‘Small Town Talk’: Eric and Jaimie Gouge mix it up with Edmonds podcast

By Brian Soergel | Jun 07, 2018
Photo by: Brian Soergel Jaimie and Eric Gouge interview Satnam Penaich at Portofino Restaurant and Bar in Edmonds.

It took a few minutes to warm up, but Eric and Jaimie Gouge were soon engaged in a lively back-and-forth during the first episode of their podcast centered on Edmonds called “Small Town Talk.”

“It’s not Deadmonds anymore,” Eric said during the October 2017 debut. “There’s tons of stuff to do here.”

“It woke,” Jaimie chimed in. “It got woke.”

Eric continued: “Funny story. When I was growing up here, all of our parents’ grandparents were still living here, and it was like a retirement community, and everyone was like, I can’t wait to get out of Edmonds.”

It’s not like that anymore, and both Eric (Meadowdale) and Jaimie (Edmonds-Woodway) – married with two toddlers – say they want their podcast to guide both locals, newcomers and visitors to new and established restaurants and businesses that have led the charge in Edmond’s decades-long transformation.

“We both listen to podcasts,” said Jaimie, nee Wilson, who pronounces her last name “Gow-jay.” She and Eric spoke to the Beacon before a recent podcast with Satnam Penaich at his Portofino Restaurant and Bar in Edmonds.

“We thought it would be a fun thing for us to do together. There’s nothing about Edmonds now – or even Snohomish County – in podcasting.”

“We both grew up in Edmonds,” said Eric, who pronounces his last name the way it sounds. (We can’t figure it out, either.) “We love Edmonds, and wanted to spread it around to everyone. I’m always meeting so many people in the area who don’t know about Edmonds. We’re kind of hidden away, so it’s nice to spread our knowledge about what happens in Edmonds, talk about new things to do and how it’s not Deadmonds anymore.”

So far, the Gouges have spotlighted Scratch, The Cheesemonger’s Table, Portofino, Walnut Street Coffee, Salish Sea Brewing Company and restaurateur Shubert Ho, who along with Andrew Leckie, has opened Bar Dojo, Salt & Iron and – on June 13 – the Mar·ket.

They record at business locations and from their basement.

“We thought it’d be a fun way for people to learn more about businesses on a more candid, personal level, instead of just a formal interview,” Jaimie said.

“We kind of let the conversation go organically – we guide it a little bit, but it goes wherever the story goes. The business owners take it where they want to.”

With that in mind, the liveliness of the business episodes vary, depending on the personality of those on the other side of the mic. It can be hit or miss. (The upcoming Desmond from Daphnes episode, and there should definitely be one, could be a hoot.)

The Gouges have also reported on trips they’ve taken – Leavenworth and Tamarindo, Costa Rica, so far.

But there’s no denying that the most interesting episodes so far are the ones where Eric and Jaimie just riff on what they’ve seen or heard about around town.

In Episode 8, “Local Happenings,” much of the 30 minutes centered on changes to A Taste of Edmonds, the annual summer festival that abruptly switched its name to “Taste Edmonds” earlier this year.

That did not sit with either one of the podcasters.

“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my life,” said Eric, who along with his wife are part of the “younger crowd” the Taste is supposedly eager to attract. Eric and Jaimie are both 31, which puts them squarely in the desired demo.

But it was the omission of the Beatniks in this year’s Taste, coming in August, that had the dials spinning on the Gouges’ recording soundboard.

“I am devastated,” Jaimie told her audience. “Heartbroken. Pissed. I literally go to the Taste of Edmonds just to see the Beatniks on Friday night. It’s the most fun I have every year, the night I dance to ’60s music to the setting sun in Edmonds. And all of our friends go.”

Even with that negative, the Gouges say the transformation of Deadmonds to budding hipsterville has been mostly positive.

“It used to just be the AM/PM down there,” Jaimie said on “Local Happenings,” referring to the former gas station/convenience store on Fifth Avenue South and Dayton Street, now home to a bank.

“It was a completely different atmosphere when I was a kid,” said Eric, a former Marine now selling real estate (Jaimie is a stay-at-home mom). “It was inevitable, as everything pushes out from Seattle. I mean, everyone from Ballard is moving up here. I’m constantly meeting with people from Ballard who want to move up here because they can’t take living in the city, but they want to stay close to the city. And they want the amenities they are used to – and that’s really what we’re turning into now.”

And that could be why the numbers are increasing on their podcast, which is streamed on Audioboom and can be heard on iTunes, Spotify and other sites.

“We have a couple of hundred listeners an episode,” said Jaimie, pointing out that “Small Town Talk” analytics report it’s heard not just locally, but also in at least 15 countries. “The word is getting out – we have a huge following in Japan!”

As for their own tastes, Jaimie listens to investigative journalism and comedy, including Anna Faris’ “Anna Faris Is Unqualified.” As Faris is an Edmonds-Woodway graduate, you bet the Gouges want to eventually grab her for their own podcast.

Eric enjoys business podcasts, which perhaps speaks to his profession. But he says there’s certainly a podcast for every taste.

For now, they’ll focus on their hometown. Even with its changes, they recognize that Edmonds is Edmonds because, well, Edmonds is Edmonds.

“Let’s let Edmonds be Edmonds,” Eric said. “It’s a little rough, a little retirement.”

Jaimie agrees.

“We don’t want to be Ballard. We don’t want to be Capital Hill. And in Edmonds, we like the Beatniks.”

To listen to “Small Town Talk,” go to audioboom.com/channels/4933989.

 

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