I Heart Woodinville, a new community podcast, aims to spread awareness of individuals giving back and doing good in the neighborhood.
Chris Griffin, the founder of Jam Academy Music School in Woodinville, single-handedly produces and hosts the podcast. He said the idea to create a podcast began last summer and finally came to fruition during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I've never done anything like this before,” Griffin said. “I always wanted to bring something happy [to Woodinville], especially with all the bad stuff happening in the world.”
Griffin said he has played music and performed with rock bands since the ‘80s, which is the first and only time he picked up recording experience. Everyone has tools on their computers and desktops to make a podcast or produce music these days, he added.
He has been teaching music, specifically guitar, full-time since 2004. Griffin’s music school, formerly known as Spotlight Studios, opened in 2007. He said the school used to teach music lessons during the day and rent rooms out to rock bands in the evening before switching to teaching music full time.
“Originally, I was thinking of doing this podcast as an offshoot from my school,” he said.
Griffin said he aims to get kids from the music school more involved in the podcast once COVID-19 restrictions begin to lessen. He plans to allow students to conduct interviews and might add a video component in the future, he added.
“This podcast is designed to educate, entertain and share good news,” Griffin said. “I was hoping to bring people feel-good stories and take their minds off of other stuff."
The first podcast was released on April 27. The episode focused on Brendan Hupf Jr., an 8-year-old boy helping local food banks by picking up donations from people around the community.
Each episode follows the story of one person or organization for roughly 10 to 20 minutes. Griffin recently interviewed Tinte Cellars co-owner Teresa Spellman Gamble about her various contributions to charitable programs during the second episode, which was released on May 25.
He plans to release episodes on a biweekly basis for now but aims to share weekly stories in the future. Griffin said he hopes to produce quality content over the next few months, eventually building anticipation upon listeners for upcoming episodes.
“Be patient with me,” he said. “Bear with me on the first few podcasts while I iron out some wrinkles. Keep checking back and listening as I continue to grow as an interviewer, as a producer and as a podcaster.”