Podcasts: like a radio station you have control over, covering just about any topic you can imagine under the sun. They’re a wonderful alternative to television and music and can provide hours of entertainment while you’re busy working from home, walking your dog, or even cleaning out your closet. There are literally thousands to choose from, but you might be surprised to learn of the local podcasting talent blooming right here in Aberdeen. And while social distancing is something many of us are still practicing, checking in with local podcasts can help us feel closer to our community—even in the middle of a pandemic. I listened to several local podcasts and caught up with their hosts to learn all about what makes them special and uniquely Aberdonian.
The Rural Revolution
In small-town South Dakota, you don’t have to look far to find a community of passionate individuals doing amazing things. You’ve likely heard of all kinds of local charities, organizations, and events that both bring people together and give back to the communities they’re based in. But who are the people and personalities behind the magic? The Rural Revolution podcast answers those questions and opens up a portal to the world of dreamers and go-getters who are making waves in their small towns.
Hosted by Brodie Mueller, owner of Dakota Territory Brewing, and Carly Pochop, owner of Colorful Creations, the podcast is an offshoot of The Market on the Plaza. Set to open in spring 2021, the Plaza will serve as a one-stop-shop to buy everything local, from retail gifts to food and drink.
The idea stemmed from their involvement with 1 Million Cups, an event that has been bringing entrepreneurs together over a cup of coffee for over three years in Aberdeen. But Brodie and Carly felt there were more stories to be told than just those of entrepreneurs.
“There are so many people doing great things that might not necessarily be business owners,” Carly said. “They need a platform. We’re finding those people and helping them share their stories and grow their small towns.”
One of their inaugural episodes featured Paula Jensen, vice president of Dakota Resources, who strongly believes in the vision of thriving small towns. Jensen’s enthusiasm is infectious and sets the tone for what the podcast is all about.
“Dakota Resources eats, sleeps, and breathes rural, and it was the best thing we could have done to launch,” Brodie said.
Though the podcast has only been around since October, The Rural Revolution has already featured an eclectic array of guests, from the women behind Tools 4 School, an organization that provides school supplies to families in need, to Jordan Phillips, a local high school student who raised thousands of dollars sewing drink cozies to help fight against breast cancer.
“There are so many people doing great things behind the scenes,” Brodie said. “People who start something and don’t ask for permission and don’t apologize, and it’s awesome.”
Though Carly and Brodie primarily view the podcast as a passion project, the show has already struck a chord with listeners, many of whom have never even set foot in Aberdeen before.
“People are really excited when they find someone else who gets it,” Brodie said. “Who understands the vision of what a small town could be. No small town is the same, but here are all these things people are doing that could spark something in your own community.”
Carly encourages anyone who knows of someone doing great things in their small towns to contact them at The Market on the Plaza’s Facebook page or via email at email@example.com.
“All it takes is one person and idea,” Carly said.
The Rural Revolution can be found on The Market on the Plaza’s website at www.themarketontheplaza.com or on Spotify, Google Play, and iTunes. New episodes are released every Monday morning.
Those Coaches Wives
Hockey relationships never work,” Tiffany Langer joked in the first episode of Those Coaches Wives. Yet, she and co-host Laura Hill are wracking up years of successful marriages to their husbands, head coach and assistant coach for the Aberdeen Wings, respectively. Through their marriages, they found each other and formed a deep, lasting friendship that shines brightly in every episode they record together.
Both Tiffany and Laura hail from Topeka, Kansas, but their friendship didn’t blossom until after they met each other in Aberdeen. A mutual love of hockey, a shared bond over their roles as coaches’ wives, and deep support for one another led to a friendship as creative as it is strong. And with the hockey season being heavily impacted by COVID-19, there was no better time to dive headfirst into a podcast. Tiffany and Laura had already amassed a social media following when Tiffany ran for city council and created a variety of promotional videos as part of her campaign, including recreating the iconic Napoleon Dynamite dance sequence.
“We have so much fun together,” Tiffany said. “We always talk about hockey and what’s going on with our lives. These are conversations Laura and I would be having regardless; we’re really just recording them.”
Certainly, this is not your average sports podcast. The girls talk about everything from the hockey season to motherhood and even hockey superstitions their husbands have (but would never admit.) One listener described the experience as feeling like she was having her morning coffee with Tiffany and Laura whenever she tuned in.
