EAST VILLAGE — A podcast host who got into trouble with his landlord for bringing a stream of "complete strangers" off the street and into his home for off-the-cuff interviews is moving to a new, undisclosed East Village location.
For three years, Uluç Ülgen welcomed anyone looking to chat into his apartment at 533 E. Fifth St. for his unorthodox podcast mürmur.
"No background checks. No nothing. Everyone is welcome," his website boasts.
"I never, ever denied anyone ever from coming on mürmur," the host told DNAinfo New York. "This is an inclusive thing, open to all walks of life."
But that free-for-all approach didn't sit well with his landlord.
Property owner Bob Perl said he caught wind of the podcast when tenants started calling the office to report strangers coming and going from Ülgen's apartment. Perl assumed the tenant was operating an Airbnb, he said, but when his search for listings came up empty he Googled the tenant's name and found articles on mürmur.
"He's a lovely gentleman and probably what he's doing is connecting with people in ways that's useful," said Perl. "The problem is, I now know he's doing this, and if something bad occurs like a homeless person or a drug dealer or a prostitute. ... If something was to happen and all this is in the press, I'm sued."
Ülgen clarified that he wasn't buzzing guests in blindly, but would meet them first at the building's entrance to feel them out.
Still, Perl said the risk of litigation was too great, and told Ülgen to stop podcasting or find a new place to live. If he chose to stay in the apartment, he would be subjected to occasional inspections to ensure the agreement was kept, according to emails sent by building management.
But nixing the project was not an option for Ülgen, who has described the podcast as his "purpose for living." He launched it at a time when he struggled with loneliness and social anxiety and it has become his lifeline and a source of pride, and has led to impactful relationships that continue after the mics are turned off.
"You open up your doors to complete strangers and you let in people, and before you know it you’re formulating these amazing relationships with them," he said.
After putting out a call for help on his website, the host has secured a new East 14th Street apartment where he plans to keep producing mürmur — this time under the radar of his new landlord. The move will be final in the coming weeks, he said.
Ülgen still hopes to nab his dream guest, Kid Rock, before clearing out the inaugural studio — the musician helped introduce him to American culture when he moved to the Midwest from Turkey at the age of 9, he explained.
"It was through the records and the music of Kid Rock that I got to learn the language of English and got assimilated to American culture," he said. "Listening to his music made me realize, I'm not in this unknown place. I guess it made me feel like a part of something."