People Are Strange When You’re A Stranger

We just really felt like we could offer a unique and refreshing take on the storytelling podcast.

On February 10, Eli McCann and Jolyn Metro released the first episode of their podcast Strangerville. Within a day thousands of listeners had downloaded and shared the episode, and left rave reviews. “There were quite a few people who listened to it and said it was the first podcast they had been able to get all the way through,” Metro says. Monday, McCann and Metro released the second episode which was met with the same enthusiasm. It’s remarkable listenership for a podcast so young.

Like anything that seems to be an overnight success, however, in truth years of preparation have gone into getting Strangerville off the ground. While the podcast just recently launched, McCann has been creating content and a community of readers on since 2007. He started the blog primarily to share funny stories with his family, but when a post went viral, he suddenly had tens of thousands of visitors on his site and had no idea what to do with them. “Unfamiliar with how to navigate and deal with going from ten readers to tens of thousands basically overnight, Jolyn started helping me respond to emails, do some basic redesign, and consult on how to keep Stranger true to its original purpose but relatable to a broader audience,” McCann explains. The blog continues to reach tens of thousands of readers across the globe and McCann continues to consult with Metro on story ideas. So it made sense for the two to combine forces and bring Strangerville to the Stranger-loving masses.

“We are both avid podcast listeners and we thought taking stories told by a person or several people and editing them into short segments with compelling story arches would be an entertaining podcast format,” McCann says. “We just really felt like we could offer a unique and refreshing take on the storytelling podcast,” Metro adds.

McCann and Metro plan to produce a new episode of Strangerville every month. “ Because we are committed to quality production, an hour-long episode takes us roughly 40 to 50 hours of combined work (on top of our day jobs and Netflix obligations),” McCann says. “Before starting Strangerville, neither of us had any experience with audio recording or editing. So it has been quite an adventure learning how to use all the equipment and software,” Metro adds. “Thank goodness for YouTube tutorials, or we’d still be trying to figure out how to plug everything in.” The two maintain a strict production schedule. They aim to have all content recorded by the first of every month and spend the remaining two weeks editing. They also spend these two weeks finalizing the schedule and content for the next episode. “It’s the circle of Strangerville’s life, and it is already a little exhausting. But that’s what caffeine is for,” McCann says.

McCann and Metro currently have Strangerville episodes planned through June. Most of the contributors and most of the listeners to this point have been from Utah. “Utahns have great stories, and we want to hear them and we want you to hear them as well,” Metro says. “At this point the majority of our audience and the support we receive through them comes from Utah. We hope that this audience will continue to help us widen our reach,” McCann adds.

The Strangerville duo hope to host the podcast for as long as they enjoy it. “We hope our reach will grow and we believe that the more it does, the more exposure we will have to great content,” McCann says. “We are committed to maintaining and improving the quality of the storytelling as we continue.”

But it will be hard to beat the quality of the latest episode’s second segment. Whoever wrote that is brilliant and deserves a raise from her current employers.

Published 3/16/2015

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