Podcasting is a very unique world and it is a world in which people can become anything they want. From talking badgers to time travelers, I’ve had the pleasure of talking to a lot of the mystical people that inhabit podcast land, and I have gotten pretty comfortable with the fact that sometimes the outside world and the podcast word leak into each other a bit. So, when Matt Seale signed his email to me “Mayor Matt Seale,” I thought maybe it was what he called himself in relation to his podcast fans. You know, like if Beyonce called herself “Queen Bee,” I wouldn’t assume she was actually a honey-creating insect.
However, unlike Beyonce, Matt actually is a mayor. He reigns in Ocilla, Georgia, in addition running the Small Town Podcast.
I decided, ‘well, I’m a small-town mayor so I’ll go interview other small-town mayors or council members who have been on the council for a long time… So I get to feature their town through the story of this person who’s been there and has some obvious position of power in what’s going on.
See, Matt got a little tired of all the misconceptions that come along with small-town living and wanted to do some work to correct that after his own town became spotlighted for a single incident.
Small towns really only get play in the media when something bad happens. Some kind of corruption or crime or unsolved disappearing persons case or unsolved murder case or things like that is when we get a lot. What led me to all this is we actually had that happened in Ocilla… People who had never heard about my town only knew about this one thing.
That one thing is the missing persons’ case highlighted in the hit podcast Up and Vanished. When millions began to download that show and learn about Ocilla through it, without knowing anything else about the town, Matt thought it may be time to correct people’s view. So he began to travel around Georgia and talk to other people from small towns in order to provide a full picture of small towns.
Ultimately, Matt just loves getting to talk to people about their towns.
It has allowed me to meet a lot of people that, maybe I would have met before, but I would not have been afforded the opportunity to have as in-depth of a conversation. You know, it’s not that easy to just kind of get your foot in the door and have an hour-long conversation with someone… But if you say ‘I’m bringing some microphones and I’m gonna feature you and your community on a podcast’ they say ‘oh, great!’ Because everyone wants to promote their community.”
Matt does every interview in person and travels to the towns so that he gets a better feel for the community and can inform his listeners more fully. That traveling does require some planning, and Matt is excited to visit new towns and promote more places in and out of Georgia. But doing the show in person also allows Matt to learn more about his job as mayor from people who have been public servants for decades, and he finds that invaluable.
So, if you love small-town living, have never experienced it, or are somewhere in between, Small Town Podcast is the show for you.
Chasing Pods is a Podchaser blog series dedicated to letting our readers know about podcasts they may not have heard of or provide a sneak peek into the making of their favorite podcast. We talk to podcast creators about their journey into podcasting, the creation of their shows, the ups and downs of the work, and what they’re looking forward to for their podcast
Do you love or make a cool podcast? Do you want to be featured on our blog? Email Morgan (firstname.lastname@example.org) to tell her why your favorite show should be featured next.