By Rich Place
There’s a new way for area residents to be more engaged in the Springville community — all through the comfort of their cell phones or computers and at a time that’s most convenient to them.
The Welcome to Springville podcast, launched in February by local residents Kara Kane and Jessica Schuster, has already featured field trips, in-depth interviews and friendly conversation about the community they love.
So what’s a podcast?
Essentially, it’s an audio recording an individual can stream online or download onto their phone — there’s an app to help them with that — and listen to whenever they’d like. It’s like a radio show on demand and there are podcasts for seemingly any interest.
“I think there is space for this kind of outlet in the community and I just hope everybody … appreciates the mission we are on: to highlight the really awesome things that happen around here,” Schuster said.
A self-admitted auditory learner, Schuster got the idea for a Springville-themed podcast after local radio station WSPQ originally announced it would close at the end of last year. With the community’s only true audio outlet gone before it was recently purchased, Schuster said she saw a void.
“Podcasts are something I’ve always fully embraced because they just make sense to me,” she said. “I’m almost always multitasking and it’s really nice to have whatever information I want for the day coming directly into my ears, which means it goes to my brain and I could do other things.”
Together, Schuster and Kane — both administrators of the popular Be Neighborly Springville Area group on Facebook — looked into podcasting and, realizing the financial requirement was minimal, found a way to edit and save audio files and get them published.
In the last month, they’ve taken field trips to Blue Sky Wellness and the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, interviewed village trustee candidates and local author Jan Freeman and recorded the recent scoping informational meeting at Springville Center for the Arts. Audio recordings of all these adventures, complemented with friendly chats about local events and businesses, are now all available on demand.
“I think we are lucky we are in an area that is never void of content,” Schuster said.
“We both like to learn and what better things to learn about than things that are just around you,” Kane added. “Why not talk to people we know — or want to know — and who are making this community a better place?”
The podcast also begins and ends with local music from area musicians, giving these artists another way to showcase their work.
Schuster, who also serves on the SGI School Board of Education, said it was a group of students at a school board presentation who inspired her to look into the ease of creating a podcast.
The pair each carry some kind of audio recording device — a digital voice recorder or their cell phones — and hit record. The file is uploaded to a computer, music is added and some edits are made to eliminate “weirdness,” as Kane called it.
“You don’t need to invest thousands of dollars in equipment,” she said. “We’ve invested literally dozens of dollars into this.”
And as far as the time spent on the endeavor is concerned, Kane said she thinks it’s time her and Schuster would have been spending doing something for the community anyway.
“You make time for things that are important. I’m sitting at my computer editing this instead of watching Food Network,” Kane said, adding, “or maybe I’m watching Food Network at the same time and it’s just on low (volume).”
So far, listeners have ranged from “a couple dozen to a couple hundred,” Kane said.
Going forward, they hope to increase the amount of people who subscribe to the podcast, which allows for the podcast to be automatically downloaded on a cell phone when a new episode becomes available.
And who knows what the pair have in store for future episodes? Audio archives of meetings could be available, they could take another field trip or they could interview another area resident who is making Springville a better place to live.
“Broadly speaking, I hope this podcast is successful,” Schuster said. “How you define that success, I’m not exactly sure yet.”
To listen and subscribe to the podcast on a smartphone, search “Welcome to Springville” on a podcast app. Episodes can also be listened to on a computer by visiting welcometospringville.podbean.com.
To interact with Schuster and Kane and to get the latest information about the podcast, visit welcometospringville.wordpress.com, visit them at facebook.com/welcometospringville or email them, firstname.lastname@example.org.