Nation First was founded by Paula Bellenoit and Blake Althen, owners of the successful music production, sound design, and music publishing company Human Factor. Their partnership was defined by the “opposites attract” principle. Paula would say “I’m the human, he’s the factor” when describing how they worked together. As a part of the natural development of Human Factor, Blake and Paula ventured into the brand new (at the time) world of podcasting by producing many podcasts for non-profit organizations such as Women in Film, the Ad Club, and the Nonprofit Roundtable. After refining their art of storytelling through audio, the natural evolution was clear–they started a channel that would broadcast LIVE.
Around this time, Human Factor had been working closely with CAMMO (Center for American Military Music Opportunities), getting exposure to the insiders’ view of military life, especially post active duty military. Paula and Blake’s natural inclinations made the decision for the content of the new channel clear. Paula was moved by the stories she heard of physically, mentally, and emotionally injured veterans and their families. Blake was a news junkie but was frustrated with the polarization of the new landscape. Fed up with the “you’re either with us or you’re against us”-griping-about-problems-but-offering-no-solutions-or-compromise climate of the mainstream media and news organizations, he wanted to offer people something different. They realized there was one organization that not only had thousands of untold stories of remarkable people, but also an organization of people who always get the job done. The United States Military.
Once more using the natural dichotomy of their long time partnership, with her heart and his fury Nation First was created. The partners began developing and nurturing former service members, making them into storytellers themselves. These hard working veterans not only gained new work experience but they also got to tell the stories of their comrades both at home and abroad.