WE ARE HOMETOWN NEWS.

We’ve been keeping a secret.

Since January, a group of us at The Reminder have been hard at work on a new podcast.

Well – that’s not entirely accurate. We’ve been working on a podcast launch since mid-2023 and have been talking about starting one for many years prior. But we finally sat down with two microphones, headphones, and got talking in January.

A team of us – Debbie Gardner, Tyler Garnet, Dennis Hackett, Sarah Heinonen, Lauren LeBel, Chris Maza and I – all started to brainstorm last year. There were so many questions we had to answer. What makes the best podcast? How long should episodes be? What should we do for intros? Outros? Who is going to have what role? What editing software should we use? Are our company-issue computers sufficient or do we need a fancy mixer?

Every few weeks we would meet and come back with more information, and then leave with additional questions to answer.

I will not speak for the group – but I found myself getting bogged down in trying to flesh out every little detail and make it “perfect.” I soon realized that if we didn’t just jump in head-first and record an episode, we would never get this project started.

So – just over three months ago – we recorded our first episode. Now we have eight in the books, available to the public.

Every other week, we have a – roughly – 25-to-40-minute podcast discussing the biggest topics in local news. The four hosts – Chris, Tyler, Dennis and I – switch off every other recording. We try to pull articles ranging around our circulation area that will appeal to a listener from our most eastern communities (I’m looking at you Warren, Brimfield, Holland and Hardwick) to our most northern communities (shout-out to Whately, Sunderland and Leverett) to our western most communities (Otis and Tolland) to our southern most communities (Enfield and Somers – our two lone Connecticut territories).

The podcast – affectionately titled “So That Reminds Me” – is available on every podcast streaming platform (Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Samsung Podcasts and more.)

It has been a learning experience. What we did in the first few episodes is not where we hope to go. We were sticking to scripts for the most part, and it just didn’t feel as authentic as we wanted to be. Chris and Tyler figured out an easy tone before Dennis and I did in our podcast hosting, but I think we’re on our way to bringing the biggest news stories of the week in this new format in an efficient and easy-to-listen manner.

This is not a straight-news podcast. We’re happily categorized under “news commentary.” We do give the facts of articles based on what our reporters have written, and then leave room for commentary and discussion from the hosts. Some articles might lead us to discussing the background and process of covering the article itself. Some conversations might involve us injecting our opinion – which we make apparent when we do so.

If you’re looking for your local news in a digestible – and hopefully entertaining – platform, search So That Reminds Me on your favorite streaming platform. Give us a listen, rate, review and subscribe. I suggest tuning into our newer episodes, first, as they have more kinks worked out.

It is always a little nerve wracking to try something new – especially in this format. It is one thing to write down our thoughts…it’s another to voice them. On recording day one our voices were shaky; our conversations were littered with filler words and our “fallback” phrases. I cannot tell you how many times I used the phrase “I’m excited” while recording bits of the first episode that we subsequently deleted and re-recorded. I joked I needed to write other adjectives on the whiteboard on the wall across from me for inspiration.

I am proud of the entire news team daily for the work they do – but today I am especially proud of the podcast team for their work on So That Reminds Me. They took it on as a passion project, added on top of their already hectic schedules.

If you give the podcast a listen, feel free to send me an email with your thoughts or potential ideas for future segments.

And, if you’re a tried-and-true newspaper lover, do not worry – The Reminder is here to stay.

pnorth@thereminder.com | + posts