Podcast goals to make human connections in Utah’s rising counterculture

Three mics. Two chairs. One inexperienced velvet sofa.

These are the staples of the studio — really a Rose Park front room — the place Lauren “Lo” Peterson and Elizabeth Leach report their podcast, “Other People’s Stories.” The visitor sits on the sofa, whereas the hosts sit of their two white armchairs.

The house, in Peterson’s home, is straight away comforting. It’s a well-decorated, ambient space match with gems, a sprawling report assortment, classic cameras and typewriters. Three cats — Valentina, Leo and Taco — additionally stroll by or hang around.

The ambiance places folks relaxed, which is Peterson’s purpose. “Spaces are important to me,” she mentioned. “I think that it tells a story about the person that you’re with.”

The front room has turn into the invisible listener to the tales advised by the podcast’s company — an eclectic group of Utahns that has included former Salt Lake City Council member Shireen Ghorbani, baker Mandy Madsen (who owns the Mad Dough doughnut store), and Americana band Backyard Revival.

Peterson and Leach, of their first two seasons of the podcast, have requested company to share tales of “who are you as a person and why you are the way that you are,” Peterson mentioned.

Mostly, although, the speak is geared towards sharing experiences, buying and selling tales, and — because the hosts put it — “shooting the shite.”

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Elizabeth Leach, left, and Lo Peterson, proper, speak to good friend Sam Jeet about their current journeys, whereas sitting in the lounge of Lo’s house. Leach and Peterson are the hosts of “Other People’s Stories,” a Utah podcast, April 5, 2022.

Capturing human connection

“Other People’s Stories” is the hosts’ second effort for the Utah Podcast Network. The first, “Alt-Wrong,” took purpose at “conspiracy theories and scientific fallacies,” Leach mentioned. It additionally took quite a lot of analysis, and the pair was seeking to do one thing totally different.

Peterson and Leach, who labored within the tech trade earlier than entering into podcasting, mentioned they wished to make use of “Other People’s Stories” to deal with human connection — one thing social media, no matter its different deserves, tends to stifle.

The topics come from totally different occupations — amongst them politicians, enterprise leaders, artists and musicians. The purpose, the hosts mentioned, is to interview people who find themselves fascinating, progressive and funky.

As Utah is rising, Leach mentioned, the counterculture scene is slowly and certainly rising. Salt Lake City, she mentioned, is “cultivating itself into a Portland or Austin-esque kind of place.”

The hosts aren’t asking topics nearly what they do — however studying who they’re. “It’s like 100 years ago: Everyone knew their neighbors and everybody knew the family running a restaurant,” Leach mentioned. “That builds a bond of community.”

In a current episode, for instance, Peterson and Leach interviewed Tripp Mims, baker and proprietor of Mims Bakery, a cottage enterprise he and his spouse, Thy Hoang Vu, launched simply after the COVID-19 pandemic began. They talked about bread, however additionally they talked about grief; Vu was killed final October when a suspected drunk driver hit her automobile throughout a police pursuit. Mims advised the hosts about his work with lawmakers to look at the legal guidelines that govern police chases.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) l-r Elizabeth Leach laughs with Lo Peterson as they speak about their current holidays in the lounge of Lo’s house. Leach and Peterson are the hosts of Other People’s Stories, a neighborhood podcast, April 5, 2022.

“We as humans have so many facets,” Peterson mentioned. “We don’t always, from the outside, get to see all of the inner workings of somebody.”

And they study bits and items that they by no means would’ve come throughout in any other case. In a current episode, musician Kya Karine, aka Bass Princess, advised them Salt Lake City is the nation’s capital for canopy bands for weddings.

Leach mentioned she as soon as heard a podcast speaking in regards to the lack of one’s faith — one thing many Utahns expertise, she mentioned. The hosts each grew up in Utah County, the place the inhabitants tends to be extra conservative and extra more likely to be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints than folks in Salt Lake City. Leach’s mother and father are members of the religion, however not significantly lively, she mentioned; Peterson grew up in a strict Latter-day Saint family.

(Though the hosts come from cities just some miles aside — and even went to the identical junior highschool — they didn’t actually turn into mates till just a few years later, by an expertise with a mutual good friend.)

One facet of leaving one’s faith that struck Leach, she mentioned, is how these folks additionally expertise a lack of neighborhood — and the way that transition, from being linked to being remoted, can have an effect on somebody.

Peterson added that she believes “podcasting, specifically over the last 10 years, has become this huge, huge industry of connecting people with people. I think that something that isn’t very common is connecting with people in your [own] community.”

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) l-r Valentina the cat listens as Lo Peterson and Elizabeth Leach talk about their current holidays. Peterson and Leach are the hosts of Other People’s Stories, a neighborhood podcast, April 5, 2022.

Talking with mates

There’s no specific rhyme or rhythm to how the present books its company, Leach mentioned. The hosts have a tendency to hunt out individuals who appear fascinating on social media or in actual life, or individuals who might appear to have a “more than what meets the eye” high quality, she mentioned.

Peterson added that the podcast “bridges the gap in between being a human and being the person everybody sees you as.”

The interviews are conversational, much less stuffy and jammed with info as many podcasts are typically. They restrict their prep time, to allow them to preserve the dialog natural and candid. With Peterson’s front room as a studio, it looks like sitting down with two mates.

“That’s who Elizabeth and I are at our core,” Peterson mentioned.

A query about their dream interview topics units off on the form of back-and-forth two mates have. Peterson nominates former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan — and the dialog momentarily derails when Leach confirms that Sloan died almost two years in the past. They tease the thought of discovering a Ouija board, or a medium, which Leach is on board to pursue.

Ultimately, Peterson suggests the present coach of the Jazz, Quin Snyder, can be a dream interview — however so would any solid member from “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.” Leach’s dream staff contains James Huntsman, who just lately filed a lawsuit towards The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints over the church’s funds, and Flamingo Jazz, the New Orleans-style band that performs Wednesday nights on the downtown Salt Lake City bar and restaurant Lake Effect.

They have some concepts for podcasts into the summer season — however, Peterson mentioned, they’re glad to listen to from anybody who want to be on the present, or can nominate somebody fascinating. “It’s about Utah, which means our best pool of people are the people who are listening,” she mentioned.

The podcast is a real ardour undertaking — neither host will get paid, and although they wouldn’t be against it, they don’t fully thoughts. Not getting paid, they mentioned, means they’ll’t be accused of getting an “agenda.”

“We do it literally just to do it because we really do think that Salt Lake City is a weird, delightful, strange, very innovative, very productive place,” Leach mentioned.

“We do want people to be the best versions of themselves,” Peterson added, “and if [money] were to ever sway us away from that, I don’t think that we could in good conscience make money off of it. Honestly, I don’t think that we’re just not those people.”

Editor’s notice • This story is out there to Salt Lake Tribune subscribers solely. Thank you for supporting native journalism.

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