At the end of a long week I found myself in my office, feet on the desk, chatting about the goings on of Appen Media with my dad and A.J. McNaughton, our production and newsroom manager. Mostly we were talking about the growing podcast phenomena and what role we as a company wanted to play in the movement.

Podcasts are recorded radio shows you can listen to via an app or online, for free. But instead of music, you listen to news, stories and interviews. People enjoy podcasts because they are a free flowing, easy to use, and affordable outlet for entertainment and news.

I’m a podcast junkie. I just can’t get enough of them. I mainly listen to podcasts about sports, politics and the news. But there are podcasts for just about every topic imaginable. I’ve been told there is a podcast about saddle making with around 500 loyal listeners.

At Appen Media, we’re always looking for new and creative ways to tell the stories of north Atlanta to supplement what we already do in our print newspapers. So, that, combined with my thirst for the platform personally, drove me to being all in on making this a reality for the company.

We hired a consultant, invested in equipment and read just about every “how-to” article we could find on creating a podcast.

The first podcast we launched is called Inside the Box. The focus of the show is to take deep dives into pertinent local issues like homelessness and voting trends and to personalize the leaders in our community by asking them about their life’s stories and what events led them to where they are today.

It was originally intended to supplement the work of our Black Box investigations, and it will, but it has certainly become more than that.

The conversations we have are intended to give the listener a different perspective or new information that you can’t understand in a written sentence without hearing the tone and enthusiasm is someone’s voice.

Writing that someone cried while answering a question is not the same as hearing them cry and feeling their emotion.

It is light hearted at times, and funny in others, but mainly it focuses on serious topics with serious people.

Soon after we launched Inside the Box, A.J. and Kathleen Sturgeon, an editor with the company, took the lead as cohosts of another show called Lunch Break.

While Inside the Box can be described as a very serious, calculated show, Lunch Break offers our listeners almost the opposite experience.

Focused on topics related to food, A.J. and Kathleen cover funny headlines in the news, test Jimmy Johns on the reality of their freaky fast delivery, and play laugh out loud games with guests involving little known food trivia.

Everyone listens to podcasts with different goals in mind. While some listen to be informed, others listen to disconnect and unwind. For the latter, this is definitely the show for you.

Adding to the humor of the show is that Kathleen is a vegetarian and A.J. is a self-proclaimed pizza aficionado. The dynamic rocks, and they complement each other well.

Next up we are launching a high schools sports podcast called Overtime with Joe Parker. Our sports reporter is taking the lead on this one, and we’re looking forward to interviews with coaches, players and recaps of major games and tournaments.

We won’t be stopping there, either. My goal is for Appen Media to produce a total of 5 shows by the end of the year and as many as 20 by the end of next.

Podcasts are the fastest growing platform of media in the world and we intend to play a significant role.

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