Here's how to stay up to date on all things Tyler.
Decades ago, people relied on radio waves for their news and entertainment, and the quantity available was limited. Now in the digital age, our experience is vastly different, as we find ourselves having to comb through all the information coming from social media, television, podcasts — the list goes on.
The good news – it’s easy for area residents and visitors to stay up to date on all things Tyler. The city is home to two popular podcasts focused on what’s happening in the region: Roses & Weeds, created by the City of Tyler, with co-hosts Julie Goodgame and Bob Mauldin, and Rambling Roses, created by Visit Tyler, the area’s tourism sector, with co-hosts Holli Fourniquet and Cindy Smoak.
“We’re always trying to think of new ways to reach our residents and engage new audiences,” says Goodgame, who also serves as the director of marketing and communications for the City of Tyler. “We talk about city government using Tyler as a case study, but it’s very educational in terms of municipal government in general and how they operate on the backside — some of the challenges we have and the way we get through it.”
Far from being dry subject matter, though, Roses & Weeds strives to keep their content lively and entertaining. Goodgame likens municipal government to the movie “Jaws,” in that while a man-eating shark is right off the coast, all the different entities are facing various challenges trying to deal with it.
Roses & Weeds has helped engage residents with the issues that affect them locally as well as answer their questions. While Goodgame notes they occasionally get off-the-wall questions like “why don’t we put a lazy river through the middle of town?” most of the questions focus on real issues that affect locals, like why the money from the city’s budget is spent a certain way, or why the city has designated specific areas as parks, for example.
“It’s a really good place to unpack those big, complicated topics that you can’t convey in a press release or a 30-second news spot on TV — you can’t just tell people ‘this is the way it is.’ You have to dig in and explain all these different things that have affected this one situation,” Goodgame says. “The podcast has given us the space to do that — tell the story and promote what is going on in the city.”
“People really enjoy getting to hear about the locals here and all about our city. Having a podcast was a great answer to be able to tell the longer story.”
Co-host of Rambling Roses
Rambling Roses, by contrast, explores the city’s fun and quirky behind-the-scenes stories of locals, business owners, culture and history. The episodes, which have subscribers from all around the country, are produced inside the Visitor’s Center.
“We tell stories that really make up the whole feel and character of Tyler, which we can’t get into depth with on social media,” says Smoak, who is also the executive director of SPORTyler. “People really enjoy getting to hear about the locals here and all about our city. Having a podcast was a great answer to be able to tell the longer story.”
Some episodes feature local business owners, while others delve into local mysteries. A recent episode revealed the story of a new homeowner who found a vintage wedding dress stored in a box in the attic — only neither of the two previous owners of the home knew anything about it. Another episode revealed that one of the town’s historic homes had housed a casino and speakeasy in the basement (and legend says its proprietor buried the slot machines in his yard before he got “busted”). They also interview local celebrities, like Earl Campbell, a Heisman Trophy winner and football legend who grew up here.
“We want it to be lighthearted and entertaining but give information that encourages people to come visit here if they haven’t already,” says Fourniquet, who also serves as the vice president of marketing for Visit Tyler. “We like to spotlight all the things to see and do here — there’s more to Tyler than just roses.”