Our podcast community continues to bend and weave, as we lost a lot of cool shows over the past year, while new names started popping up to replace them. Others, however, have been around for years; you just may not realize it because of what they do. Take for example This Is The Place Podcast
, featuring the thoughts and drunken arguments of Blake Dimick and Cody Winget (the latter City Weekly
's own accounts payable manager), who produce the show once every month or so. The two men grab some beers and pick a topic and run, having an awesome conversation that doesn't feel pressured or required to fill the weekly void. Today we chat with the duo about their show and where they're headed down the road. (All pictures courtesy of TITP Podcast.
Blake Dimick & Cody Winget
Gavin: Hey guys, first off, tell us a little bit about yourselves.
We are a Salt Lake City, Utah-based, pop culture podcast. We do movie, music and alcohol reviews and everything in between. We have been podcasting for around three years and have done a total of 27 episodes.
I am also from Salt Lake City, I am a father, a breakfast lover, a dog lover, a lady lover, a lover-lover, not in that order. I am married with a two-and-a-half year aspiring astronomer for a son.
When did the two of you first meet each other and eventually become friends?
Cody and I met through my older brother. They were best friends in high school, and so I ended up hanging out with Cody a lot back then. My brother moved away to join the Army, and Cody and I stayed close ever since. They were both in high school and I was in junior high, but I am actually only six months younger than Cody is.
How did each of you get into podcasting, and what were your favorite shows?
Since before podcasts were a thing, we always thought that we and our friends were funny enough to record our stupid conversations and that people would think we were funny as well. After podcasting became a thing, it was a no-brainer to hit record. We talked about doing a podcast for about a year before actually recording one.
I love comedy podcasts: Sklarbro Country/County
, How Did This Get Made?
, and Doug Loves Movies.
But I also love some of the public radio spin-offs like Freakonomics
, Note to Self
, Planet Money
you know, the usual lot. I have been trying to find other shows lately; I just binged through all of Lore
and a new show called Surprisingly Awesome
that Adam McKay co-hosts. I started listening to podcasts about six or seven years ago, and have been obsessed, that's basically all I ever listen to. I love that anybody with an iPhone can make a podcast, so you have a wide spectrum of quality and content. What really got me to finally decide to commit to doing the podcast was when I had the chance to do a guest spot on Utah FM and I had so much fun doing it, and I was really surprised at how natural it felt. That really lit the fire under me to do this.
What made you decide to do your own podcast, and why did you choose This Is The Place for the Utah-centric title?
We talked about podcasting for around a year or so, just because we thought it would be fun. Eventually one night we committed ourselves to trying it, and haven't stopped since. I think it surprised us how much fun recording ourselves talking would be. It is a challenge to keep a show going without lulls or dead air when you first start, but after a while it becomes more natural. We chose our name based on the fact that we wanted to talk a lot about our home state of Utah and we wanted our name to reflect that in some way. "This is the place" is a famous quote from Brigham Young, who saw the Salt Lake valley on their journey to find a place to settle and proclaimed "It is enough. This is the right place. Drive on." There is a monument on the east side of Salt Lake City marking the site. We thought it was kind of funny to use a Mormon legend as a tongue-in-cheek way to link our name and our state. We also wanted to clear up for people outside of Utah the idea that only Mormon, polygamist, anti-gay and anti-alcohol residents live here. We both love living in this state and it is becoming more and more diverse everyday. Though we still have a long way to go.
I love Salt Lake City and Utah, and really wanted to make that a huge part of our adventures in podcasting, and I have run this joke into the ground, but I think the "this is the place" story is so weird.
What was it like gathering up equipment and putting together your own recording space?
It was easy, really, because I already had all of the recording equipment that we needed to do it. I built a home recording studio in my garage in order to record music. All we had to do was plug in some mics, throw on some headphones and hit record. If we didn't have everything already, I doubt we would have even started doing the podcast. The garage setup has been pretty awesome for us.
Blake is the champion here, his equipment, his garage, he puts in all the work. We usually end the night with him doing editing and bouncing the podcast down while I drunkenly sit on the couch and attempt to beat Mike Tyson's Punch-Out
for the millionth time.
Did you do any test episodes prior to starting up or did you just dive in immediately?
Our first try is actually our first episode. We didn't do any testing, we just jumped in feet first. I don't think that we've told anyone before that on our first episode, we actually recorded for about a half an hour and then completely started over because we didn't like how it was going, but that's the only time I think we have done that. I don't suggest going back to the first episode and listening. I think if I had to listen to #1 again, I might be embarrassed.
Yeah, the first episode was really awkward and we did have to start over, but ever since then we have pretty gone for it 100% every time.
The conversation is kind of a mix of two formats. Firstly, what made you decide to pick an alcoholic drink for each episode, and how do you go about picking what you'll use?
