri-Care benefits or whatever the things that are being handed to you. You get all this information, this paperwork and all this stuff thrown at you, and sometimes it's like drinking from a fire hose where you're just getting so much information and trying to digest it all and make sense of it all, and it is really a hard thing to do. And so, having a resource like this available, I think is really valuable to the military spouses who can then go to a resource like yours and try to make sense of it all. They're probably getting overwhelmed as well.
Natalie Gross 08:29 Yeah, thanks for saying that. I will say even our core audience and our target audience is really military spouses and family members. We have some service members who listen to and have reached out and have said “thank you. I wanted to understand the certain thing that I'd heard about.” And so, that's been really cool to see too, that we've been able to be a resource for even active duty service members who are getting this information in other places as well.
Scott DeLuzio: 08:52 Yeah, absolutely. One of the things that was really hard to understand was after coming back from overseas, you have access to all these new benefits; you're post 9/11 GI bill and all these other benefits that you now have access to, but there's certain criteria and certain conditions and certain things have to be met. And when you go through this whole matrix of things, it's like, “does this stuff even still apply to me? I don't even know anymore.” And it's just so much, and sometimes you just shut down and you don't want to try to figure this stuff out anymore, but you have a resource available that can spell it out for you and make it a little bit easier to break it down and understand. I mean, it just sounds like it's a great thing to have.
Andrea Scott 09:43 And Scott, more and more modern military spouses, I think have different demands on them, with the internet. I think it gives so many more opportunities for spouses to work overseas, here in the US, they're working more than ever before. We have more military male spouses than ever before. There's a different focus. It's not as much on base community life as it used to be. And so, seeing that change, I think the modern military spouse has different needs, and we're hoping to find them where they are at. Find them on their phone, find them in their car, through the podcast like Natalie said, and give them the resources where they are right now.
Scott DeLuzio: 10:22 Yeah. And one of your episodes that I was listening to the other day was even talking about one of these changes that within the last five or so years, just in the way that military spouses are working through the gig economy where there's Uber and Lyft and Postmates and all these other app based jobs where people are able to work and they don't necessarily have to clock into an office at a physical location. They can be working wherever they are. And it makes it a little bit easier for people who are military spouses who may be picking up and moving every couple of years, where they're not going to have to sit down and interview for a job, knowing that a year and a half, two years from now, “I'm no longer going to be living in this area to work at this job anymore.”
Scott DeLuzio: 11:19 So there's definite changes that are happening, that are going around, even things just like the economy. There are all sorts of changes and making information available to these military spouses to make life easier for them is a super valuable resource. Now, the Spouse Angle isn't just a podcast. I know we've talked about some of the episodes and everything, but you started adding in relevant news stories there too. So, tell me a little bit about that transition, or maybe it's not so much of a transition as it is an addition to the lineup, maybe. What made you want to add the news angle to it, more of an information type thing. What made you want to add that to it?
Natalie Gross: 12:16 Well, I think it was always a goal even from back when we started and even first started having these conversations was to hopefully let the podcast lead into a larger brand and being able to offer even more content for military spouses. And I'll let Andrea talk about that because the website's her baby.
Andrea Scott: Yeah. Natalie had the goal of doing a podcast. I honestly didn't know anything about podcasting when we started this, but Natalie had a little bit of a background and we've both been learning a lot. It's been really fun. My goal was to start a military spouse news site. And, unfortunately, or fortunately I was furloughed from Military Times the past three months. I just started work again on Monday. And so, three months off of work, during COVID and as the country and as our organization tried to make changes to survive the pandemic, it gave me three months to sit down and build a website and get this started.
Natalie Gross: 13:15 So, we actually just launched our website a few weeks ago and we're just getting in the rhythm of the daily and weekly number of news stories that we want to get up, but we want to give those news sources, not everyone listens to podcasts, so let's put it in other places. We also have our social media sites and we have our websites. We just really want to give that information wherever people are at and we're open to new ideas too. So, as we continue to build out their website and build our brand, if there are other resources that would be valuable to military spouses, we've talked about doing just a specific resource section, giving more nuts and bolts on our website. We now have the availability to do that. So we're here to listen and take feedback from spouses and what they're looking for.
