Annapolis podcast shines light on city, residents

Meredith Newman
Contact Reportermnewman@capgaznews.com
Annapolis podcast shines light on city

For Scott MacMullan, recording a podcast interview is like getting coffee — but on steroids.

MacMullan is the creator and host of the "The Annapolis Podcast," which in its first year, has garnered thousands of listeners. In the podcast, MacMullan interviews a wide spectrum of guests, ranging from local river keepers, aldermen and bartenders.

The host started the podcast last summer as a way to learn more about his city and meet people he wouldn't normally interact with. Since then, it has sparked a personal interest in getting involved in local politics.

"The podcast has been a great way to meet people," MacMullan said. "You got to be the honey to attract the bee."

"The Annapolis Podcast" is one of the few podcasts available on iTunes that exclusively focuses on the city and its residents. Pew Research Center found the percentage of Americans who have listened to a podcast within the last month has doubled since 2008, increasing from 9 percent to 17 percent in January 2015. In 2014, The Washington Post reported, that in five years, the number of unique monthly podcast listeners has tripled from 25 million to 75 million.

MacMullan, a criminal defense attorney, was born in Annapolis and works in the city. He's described himself on his podcast as a "very typical Annapolis guy," meaning he likes to play lacrosse, sail and eat seafood.

For the last year, he's produced an episode almost every week. He'll typically record the podcast in his office, and the episodes are about 30 minutes long. When choosing guests, MacMullan said he looks for people who are "newsmakers" or have a unique relationship with Annapolis. But the most important quality, he said, is that the guests can tell a good story.

"I'd rather have a good storyteller over a boring president of the United States," he said.

When it comes to the interviews and preparation, MacMullan says he relies on his skills as an attorney. As he would do with his clients, he listens to his guests and "feeds off their body language." And he's gotten new clients from the podcast, from the guests themselves or referrals.

MacMullan hopes to have the opportunity to interview Annapolis-born fashion designer Christian Siriano and Mayor Mike Pantelides.

He added he's become more interested in local government from talking about city issues on the podcast, like the environment, education and parking. He said could see himself becoming involved in county politics.

"With the podcast and being more involved, it brings out the light in different areas," he said. "I'm sitting with the influencers and that's what a representative does. They listen to those comments and put them into action."

Eddie Lamb, a bartender at McGarvey's Saloon & Oyster Bar, was one of MacMullan's guests on the podcast. He joked he got his "little 15 minutes of fame" from the podcast when a customer went to Lamb's bar because he heard him on the podcast.

He attributed the podcast's local success to MacMullan's variety of guests. The most recent guest was Da'Juan Gay, the leader of the March of Solidarity protest. A future episode will feature photographer Stephanie Smith, who recently was in the news for her decision to make photo shoots free for children with special needs.

That's one of the benefits of starting a podcast, Lamb said, there's no rules about what you talk about or who you talk to.

"Podcasts are really taking over. Anyone can do it," he said. "They're groundbreaking."

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