GREYBULL – Podcast host Carla Mowell got into podcasting when ‘This American Life’ began posting show episodes online in the mid-2000s.
“I had a desk job, so when I did more tedious things, I would put on an episode of ‘This American Life,'” she recalled.
“Since then, when I really got into podcasting, I realized I wanted more.”
Mowell was disappointed early on by the lack of podcast content from Wyoming.
“When I searched, I couldn’t find anything that scratched the itch I had,” she said.
His “Wyoming My 307” podcast seeks to correct that absence, exploring “the people, culture, wildlife, geology, and history of America’s least populated and most wondrous state.”
It released its 10th episode at the end of August.
“My goal is to highlight a diversity of Wyoming voices. We have such a stereotype in Wyoming of what a Wyomingite looks like. And I love western culture. We don’t have a lot of diversity, but we have a lot more than we highlight.
Picking up a page from “This American Life,” “Wyoming My 307” is a thematic podcast — each episode consists of three segments tied together by a common theme. These segments include a guest interview booked by “WyomingWildlife,” where Mowell shares information about Wyoming species, and “Dot on the Map,” which highlights a town in Wyoming.
“My commitment is to have at least one episode for every city in Wyoming, every ‘point on the map,'” Mowell said.
His episodes so far have covered topics like World War II in Wyoming, the history of flight in Wyoming, life as a game warden, and growing up gay in Wyoming.
“I spent quite a bit of time before I even started the podcast thinking about topics,” Mowell explained. She finds inspiration and potential guest speakers from a variety of sources, including newspapers, magazines, books, and social media accounts she follows. “Then I start building the whole idea.
The collection of Wyoming books and publications in his home testifies to Mowell’s prolific research habits.
“I am continually searching, always. Borrow, buy or read books from the library. This part is forever. I go down these rabbit holes which are fascinating.
Mowell writes the show notes for her podcast in a companion blog where she provides a summary of each episode and images of the locations she references. Mowell noted that the blog has been a better access point for an older generation and those with special needs.
“Explaining podcasting to people is part of what I’ve had to do, especially the older generation who may not be as attached to their phones as the rest of us,” she said. declared.
Mowell established unofficial rules for its podcast early on. One is never to feature a city she hasn’t visited. She wants to immerse her listeners in the “vibe” of an area she has personally explored rather than listing information they can find online.
She also aims to interview Wyoming residents, though she allows for more leniency on that front.
Its fourth episode “Words of Wyoming” explores Western language with linguist Grant Barrett, co-host of NPR’s “A Way with Words” and one of Mowell’s podcasting heroes.
“I can’t believe I tagged this interview. I was like, so fangirling,” Mowell laughed.
She emailed the show asking for Western language book recommendations for its own podcast “and within half an hour Grant Barrett himself was emailing me!” Barrett offered to come as a guest.
“He was so nice. He spent more time, since I was still new to podcasting, and he helped me,” she said.
“Wyoming My 307” amassed a “steadily growing” audience. As of this article, the show has over 5,500 downloads. Most of Mowell’s audience is in the United States, but she has amassed a handful of international listeners as well.
One element of the show that she is working to improve is the regular release of episodes, a key to keeping audiences engaged.
Two new grandchildren kept Mowell busy, so much so that eager listeners told him when to expect more episodes.
“I love and appreciate that energy of eagerness, of people wanting to hear from the next, and that also gives me a boost. But it’s my passion project; it’s not my job,” said said Mowell.
Unlike big productions, it doesn’t have a team behind it.
“I’m a solo podcaster…directing, producing, editing, fact-checking, I do it all. I’m fine giving myself some grace on how often he comes out.
Future episodes will feature bars in Wyoming, architecture, the Pony Express, and how to read a cemetery. Mowell is currently working on an episode on cryptocurrency, and she’s excited for an upcoming interview with Jordan Dresser, president of the Northern Arapaho Business Council.
“I feel like an ambassador for Wyoming,” Mowell said. “I hope my podcast helps both people in Wyoming and out of state learn more about Wyoming and our diversity. Those of us who live here, for us to appreciate it , and those of us who are just passing through, to slow down a bit. There is a lot more to Wyoming.
“Wyoming My 307” is available on several podcast platforms such as Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Podbean. The show can also be accessed from Mowell’s blog at wyomingmy307.blogspot.com.