Eager for new listening material while making your daily commute?

Two Milton podcast teams hope you’ll give their programs a try.

Milton residents spend an average of 20 minutes a day commuting to their jobs, according to U.S. Census data.

Inga Cushman, Milton administrative services director, said she and City Administrator Al Hulick try to hit that 20-minute sweet spot in their city government podcast, “We Are Milton”. A second team—Milton Public Library Director Ashlee Kunkel and Assistant Library Director Jayme Anderson—also have adopted the 20-minute format for “Check Out MPL.”

They say their podcasts resemble old radio shows, full of entertaining banter, interviews and useful information about local library programs and the inner workings of City Hall.

Check out the library

“We have a lot in common,” Kunkel said of her co-worker, Anderson. “We both like Marvel Superheroes.”

They also share a love of bike riding and racing, running, cats and working with young people.

Not only do they work together, they’re also friends outside the library. Kunkel, a football fan, had gotten hooked on a podcast by retired football player Pat McAfee. She got Anderson interested in them, and Anderson then introduced her to one called “Stuff You Should Know.”

“Stuff” inspired Anderson because it featured two people who were funny. She and Kunkel thought they could replicate that model with their own library podcast.

They attended a social media workshop in Madison and bought an audio interface, two microphones and a subscription to SoundCloud.

Their goal is to make one podcast each week, which they record in Kunkel’s library office. They rely on the chatty, spontaneous nature of their friendship to bring personality to each podcast.

So far, they’ve produced 12 episodes in the series “Check Out MPL.” Topics have included collection development policies, staff personalities, library programs, favorite books, personal library stories and cats.

All about Milton

Cushman, the city’s administrative services director, proposed the City Hall podcast as a way to further spotlight Milton.

“I liked the concept,” Hulick said. “They have a purpose, and they focus on discussions from the City Hall perspective.”

The two approach the podcast differently.

Cushman, who has a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and political science, likes things planned out.

Hulick, the former lead singer and guitarist for local band Kind of a Big Deal, doesn’t write anything down and favors an off-the-cuff approach.

“I’ve been listening to myself talk for a long time,” Hulick said.

They call their podcast “We Are Milton” and plan to record a new episode every two weeks. In the three episodes they’ve done so far, they’ve discussed the council/mayor form of government, economic development and tax increment financing.

“People are interested in community growth, tax rates and development, so we saw it as a natural segue,” Hulick said.

Kunkel and Anderson did most of the legwork to get the equipment, Cushman said. Technical assistance is provided by Milton resident Steve Jensen and Milton School District employees.

The city podcast also features guests. Kari Klebba, Milton Historical Society executive director, recently discussed Milton history and will be back later this month to tell “weird Milton stories,” Cushman said.

Future guests will include Police Chief Scott Marquardt, who will give trick-or-treating tips, and retired teacher Dave Bendlin, who will talk about cultivating prairies.

Cushman and Hulick also make YouTube videos and add other visuals, such as photos and maps. “That way, it’s not just a video of me and Al talking,” Cushman said.

Both podcasting teams said they are eager for feedback and hope residents suggest topics they’d like to learn more about.