(Release Date: 7.2.24)

Overview: In this short episode of We Are Chaffee’s Looking Upstream podcast, Adam Williams is solo. He highlights episodes and topics from the past two years of the podcast and talks about what’s on his mind for Looking Upstream’s growth and evolving future as the show heads into year three.


The We Are Chaffee: Looking Upstream podcast is a collaboration with the Chaffee County Departments of Public Health and Housing, and is supported by the Colorado Public Health & Environment: Office of Health Disparities.

Along with being distributed on popular podcast listening platforms (e.g. Spotify, Apple), Looking Upstream is broadcast weekly at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays, on KHEN 106.9 community radio in Salida, Colo., and can be listened to on-demand via khen.org

We Are Chaffee
Website: wearechaffee.org
Instagram: instagram.com/wearechaffeepod

Looking Upstream Host, Producer & Photographer: Adam Williams
Looking Upstream Engineer & Producer: Jon Pray
We Are Chaffee Community Advocacy Coordinator: Lisa Martin
We Are Chaffee Graphic and Web Design: Heather Gorby
Director of Chaffee County Public Health and Environment: Andrea Carlstrom


Note: Transcripts are produced using a transcription service. Although it is largely accurate, minor errors inevitably exist.

Looking Upstream’s Growth & Evolution in Year Three

[Intro music, guitar instrumental]

Adam Williams [0:15]: Hey, everybody. This is We Are Chaffee’s Looking Upstream podcast. I’m Adam Williams. 

And I hope you already know that, actually. Because that would mean you’re not here by accident and that you’ve probably dipped into this podcast before. At least once. Maybe dozens of times. And you were willing to push play again for this, the fifty-second episode. That’s how many we’ve stacked up so far, in the past two years. And that includes around 60 guests from within our slice of life here in Chaffee County, Colorado.

Now, with this short solo bit here, I’m using it as a brief summer break in the conversational recording schedule. It’s also a chance to highlight some episodes of the past couple years with incredible guests who have been on the show. I’ll also let you in on what’s ahead and what I’m especially excited about!

Before I get to that, I’m going to say yet again how blown away I am by the people who live, work, play and share in our community and share that on Looking Upstream. That’s on the intellectual, creative, entrepreneurial, spiritual, athletic and just all-round human levels. Seriously. Blown. Away. And I hope you are too.

[1:24] If you have missed listening to some episodes or have never just scrolled down through the archive of Looking Upstream – either at wearechaffee.org or on your podcast player, like Apple or Spotify … If you haven’t scrolled down and taken in the overall picture of the collection of people who’ve joined me on this show, I encourage you to take a few moments to do that because …

As I’ve said many times on this podcast, I grew up in a rural area in the Midwest. And I promise you it wasn’t like this. On many levels. And I don’t think it is in many rural places anywhere. And here that definitely includes the extraordinariness of who is gathered here.

I’ve now talked with guests ages 18 to 96, including every decade of life experience in that huge range. We’ve talked about all the human things, including social and political challenges, history, spirituality and faith, identity and death, grief and loss and resilience, substance abuse and recovery, nature and environment, journalism and community, business and entrepreneurship, housing affordability, mental health and other aspects of health, like Alzheimer’s and traumatic brain injuries. Among other things, as I like to say.

[2:42] With Jed Selby, for example, we talked about some of the most pressing issues facing not only our valley but communities throughout the West and far beyond, including resources like water, affordable housing and short-term rentals, and small-town economics and the future of building a town we all want to share. 

That episode with Jed, by the way, stands as the most listened to by far, with nearly 15 times the average listenership of this podcast. That doesn’t even count the fact that a segment of it was syndicated on community radio stations up and down the Mountain West region, with not thousands but potentially millions of listeners.

[3:21] As the saying goes, the personal is universal. What we experience as individuals is relatable to others, everywhere. That’s one of the special aspects of Looking Upstream, I think. Everyone has stories and insights to share, and it’s relatable. What you know and can share will touch someone. Likely many someones listening out there.

Like one particular piece of feedback we received after my conversation with Katie Brown, who, if you listened to that one, you know that she was celebrated as the best female sport climber in history when she was only a teenager. She talked with me about her memoir, “Unraveled,” and one listener wrote in, saying:

“I had no idea we have a world class female climber in our community. I tuned in and I was absolutely taken by Katie`s story – the raw emotion, the honesty, the openness of the interview. When she cried during the interview, I cried in my car listening … I am so impressed we have this resource in the community. I right away ordered Katie`s book and cannot wait to read it!”

[4:20] I couldn’t ask for more meaningful feedback. Because it’s for that connection, the recognition of the humanness that’s in us all, that I do this. For me personally, and for you. For all of us, as the host who connects guests with you, the listener.

The most recent episode of Looking Upstream was my conversation with Julie Speer Jackson, the Emmy Award-winning documentary film director and producer. 

You might also know that she directed and produced We Are Chaffee’s documentary, “A Home in Paradise,” which premiered in May at the Salida Film Festival. The film highlights the housing crisis, mental health challenges and the socioeconomic divide here in Chaffee County, which of course is something countless communities are struggling with right now. Again personal, universal.

“A Home in Paradise” has been a hit with multiple sold out showings at the Steamplant. If you haven’t seen it yet, details for upcoming showings and how you can host your own showing of the film are available at wearechaffee.org.

[5:19] Ok, we’re finally at the part I’ve been extra excited to be able to talk about! Looking Upstream is bumping up from every other week to weekly episode releases! 

I’m using the summer to build the lineup with plans to start releasing episodes every Tuesday, starting in September. As usual, that will be on all podcast players, at wearechaffee.org and on KHEN 106.9 FM community radio in Salida.

And now that we’re doubling our flow to weekly I feel like it’s a great time to open up the possibilities of what and who and how this podcast moves forward. I expect that will include more topically driven episodes. Not unlike the one with Jed Selby, I suppose. 

Topically relevant interviews will mix in with the more vulnerable and personal and experiential conversations that I like to get into with people. Some of that will include some looser, more casual opportunities, too, like with the next episode.

In that one, I talk with Ken Matthews and Jon Pray. This, in part, was an exercise for me in loosening the reins a bit and jumping into a triangular conversation as if I was having a drink or a cup of coffee with these guys.

[6:18] As another upcoming guest recently said to me about his philosophy on life, it can be good to go into an activity with intentions and a plan – for me with this podcast that means being well-researched and with pages of notes at the ready – but when we cling too much to the plan, we risk being closed off to the possibilities that might otherwise present themselves.

So with Jon and Ken, I left myself open to a casual, let’s-see-where-this-thing-goes kind of conversation. While also getting to pull back the curtain a little bit on who these guys are. Like I said, that will be the next episode.

I hope you’ll enjoy the mix that comes together as Looking Upstream continues to grow and evolve. If you have feedback along the way, you can email the We Are Chaffee team at info@wearechaffee.org and someone will send that along to me. 

Til the next episode, as we say at We Are Chaffee, “Share stories, make change.”

[Outro music, guitar instrumental]