Podcast keeps listeners in the know about Salt Lake happeningsMay 09, 2018 15h30 ● By Lori Gillespie
Chris Holifield, of I am Salt Lake podcast, works in his studio. (Lori Gillespie/City Journals)
By Lori Gillespie | [email protected]
Salt Lake City is an active town. There is always something going on or someplace new to go. But how in the world do you keep up with it all, or even find out about those places and things? It’s nearly impossible, but I am Salt Lake is a local podcast that has been highlighting the best Salt Lake City has to offer since 2012.
“I started my podcast by interviewing people at the downtown farmer’s market,” said Chris Holifield, host of the I am Salt Lake Podcast. “When it first came out, the people I told were skeptical about the podcast. They told me that my focus was too small, that not everybody in Salt Lake listens to podcasts, but then it really took off. People started listening.”
Chris started small, recording out of his apartment. Now he co-hosts the podcast with his wife, Krissie, in a small studio downtown. Over the past six years, I am Salt Lake has interviewed local businesses, artists, authors and activists – anyone who helps make Salt Lake City unique and interesting.
Chris and Krissie know that the story is what keeps people coming back to listen to his podcast. They spend an hour with their guests talking, not only about the business or event, but about the person and their story. They always try to get something interesting and new into the interview. These qualities, and not knowing what might happen or be said, is something that keeps listeners coming back week after week and has made the podcast successful.
Chris said at times he thinks this six-year endeavor has yielded no success. But the tipping point was an experience after his equipment broke down.
“My wife said, ‘Let’s start a GoFundMe campaign.’ So, we set a small goal, $2,500 just to replace the equipment,” Chris said. “I was afraid to share my situation, but my wife told me that I needed to. I was a sharer, sharing all this free information about Salt Lake and what makes it a great place.”
“And what was overwhelming for me was that within minutes people were donating. This really hit home and made me realize that you never know who is listening or who is reading and the impact you may be having on them.”
Chris realized that Salt Lake City wanted his podcast, needed his podcast. It was then that some local business started sponsoring his podcast.
“I think it was just the belief that people had, between the GoFundMe and the small sponsorships, showed me that it was important and people were willing to help support it in order to keep the project alive,” he said.
In addition to giving the community a place to find out some great hidden Salt Lake gems, Chris is giving back to the community by doing some coaching to other wannabe podcasters. He is also considering having some workshops.
“I have realized that there’s a lot of people who want to start a podcast, but don’t know how to start.” Chris feels that audio is an intimate experience more so than video or even books. “To have someone connected, to listen to my voice for an hour on an episode of I am Salt Lake, that is amazing. An hour of your time is a long time.”
More and more people are discovering the impact that I am Salt Lake has on not only the community but the world. Chris has active listeners who are Utah natives but have moved away and want to still feel connected. He has heard from people in other countries who are planning trips to Utah and have found his podcast.
“I was contacted by someone who had moved here a couple of months ago from Texas, who told me they found I am Salt Lake on iTunes and started listening and they felt like they were part of the city, they told me they felt like they knew all these people’s stories.”
He is usually booked out a couple of months in advance for interviews. “I love how varied my interviews are, every interview is something new and requires me to become educated on all kinds of topics. One day I have to a conversation about art and the next day a conversation on bluegrass music, the next day I have an author to talk to.”
There are still areas that influence our community that he hopes to get on his show.
“I haven’t had many tech-related interviews and I would really like to get more. I think that they would help to showcase some more of the unique sides of Salt Lake. Salt Lake has a lot to offer and that is what I am trying to portray on my podcast.”
I am Salt Lake podcast is published every Monday and can be found on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or on their website http://www.iamsaltlake.com/.