Scott DeLuzio: 14:06 Yeah. And that's great too, that you're taking the feedback from the other spouses and not just, this is what we think you want to hear. So, we're going to just push everything out that way. Natalie, you were going to say something,
Natalie Gross: 14:20 Oh, I was just going to say, if anyone has story ideas for the podcast or for the website, you can email us [email protected] and we check that regularly and we'd just love to connect with people there.
Scott DeLuzio: 14:32 And we will definitely have all of your contact information, all your social media links and your website and everything like that in the show notes, too. So, anyone who might be in the car driving right now, they don't have to jot down that email address. You can check it out in the show notes after they safely park the car and get out. I've listened to a few of your episodes. I mentioned that earlier, and some of them are incredibly powerful and moving stories that you are sharing. For example, there's one story that you had with the Gold Star spouse. Her story was pretty powerful. And being from a Gold Star family myself, perhaps that's why it was as meaningful and impactful to me, but I know for me, it was through this podcast that I'm doing, I hear other people's stories.
Scott DeLuzio: 15:31 And part of the goal for me is to share stories of hardship and struggle and show how these people that I have on the show explain how they get out of the dark place that they're in. If they're struggling with either PTSD or depression or something that they're going through, and show how they got out of that dark place to provide inspiration to the listeners of the show, so that they know that they're not alone and that they can find a better way forward. What is the goal for you with the stories that you're sharing on this podcast? What do you hope to achieve by sharing the stories of these other spouses and other people who you have on the show? Start with Natalie, maybe.
Natalie Gross 16:30 Yeah, sure. So, you know, we already talked about trying to fill that information gap. I'm just trying to bring resources to military spouses, let them know what's going on, keep them in the loop would probably be the main goal. As a side of that, and I'm glad you mentioned that episode with Krista. That was a really hard episode, especially because, as a journalist, I have to check my emotions, but sometimes you just want to cry with them, and that was a really special episode and just providing a platform for people to tell their stories. Episode 31 was last week; we had a conversation about race in the military and I brought two black military spouses on the show who hadn't really shared these experiences publicly before to my knowledge, and we're just having a conversation about racism that they've experienced and how in many ways some in the military community, but also in many ways, have they been able to lean on the military community in places that they've lived to help them and feel more included. And so just being able to provide a platform for people to share their stories has been really just an honor. And I think it really helps to bridge the military/civilian divide that you hear about.
Natalie Gross 17:52 For civilians who listened to the podcast, to be able to hear these stories of military families, as well as I usually bring on military spouses as experts. And so, it shows that military spouses aren't just these people to be talked about. They're also experts in their fields. They also have this really great advice that is applicable to anyone. We had two military spouses on at the start of COVID to talk about tips for making your business thrive during the pandemic and that's information that they offered. They happen to be military spouses who are bad ass military entrepreneurs, and they had advice for people and that was applicable to anyone. And so, I think really it helps to bridge the military/civilian divide as well. Andrea, do you have anything else to add to that, or if you can say it better than I can.
Andrea Scott: I'm just laughing because we said, Natalie, wouldn't swear.
Natalie Gross: I make an exception. I think that's a good way to describe them.
Andrea Scott 18:51 Absolutely. I do think at the heart of the most powerful journalism is storytelling. The information is important and that's what keeps it moving, but the heart of it is really the storytelling. And as we said, we're inspired by our mothers. We're inspired by our military spouse friends and spouses that we wrote about while working at Military Times. And I think that's the heart of it. Natalie's done a really great job and we've tried to make sure that any story that we do tell has some sort of news peg. A great example was there's been a lot of base housing issues with mold and rat infestations and just dilapidated housing, and so we got to tell those powerful stories, but also tell it at a time when those stories are being put in front of Congress and in front of the country.
