From true-crime to comedy, everyone loves a good podcast.
Since their inception nearly two decades ago, these engaging audio productions have continued to increase in popularity. The epitome of convenience and on-demand entertainment, they can be listened to anywhere, anytime: in the car, on your morning jog, or from the comfort of your couch. The ability to forge connections with your favourite creators through social media or see the faces behind the voices through YouTube episodes further enriches the immersive experience.
Particularly in the past five years, the creation of bespoke, hyper local shows has seen an exponential surge. Thanks to modern technology, you don’t need a background in broadcasting to make your voice heard. One needs only a cell phone and an easy-to-use app to create original content on virtually any subject: from health and wellness to sports, music, politics, and pop culture.
In Windsor-Essex County, a profusion of novel podcasts has flourished; dreamed up by passionate individuals looking to showcase the best and brightest in our community or disseminate their expertise across a wide array of topics. These shows offer a unique lens into the stories, experiences, and voices that shape our region. From uncovering hidden gems in our neighbourhoods to diving into the heart of local issues, these podcasts connect us in ways that transcend traditional media.
Eager to explore the diverse narratives that make YQG so special? Here’s a curated list of must-listen local Windsor podcasts that promise to entertain, inform, and maybe even make you feel a little more at home…
YQG in Bloom
Host: Tracy Martens
Subject matter: Each episode, Martens highlights a variety of local businesses, shops, charities, makers, and bloggers from across Windsor-Essex County.
Streaming on: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeart Radio, RSS & YouTube
Social handles: @yqginbloom
How did it start? “I’m a photographer, and during COVID our studio was shut down. It was then that I started a little side business called ‘Tracy Gardens’ where I grew seeds for vegetables and herbs in my basement and delivered them to people,” she explains.
Martens said like her, she found others had become reacquainted with their passions or picked up new hobbies during the pandemic; starting their own side hustles.
“I’d noticed a lot of these new businesses had started up and I really wanted people to know about them,” she explains. “I was getting really tired of people saying, ‘There’s nothing to do in Windsor, we don’t have anything cool in Windsor. I thought, ‘Open your eyes, people!’”
It was that realization that prompted Tracy to get behind the mic and start “YQG in Bloom;” a way for her to introduce the community to both new and well-established creators.
What inspires you to create? “My mission is to showcase the talent, innovation, and drive that makes up our area,” says Martens. “I want people to stop following celebrities and those big brands and chain stores and start following the people in our community who are doing great things. If you follow the local people and businesses, you’ll see we have so much going on.”
What’s next? “The amount of creativity in this area is immense; I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface,” says Martens. “I want to continue getting out and meeting people and discovering new businesses to feature and help give them a platform to grow their following.”
Martens says she has put out the call to all her followers, family, and friends to share their favourite YQG businesses with her. She’s also working with fellow digital creator “Made in YQG” to build a website to house all her podcast episodes and give a space for small local businesses to advertise their offerings.
Host: Kristi Simons
Subject matter: Simons – a holistic youth educator, author, and certified teacher – delves into the complexities of the adolescent years, speaking with other industry professionals as well as sharing learnings and stories from her own experience as a teen life coach.
Streaming on: Spotify, Apple Podcasts
How did it start? Simons initially began her podcasting journey with “Imperfect Creatrix” releasing 49 episodes focused on sharing stories of personal growth and transformation and discovering the healing power of connecting with others.
“I started a podcast to finally be able to use my voice and share my story and really create a safe space for others to do the same,” says Simons.
Prior to becoming a mom for the first time in 2020, Simons says she was living a life that wasn’t truly serving her and struggled with many toxic tendencies. Through her mental health journey and path to sobriety, she realized she wanted to create changes in her life to be able to show up better for her children.
“My children and my husband really are my ‘why,’” she shares. “I went back to school to study holistic nutrition, I wrote a chapter in a book called ‘Body Bliss’ and I started the podcast to have more meaningful, connected conversations with people and be vulnerable about some of the things we all feel.”
Simons’ podcast has recently evolved into “The Confident Teen;” a series aimed at helping young adults and parents through the tumultuous teen years through personal stories and interviews with experts in the field.
What inspires you to create? “Working with teens the past few years has really become my passion,” says Simons. “My own teen years are really where I feel like I had truly lost myself; always seeking validation from other people and not truly connecting with who I really was. There were situations and experiences in that at that point in my life that really, truly took me on an opposite trajectory of what I knew was ultimately best for me.”
Simons says that through her work, she hopes to provide value and support to teens going through their own journey of self-discovery; sharing her lessons, experiences, and knowledge to help them find their inner confidence.
Other local podcasts you love? “’Emotionally Uncomfortable’ with my own coach, Heather Chauvin.”
Social handles: @confidentteenteacher
Creatives of Windsor
Host: Anthony Sheardown
Subject matter: Each episode, Sheardown interviews homegrown creatives; film makers, musicians, bloggers, media personalities, and artists doing innovative things in Windsor and abroad.
Streaming on: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube, iHeart Radio, and Google Podcasts.
How did it start? Sheardown, a Windsor-based photographer, began mapping out his ideas in January of this year, and released his first episode in April. To date, he has released 13 episodes, with dozens more slated to air in the coming year.
The idea for a podcast came from Sheardown’s interest in meeting others in his field. With his background in Journalism and audio/video production, he says he was comfortable with interviewing and already had all the tools and knowledge to film and edit.
“I really like making connections with like other artists around the city,” says Sheardown. “I just wanted to have conversations with local creative and give them a platform to talk about whatever they wanted and get their name out there.”
What inspires you to create? “The goal of the podcast is to really highlight innovative, creative, inspiring people that are coming out of our city or that are based in our city. People that are doing like really cool, ground-breaking stuff,” he says. “I want to have everybody on that’s doing that; I’m looking forward to doing this for many years to come.”
Sheardown says he already has a very long roster of creators to get to. “My list is over 100 people already!”
Bucket list interview? “I don’t know if I have one official ‘Holy Grail’ interview; I’m genuinely excited to meet every person I have on the show,” says Sheardown. “Dan MacDonald was one person that I had in mind for a long time, so it was great that I got to interview him in episode 10.”
Most viewed episode? Anthony’s conversation with the late David Hunter, managing partner of The DRIVE Magazine.
Instagram handle: @creativesofwindsorpodcast
|MORE LOCAL PODCASTS TO TUNE IN TO:
Sports Entertainers Podcast
Rose City Politics
Coffee with Crainer
The Windsor Podcast
The River and the Land
The Truth with Tal and Isaac