Café Seoul is a Korea-based expat-lifestyle podcast. Co-hosted by a duo of expats from North America, each episode deals with a particular hot-button theme or issue. Café Seoul discusses recent news, answers listener questions, and interviews interesting people all for the sake of intelligent discussion with a dash of humor.
Hailing from small-town Canada, Rob has lived in Seoul since 2003, and written about life in South Korea on his blog, “Roboseyo” since 2006. Rob was a founding member of Café Seoul, and presents the “On The Pulse” interview segment. He holds a Masters’ Degree in Korean Studies, and uses chopsticks very well. These days, he balances blogging, family, podcasting and other writing projects with a job teaching English to university students. His friends actually do call him “Roboseyo..
A native of the State of Maryland in the USA, Eugene moved to Korea in 2006 for graduate school, but ended up staying longer than he intended. He holds a Masters’ Degree in International Relations and is a geek about sci-fi films and tv shows, baseball, pro wrestling, and various other subjects (so you probably don’t want to play against him in trivial pursuit). Eugene was a founding member of Café Seoul and he also writes and produces the podcast, and each episode presents the News of the Weird segment.
Dissatisfied with management’s death grip on creative control at the radio station where he worked, as a writer for a show, hired because he was considered creative, Eugene Hwang explored the idea of podcasting in late 2012. After discussing with coworker and serious newsman Dan Shin during one of their constant complain-about-my-job-rants, the initial concept of Café Seoul was born. In its infancy, the envisioned podcast would involve friends gathering together over dinner and discussing events. After consulting with other disgruntled radio employees, the original team consisted of Eugene, Dan, longtime radio writer and guest Christine Shin, public speaking consultant Michael Jones, future Hollywood Starlet Olivia Lim, and Korea-related-blogger heavyweight Rob Ouwehand. The pilot episode was recorded on an a small audio recorder in an actual coffee shop.
Season One (January 2013 – May 2013):
During the first recording, just for kicks Eugene also wrote in a few public service announcement parodies that mocked the ridiculous ones put out by the station. These proved to be more fun than the discussions themselves and by episode 2, the decision was made collectively that Café Seoul would be a comedy podcast. Dan decided not to continue beyond episode 1 and between episodes 2-8 the team of 5 members did their best to show off their comedic flair. Scheduling and division of labor for the core 5 proved to be overwhelming and a new format was suggested and tried in episode 9. Due to several factors the group went on a long hiatus after season one.
Season Two (March 2014 – August 2014)
Aaron Martinson, a recurring radio guest approached Eugene about joining a seperate podcast in February 2014. Eugene initially agreed but then after discussions with Olivia and Rob, the decision was made to restart Café Seoul and bring Aaron onto the team as a co-host with Olivia, with Rob and Eugene as guests. The format of the show was overhauled, coupling News of the Weird w/Eugene and On the Pulse w/Rob.
Season Three (October 2014 – July 2015)
In December 2014, Café Seoul won Best Podcast at the K-Blog Awards, beating the Korea Underground Podcast by only the slimmest of margins. Due to a printing error the certificate read “Best Best Podcast” (hence the podcast’s tagline).
In 2015, the new segments Ask Aaron and Olivia and On the Street w/ Michael were added. In May 2015 both Aaron and Olivia had their final shows with Café Seoul, and Blossom Perriard, who was the interviewee in Season 3 episode 11 was brought on to co-host with Rob and Eugene starting with episode 13.
Season Four: (October 2015 – November 2016)
Café Seoul returned in October of 2015. Blossom left the team due to becoming gainfully employed, which made her schedule incongruent with the podcast’s schedule. Rob and Eugene began doing the podcast as a duo, while advertising a need for a third member. Rydia Kim came on and agreed to appear once per month as a temporary co-host. After a few episodes scheduling issues once again reared their ugly heads, and the podcast once again became a Rob and Eugene Duo. In April 2016, Café Seoul published its 50th episode. Season 4 eventually turned out to be the longest season to date, lasting about 13 months, with the 25th and final episode of the season occurring in November 2016.
Season Five: (April 2017 – Present)
Rob and Eugene took a bit longer break than they expected and returned in April, 2017. Season 5 began with the revelation that there may be fewer guests, and Rob and Eugene have also resigned to the fact that they probably won’t be able to keep a long term
third wheel female cohost, hence season five was labeled the bromance season. Fans that enjoy hearing two dudes pontificate and basically agree with each other all the time have a high chance of loving this season.