November 14, 2019

Tune Into Taylor Cramer

Podcasting for personal growth
By Kristi Kates | Oct. 12, 2019

An MVP of a European basketball team. A single dad. A woman who was widowed at the early age of 33. A man who was unexpectedly injured out in the wilderness. And a plethora of local entrepreneurs, each with their own unique startup story.

These are some of the people you’ll meet on the Cold Shower Podcast, a conversation-based show concepted, run, and hosted by Lake Ann resident Taylor Cramer.

Cramer seeks out more challenging stories and topics for his podcast, with an aim to bring out conversations he thinks need to be heard.

“I look for people with interesting backgrounds, people who have had unique things happen in their lives, and ways to have conversations over personal growth topics that people maybe aren’t always willing or able to have elsewhere,” Cramer said.

You might expect Cramer to have a detailed backstory in broadcasting; but he actually has no podcasting, interviewing, or radio background. His main job is as a social worker with the Alzheimer’s Association of Traverse City; this is just a “side gig” for him so far, he said, but one that he feels passionate about and hopes to eventually monetize. The idea for the podcast came about from a blog he’d started back in 2015, pursuing similar stories and topics.

“I started the blog around the time of the presidential election, when I was noticing a lot of discord around that event,” Cramer said. “I thought the blog would connect with people, but it lacked nuance. I eventually realized that more people would probably be willing to listen to a podcast than to read a blog. And as my wife and I had recently moved to the Traverse City area, I knew there would be a lot of people here to connect with and interview.”

He jumped right into his podcasting idea in spring 2018, building out a section of the basement of his house and filling it with the necessary equipment.
 
“I started by buying a microphone,” Cramer said. “I’d actually never been super keen on computers, though, so I went to Google and YouTube to learn how to do the sound setup and all of that. I basically just pieced it together by myself.”

Borrowing the basic format from his written blog, he started by bringing back some of the topics that he thought deserved an hour-long conversation, as opposed to just a short blog piece. His first interviewee was that aforementioned basketball MVP, who also happened to be his brother, Stephen Cramer, who traveled over to Germany to play with the Saar-Pfalz Braves team several years ago. The brothers talked about what it’s like for an American to go and play sports in a foreign country. Since that first episode, Cramer has notched more than 60 episodes with a wide variety of guests.
 
“My goal is to present content that will help people grow,” he said. “A lot of times I meet people, and once they hear what I do, I’ll get referred to other people who have interesting stories.”

A few of his latest have included Jessie Zevalkink and her now-husband, Luke, who sailed across the Atlantic Ocean and back after they got engaged, making their way through a capsize and a run in with some glaciers; Christie Minervini, who advocates on behalf of Traverse City’s homeless population; and Loghan Call of Planted Cuisine, who Cramer said has been on the podcast several times to discuss the sustainability of local food sources.
 
Some months he has 9 or 10 episodes recorded ahead; other months he finds himself booking guests week to week. It just depends on whom he finds, and whom he feels fits his podcast format. He’s also planning some live events so that the studio audience can better interact with himself and his guest.

“The majority of the episodes are released within a week of recording so they don’t topically ‘age,’” he explained. “But I know these will all be unique conversations no matter who I have on. I’m just always looking forward to the next guest.”

Find the Cold Shower Podcast on iTunes and Spotify by searching “Cold Shower Podcast” or “Taylor Cramer.”
 
Let’s Talk
Live, In-person Civil Discourse in TC
Taylor Cramer and Loghan Call are teaming up to talk beyond the podcast, and you’re invited to speak your mind (or simply listen in) live. They’re launching a community event series, Let’s Talk, to spur civil in-person conversations and respectful debate. A goal: to restore the seemingly long-lost skill of effectively communicating in the face of disagreement. (Read: What we used to do before the sharing of drive-by insults, memes, and unsubstantiated “news” stories on social media became our modus operandi.)
The first event — Let’s Talk: Civil Discourse — is dedicated to talking about, appropriately, how we talk to one another. It happens 5:30pm to 8:30pm Wednesday, Oct. 23, at GT Circuit, 225 W. 14th St., in Traverse City. RSVP and learn more about Let’s Talk, its format, and the rules at www.dinnerdebatediscourse.com. $10 suggested donation at the door; coffee, tea, and light bites available.

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