Philadelphia Sheriff Bilal is launching a new podcast

Airing on WURD Radio for a six-month trial period, the podcast will feature Sheriff Bilal in conversation with each of her office’s departments.

Sheriff Rochelle Bilal (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Sheriff Rochelle Bilal (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

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With a new radio show airing tomorrow on WURD Radio, Philadelphia Sheriff Rochelle Bilal is expanding her public presence in hopes of increasing the public’s understanding of her office.

The new program, ‘The Sheriff’s Perspective,’ will air every third Saturday of the month for a six-month trial period. It will initially air at 3 p.m. and subsequently be available on YouTube as a podcast. The program aims to break down each department of the sheriff’s office.

“We came to realize, a lot of people in this city don’t know what the sheriff’s office does,” Bilal said. “They don’t know the process, they don’t know all of the intricacies that go into basically doing the work of the sheriff’s office.”

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The podcast could regain some of the public’s trust in the sheriff’s office, which experts say was lost when Bilal’s campaign team acknowledged that ChatGPT generated 30 positive “news” stories on their website.

“Each department will have a time when they can explain exactly what their department does,” Bilal said.

According to Bilal, the podcast’s long-term duration depends on its success during the next six months. During this period, episodes will cover the sheriff’s office’s role in the courts and property sales. Bilal hopes the podcast will help connect residents to legal services and serve as another advertising medium for sheriff sales.

During her first budget address on Thursday, Mayor Cherelle L. Parker set a July 1, 2024, goal of resuming the sheriff’s sale of the city’s tax-troubled properties. Hundreds of properties were placed on hold after complications arose when the auctioning was contracted to an online company.

If Bilal uses the podcast to explain to Philadelphians exactly how sheriff sales work, the public auctioning of foreclosed properties, then the public would benefit from the podcast, according to Kelly Rascoe, the Director of Philadelphia’s Institute for Community Justice (ICJ).

The podcast, which has been in the works for over a year, did not require any new hires. Bilal said everyone who will be working on the audio production is already staffed within the department.

Rascoe of ICJ said the public would benefit from the sheriff’s podcast if residents could call in during the one-hour shows. For residents who wish to ask Sherriff Bilal a question, a call-in number will be provided during the program’s airing.

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“If they’re truthful, it’s a good idea,” Rascoe said. “Are you going to air your dirty laundry? Are you really going to talk about your understaffing?”

The podcast has the chance to be impactful if the public can submit feedback and also gain a better understanding of what the sheriff’s office does, Rascoe said.

Saturday’s program will cover the civil division of the sheriff’s office.

“I’m excited about the possibility today, I could be disappointed on Sunday,” Rascoe said.

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