Austin's NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Life & Arts

'Texas People Love To Talk': The Podcast 'Vanishing Postcards' Is Like An Audio Travelogue Of Texas

VanishingPostcards.JPG
Vanishing Postcards/Evan Stern

“Somewhere over the last ten years I just absolutely fell in love with audio storytelling and the podcasting medium,” says Evan Stern, an Austin-born actor and performer who’s recently undertaken a new career as a podcaster. “And I decided to try my hand at seeing what I could with it.”

Wanting to try his hand at audio storytelling, Stern knew he needed to find some folks with stories to tell. That led him back home to Texas. “If there’s one thing I know, it’s that Texas people love to talk and they tell great stories,” he says. “So I went back down to Texas in January of 2020 to see what stories I could gather. And the project quickly evolved into Vanishing Postcards.”

The show’s a sort of audio travelogue; to create it, Stern spent time driving across the state, looking for places to visit and people to talk to. “The reason I titled the show Vanishing Postcards is because I really think that each episode is a snapshot of a different place,” he says. “And if there’s a through line that the places have in common, it’s that you don’t know how much longer they’re going to be around, or they’re really representative of broader cultural histories.”

Stern says he didn’t begin production with an entire season planned out; instead, he let the journey take him where it took him. “Really, each episode informs the other one[s],” he says. “I would sit back and say, ‘Okay, well, I did a piece on a dancehall. What is a honkytonk like?’ And so I’d go find a honkytonk. I really just kind of let the season evolve.”

Of course, starting a project at the beginning of 2020 meant that before long Covid-19 would change that project. “Covid certainly changed everything,” Stern says. “When I initially started working on this project, I could basically walk into a bar or establishment completely unannounced and just start talking to people.”

After the pandemic started, Stern says, “I had to get much more creative because a lot the place I had been visiting then became completely off the table. But I think it resulted in a more diverse season as a result of that.”

Stern says he’s not sure how much ground he ended up covering during his season one journey. “I didn’t keep track of the odometer,” he says. “But if I were to do the math, I’d estimate that I covered somewhere around 1500 miles across Texas, between Austin, the Rio Grande Valley, Ft. Worth, Galveston, the Hill Country, and many places in between.”

As much as he’s enjoyed travelling his native Texas, Stern says he’s hoping to venture to other parts of the country for season two. “I would very much like to expand the map beyond Texas,” he says. “I would love to drive Route 66 from Oklahoma to California and collect oral histories and stories along the way. But certainly Texas is a place and a landscape that I will always come back to.”

'Vanishing Postcards' is available wherever you get your podcasts.

Related Content