Alex Trokey is convinced everyone in Homer, Alaska, has a story worth telling, and he’s on a mission to hear as many as he can through his Homer Alaska Podcast.
The Chicago native has lived in Homer for just about a year after dropping his life in the city for a sense of community. Trokey initially came to Homer to do missionary work. Now, he works with the outfitting team at Bay Weld Boats.
“I sort of just packed up and moved, and emailed them on the way and was like, ‘I’m coming,’” Trokey said of his initial move north.
With a degree in finance, Trokey made the rounds in various consulting and sales jobs in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. He said he felt something was missing and that he was having trouble connecting with the culture around him.
“I’ve been in big cities for the last few years,” he said. ” … People are so transient. It’s not all bad, but some of the things I struggle with are … no roots, not a real deep sense of community.”
Trokey said he found that sense of community when he got to Homer. He enjoys that friends are only a few minutes away. The environment and scenery is another major draw for him.
The newest venture for Trokey is the Homer Alaska Podcast, in which he interviews members of the Homer and the greater Kachemak Bay community. The episodes range between 45 minutes and an hour long, and come out on Wednesdays. Trokey said he prefers the long-form interview format because it gives him more opportunity to really get to know a person.
The first four episodes of the podcast feature Homer City Council member Shelly Erickson, Homer High School Principal Doug Waclawski, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Member Kelly Cooper and Homer Mayor Ken Castner.
Trokey listens to podcasts regularly, especially while he works. He said he tried finding some podcasts about Alaska to listen to when he got here.
“Truth be told, there’s not that much out there,” he said. “There’s crime ones, there’s like exposés about the oil industry, there’s Alaska Nightly News on public radio, but I can only listen to the budget cuts so much.”
Trokey said he heard of a hyper local podcast being done in a town in Georgia, and got inspired to try the same.
“I’m sure I can’t be the only one who cares about local people and what’s going on in town,” he said. “The medium interests me. The fact that you can … start a local radio station basically for not very much money and not very much time.”
So far, Trokey does everything for the podcast himself. He said he prefers it that way, so he has more chances to learn new things about the different aspects of recording, producing and marketing the show.
The podcast has more initial listeners than Trokey anticipated, and he said he’s welcoming of feedback and suggestions.
Trokey’s focus, rather than a given topic, is strictly people.
“I want to focus on people and their stories,” he said. “You meet so many interesting people here. I worked with a guy who was … an ex-political DC staffer, and I met like nuclear scientists who are fishermen. Alaska attracts a certain adventurous type of person.”
Trokey describes himself as “organically” interested in people. He had an early example in his father, who could talk easily to people from multiple walks of life.
When it comes to people who don’t think they have an interesting story, Trokey doesn’t believe it.
“It’s just probably not true,” he said. “People’s stories and their lives … I don’t know, it’s endlessly interesting. It’s like why do people like watching reality TV? … It’s because we are interested in other people. You don’t have to have done some crazy skydiving adventure or, like, punched a bear in the face … or started some crazy business or something to be interesting.”
It’s the smaller, more intimate stories that Trokey’s interested in hearing.
Currently, Trokey doesn’t have a longterm plan for the podcast.
“I’m, like, allergic to goals,” he said.
He just wants to keep working to improve the show and do a little better every week.
People can listen to the podcast at homeralaskapodcast.com or by subscribing to the podcast on the iTunes podcast app.
Trokey also welcomes interview suggestions, and there is also a form to get on the subscription list to the podcast on the website. You can also follow along on The Homer Alaska Podcast Facebook page.
Reach Megan Pacer at firstname.lastname@example.org.