2018-06-14 / Front Page

Small town mayor produces podcasts and will feature Washington very soon


Ocilla Mayor Matt Seale talks to other small town officials, including Washington Mayor Ames Barnett, discussing their stories and the stories of their small towns. “Through these candid conversations, we hear about the joys and struggles of small town living. And of course, we hear about the hilarious things that only happen in a small town,” he said. Ocilla Mayor Matt Seale talks to other small town officials, including Washington Mayor Ames Barnett, discussing their stories and the stories of their small towns. “Through these candid conversations, we hear about the joys and struggles of small town living. And of course, we hear about the hilarious things that only happen in a small town,” he said. Last week the mayor of Ocilla, Georgia, spent a day in Washington but it wasn’t on city business, well, at least not exactly.

Matt Seale has been the mayor of Ocilla since 2015. Ocilla is a small town much like Washington with a population of less than 5,000. His time as mayor has made him realize that small towns need a voice in this big world and he had the idea of producing a podcast series featuring small towns and their people.

The Georgia Municipal Association offered to be one of his sponsors and the idea became a reality. He has so far produced podcasts from the cities of Willacoochee, Pelham, Vienna, Midway, and Colquitt. Washington will be next on the list.

Seale met and interviewed Mayor Ames Barnett and Main Street Director Elizabeth Elliott last week and his podcast will show up on www. smalltownpodcast.com very soon.

“There’s really a lot going on in small town America,” Seale said. “The media focuses mainly on big cities because that’s where the most sensational things happen most of the time. As I get to know people from other small towns, there are so many unsung heroes and stories of small communities who stood together and overcame struggles against the odds.”

One of Seale’s first interviews, Lace Futch, former mayor of Willacoochee, says, “Atlanta is a great city and I’m sure it is the engine of Georgia. But it’s not all of the engine. You have a lot of other spark plugs out here. That’s where America is today – in the small towns. In a small town, you know everybody and everybody knows you. You’re able to be their neighbor and actually to help one another.”

Elliott said Seale got to Washington a little early and they toured around The Square and had a bite to eat.

“He was extremely impressed with downtown and the people,” she said. “While recording he joked that a two-minute walk took 15 minutes because we stopped to chat with a passerby so often. He loved the layout to the square and couldn’t believe how lucky we are to have so much space for events.”

Elliott said that although she was intimidated by all the professional equipment Seale uses for his interviews, he quickly put her at ease.

“It was just like I was chatting with a good friend all the while promoting Downtown Washington,” she said. “After the interview was over Matt mentioned that he almost asked me to talk slower. However, he changed his mind because as he listened he realized my cadence made my excitement and passion for Washington impossible to ignore.”

Barnett’s interview followed and will be included in the podcast when it airs.

“I think the podcast was a great opportunity because the medium reaches a very specific audience type,” Elliott said. “This audience type fits in well with our current visitor and investor demographics. Also, the Washington episode, when it airs, is deliverable and we can consistently share to promote our city. Plus anytime I get to talk about Washington I jump at the chance.”

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