Honored to be frequent Podcast guest

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Chilling out at the house a few weeks ago, I got a message from someone I have not spoken with in a few years. The message was asking if I wanted to be a guest on his fairly new podcast.

“You can talk about the newspaper and wrestling” is the line that sold me on it.

I have been on several podcasts in the last few years, and it is always an honor to be asked to be a guest on a show. The funny thing is that I always wonder why are they booking a boring guest that no one wants to listen to. I never think “James Phillips” is really going to boost downloads. And most of the time I do talk about the Daily Mountain Eagle and wrestling.

This particular Podcast is “Porch Matters,” and it is hosted by Walker County native Terry Cagle. As you can hear in the opening moments of the session, Cagle and I go back a long way. He was one of my brother-in-law’s best friends as a child, and I covered his high school sports career as an outstanding offensive lineman at Sumiton Christian School back about 20 years ago.

Porch Matters is recorded from Cagle’s back porch. Due to COVID and logistics, my portion of the conversation was recorded via Zoom on my front porch, thankfully it was a little warmer that night. My episode was released on Friday and is available to download wherever you like to get your podcasts. Cagle is on all platforms. 

I was impressed by Porch Matters. Most episodes are conversations that range from what folks are watching on television to family stories to whatever else people want to share. Cagle says it’s a place where friends come together to discuss and share opinions of current events and other topics. Definitely check out some of his past episodes even if you don’t feel like listening to me babble for 40 minutes on his newest release.

A lot of people still do not realize that the Daily Mountain Eagle produces a quite popular podcast known as “Left on Red.” It is hosted by DME Features Editor Jennifer Cohron and Drew Gilbert, former Cordova mayor/current owner of Tallulah Brewing Company. Throughout LOR’s run, I have served as a guest a couple of times and was even a co-host with Cohron for one episode. On our own podcast was a rare occasion where I only talked about the newspaper briefly and did not mention professional wrestling at all. I spoke about meetings I had with Gov. Bob Riley and Dolly Parton. Drew and I also discussed always checking the toilet for snakes before sitting down.

Jasper resident and fellow Empire native Drake Pittman does an incredible Podcast known as “Pass the Jar.” I was a guest on his show during its second season, and I have been invited back to record a second time for the current season three. I guess I drew some good downloads the first time around. Pittman is now joined by his best friend Shane Murray, and their chemistry makes for some interesting conversations. 

T Martin Brown is a Jasper native who now lives in San Francisco. He is the founder of an LGBTQ nonprofit and is working on a podcast which advocates for LGBTQ people in places where they don’t have much support. He had followed my career and life on social media and asked to interview me as someone who is a straight ally to the community he works to help. Most of our conversation was centered around smalltown churches, reaching out to people in the margins, creating safe spaces, and most of all communicating and ministering to people through love. That podcast has not been released yet.

Most people who host podcasts are not making a ton of money, so it is not their “real job,” so some are released quickly and some take six months or more to edit. The great thing about most podcasts are the fact that someone’s passions come across over the digital airwaves. If people get nothing else out of listening to me as a guest, I hope they do feel my passion for the things I’m talking about. 

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James Phillips is editor and publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He may be reached at 205-221-2840 or james.phillips@mountaineagle.com.