(By Troy Price) “Here There Be Dragons” is inscribed on an ancient globe in the New York City Public Library. While there are several references to that phrase in historical literature, that globe is the only known instance where the phrase is used on a map (look it up, a globe is a map — just round). Scholars doubt that the notation actually means real dragons but rather means, “This is the end of the end of what is known.” Today, if you were looking at a map of the history of podcasting, there would be a section that reads, “Podcasting in 2018: Here There Be Dragons.”
Podcasting has followed the path of other technologies. It was first adopted by those in the tech field, then by early adopters, and now by the masses. It is easy to argue that 2018 was when the masses adopted podcasting. It is difficult to listen to the radio or watch TV without celebrities asking you to catch their podcasts, or news shows asking you to continue the discussion on their podcast, and the number of podcast listeners continues to grow.
What makes the podcasting space so uncertain currently is how large companies with large production and promotion budgets have embraced podcasting. Will the large commercial ventures squeeze out the podcasts produced by smaller independent producers and alienate everyone who has adopted podcasting?
While most people produce podcasts in the hopes of competing with the large companies and gaining a vast Internet audience, there are a few brave souls that choose to use podcasting to serve or highlight their smaller local community. These podcasts have the goal of building deep connections with listeners rather than a broad Internet fandom. Since this type of podcast is often overlooked in other “Best Of” lists, here is my initial listing of the Top 10 Local Podcasts of 2018 (in random order).
Beyond Bourbon Street http://beyondbourbonst.com
This podcast explores the food, music, places, people, and events beyond Bourbon Street that make New Orleans unique. It is produced by Mark Bologna. Mark brings something special to the show since he was born and raised in New Orleans, specifically in Gentilly, a neighborhood just down the road from Lake Pontchartrain, in the heart of the city. Mark says, “I love my hometown and can’t wait to share it with you!”
This Is Rammy https://www.thisisrammy.co.uk
This is Rammy keeps you informed and entertained about news and events in and around Ramsbottom, a market town 12 miles outside of Manchester, England. Lee Ball produces the show and is proud that the podcast won the very first UK Podcasters Award for Best Places and Travel.
I Am Salt Lake https://iamsaltlake.com
Chris Hollifield has been producing this podcast about Salt Lake City since 2012. The show earned a Best Podcast in Utah award in 2018 and Chris is looked at as an expert in both podcasting and SLC. Oh, if you ever meet him, ask him about meeting Mark Maron, or better yet, listen to his podcast episode about it.
Bonita Business Podcast https://redcaperevolution.com/bonita-business-podcast
Just north of Naples, Florida, is Bonita Springs. Bonita Springs is one of the fastest-growing areas of Florida. Darcy Elkenberg has claimed Bonita Springs’ podcasting space and talks to the local business leaders. Listen and you will hear behind-the-scenes updates and unconventional wisdom that’s creating business success in Darcy’s chosen hometown.
The Berea Podcast http://thebereapodcast.com
(Full disclosure – this is a podcast that my wife and I produce. But even if anyone else created this list, I am sure we would be on their list too!) The show’s hosts, Troy Price and Della Justice recently moved to Berea, a small town is southcentral Kentucky. They produce their podcast as an effort to learn more about our new Berea home. They want to learn as much as they can about Berea’s history, landmarks, businesses, art scene, and most importantly, Berea’s people.
That Newport Show http://thatnewportshow.com
Their website perfectly describes their show… “If you like going out to restaurants, listening to live music, sailing, dinner cruises, history, and charming boutiques, this podcast is a great way to spend a half-hour each week! Hosted by podcast veterans Buck and Helena Harris, the show is about connecting a community by sharing all the wonderful things that make Newport so special. They’re no Kennedys, but you’ll love hanging out with the Harrises each week while on your way to work, out for a run, or cleaning toilets.”
Kameo with Nevin Webster https://kameo.transistor.fm
Do this right now: Google “Kamloops.” It’s a small town in British Columbia, Canada, with a description that includes skiing, rivers, and museums, as well as cougars and bears. When I read that description to my wife she emphatically said we should go there. We may never physically visit, but we are now subscribed to Kameo with Nevin Webster. Nevin guides us through a weekly tour of this amazing town we wish we could see.
New York Launch Pod https://www.nylaunchpod.com
When you think about the Greatest City in the World (cue music here) you don’t think about the small-business New Yorker trying to make their way. Hal Coopersmith does. As host of the New York Launch Pod, Hal talks to the people of New York City who are trying to build their own new business. While their business insights may be applicable anywhere, their New York perspective is present in every episode.
Small Town Podcast https://smalltownpodcast.com
Matt Seale is the mayor of Ocilla, a small Georgia town. He produces shows featuring his town as well as others he comes across during his travels. Matt interviews the unique characters and the community leaders that make each small town special. Make sure to listen and hear who sponsors the podcast!
Podcast Detroit http://www.podcastdetroit.com
Few places have such a dedication to local podcasting as Detroit, Michigan. Visit the Podcast Detroit website and find their network of over 100 shows. Some are specific to the different aspects of Motor City, some cover topics that are more general in nature. Regardless, all of their shows are influenced by their origin as a simple Detroit-based show bringing people together for networking and a few laughs.
Bonus: Matt And Mattingly’s Ice Cream Social https://heyscoops.com
This podcast highlights Matt Donnelly and Paul Mattingly’s gift for improv comedy. If you love the riotous, often blue jokes you find in improv, this is the podcast for you. Their show is a bonus on this list of Top 10 Local Podcasts because the hosts themselves so perfectly share what it is like to live in Las Vegas. A running gag on the show is that they are the “Number One Podcast for Vegas Traffic and Weather.” What I have learned about Vegas might be a byproduct of their lives in Sin City, but when I travel there I almost feel like a local.
Troy Price is the co-founder of Front Porch Studios in Berea, Kentucky. He has been involved with podcasting for over a decade. Do you listen or produce a show that you think should be on the list? Comment below or email Troy@frontporchstudios.com to be included!