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A Year of Discovery and Connection, and Thanks

As we bid farewell to the rollercoaster that was 2023, it's time to reflect on the highs, lows, and new horizons that unfolded for us at the Cross Border Interviews. Over the past twelve months, we embarked on a journey of focus, community exploration, and unexpected success. What began as a simple desire to engage in meaningful conversations with people evolved into a year-long endeavour dedicated to shedding light on the often-overlooked world of local government.

At the onset of 2023, we decided to pivot from the scattered approach of previous years. Looking back at the period from 2019 to 2022, it became evident that the show lacked a clear focus. The decision was made to dive deep into a single sector – local government. I'll be the first to admit that there was a bit of skepticism that lingered as to whether people would willingly invest 45 minutes to an hour in discussions about municipal politics, the duty to serve, and the intricacies of communities they might not be familiar with.

To our surprise and delight, the gamble paid off. As we approach the year's end, the staggering numbers speak for themselves. The show experienced an unprecedented surge in listenership and subscriber growth, indicating a genuine interest in the often-overlooked realm of local governance.

The unexpected success of 2023 not only shattered our expectations but also underscored the significance of the council table in the broader narrative of our society.

In the hustle and bustle of national and provincial politics, the local council often fades into the background. I hope, and I believe that the Cross Border Interviews provided a platform for community leaders from across the political spectrum, all driven by a common goal – the betterment of their communities to come on a discuss their communities' accomplishments and challenges on a semi-national stage.

Our commitment to showcasing local narratives transcended the airwaves and took form on the streets of remarkable communities. Throughout the year we made a effort to visit as many communities as possible, From the bustling streets of Estevan, Saskatchewan, to the serene landscapes of Riding Mountain West, Manitoba, and the charming Main Streets of Dryden, Ontario, Selkirk, Manitoba, Kipling, Saskatchewan, and Gatineau, Quebec, the journey became a celebration of the undiscovered.

It was the personal encounters in these communities, often guided by insightful guests, that became the backbone of the show's authenticity.

Whether it was sharing pizza in Estevan with the Mayor of Torquay, SK, and an Estevan Councillor, or savouring a delightful breakfast in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, each experience added layers to the multifaceted stories these places had to tell.

The call to get off the beaten path and explore Main Street in these communities became more than a suggestion—it became an invitation to unravel the hidden treasures woven into the fabric of each locale. I encourage everyone to spend an extra 25-30 minutes in a community that will be a much-desired opportunity to witness the heartbeat of our Canadian community charms.

In Clearwater County, Alberta, a great walk can be found, offering a unique perspective on the community's character and spirit. The aroma of Chinese food in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, became more than a culinary experience—it was a taste of the local culture and hospitality that defines these uncharted territories.

For Myself, and my co-pilot at the time (my mother) the unforgettable rendezvous in Lachute, Quebec, where we stopped and enjoyed one of the best poutines with the President of FCM, Scott Pearce.

While there was some amazing food, one of the best desserts for us was our record-breaking achievements, surpassing 1.75 million streams/downloads (in 2023 alone) and amassing over 6,300 active subscribers across all platforms.

This unexpected triumph solidified our identity and purpose, marking 2023 as the year we found our voice.

While we may not be the top show on all platforms, the resonance we found in 2023 propels us into the coming year with renewed vigour and dedication. Plans for 2024 include expanding our reach to more communities, particularly in British Columbia. A three-week road trip is on the horizon, where we will traverse the diverse landscapes of BC, from Princeton to Prince George, shining a spotlight on the communities that have contributed to our success.

Municipal Organizations' annual general meetings will continue to be a focal point for us, with attendance planned at events such as the SUMA conference in Saskatchewan, Alberta Municipalities in Red Deer, and the Association of Manitoba Municipalities in Brandon. The pinnacle of 2024, set for August/September, involves an RV journey through Atlantic Canada, from Newfoundland and Labrador to Nova Scotia, capturing the essence of each province.

But the adventures don't stop there. In the spring, the Cross Border Interviews "team" will head north, reaching the northernmost towns in Canada, including Yukon, Northwest Territories, and a potential visit to Baffin Island and Iqaluit.

I want to express gratitude for the unwavering support of our dedicated audience over the last twelve months. And to those who have found the show in 2023, WELCOME!. The show, which initially lacked direction at its 2019 launch, has grown into a meaningful platform dedicated to showcasing the stories of countless councillors, mayors, reeves, and directors who shape the fabric of our great country.

As we eagerly anticipate the return of brand new episodes on February 5th, 2024, the message is clear: stay informed, stay engaged, and, most importantly, keep talking.


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