Companies are groupings of people; therefore, companies are often rich in story. Then there are companies led by mavericks, where stories flow like booze at an open bar holiday party.
“Is This Seat Open?,” is a new podcast produced by L.A. Times Studios and At Will Media in partnership with Southwest Airlines. In celebration of Southwest’s 50th anniversary, the 20-episode audio series features first-hand stories from the people who lived through the wildest and most memorable moments in the airline’s history.
The show’s name is a nod to Southwest’s open seating. “Is This Seat Open?” gives listeners a chance to grab a seat by some of the organization’s employees, friends, and family to hear about everything from arm wrestling competitions to planes full of dogs.
Hosted by Southwest employees Quinnie Jenkins and Lucas Hershberger, each 7 to10-minute episode features someone from the company. I like the short format and the first episode, “Malice in Dallas” is spot on. At the core of the story is an epic battle between two CEOs over an advertising tagline.
There is also the power of spectacle, live events, and PR in this funny Southwest Airlines story from the early 1990s. Matt Buckley, the featured employee in Episode 1, recalls how Southwest’s legendary CEO, Herb Kelleher, rolled out of bed in the morning and just wanted to have fun.
A student of management or marketing could learn alot from listening to these episodes—which were created to capture interest and sell airline tickets.