Real Stories MKE

In 2022, Ex Fabula worked with 89.7 WUWM to start Real Stories MKE, a podcast and radio show that features true personal stories from the Milwaukee community. Every week hosts Kim Shine & Joel Dresang share recorded stories on select themes from Ex Fabula’s monthly StorySlams. Real Stories MKE is produced by Ex Fabula staff, and the Audio Engineer is Sam Woods.

Real Stories MKE was voted Best Local Podcast in the Shepherd Express’s Best of Milwaukee 2022 contest. Shepherd Express reporter Allen Halas said this about Real Stories MKE,

“Presented in collaboration with WUWM and Ex Fabula, Real Stories MKE highlights the people and ideas that make Milwaukee unique. Each story is recorded from a live Ex Fabula event and compiled around a central theme by hosts Kim Shine and Joel Dresang. In an effort to connect the city’s many neighborhoods and backgrounds, the podcast serves as a common ground for all of Milwaukee to come together.”

Kim Shine speaking into podcast microphone. Joel Dresang in background reading paper.
Kim Shine, Joel Dresang, and Lauren Instenes smile together at Shephard Express 'Best Of' Awards night
Joel Dresang speaks into podcasting microphone. Sam Woods observes.


Season 1

This week explores connection; what it means to feel connected to a community or face the loss of that support. What happens when you lose connection to a part of your identity or faith? This episode features stories from Matthew Lewis and Richard Kerhin.


Driving can be and often is an entirely mundane activity; occasionally, however, driving is an adventure or even a rite of passage. This episode features three amusing car-inspired stories from Jasmine Hawkins, John Birdsall, and Jerrianne Hayslett.


Some people see their culture and heritage reflected everywhere around them; others have had to work a little harder to discover, embrace and celebrate their culture. In this episode, Nashley Medina, Taqwa Obaid, and Jason Dropik share stories about ways they have embraced their culture, and even shared it with others.


Even when two people are in love, it’s not always enough to get and stay married. In this episode, Iuscely Flores and Molly Snyder share stories that explore the messiness that happens when love and other institutions collide.


Our names are so personal. They can be ways to show affection and even give us insight into culture and history. This episode includes stories about names from Eno Meier, Julie Hoppe, and Clayborn Benson.


Death isn’t always easy to talk about, but our approaches to death and dying say so much about who we are. This episode features 3 stories from individuals dealing with the loss of loved ones: PJ Carter, Carol Davis, and Michael Heider.


While utopia literally means “no place”, eutopia means “good place”. This episode features stories from our November 4, 2021 Slam, when Leah Anderson, Murali Vedula, Nubian Star, and Kelly Shafer were among the community members sharing personal stories about eutopia.


In 2019, Ex Fabula collaborated with Milwaukee Art Museum on a Slam connected with their exhibit “Serious Play: Design in MidCentury America.” This episode features 3 stories from that Slam, told by Sarah Carter, Mel Miskimen, and De’Shawn Ewing.


As a storytelling organization, Ex Fabula believes that when more individuals speak up, we can all learn from each other and grow in understanding. This episode explores the act of speaking up and its consequences via three stories from Amanda Panciera, Margaret Henningsen, and Kerri Grote.

We’re highlighting stories about mental wellness as part of Ex Fabula’s work to deepen the narrative around depression and mental health. Thanks to the brave storytellers Andrea Ruffier, Cate Miller and Corey Fells.

Season 2

This episode is all about dating. For many, it’s a rocky, yet rewarding road. A precursor to romance, an awkward dance between conflicting expectations and miscommunications. It can be both exhilarating and humiliating. This episode features stories from Matthew Konkel, Becca Segal and Angela Harris.
This episode is all about bicycles and cycling.For some, learning to ride is all about the bond formed while achieving something difficult through practice, with the support of a parent, sibling or friend. For others, a bike is a gateway to personal freedom and a ticket to adventure. This episode features stories from Dotty Posto, Athena King and Michael Stodola.
This episode celebrates the LGBTQ+ community with stories of Pride. These stories explore authenticity, identity, and the importance of both being yourself and finding community. They also highlight past and present efforts to advance equity for the LGBTQ+ community – and the work that still remains. This episode features stories from Matthew Lewis, Laura Martin, and Tim Clark.

Our theme this episode is Divorce. While all divorces involve ending a legal contract, in other ways divorces can vary greatly. They can be painful, bittersweet, or freeing, and they can be cooperative or full of drama. This episode features stories from Toni Edwards, Julie Cole, and Gregg Chambers.


This episode looks at a variety of celebrations. Some are larger planned events, and others are spontaneous, but either way, celebrations offer us the chance to take a break from everyday life and share a meaningful moment. This episode features stories from Ryan Webster, Olehyka Salas, and Antoine Carter.


Drugs can alleviate pain and suffering, but they can also cause it. This episode takes a nuanced look at drugs – from recreational to medicinal – via stories from Carol Hale, Elisabeth Bentti, and Brian Hulseman.


