I've listened to podcasts for almost a decade. Podcasts are in my ears when I exercise, when I work in the yard, when I clean the house, and when I drive alone. I keep up with about five or six on a weekly basis. Back in 2012 and 2013, I created and hosted 52 episodes of my own podcast called 9 Thumbs. I've been interviewed on podcasts to talk about my books. I've allowed travel podcast recommendations to set the itinerary for family vacations and relied upon political podcasts to maintain my sanity over the past couple of years. I think podcasts are one of the best corollaries that resulted from the invention of the iPhone.
This summer, my wife and I were listening to a podcast on the way home from our son's basketball tournament. It's called With Friends Like These, and the episode featured an interview between the journalist Ann Marie Cox and our friend, the writer Jeff Chu. Ann Marie asked such good questions—different questions—that I left feeling like I'd learned more about Jeff. And I knew Jeff already.
Amarillo has a lot of interesting people who live here, and who a lot of residents feel like they know. They may have familiar names. They might be local politicians, business owners, entertainers, public figures. We might see them on the news or around town. But who are they? Why do they do what they do? Why do they live in Amarillo? How did they even get to Amarillo in the first place?
What if there was a podcast that asked those questions...and what if it wasn't worried about gaining a national or international audience, but just about introducing those people to the 200,000 residents of the city? (Or the 400,000 residents of the Texas Panhandle?)
I couldn't get those questions out of my head. What if I tried a local podcast about local people?
No such podcast existed. In fact, I couldn't really find any podcasts that were so microfocused on a single, medium-sized city. So I decided to start my own.
Hey Amarillo launches today. It's a weekly, one-on-one interview podcast with some of the most fascinating people in Amarillo, Texas. My first guest is Mayor Ginger Nelson. Other guests will not necessarily be politicians. They won't necessarily be anyone you've heard of. But I promise they will be entertaining.