Welcome back to Carolina Democracy. Today we briefly recap where we’ve been and where we’re going. Our first "season" in 2022 was a great success, and we're looking forward to kicking it off again in 2023 very soon!
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JD Wooten: Welcome back to Carolina Democracy, I’m JD Wooten, and before you get too excited, no, today’s not a full episode. I thought I could drop a quick episode to recap where we’ve been and where I think we’re going, as a podcast I mean. We’ll spend several episodes, perhaps several months, doing the same for North Carolina politics, but more on that in a moment.
So first, I want to say thank you to everyone who listened to this show in 2022. We far exceeded any of my wildest expectations, at least my reasonable expectations, of what we could do. Sure, I had a few passing daydreams of being North Carolina’s own Pod Save America, but they do it full time. I’m not quite ready to quit my day job as an attorney, and we’re not quite ready to go on tour around North Carolina with live shows at places like DPAC or the Tanger Center, but the podcast did see a ton of growth and most importantly, I think we added value to the conversation.
And, as you may remember, one of driving reasons for this podcast is a lesson I learned the hard way while campaigning—it can be insanely difficult for down-ballot candidates, local officials, and organizations fighting for democracy to get their message out. I also just really like talking to people who believe in and support democracy. So, I launched Carolina Democracy to bring those things together.
In 2022, we put out 47 episodes that totaled 1,634 minutes, or close to 30 hours. For those of you who stuck with us for every single episode, thank you! We developed a steady audience of dedicated fans, many of who reach out to me regularly with comments and feedback, and I love it. While I’m careful not to share audience size publicly, because I’m not interested in the comparison game, let me frame our growth and reach this way—in my humble opinion, it’s well worth the time and effort for any down-ballot candidate to come on the show and I promise you’re reaching more people than any event you might have the chance to attend and speak at, let alone host. Plus, you’ve got content to share further in your own network, which you better be doing and more on this in a moment, too.
Now, more importantly, what did we achieve in 2022? Well, we had around two dozen down-ballot candidates on the show—I didn’t organize my notes in way to quickly find the exact number, plus some made multiple appearances – around a dozen activists or political staffers, three Congressional candidates, two who are now in Congress, two state-wide candidates, and three journalists. Again, not shabby! Of the candidates who came on the show, we had a decent mix of those who won and lost their elections, which is reassuring because if we only had on the winners, it’d beg the question of whether we were stretching far enough to help the underdogs, which is the whole point. That said, it’s wonderful to see several former guests get sworn in to new offices or re-elected to keep fighting the fight in their current offices.
So, where are we going next? Well, we’re still working out some of those details, but we didn’t want to wait until we have everything mapped out for another full season before we get rolling again. Here’s what we’re thinking as of now. It was a lot of fun doing an episode every week last year, but that was definitely ambitious and quite frankly exhausting by the time the election actually rolled around in 2022. So, at least for now, while we still have so much time before the 2024 election, we’re going to try having a new episode every other week. We may go back to weekly episodes eventually, time will tell, but for now you can expect a new episode every other week.
We’ll continue the format of focusing primarily on interviews, but with some updates impacting democracy at the beginning. To the extent possible, especially before the 2024 election really heats up and a million candidates announce, perhaps that interview can also be with someone who weighs in on the issues impacting democracy so it’s a combination of tabletop discussion and interview. Initially, we’ll start with a few episodes taking a closer look at what happened in 2022 and the impact of those elections, but then we’ll move on to focusing on current events and future elections.
One suggestion from several listeners is to find ways to turn more live events and forums into episodes to help those events get even further reach. I love this idea, if for no other reason than it makes getting interesting content to share that much easier. And one of our early episodes will be just that with an edited version of a judicial forum Carolina Forward recently held. Got an event or candidate forum coming up that you think might fit the show and want us to consider it? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And of course our primary focus will continue to be on down-ballot candidates. There are a lot of local elections in 2023, some right here in my home county of Guilford, so expect to hear from an assortment of exciting local candidates over this next year from across the state. If you, someone you know, or someone you want to hear more from are running for office, don’t hesitate to send me an email. Again, email@example.com, and we’ll go from there.
My only request for guests is to please, please publicize your episode. I get it, shameless self-promotion can feel odd, even uncomfortable. But if you’re going to put your name on the ballot, you better start getting over that now. And if you have the chance to do an interview with us or anyone else that generates content you can share, you better be sharing that content! So please, if Carolina Democracy or anyone else takes the time to do an interview with you and put out content for you, share the ever living shit out of it. That’s how you succeed, and it’s how you help the next person who comes along grow their network too. Ok, rant over, but the number of people who came on the show in 2022 and then never even mentioned that they’d done a podcast interview on their social media was mind-blowing. Let’s fix that moving forward!
Finally, as I reminded everyone in our very first teaser over a year ago, “Democracy is never a final achievement. It is a call to an untiring effort.” JFK’s words are just as true now as when he spoke them generations ago. So with that, we keep moving forward and fighting for democracy here in North Carolina and beyond.
Thanks everyone for listening today and for tuning in as we kick off another season of Carolina Democracy. Our first full episode will drop soon, and in the meantime, if you have questions, comments, or suggestions for future episodes, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And as always, please subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and share this episode with a friend. Together, we can achieve a better North Carolina for everyone!