“Tell me what you love about Celina, Texas.”
It’s a request every guest must answer on Drew Myers’s show. Answers may include “the downtown” or “the community feel,” but nine times out of 10, Myers said, the answer he hears is “the people.”
It’s with that question that Myers kicks off every episode of the “Life in Celina” podcast. While that question has become a staple of each episode, it’s just one component of the overall project.
“It's a good launching point into their story, whether they spent their whole life there or they just got there,” Myers said.
Myers, the podcast host, is all about storytelling, and since January, he has taken to telling Celina’s story in an audio format. The podcast launched in January 2020 and maintains a vision of telling the city’s story through the people who live and work there.
“Everything that I do revolves around story and the power of story,” Myers said.
He got a chance to launch the podcast after sitting down with Alexis Jackson, Celina’s Economic Development Corporation director. Now, podcast preparation involves working with the city and the EDC to secure guests for each episode.
The Celina podcast came as a “first wave” of local communities who wanted to tell their stories in a unique way, Myers said. The Rainbow, Texas resident has also established podcasts for nearby Melissa, Cleburne and Greenville.
“Celina was my first community to embrace what I'm doing,” Myers said.
A little over a year in, the show has since evolved to record on-site at two local businesses. The podcast records at Rollertown, a local brewery, on the third Wednesday of each month and at Little Wooden Penguin, a furniture design firm, on the third Thursday of each month.
Myers has since talked with such figures as DFW legends Ben Rogers and Jeff Skin Wade, as well as Celina icon Punk Carter. But he’s also featured local business owners and community cheerleaders like the Celina Education Foundation.
Every conversation episode takes a different path, Myers said, and each could stand alone.
“Each one has a golden nugget in it, just something that Celina can just really lean into and embrace,” Myers said.
As the city stands on the precipice of a population influx, the show also serves as a sort of archive for the plot and characters living out the city’s story.
“If Celina is going to hold on to what has made it so special after they grow to half a million people, they have to celebrate the people who live and work there, they have to hold on to those stories so they never, ever lose that,” Myers said.
The show’s goals include both cultivating community pride and building an external awareness of the city, but Myers contends that there’s no balancing act involved — it all boils down to telling the community’s story through its members.
“It's one thing for Sean Terry or Alexis Jackson or anybody that works for the city to say how wonderfully great it is,” Myers said. “It's completely different when you have a small business owner, when you have a longtime resident, when you have somebody that's moved there three months ago that is just in love with that community.”
Celina has no shortage of community pride, Myers points out, and he sees the podcast’s role as “pouring gas on that fire.”
“As you grow, as newcomers come in, as politics start to surface, I think people need a powerful reminder of why they live and work where they do,” Myers said. “Whether you're talking about Celina, Texas or Glen Rose, Texas, where I live. That's always a good reminder.”