The award-winning Wyoming Public Media podcast HumaNature enters its sixth season this coming week. The podcast host and senior producer Erin Jones joined Bob Beck to discuss the podcast, the upcoming season and how HumaNature came about.
Erin Jones: In the beginning, in I think 2015, Wyoming Public Media really wanted a show from Wyoming to reach audiences within and beyond Wyoming. And that was because WPM was recognizing that on demand listening to high quality production is kind of the future in the way that audio is going. So we wanted to be a part of that and we thought, what's more Wyoming than the outdoors and the human relationship to nature.
Bob Beck: HumaNature was actually sort of a unique podcast. There weren't a lot of this type of podcast out there.
EJ: That's true. There were very few smaller public radio podcasts at the time. Most of the podcasts were being made by NPR, WNYC, private companies like Gimlet, things like that. And so it was really rare for a smaller public radio station to be making podcasts, we were kind of a pioneer. And because of listener dollars and support, we were able to really push through on that and become one of the first public radio stations to create high quality podcasts like this. And we led a trend across the country. Now smaller public radio stations are creating their own podcasts, like Kentucky, like New Orleans, and they're following in our footsteps.
BB: As you look back on the last five years, what are some of your favorite highlights?
EJ: Well, we have had around a million listeners all around the world. And we have been aired on more than 100 public radio stations. We were syndicated for a year on Sirius XM Satellite Radio. We've won multiple awards. We were even invited to be a part of a nature exhibition at a major Danish Art Museum, and an episode played over speakers in a gallery at that art museum. So those are some of the fun highlights as far as accolades go. But I have just really enjoyed getting to know some of the people that we've interviewed, some of the storytellers. I feel like we've gotten to meet some interesting people who otherwise wouldn't have had their voices heard.
BB: Well, let's talk about this new season. It gets underway here in a few days. Tell me what's on tap?
EJ: Our sixth season is launching this coming Wednesday, October 14. We'll hear from a woman whose dad taught her to be prepared. She learned from him how to be a good shot and live well outdoors. But so, when she was an adult, she took his teachings to heart, and she went to meetups to learn the skills that she needed to survive. And she found herself the only Black woman in a room full of standoffish people who were all getting ready for the end of the world. So that's our first story on Wednesday. Then on October 28, we will continue in the beautiful HumaNature tradition of having a ghostly tale. On November 11, we'll hear from a preacher son who kept running into obstacles because there weren't many openly gay outdoorsmen like him. And then somebody asked him to give a sermon and the cord he struck opened up the path to his dreams. There's plenty more after that.