We like to drink. I think it also goes back to the fact that we wanted people listening to know that there are people who drink in Utah and that out state liquor laws are not as incredibly crazy as they are made out to be. We do have some weird laws for alcohol, but so do a lot of other states.
Honestly, I just thought it would be funny to listen to us decent into drunk ridiculousness, and I think I was right. My favorite episodes are the ones where we get totally shithoused and act like high school kids who have never been drunk before.
For the second part, how do you decide the topics that you'll be discussing each episode?
We always choose a musical group to highlight and an alcoholic drink to highlight. I think the music thing for me is a way to live my dream of what it would be like to have a radio program and share music that maybe people haven't heard of before. We used to always day dream of that when we were younger, because we always hated most of the stuff that was played on the radio and thought that our musical taste was better. The other topics we choose a lot of the time are based on what time of year it is, what holidays are coming up, or if there is nothing like that to talk about, we will do movie reviews or talk about things that are happening in the Salt Lake area or new changes in alcohol laws in the state. I want to do more and more things that involve getting people interested in what a great state Utah is.
We generally come up with some things to hit, we either come with a rough topic and build the show around that or we simplify it with one key thing like a movie review or news stories. We run through a lot of different formats, and I kind of like that we haven't pinned ourselves down to one thing. At the end of the day, the podcast is about the conversation not the talking points and that's what I think shines.
Do you find yourselves playing off each other more and taking the show in different directions as it goes, or is primarily talking points that you try to stick to?
We try and stick to a general guideline to start the show, but once you add some adult beverages into the mix, you never know what we might start talking about or for now long we will talk about them.
Yeah there are bullet points but it really is about the banter and the conversation. That's why we bring our friends in to have a new voice and provide some new voices for us to play off of.
What brought about the infrequent recording schedule, and how do you decide when you'll record an episode?
We both have full-time jobs & families and Cody does school, so we record when we can. We would both love to do it more, but it's not realistic to have a really tight schedule. We also do it for fun and try not to put too much pressure on ourselves to do it more often than we think we can.
Oh boy, there's a lot of things that have played into this and I will take all the blame; first I had a baby (that put us off for a few months), then I went back to school (that limits my availability), and now having a toddler and full-time work/full-time student status makes it challenging. Not to mention that the nature of the podcast makes it kind of a commitment, drink heavily and we generally run a long show so it's a whole-night activity. Ideally, I would like for us to get on at least a once a month schedule.
What's the response been like from the public during the time you've been doing it?
The response has been good. We have had listeners from all over the world tune in. We always do a trivia segment to cap off the show because we did it one time and everyone really liked it, so now it is a major part of the show.
We have some really dedicated listeners, and aside from people complaining about me getting drunk and burping in the microphone, it's been all positive.
The last episode you recorded was just before Christmas. What are you planning for the next couple shows?
We like to try and do holiday shows for sure, and Christmas has always been a favorite episode for us to record over the three years we have been doing this. We may do a review of things we liked and disliked from last year for the next episode. It might be a little late for that now. The next couple of shows will follow the same structure as the rest, but I hope to really amp up on the Utah-based talk.
Oh man, you're giving us a lot of credit; we don't plan that far in advance. But really, there are a few concept ideas we have for episodes that we haven't tackled yet. I would really like to do an episode where we watch an older movie and the contemporary remake of that movie and play some of our favorite cover songs for the music, that idea has been kicking around since the jump, and we haven't gotten around to it. We have a few other concept ideas that we always talk about, but I also like the recent format of seeing one current movie in the theater and breaking it down. At some point we'll bring back crazy news. We are always open to suggestions too, so if you have any ideas, let us know.
Where do you hope to take the show creatively as the years go on?
With a big presidential election coming up and lots of laws being proposed this year that I think are interesting, I hope to talk more about that kind of thing. I will push to address anything Utah-related, because I think that is what gives our podcast something different.
I also want to focus on more local issues and finding ways to integrate the podcast into local news and events. I want to try doing some live episodes, but we would need to do some format tweaking. I would really like to really like to do a live onsite at the Utah Beer Festival and bring in some of the brewers to talk about their beers. Stuff like that would be really cool. I want to get more local guests that are in different parts of the local scene, restaurant owners, musicians, business owners, and other people making Utah better and more interesting.
What can we expect from both of you and the show over the rest of 2016?
Hopefully things will calm down in our personal lives and we can do more shows than we did last year. Who knows, maybe we'll give up drinking, convert to Mormonism and completely change the podcast.
The next few months are going to be crazy for me. I should be finishing school in April, and hopefully that will give me a lot more free time to see my family and give us a chance to put out more episodes. Hopefully we will get an opportunity to expand the show and move to a more regular schedule and incorporate a lot more local products, people, and activities into the podcast, and just basically expand our horizons. Hell, maybe we'll get a member of the Quorum of the 12 on the show if Blake is serious about converting.