Our lives are full of music – from lullabies to concerts to funeral dirges. Music can be a form of individual self-expression – or a way to bring a group together, perhaps even in harmony. This episode features stories about music from Kyla Hernandez, Elaine Maly, and Camille Davis.


Teachers help shape how we learn, what we learn, how we view ourselves and how we interact with the world. Sometimes, they even inspire us to teach others! This episode includes stories from Michelle Streed and Arleth Villagran, Rocky Kingsley, Sophie Floyd, and Rissie Lundberg.
Climbing doesn’t happen by accident -it takes effort and determination. This week, we hear 3 stories about challenging but often rewarding treks -from Debbie Sajnani, Stephanie Pyfer and Laura Halfmann, and Thomas Jansen.

Relationships between siblings can really run the gamut: best friends or constantly fighting, super close or separated by years or distance. Not everyone has siblings of course, but those who do often have plenty of sibling stories to share. This episode includes stories from Rae Johnson, Deserae and Sammy Aumend.


Season 3

Luck is a constant wild card; it’s the element of risk that’s involved in everything that we do. Some people don’t believe in luck, but they do believe in karma or fate. Whatever name you give it, these three stories feature those unplanned coincidences we have all experienced. This episode includes stories from Theresa Williams, Stacie Rosenzweig, and Mark Weinberg.

Sports can lead to teamwork or competition, build determination or anxiety, and contribute to a healthy or unhealthy lifestyle. Whether you have had a shining MVP moment playing your favorite sport or a gym class where you found out sports are not your thing, we all have stories about sports to share. This episode includes sports stories from Rob Harrington, Elaine Maly, Antoine Ward, and David Fowler.

Sharing space can be challenging and stressful, or fun and rewarding. Roommates can become our closest friends or our worst nemesis. In this episode, we hear four stories about roommates from Jeanette Arellano, Barbara Leigh, Leah Anderson, and Shawn Mitchell.

Breasts are a source of life and nutrients for our babies but they can also be a source of sickness and fear for those who get diagnosed with breast cancer. In this episode, we hear two stories from breast cancer survivors, Mahasin Abdullah and Chandra Williams, and two other breast stories from Jerry Muelver and Sarah Beth Nelson.

Whether you are moving to a different neighborhood or a different country, there is always an element of risk when you leave the familiar for the unknown. In the process of moving, we learn about new places and people – and about ourselves. In this episode, we hear four stories about moving from Nestor Gomez, Liza Kessler, Sana Shakir, and Rebecca Cullen-Dietmeyer.

It’s something we all do. What we eat, how we eat, the role eating plays in our lives can reveal a lot about our upbringing and our heritage and the choices we make. In this episode, we hear seven stories about eating from John Lopez, Eve Eisman, Michael Lorenzana, and Teens Grow Greens interns: Alex Harris, Clark Wright-Norwood, Diamond Moore, and Dex Morss (referred to as Delilah in the episode).

Pets – they’re supposed to teach you responsibility, bring you joy, and become part of your family. Sometimes this all works out, other times the plan goes awry. In this episode, we hear three stories about pets from Eric Nelson, Tara Sisco, and Michael Bathke.

Teamwork asks us to set aside individual interests for the good of the group. It acknowledges that for a lot of things we can achieve more together by supporting one another and playing to each person’s strengths. In this episode, we hear three stories about teamwork from Dan Lococo, Matt Mudler, and Marika Kovacs-Houlihan. Marika’s story was originally told in ASL, to see that story performed visit Ex Fabula’s YouTube page.


We all have those spaces where we feel the most comfortable and where we can be our true selves. Comfort zones are important, especially in a world that, depending on your identity, can be harmful. In this episode, we hear stories about three different comfort zones from Dr. Lia Knox, Melani Kaplan, and Alejandra Jimenez. Melani’s story was originally told in ASL, to see that story performed visit Ex Fabula’s YouTube page.


Many different people can play a role in parenting us. No matter who helped raise you and whether that experience was positive, negative, or complicated, those relationships have profound impacts on us for the rest of our lives. In this episode we hear four stories about parenting from DeShawn Ewing, Nelson Lopez, Tom Matthews and Bethany Leonard.

Wisconsin Life logoWisconsin Life

Ex Fabula also has periodic segments on Wisconsin Life, which airs around the state on the WPR network (locally 90.7 WHAD). Wisconsin Life airs Wednesdays and Fridays at 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. during Morning Edition; on Central Time at 4:15 p.m. on Wednesdays; and on the Joy Cardin Show Fridays at 6:55 a.m.


Ex Fabula Radio aired Sundays at 6 pm on Riverwest Radio, 104.1 FM WXWR. Visit the show page to stream past radio segments.

Ex Fabula Radio aired each week at 3:40 pm every Saturday & Sunday on 89.7 WUWM during Lake Effect Weekend. Visit’s Lake Effect Archive to stream past radio segments.

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