Humans of UK: Mario Maitland shares people’s stories


Mario Maitland poses for a portrait on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, at the Gatton Student Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Laurie Jonhatan

Mario Maitland, a recent December 2021 UK graduate, debuted his podcast “What’s Next with Rio,” last fall on social media. Maitland began season one, which is still in continuance, with a vision of sharing others’ stories.

The podcast’s first few episodes feature stories of guests from a variety of backgrounds. Maitland has interviewed athletes like Rhyne Howard, a UK womens basketball player, as well as entrepreneurs like Chadwick McPherson, a fashion designer based in Atlanta. Maitland invites these guests in hopes of inspiring his listeners with a more in-depth view into their stories and lives.

“My podcast is focused around inspiring others, ‘cause without inspiration, we wouldn’t see the big icons like Martin Luther King, Barack Obama [and] great sports athletes,” Maitland said.

Maitland said his podcast, which has an interview-style setup, allows his guests to control “their stories, what they’re trying to say.” Maitland sends his guests the questions beforehand and tries to create a conversational environment during the taping of an episode.

“I try to have a light-going, more free, not-so-serious vibe, you know, just you and me sitting here talking…We’re gonna laugh, we’re gonna talk about different topics,” Maitland said. “I want to have a conversation and let my guest tell [their] story. Everybody’s got their own story.”

Maitland had always been a huge fan of podcasts, and this passion grew in recent years. During his final semester at UK, he was able to take a podcast class where he learned about the editing and audio aspects of podcast creation, giving him the foundation to create his own.

“The class definitely gave me the pathway to start what I really wanted to do in the long run,” Maitland said.

Throughout his college classes, he said he found himself always researching and “finding little things” to help better and improve himself.

Through the work of researching, marketing, promoting, interviewing guests and editing all by himself, Maitland finds that he improves with each and every episode.

As for the podcast’s future, Maitland is taking it episode by episode. As he finishes season one and begins to tape season two, Maitland wants to continue to grow as much as possible and be able to have an effect on people.

“Growing is the key – grow and learn from mistakes,” Maitland said. “[And to] be inspired by someone, someone else’s past story, you know, that’s how we [make] the world a better place in the long run.”