Andrea Scott 19:48 And so I think it has to be about telling powerful stories and I think our military spouses have really important stories to tell, they've been through a lot, as Natalie said that regular civilians wouldn't necessarily understand. We want to make their stories known and we're just a microphone for their stories, and then we give them information in return and hopefully they're inspired in return. I think a lot of these spouses have been inspired by hearing another Gold Star spouse's story. And maybe even just the fear that they felt while going through a PCS or while their husband or wife deployed that I think there's a lot that we can bring to the community through telling those stories.
Scott DeLuzio: 20:34 Yeah, absolutely. And one thing that we briefly touched on, we just like glossed over a little bit, but the demographic is changing as well, where we're traditionally think military spouse as a female because traditionally males were the primary service members, but that's definitely changing too. And it's at the point now where men are a growing portion of the military spouse community. I see that a recent episode is talking about a military dad and so you're addressing these changes as well, which I think is great. Talking about these changes and how they affect the actual military spouses, what the actual makeup is and I’m sure there are plenty of females who are military spouses as well, that hasn't changed. It's good to see that you're keeping up with what is actually going on and helping get that information out to everybody who's involved in that community. That's really great too.
Natalie Gross 22:04 Thank you. Yeah, that was a really fun episode, the one you were just talking about, and he talks about in that episode about how he meets many military husbands, military spouses, male, military spouses, who struggle with that idea of not being the breadwinner or not being able to have a successful career, especially as he's in Okinawa and he doesn't really have work there, and he says just because of stereotypes, or the way it's always been, it seems a lot of men struggle with that. But then on the flip side, a lot of men embrace the military life and don't care that they don't have a career or whatever, just like female, military spouses. There is some struggle to find their tribe to find, as he said, he tells a story in the podcast if you've had a chance to listen to it, but he went to a military spouse meeting and it ended up being a book club and they were reading 50 Shades of Gray. He was like, “Oh, alright, I'm out.” And so, he's trying to build this network for male, military spouses to have different ways to connect, but in addition to being included in the broader military spouse population.
Andrea Scott 23:22 There's also the dual military family. I think Natalie had a super interesting interview early in the COVID pandemic with the husband and wife are both in the military. How are they going to find childcare when they were still required to go into work and their entire city and County was shut down? How do they find childcare during this time? I mean, those are things that are very important that maybe others wouldn't necessarily think about it. And so we're trying to give them the resources and also shed light. So maybe someone can hear their story and say, “Hey, I have a solution. Let me step in.” And so, we do want to be a network and connector as well.
Scott DeLuzio: 24:02 Yeah. And that's an interesting situation that they find themselves in because they still have a job to do. They still have to go into work, but all of the daycares and all the traditional places that you might go to have your kids taken care of, are being closed. And that's a problem for not just the military, but first responders, the doctors, nurses, and people like that. They're in a very similar situation where they still have to go into the hospitals and do their job and treat the sick patients that are coming in, but there's potentially nobody there to take care of their kids and help them out if they both have to go to work, that could be difficult as well.
Andrea Scott 24:55 No, it does go to show, they were a dual military couple, and he ended up getting out in large part because they couldn't find childcare. And so it does bring up issues of retention for sure. And of course, that's probably only been magnified in this time of COVID where if you have two essential workers and they have to go in, who's going to watch their kids.
Scott DeLuzio: 25:18 Absolutely, and that's a strange new world that we were finding ourselves in where these situations that a year ago, two years ago, 10 years ago, we didn't really have to think about too much. The last big, virus scare didn't shut down things the way COVID has shut down things. And so, it's definitely changing the way society interacts with each other, the way the military community conducts itself, having information and the resources available and being a network, a way to network with people together to get that information out there is really a valuable tool to have, and to allow the military spouses to connect with those resources that may be they just perhaps don't know about yet, because they haven't been exposed to it.
