Newberg's 'giving and generous' nature featured in podcast
After several years of intense community division, some people have concluded that Newberg is not a great place to live.
Daniel Roberts is trying to change that.
To that end, the local real estate agent and 2015 alum of George Fox University has begun showcasing the more positive side of Newberg in his podcast, “The Giving Town.”
“I chose the name ‘The Giving Town’ because, at its core, Newberg has a giving and generous heart,” Roberts said.
Roberts typically interviews local nonprofit leaders or residents who have made a beneficial impact on the community. They share the background of their work, why they’re passionate about what they do, and how they’ve helped the city.
“We’ve got a lot of press nationally and locally that makes a lot of people not want to be in Newberg,” he said.
Roberts’ hope is to shift the focus from the town’s struggles to its victories.
“People are just wired to focus on the negative a lot of times and take all the positive things for granted — and I don’t want to take the positive things for granted,” he added.
The podcast began a few years ago under the name the “Elpis Project” and focused on nonprofits in Portland, where he and his family were living at the time. After returning to Newberg, Roberts rebranded it earlier this year to center on the city he considers his hometown.
“I have helped many people move here, and they always say, ‘People are so welcoming, they’re kind, they’ll talk to you, they make you feel welcome, and you immediately feel like you’re part of the community,'” he said. “And that’s really important to me — being in a community that feels like people care about each other.”
In addition to bolstering Newberg’s public image, Roberts strives to help residents get to know their local nonprofits better.
“(These organizations) are doing amazing things,” Roberts said. “They’re saving lives, they’re transforming lives, and people who have been in the community a long time haven’t even heard of them or had a complete misconception of what they did.”
Just as he hoped, listeners are responding well to “The Giving Town” podcast.
“People who are long-standing, well-respected community members are reaching out to me and saying that the podcast has given them new hope for Newberg,” Roberts said.
Roberts aims to produce content indefinitely and eventually achieve 3,000 downloads (roughly 10% of the town’s population) per episode.
“I would just love to see more people embrace being kind, embrace focusing on the good,” Roberts said. “The negative will always be there, but we always have a choice with what we focus on. So, I’m doing what I can.”
Roberts reported that the channel has had about 50,000 views and continues to grow yearly, although the number of listeners per episode has remained “fairly flat this year,” he said.
He remains committed to releasing episodes about every two weeks and is “booked out until close to the end of the year. I’d love to do more, but I want to make sure the pace is sustainable.”
“The Giving Town” is available on Amazon, Spotify, Apple, Google and “pretty much every major podcast provider,” Roberts said.
Roberts said the podcast has continued to resonate with listeners, which has led to an even greater phenomenon.
“My favorite thing is when someone listens to an episode about a nonprofit and then finds a way to get involved,” he said, adding that in some cases, local nonprofit leaders are learning of other local organizations for the first time and the two entities have begun collaborating.
“I get really excited when those stories get back to me because it means the podcast is really making a difference.”