“Sit a Spell": A friendly and informative podcast by UT Extension agents

“Sit a Spell"-- a friendly term tossed around, welcoming folks to have a neighborly chat on the front porch and maybe sip a little tea and visit. However, “Sit A Spell” is also the title of a podcast created by Tennessee ag extension agents, who use it to entertain and deliver information.

An open invitation to come “Sit a Spell”, though technically we are on our feet-- you get the idea.

“Sit a Spell” is a podcast produced by UT Extension agents Meagan Brown, Justin Thomas, and Crystal Blankenship. During the pandemic, the agents wanted a way to deliver information about nutrition and food safety, so they started podcasting.

“We saw this renaissance of gardening, of canning, of people getting back to some old-time ways, and so we just started talking about how that was kind of our childhood and that we were interested in the heritage, and it just kind of evolved from there, talking about ‘Sit a Spell,’ so our first season was about food preservation,” Brown explains.

Every show is on the road and here the road is Highway 411 in Madisonville, home to Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams.

Owner Allen Benton gave everybody a tour, sat a spell on the podcast, and generously gave away samples before departing.

Much like the old days, when sitting a spell meant some quality time in a front porch rocker, the agents wanted their show to be friendly and informative, and the response has been great.

“Anything we’ve done on Facebook Live in 2020 was massively popular. We’ve partnered with folks in Texas and we’ve partnered with state specialists,” Thomas states. “We try to incorporate people and bring people in from all aspects so that we have a well-rounded perspective of it.”

The ag campus likes to think of itself as Podcast U. The institute has about a dozen regular podcasters statewide and reaching more than 80,000 listeners every year. With many people stuck indoors these days, podcasts have an audience.

“I think that they have really had a spike in interest over the last year through the pandemic, and I think people really have an urgency to learn new things,” Blankenship adds.

The agents will sit a spell at eight foodie locations, more tours, and talking this podcast season.

Podcasting is a relatively new technology, but here, capturing an age-old sentiment of good times and shared company.


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