Advocate publisher Roderick Benns admits he was a bit tentative the night before his news site’s newest venture – The Advocate Podcast: Stories from Kawartha Lakes – launched February 15.
“We’d had many meetings, a lot of back-and-forth, and more than a few phone calls about the content, the direction and tone of the podcast,” he says. “But, really, you can only do so much of that. Eventually, you just have to put it out there, take a breath, and let the audience respond.”
So far, the response has exceeded the expectations of Benns and Advocate co-founder Joli Scheidler-Benns, as well as the podcast’s producer and host, Denis Grignon.
The first episode, which includes stories about Lindsay’s looming construction and a playful feature with Lyndsay Bowen of the Kawartha Public Library, even garnered five-star reviews on iTunes.
“Kawartha Lakes is a hidden treasure,” one reviewer wrote. “(Your podcast) is going to expose why it’s so amazing to be here.”
“Loved the piece on Mike, the Community Care driver,” said another listener, before making reference to the second item on that first episode. “Wish I could be there to unseat you at trivia!”
Scheidler-Benns called it “journalism with a sense of community and fun –just what I was hoping for.”
Grignon agrees, though says he was confident the sound production, especially the original music by Gerald Van Halteren, would stand out. “We worked hard to ensure this was going be much more than just voices talking into a phone recorder. It’s pretty polished.”
One listener and one potential listener wondered if the newsmagazine-style podcast, which runs 25 to 30 minutes, would have a leftist political tone.
“We’re really more concerned with telling great stories in a fair and compelling manner. Just like the other Advocate vehicles do,” says Grignon, a former CBC Radio broadcaster who’s also contributed to The Toronto Star.
The Dunsford-area resident adds that one of the biggest challenges is narrowing down the choices of interesting stories for the twice-monthly podcast.
“When you can attend a monthly dinner and dancing event with a church full of young, Indian Fleming students one night, have two long-time residents of Downeyville proudly tour you through their community hall’s million-dollar renovation the next, then talk to a couple of local members of Ontario Youth Parliament later that week, well that’s a pretty rich variety.”
Episode two of The Advocate Podcast: Stories from Kawartha Lakes, which is sponsored by Wards Lawyers of Lindsay, is available for download on iTunes and Spotify. It — and our first one — can also be streamed via lindsayadvocate.ca. And, yes, upcoming episodes will include stories on A Taste of India, The Downeyville Hall – and even wintering mosquitoes.