Former classic rock radio host in charge of new city podcast in Elgin
Elgin has launched its first podcast series of interviews with city employees, and more are in the works thanks to the city's new content developer, former radio host Alex Quigley.
Quigley, 40, hired this summer, is the producer and host of "What Would You Say You Do Here?" that launched earlier this month. The first episode of the podcast, named in reference to the movie "Office Space," featured Jennie Phillips, 311 citizen services manager, and the second Barb Keselica, assistant director of parks and recreation. The next episode will feature public works equipment operators Joe Schroeder and David Smith.
"I want to make sure I get the details, the day to day, of what they're doing, but also who they are," Quigley said. "It's my job to further humanize our government. It's my job to communicate even more and provide more content. Not just about what the city is doing, what government is doing, but things happening in the city. Elgin is a big city and we have a lot going on."
Quigley has mobile equipment to record at the employees' workplace, which makes it more comfortable for them and allows natural sound, like the hum at the water treatment plant, he said.
The selection of interviewees reflects current happenings, city communications manager Molly Gillespie said. The episode featuring Phillips coincided with customer service week; Keselica for years organized the annual "Nightmare on Chicago Street" event, which took place Saturday. And Schroeder and Smith's episode will be released the first day of on-street leaf collection.
"It's very exciting to have one more channel of communication where we might have the chance to reach new or different pockets of the community," Gillespie said.
Another, yet-unnamed city podcast in the works will have a "talk around town" concept. Some of the content might derive from conversation starters in the "What's Happening in Elgin, IL?" Facebook page, where information sometimes is true, sometimes isn't, Gillespie said. "It will be a more informal, rapid-response thing," Quigley said.
Quigley, whose annual salary is $48,937, also is in charge of developing content for the city's website, social media accounts, newsletters, cable channel and more. He lives with his family in Crystal Lake but lived in Elgin as a child, and his uncle is a retired Elgin police officer, he said.
Quigley worked until the spring as program director and midday personality for the now-defunct classic rock station WFXF 103.9 FM. His new job has all of the fun and challenge of radio but none of the negatives, he said. "The instability, the corporate structure that determines the livelihood of so many talented people -- I don't miss being a cog in that machine."
The city employs more than 1,100 people in more than 300 jobs. While there are plenty of choices for interviews for "What Would You Say You Do Here?" the ideal candidates express their personalities and "will give some talk back," Quigley said.
So what if employees have something negative to say about their jobs or the city? "I haven't had any of those moments yet," Quigley said.
The podcast has had a few hundred downloads, about 40% of them from outside Elgin, Quigley said.
"Production value is key. Having interesting content is key. But most podcasts that are even moderately successful, it's regularity," he said.
"What Would You Say You Do Here?" episodes are released on the second and fourth Mondays and are available on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn and more, and can be downloaded at cityofelgin.com/podcasts.