Listening to University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agents Leslie Weaver and Carrie Vanderver on their new podcast, Two Agents and the FACS, is like sitting around chatting with friends — with the added benefit of learning something along the way.
The Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) agents — Weaver in Chatham County and Vanderver in Ware County — connected through Lisa Jordan, FACS program development coordinator for UGA Extension in the Southeast District.
“We’re in the same district and our PDC had meetings with us individually to see where we wanted to go with our programming,” said Weaver, who joined UGA Extension in September from Fort Valley State University Extension. “I talked about wanting to do a podcast and she said we should do one together.”
Although Vanderver, who has been with UGA Extension for about two and half years, credits Weaver with the podcast idea, the rapport between the women is genuine and apparent when they are holding “friendly discussions on reliable, relatable and research-based topics on real-life issues,” the tagline for the bimonthly podcast.
Posted on the second and fourth Mondays of each month, the podcast covers three related topics each episode, which so far have ranged from managing stress and saving money to self-care and keeping relationships healthy.
“We try to focus on basic FACS topics and we base it on the month to make them relatable for the time of year,” said Vanderver.
“We try to stay in our program areas, using our curriculum and the knowledge specialists we have access to, to give the public good information,” Weaver said.
The agents trade off each episode, with one taking the lead on the topic of discussion and the other playing the supporting role, chiming in with personal experiences and anecdotes that lend a conversational feel to the life lessons.
In a recent episode on saving money, Vanderver was discussing strategies for putting money aside while not feeling deprived, including treating yourself to something special on occasion while also putting away an equal amount in a savings account.
“I am not the best saver, so this is was a great topic for me to study up on,” Vanderver admitted at the opening of the episode. After listening to a number of strategies offered by her co-host, Weaver exclaimed, “We are changing lives with this podcast, mine included!”
Episodes range from 30 to 45 minutes — long enough to cover the topics, but not too long to listen to during a commute or while getting some exercise — another topic they’ve discussed. The tone is upbeat and the agents often share a laugh over their personal experiences.
“It’s something to listen to before work or to give you a quick boost for the day,” Weaver said.
Vanderver has created a Facebook page for the podcast that has so far garnered more than 300 followers, and the podcast is available on a range of platforms including Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic and Spotify.
“People have been sharing the page and doing a lot of marketing for us,” said Vanderver. “We create a teaser post for each episode that we put on the Facebook page.”
While the agents each record the podcasts from their own counties, they spend a lot of time together virtually planning upcoming episodes and they have a full slate of episodes they look forward to producing for 2021.
“We like each other — that helps us enjoy it more,” Vanderver said.