“That’s a huge compliment to us,” Tiffany said. “These are our genuine feelings, it’s real and raw, and that’s what I love about it. We’re very passionate about a lot of different things, from motherhood to hockey to being a person in general. We’re raising awareness and having fun while doing it.”
As time goes on, Tiffany and Laura are planning to include more and more guests on their show as a way to stay connected to others even when it may not be easy to be together physically. And someday, when the life of the coach’s wife means they may eventually have to separate, they hope to use the podcast as a means to stay close to one another.
“I think we’ve been so successful because we are friends who have that chemistry. We genuinely enjoy each other,” Tiffany said.
Whether you’re a fan of hockey looking for a unique perspective or just want to hear good friends kick it together, Those Coaches Wives has a little something for everyone.
You can find the podcast at www.thosecoacheswives.com or on Spotify, Google Play, and iTunes.
The Kindness Podcast
Nicole Phillips believes kindness has the power to transform lives. She believes it so much that she started a weekly column for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead about it, wrote books about it, frequently makes public appearances to speak about it, and, of course, started a podcast about it.
Nicole’s life used to look a lot different. She struggled with smoking and drinking and a general negative outlook on life until she stumbled upon an act of kindness in which she was the giver. “If everyone knew how great it felt to be kind, everyone would do it,” she said.
Within that same year, she had turned her life around, and even as she was suffering through breast cancer in 2015, she moved forward with kindness as her motto.
The idea for a podcast came from a simple suggestion while she was a guest on another podcast. Having always wanted to do a radio show, a podcast was the perfect fit for Nicole.
“The next thing you know, I have my own podcast through WOUB, a subsidiary of NPR,” Nicole explained. “It’s so exciting to me when you can say, ‘Alexa, play The Kindness Podcast.’”
With over 125 episodes spanning four seasons, saying the podcast has been a success would be an understatement. Nicole has featured guests from all around the nation, including big names such as singer-songwriter Jason Mraz and former Miss USA Lu Parker. Nicole’s team receives dozens of requests to be featured on the show on a daily basis.
Because kindness is such a broad topic, the kinds of content Nicole can cover are endless.
“Sometimes I talk to people who dedicate their whole lives to kindness or to people who have just stumbled upon it,” she said. “A lot of times, it’s the little things people do that create the biggest differences. My overarching goal is to teach the world about the transformative power of kindness. I want to teach people the life we transform with kindness is our own, not somebody else’s. I hope people can see that there’s space in their life for purpose, change, and growth.”
Though Nicole started her podcasting journey in Ohio, she continues to thrive at her current residence in Aberdeen and says the community has been overwhelmingly welcoming to her so far.
“When the library chose my book for the All Aberdeen Reads program, it really felt like a warm hug from the community.”
You can check out The Kindness Podcast on Nicole’s website, www.nicolejphillips.com, or on NPR, iTunes, and Google Play. New episodes release every Thursday.
Soccer Made Simple
International soccer is arguably the most popular sport on the planet, but its presence in the U.S. lags behind most other countries. So what’s a newcomer interested in following the sport to do?
Learning what leagues and teams are worth following can be a challenge, according to soccer aficionado and Soccer Made Simple host and author Daniel Wise. After witnessing an explosive game of the European Champions League in London in 2008, he stepped up to serve as a bridge between the soccer-uninitiated and longtime fans.
“When I was trying to absorb all of this, there was never a place with a centralized explainer of what everything is,” Daniel explained.
Soccer Made Simple started as a blog and newsletter two years ago. In 2020, Daniel started transforming his articles into full-length podcasts, building off his experience co-hosting D.C. United’s soccer podcast. He noted that many sports podcasts are rather niche, catering to a very specific type of diehard fan or focusing exclusively on one team.
“I want to make my show super, super friendly for anyone who is even remotely interested in the sport. It’s more storytelling-focused or culturally-focused for someone who might never even watch soccer,” Daniel said.
And though soccer might not be as big as it is in our European counterparts, Daniel pointed out Aberdeen’s tight-knit, burgeoning soccer community.
“Central High School’s program has a mix of Central and Roncalli students, we have Hub City Soccer, and Northern State University’s women’s team is starting to make some moves,” he explained. “There’s a small community here, and it’d be great if my show can help draw some attention to it.”
Though a busy year that included Daniel moving back to Aberdeen from Washington, D.C., put his podcast and blog on hold for a bit, he plans to create new content early in 2021.
“I’m always open to feedback. Even if people just have general questions about soccer, I’d love to have those conversations, and I’ll always have the simple answer,” he said.