Scott DeLuzio: 26:18 Maybe they haven't had an awesome podcast to listen to that will tell them about all this information that's out there, which is great that you're doing it in a way it's sort of what I'm trying to do as well. I want to make sure, through this podcast. We were talking about this before we started recording, I want to make sure that with this podcast, that if there's resources out there for someone who's struggling with something, I don't care what that something is. If there's a resource out there that I know about, or that a guest of mine knows about, I want to get it out there. And so that way the people who are listening will be able to find the resources that they need and make life just that much easier, that much better for them, which is why I wanted to have you on the show to talk about what you're doing and how you're helping out the military spouses and their families who are listening to your podcast and checking out the news that you're putting out
Scott DeLuzio: 27:25 because without that, they're just going to be stuck trying to figure this stuff out on their own the way they always have been, and not to say that it's impossible to do, but if there's an easier way to do it, why not? Why not go that route.
Natalie Gross: Right. I agree.
Scott DeLuzio: 27:46 So, wrapping up a little bit here, because we’re getting close on time here. What does the future look like for this podcast and the Spouse Angle as a whole? What does it look like for you guys a year from now, five years from now? I know, five years ago, nobody knew we were going to be in the position we're in right now. So maybe five years is a stretch to say what's it going to look like for you guys, but what are your goals? Where do you see this going and what do you hope to achieve with it in the future? We can start with Andrea this time.
Andrea Scott 28:30 Sure. I mean, I've always been the macro idealist. That's just my role. In my life, I always like to see the big picture. And I think that there hasn't been a national, international, large resource for military spouses. I think the main way that military spouses, a lot of them are getting information right now is individual Facebook groups for the base that they're at. And so why don't we have a news brand that spans the basics that can bring information and connect. So, we want to take it as big as we can. I got to go to the military influencers conference last year. I met a lot of military spouses who are doing great things. As Natalie said, we did an episode on military spouses who during the pandemic or talking about their small business that's because they started in military spouse, entrepreneur program.
Andrea Scott 29:31 So we've been talking to them and we want to work with more military spouses and do partnerships, collaborations, like what can all of us together to build the community? So that's not a serious specific answer, but we want more content, especially for the website, we just got that up. So we want to have more news content, maybe we can have more writers in the future, just build the resources that are available, but we want to be connected in the larger military spouse community in every way that we can, and bringing our resource to as many spouses as we can.
Scott DeLuzio: 30:06 Do you see this maybe falling under the Military Times umbrella at some point, or is this going to remain more of an independent, private thing?
Natalie Gross 30:18 No comment on that at this time, but we do, of course both value our connection to Military Times. Just to add onto what Andrea was saying, right now, we're just really focused on growth. We had just gotten our website up. The podcast has been around not even a year yet, and we're seeing really, really great growth. And we're happy about that. I think eventually we just want to be a household name in the military spouse space so that people, when they hear the Spouse Angle, they know what we are, who we are and what we offer.
Scott DeLuzio: 30:56 Well, that is awesome. And I think with that, it's been an absolute pleasure speaking with both of you about the Spouse Angle and everything that you're doing. Could you tell the listeners again where they can find out more about the Spouse Angle and everything that you're doing?
Natalie Gross 31:19 Absolutely. The website is TheSpouseAngle.com and you can email us @podcastatthespouseangle.com. We are on Facebook and Instagram at SpouseAnglepodcast, and on Twitter at TheSpouseAngle. Unfortunately, spouse angle podcast was too long for Twitter. So we had a switch. You can find us just Google this The Spouse Angle.
Scott DeLuzio: 31:41 If you go to the website, it has all the social media links on there, right at the top. Nice and easy to find. You can subscribe on all the typical places, wherever you're listening to this podcast. You could probably find the Spouse Angle as well. So as soon as you're done listening to this episode, go over to the search and type in The Spouse Angle and subscribed to that, leave a rating, review, all that good stuff. That'll help out the Spouse Angle get a better reach and help all the military spouses find the information that they're looking for. So, thank you, Natalie and Andrea for joining me today, it's been a pleasure.
Natalie Gross 32:24 Thanks so much for having us.
Andrea Scott: Thanks so much.
Scott DeLuzio: 32:32 Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website at DriveOnPodcast.com. We're on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at DriveOnPodcast.