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The Fort Erie Podcast: A Little Something for Everyone

Christine Whelan FEO, August 17, 2023, VOL. 4 ISSUE 26

Fort Erie residents might know Brent Jones as a realtor for RE/MAX Niagara Realty Ltd. but did you know Brent Jones is also a host of a podcast that is all about Fort Erie, for Fort Erie?

He started the podcast in 2019, taking a year off when his daughter was born, and re-launched it this past May.

When talking about the days of the podcast’s conception in 2019, Jones reflected, “One of the reasons I started the Fort Erie Podcast was, when my wife and I moved to town nine years ago, we loved it here and we wanted to be in Fort Erie. I noticed that there were two different ways of thinking of Fort Erie back then, two different groups. There were those who have been here for years, who may now see things in a bit of a negative way because they miss what used to be and those, like my wife and I were back then, who were new to the area, didn’t have anything to compare it to and thought Fort Erie was amazing.”

It’s a perception thing.

Brent wants to share what he sees. He also wants to help people find the bests parts of town. “When we moved here, it was hard to know what was happening in the community unless you knew people, and already had a circle of friends here.

“There are a lot of great things happening in this town. And if you’re new to this town and you don’t really know how to find out what’s happening, the podcast is a great place to learn more about the area, about its people, and its history, too.”

Jones discovered that many people aren’t sure what a podcast is. He explained, “Basically, it’s almost like a radio talk show but it’s online based and you can access it from a mobile device, from a web browser, from anywhere there’s internet.”

About his podcast

Brent started out interviewing guests in person but now makes it easier by having them call in at the guests’ convenience and the interviews are recorded.

“I like to break up my podcast into segments so there’s a little bit of something for everyone. Some of the regular, recurring features include an interview with a local guest, local news, upcoming community events, things that happen this month in Fort Erie history, and any Fort Erie job leads.”

The Byrd Box

Jones talked about a new feature he says he’s proud of. “When I re-launched the show this year, I started including a call-in segment. I call it the Byrd Box because the last four digits of the phone number spell BYRD.” The number is 289-599-2973.

“I encourage folks around town to call in. Anything they’re seeing around town, anything to put on the show, leave a message with some points for discussion. I’m giving people a voice. Then I play their voicemail on the show.”

“People don’t have the give out their name and address. As long as it’s respectful and not belligerent, I’ll play it on the show.”

The podcaster gets a wide variety of call-in topics. He talked about people calling in about the Barbie movie, for example.

“I want to give listeners a chance to be a part of the program.”

Brent told a story of an episode when he asked listeners to call in and express what they thought was the road in Fort Erie in the worst condition. After multiple responses giving the same piece of road and Brent driving down that road to personally attest to the poor condition, he called the Town of Fort Erie on a following episode and let them know, recording the message he left. “On the same day that episode aired, that piece of road was being worked on.” He added, “I’m not going to take credit for the work getting done, I’m just saying, the timing was interesting.”

Honest about his motives

While Brent says a reason he created the podcast, in part, is to provide a guide for those newly moving into town, he admits he also does it for his own amusement. “And I do believe that realtors should do things to support the community. I think that should be a prerequisite to do the job.”

He added, “When I say I do it for my own amusement, I hope that, rather than looking at it as some sort of a crusade or a political mission, these episodes are supposed to be fun and informative at the same time, highlighting what makes our town a great place to be.”

A Connection to Real Estate?

“It doesn’t really connect directly,” the realtor explained. ” The podcast has always, for me, been about connecting with people. But I’d be lying if I said that there wasn’t an indirect benefit to the real estate side of things for me. It has inadvertently led to people wanting to do real estate business with me.”

He admits, “Some episodes I do run a short feature on real estate as well, promoting one of my listings or I’ll provide information on, say, the short-term rental by-laws, some of the different regional and federal programs that are available to help put down payments, interests change and market trends, I will provide some of that info in the podcast itself, but that was never the focus of the podcast.” Adding that, unless someone is in real estate, most people aren’t going to want to listen for an hour about real estate. “Realtors want to hear what other realtors are doing.”

Before his one-year hiatus between 2022 and 2023, he created 51 episodes. He kept them all 15 minutes long. “They were almost like commercials. The main hook was, I’ve got a new guest on this week. At that point, I had interviewed dozens of people around town.”

When he re-launched the podcast this year, “The format changed a lot. I still had a guest, but the idea was to make the rest of the content of the episode listenable or palatable without a guest so it wasn’t my guest who had to carry the episode. That’s the added bonus. The guest is not what makes the podcast.”

His guests are various — from a town councillor, to someone who is responsible for a non-profit, to a local business owner.

“At first, I wasn’t sure if anyone wanted to listen to something I’d created for more than 15 minutes. But the response to creating longer, more feature-rich episodes is much better. There’s a little something for everybody.”

The podcaster talked about the differences in creative experience between the two-time frames. “It used to take a lot of time for me to edit down interviews to fit into this arbitrary, 15-minute marker. In the newer episodes, I just let it go. If my guest wants to talk for a half hour, let’s talk.” He added, “There’s a bit more flexibility to it now.”

He completes the newer, longer episodes in segments. “The whole thing comes together as a cohesive episode but I’m basically recording these segments when I get a moment in my life and then fitting them together,” reminding me with a laugh that he is a full-time realtor with a family and bills to pay, and the podcast is on his own time. “I don’t have any paid advertising. It’s all ad-free.”


“A typical episode will get somewhere in the range of 200 to 250 downloads.” He explained that his listenership is local, that the only people who would be interested in hearing about the Greater Fort Erie area are people in the Greater Fort Erie area. And he is happy with this number.

According to Jones, Buzzsprout, an online platform that hosts 126,000 podcasts, states if your new episode gets 32 downloads in the first seven days, that’s good. “It puts you in the top 50% of the podcasts in the world.”

Examples of past guests Brent has interviewed on his podcast are George McDermott, Fort Erie Town Council for Ward 1, Ashley Michelle of the Yoga Dome, Dana Nadeau of Manic Maker, Courtney Vandermeer of Courtney’s Crepes, and Lee Siegel, a local Broadway star. His last episode, which aired August 1, included a call-in asking for Fort Erie’s biggest celebrities.

Do you know of any celebrities who came from Fort Erie?

New episodes generally come out every Tuesday morning, although that isn’t written in stone anywhere, according to Brent.

“Listeners are welcome to call the Byrd Box and leave a message on any topic — something they saw around town, something good, something bad, something serious or silly, responding to something I said on the show, it really doesn’t matter. Any topic, 24/7. I play some of those messages on the show.”

The number is 289-599-BYRD (2973).

The Fort Erie Podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts, but it can also be accessed at theforteriepodcast.com. A lot of local listeners just play it through their web browsers.

There are no upcoming events at this time.