We all have a laundry list of podcasts we’d like to listen to, but what about a podcast with news specific to the city you live in? City Cast Salt Lake is taking the valley by storm, and providing its residents with the resources they need to enrich themselves into Salt Lake City. We sat down with Lead Producer, Emily Means, about running an all-female team, what makes City Cast unique, and The Shop coffee that fuels the team’s day.
Can you describe the work that you do?
My team and I produce a daily podcast and newsletter about all things Salt Lake. We highlight local stories and try to answer burning questions about this place we call home. Why does Utah have so many scammers? Can you go car-free in SLC? What’s the best salad in town? Just about any topic or guest is fair game for us.
How long has City Cast been around and how did you get started?
City Cast Salt Lake launched in December 2021. We’re part of a national network of hyperlocal podcasts and newsletters (including Denver, Boise, Las Vegas and other cities), and our goal is to make you feel more connected to your community. City Cast Salt Lake has more than 250 episodes, and we were recently voted Best Local Podcast in the Salt Lake City Weekly — the cherry on top of our first year.
City Cast is predominantly a women-led team. Can you speak to how important it is to have strong, knowledgeable women, such as yourselves in positions of influence today?
We’re a team of four women, and three of us are women of color. Our perspective is one of the things that differentiates us from the rest of Salt Lake’s media landscape. What makes us special, though, is the way we relate to Salt Lake. We’re all SLC residents, and we approach our reporting from a place of love and wanting the best for this community.
Do you have any advice for someone who is looking to start their own podcast?
For us, podcasting is a career, not a hobby. A lot goes into making our show sound so good (interview prep, editing and mixing audio, quality control). If you’re looking to create a professional-sounding podcast, I recommend hiring someone who has experience with audio production.
What is your team’s favorite part about working at The Shop?
The downtown location is great. Plus, we’re all big coffee drinkers, so our team meetings usually start with a stop at the espresso machine. I also love meeting people I wouldn’t have if I had been working from home.
How has working out of The Shop improved your overall workflow?
Our work is fully remote, so we do a lot of Zooming and messaging over Slack. Our Shop membership has provided a central space for us to get together in person. We have our weekly pitch meetings at The Shop, and being able to gather around a table helps get our creativity flowing. We do our best brainstorming that way.
What is something that makes City Cast unique compared to other daily podcasts?
You’ve probably heard daily podcasts like NYT’s The Daily or Vox’s Today, Explained. Those are great for understanding national issues, but what we’re offering is a daily resource that helps you learn more about where you live. Our podcast and accompanying newsletter, Hey Salt Lake, are meant to be your guide to this valley. We share practical tips for navigating the city, ways for you to help your community members, and much more. I can’t think of any other source of news and information that feels like you’re catching up with your very informed neighbor.
What has been your favorite place or the best-kept secret of Salt Lake City?
One of my favorite places in Salt Lake City is Gilgal Garden. If you haven’t been, it’s only a few blocks from The Shop on 500 S. and about 800 E. It’s a weird, hidden sculpture garden featuring a sphinx with Joseph Smith’s face (he’s the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). The novelty of it makes it a great place to show your out-of-town friends, too.
Having members like City Cast, who see how special Salt Lake City is and want to share that, is what truly makes our Shop community so special. You can find the City Cast team enjoying cappuccinos in our 3rd floor commons, or utilizing our podcast room to record their latest episode.