Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Tuning in and speaking up: These local podcasts are keeping the conversations going

Kristin Dilley (pictured), a local high school English teacher, started Mind Over Murder podcast with Bill Thomas, a music executive who lives in Connecticut. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Kristin Dilley & Bill Thomas)
Kristin Dilley, a local high school English teacher, started Mind Over Murder podcast with Bill Thomas, a music executive who lives in Connecticut. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Kristin Dilley & Bill Thomas)

There’s no doubt people are bored staying at home.

And while grocery stores run out of yeast because of rookie bakers and their sourdough obsessions, more Americans are using the pandemic as an opportunity to be still and listen.

Spotify saw a drop in listeners in March, but then as the pandemic progressed, more people began listening in again. In their third quarter earnings report for 2020, the company reported they had 1.9 million podcasts on the platform, up from more than 1.5 million podcasts in their second quarter.

So if you’re on the hunt for new podcasts to listen to, then the Historic Triangle actually has quite a few local podcasters for you to check out.

Mind Over Murder

This true crime podcast was started by Kristin Dilley, a local high school English teacher, and Bill Thomas, a music executive who lives in Connecticut.

But this isn’t just a fun hobby. For Thomas, this is personal. His sister, Cathy Thomas, and her girlfriend Rebecca Dowski, were the first two victims in the Colonial Parkway murders back in 1986.

As years progressed, Thomas found himself becoming more involved in the case until looking into unsolved crimes became a pastime. He and Dilley started Mind Over Murder after egging each other on to start a podcast.

“I thought the last thing podcasting needed was another white guy talking on a podcast,” Thomas said.

“But I like the contrast between us,” he said of himself and Dilley.

Their first episode aired in January, with episodes coming out every Monday morning.

Some guests on their podcasts include Gemma Hopkins, author of “The Keepers,” true crime author Ron Peterson, and Dilley’s favorite, Jim Fitzgerald, a retired FBI agent who works as a criminal profiler, forensic linguist, and author.

“Sometimes you’ll blow through the 40 minutes you allocate for an episode because they just have so much material for you,” Dilley said. “So we’ll just stop recording and then start recording a new episode right there.”

While podcasting allows both Dilley and Thomas to record remotely and stay connected, the coronavirus pandemic has also foiled some of their plans for the podcast.

Dilley said they wanted to have a few episodes where they record together, but with travel restrictions in place, that goal has been difficult.

But that hasn’t stopped this podcast from growing.

Thomas said they have never received a “no” when asking people to be a guest on the podcast.

Bill Thomas, a music executive who lives in Connecticut, started Mind Over Murder podcast with Kristin Dilley, a local high school English teacher. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Kristin Dilley & Bill Thomas)
Bill Thomas, a music executive who lives in Connecticut, started Mind Over Murder podcast with Kristin Dilley, a local high school English teacher. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Kristin Dilley & Bill Thomas)

“I think it’s because people know we will ask in-depth questions and be respectful,” he said.

In the meantime, Dilley said she continues to record at her kitchen table and Thomas from his library.

“Both of us feel very strongly about not covering crimes that have had a lot of coverage,” Dilley said.

To listen in on Mind Over Murder, you can visit their website here.

Magenta Text

Cody Watson, whose daytime job is being the director of marketing for William & Mary’s business school, said he started his podcast and podcasting company because of the pandemic.

As many students were losing the chance of getting internships because of COVID-19, Watson said he and a group of others came up with an idea to get their students the professional exposure they needed to be successful in their future careers.

“We decided to start making audio content where we would connect marketing professionals together in less of a classroom setting but more conversational, that way students could listen in and explore the concept of marketing in a safe way,” he said.

Watson added he’s surprised how many people listen to the podcast since the group hasn’t done a lot of promotion for it.

A marketing podcast with little marketing. Oh, the irony.

And with the pandemic has been a mixture of pros and cons. Watson said it’s easier to set up remote interviews with a wider array of guests.

“The hard part is the upfront work, of making sure you have something you want to talk about on a weekly basis and people want to listen to,” he said. “Our audience doesn’t want a show where they feel like they’re being talked at. We’ve gotten a lot of feedback where people like the idea of them eavesdropping into a conversation.”

So far, Watson said his favorite topic to discuss was on the rebranding of the Washington Redskins, now the Washington Football Team.

“That was an interesting conversation for our audience to really get to know us, because we were able to weave in humor and social commentary,” he said.

To listen to Magenta Text, check out their website here.

Ethics and Etiquette

This podcast is the team effort of three people curious about the moral dilemmas found in the everyday.

Marna Ashburn, a local resident and author of four books, bought the domain name Ethics and Etiquette in 2009 with the intention of creating space to have conversation on ethics and civility. She wanted the conversation to be interactive but wasn’t sure how to accomplish her vision.

“Then two years ago, podcasting caught on and I thought, ‘We could do a podcast,’” she said.

With the help of two friends, Kelly Halligan Zimmerman, a Virginia attorney, and Mike Derrick, a New York resident who has lived around the world, Ethics and Etiquette became a reality.

Ashburn said she became interested in ethical discussions after watching Oprah bring up similar questions on her show.

“I would pause the show so my friends and I could discuss, and then we’d unpause and see what they had to say,” Ashburn said.

Now, thanks to podcasting, Ashburn, Derrick, and Zimmerman have a platform where they can bring the conversation to their listeners.

And if you needed further proof about podcasting’s ability to bring people together, Ashburn said Derrick and Zimmerman have never met face to face.

“We’re all going to try to get together at some point,” she said. “But they seem like fast friends, because we get to have these deep and meaningful conversations about once a month.”

Ashburn added her favorite, and probably the most popular topic on the podcast has been on inheritance. The topic was such a hit, they recorded a second episode, Ashburn said.

But bringing up intriguing questions and dilemmas isn’t the only thing Ethics and Etiquette sets out to do.

“We only recently realized it’s important to our listeners that they know us, so that’s why we’re offering more personal stories in our podcasts these days,” Ashburn said.

Check out Ethics and Etiquette by visiting their website here.


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