Sarah Powers: Podcaster
We could call her Podcaster Powers, but this Montecito Mama is close to being a native – and we are thrilled to introduce her to the MJ this week!
Sarah (Wysel) Powers moved to Montecito with her family in 1986 when she was five years old. Her mornings were spent walking to school (Montecito Union) and stopping at Pierre LaFond for a giant cookie or chocolate croissant.
Flash forward 35 years later… she is still stopping at Pierre’s (for a coffee and maybe still that massive cookie), but now with her own kids!
Powers comes from a professional writing and communications background – everything from ghostwriting to corporate communications. In 2016, she and her business partner, Meagan Francis, co-founded their company, Mom Hour Media, and launched the podcast, “The Mom Hour.”
First, what is a podcast? Powers explains: “It is an audio program you can listen to using a phone or tablet or computer. It is like the radio programs of decades past, but you don’t have to catch them on a specific day and time!”
The best part of a podcast is that they are free and open-source for the most part, and there are podcasts on every topic imaginable. Some aim to teach or educate, some are simply for entertainment.
Powers and her partner say their podcast is conversational: “Many people like to listen while they drive, or, in the case of our audience, while they rock a baby in the middle of the night or push a stroller around the neighborhood! There’s an intimacy to the listening experience and, at the same time, it’s extremely flexible when it comes to when and how you consume your podcasts.”
“The Mom Hour” is an hour-long weekly audio program for parents. Powers and Francis bring their perspectives as moms of many kids (eight between them!), with different backgrounds and points of view and take a conversational, nuanced approach to motherhood and parenting topics. They are not parenting experts in the clinical or professional sense, but they offer real-life experience and judgment-free encouragement to newer moms who are wondering if their experience is normal or looking for light at the end of a sleep-deprived, tantrum-filled tunnel.
To date, they have done more than 630 episodes on topics such as making friends as a mom, potty training, sharing about kids on social media (or not), managing screen time, talking to kids about money, and more. The show has been downloaded more than 15 million times and they now have more than a dozen contributing voices who add their stories and perspectives on the podcast.
And the best part about it: Powers can do it all from home, which is now back here in 93108. After attending college in the Chicago area and then getting married and living in Phoenix and Orange County, she and her husband came back because of (you guessed it) COVID.
“We muddled through online school and shifting work paradigms through the spring of 2020, and with summer we made the decision to move to Santa Barbara. My kids get tired of hearing me point out old places I went to school, had a job, hung out with friends – but as time goes on, they’re now layering their own Santa Barbara experiences over my own and it’s really special to see.”
Powers says that being her own boss has given her the flexibility to continue to be a mom while also focusing on her career:” I don’t share everything about our kids, however, we do lean into topics that are relevant to our lives and create episodes around ideas we’re genuinely interested in.”
There are different ways to make money as a professional podcaster, but working with advertisers is the most common. At “The Mom Hour,” Powers sells advertising spots on her show in the same way a television network might; brands have a message they want to reach a target demographic (i.e., moms of young kids), and they take a couple of “commercial breaks” in each episode.
Powers and husband Bryan (who works for Mercer Advisors) have three kids: Luc (14) and Reid (12) attend Santa Barbara Middle School, and Violet (10) is a 4th-grader at Montecito Union.
So, what’s a perfect weekend for this Montecito native? “My 10-year-old and I love to do what we call a ‘Village Saturday.’ We park the car and bring a basket, and see how many quaint errands we can do on foot: the Montecito Library is a must, plus a stop at the Post Office, the hardware store, the grocery, and the dry cleaner. And I usually pick up sandwiches at Wine & Cheese. I know it goes by a new name, but local habits die hard.”
If you have a mobile phone, you already have a podcast app on it – even if you’ve never used it! Search for “The Mom Hour” in any podcast app and it’s easy to find.