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New Salt Water podcast asks, ‘So What’s Your Story?’

(Aug. 6, 2015) Looking to publicize local authors, as well as its own publishing enterprise, Berlin’s Salt Water Media recently announced the creation of a new podcast, “So What’s Your Story?”
Salt Water Founder Stephanie Fowler and local author Tony Russo will cohost the podcast, which is set to debut in September.
“We have all these authors working on interesting projects and a lot of them would tell me these great stories. I thought, you know, this would be really interesting if other people knew this,” Fowler said. “This is an idea that I had wanted to do for some time now, but honestly when it came down to it I didn’t know how to do it. All I knew about podcasts was how to listen to them and subscribe to them.”
Enter Russo, a veteran of several of his own podcasts as well as a former staffer at the Bayside Gazette.
Russo started what have believes was the first podcast on the Eastern Shore, “The Tom and Tony Show,” with then Gazette Editor Tom Melville in 2005. He later joined Todd DeHart, from Good Clean Fun Life, to create the Toddcast, and produced “Beer with Strangers” with Doug Griffith from Xtreme Brewing.
“I was an early adopter of podcasts,” Russo said. “Commuting is a forever thing, and this is almost like pirate radio. If you have the gear, you can do whatever you want. You can find your niche and you can speak directly to your audience, and you don’t have to fight for airtime or sponsorships.
“My biggest problem is that I don’t want to sell things – that’s why I like being a reporter,” Russo said. “With podcasts, there’s even more freedom because you produce your own show. You say what you want you want and if people like it hopefully they listen to it.”
While “shooting the breeze,” Fowler said she asked Russo if he could give her a tutorial on podcasting. Russo had a better idea: let’s do one together.
“That was really attractive to me because he knew all the ins and outs, and he had all the recording equipment,” Fowler said. “All I had to do is provide a place and pull in some of these authors.”
The pair recorded their first podcast last month, with young-adult author Andrew Heller.
“With Andrew, the story behind the story, why he wrote what he wrote, was very interesting and we talked about that during the podcast,” Fowler. “Right before Christmas, he was laid off and wondering what he could give his kid for Christmas, and he wrote this short story for his kid and eventually it blossomed into a three-book series.”
Joan Cooper, Carol K. Psaros and Dr. Clara Small are scheduled to record new episodes later this month.
“We want to have maybe four episodes recorded, finalized, fully edited and ready to be released before we launch,” Fowler said. “We’d like to do a weekly podcast, so we’re hoping to have a couple in the can so that if a guest cancels we’re not out of a podcast that week and scrambling. We want to give ourselves a little buffer room.”
Fowler said the subjects don’t necessarily need to have ties with Salt Water.
“We’re looking for at anyone who is in the area writing or publishing,” she said. “We have a natural connection to the first batch of authors because of what we do here, but that’s not our only base.”
Goal number one, she said, is to help local writers connect with a broader audience.  
“To say, ‘increase awareness’ sounds kind of corny, but really that is what we want to do,” she said. “We want to let people know there are all these awesome local writers and authors, they have some really cool stories and really cool reasons why they’re writing about what they’re writing about.
“Quite honestly, as an indie publisher and an indie author, getting the word out about your book is definitely something that’s important, so we’re hoping the podcast can be one more vehicle for the marketing of a book and an author,” Fowler added.
For Russo, the author of “Eastern Shore Beer” and staffer at the Laurel Star, the podcast provides another opportunity to produce new content.
“One of the things I like about interviewing people generally is you learn all this stuff without having to do the classroom work,” he said. “It’s like going to college and not having to take algebra. You learn so much stuff from so many people, and I love to collect stuff, I love to tell stories and I love to tell other people’s stories. With podcasting, I can tell twice as many stories.”
Fowler said it’s also important to her to, “build a community of writers.”
“We’re all really interested in the same thing,” she said. “I think it’s important to connect and have events, and here we have a podcast. Hopefully, it turns into something that’s another collective part of the community.”
Look for “So What’s Your Story?” on iTunes in September. For more information, follow Salt Water Media on Facebook.