Unscripted Galveston | How and why? — Galveston unscripted (2023)

Unscripted Galveston | How and why? — Galveston unscripted (1)

Unscripted Galveston | How and why? — Galveston unscripted (2)

No script, why? As?

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I'm J.R., the creator and host of Galveston Unscripted. Here's how and why I started a podcast in my closet in 2021 that won a 2022 Historic Preservation Award.

¼When was the last time you saw a young man reading a book? Especially a history book?¢


If you don't have time to listen to How I'm Changing the World, one podcast at a time, check out GU'sInstagram.You will not be disappointed.

I posted this video on my Instagram and after thousands of views and very positive comments I decided to post it here. Recorded at a historic neighborhood meeting and edited from a 20 minute performance at the Hotel Grand Galvez.

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Enjoy this short read on how and why I started Galveston Unscripted. It's by no means complete, but it gives a good idea of ​​my intentions and how it realigned my life.

I grew up in and around Galveston and went to college on the island. After spending a few years searching for cash in Houston, my wife and I returned to the island. I founded Galveston Running Tours in 2019 after discovering that running tours were popular around the world. What better way to explore the historically dense areas of Galveston Island than? Exploring sweaty areas with strangers. I've walked hundreds of people in trainers through Galveston Island's historic neighborhoods and learned a lot of history while teaching it to people around the world.
If you don't know me, it's easy to see that I can't sit still for long. In early 2020 I had the wonderful opportunity to work from home and shorten my commute to Houston for the foreseeable future. My chance-oriented gait began to shift. I wanted to expand my ability to tell people about the place I loved, Galveston Island. I wanted to take Running Tour to the next level, but how?
I wanted to create an audio guide for the existing tour route. It would enable me to teach people about the history of Galveston without having to take a physical tour with you.
With my new 10 hours a week off the road, I grabbed my phone, walked into a nice soundproof closet, and began jotting down historical information that I would normally hand out on my career tour. Something like "Galveston's historic East End blah blah blah" and then upload it to my website. The new site was called "Galveston Unscripted". The "unscripted" comes from the way I like to walk or talk. If we deviate from the regular tour or the guests want to see something that I didn't prepare, that's no problem. I love deviating from the script and not sticking to strict rules.
I made a very rough location based map and audio guide to apply the audio. I hosted the audio on a website that could load the same 3-4 minute audio clip into a podcast. Without thinking, I put the audio on Apple Podcast, Spotify and others. This was the beginning of. This project would change the trajectory of my life.
While it wasn't my REAL intention to create a podcast, a podcast has the potential to reach a global audience. They wanted people to find the audio tour, so why not use the widest possible "delivery network"? With proper site preparation, transcripts andaccessible techniqueswhich can be found for free on youtube, the podcast feed was very "discoverable". The site started ranking on Google when a person searched “Galveston History” or similar terms.
A few months passed and I continued to expand on my basic running route by adding audio guides. I started telling as much history as possible on the island. EITHERPodcastDownloads began to outpace website visits. Successfully presenting short historical stories of Galveston to a global audience and engaging visitors in the audio guide. A bell rang and I said, "Hey, this could be something cool. I need someone to help me tell these stories.”
The concept has proven itself. Now I had to step up.
I started getting guests for the podcast, includingMr. Sam Collins III is ready to speak about Juneteenth,Artist Doug McClean on well-known Italian sculptorsWe had here in Galveston,Brent Leggs, Vice President of the National Trust of Historic Preservation, speaks about African American history and preserving everyone's stories to tell the whole story. I have hostedUTMB doctorsmiAuthors like Ed Cotham who wrote a book about the Battle of Galveston during the Civil War.
In 2022 I recorded over 12 hours of historical interviews and many more hours of my voice telling the story of Galveston.
I thought ok what is another way to get people to visit the island other than just finding it on a podcast or on google or on facebook? How can I get people to listen to this content, even if it's just an episode or an audio guide? How can I get people to understand how rich Galveston's history is and how it relates to the history of Texas and the United States? How can I do this on a large scale?
Galveston experienced a BOOM in short-term rental properties like Airbnb and VRBO from 2018 to 2022. No matter what you think about them, they are everywhere. The last number I saw is between four and 5,000 on the island alone.
I designed and printedeasily accessible dashboardson FastSigns, who put small QR codes and NFC tags on the card. An NFC tag is a futuristic step beyond a QR code. Just tap the dashboard with your phone and the audio guide will open instantly. No smooth apps. Just type and learn.
We have installed hundreds of them in properties and vacation rental companies across the island. This allows people on the island, such as tourists or hikers, to find an activity or story about something on the island and access educational content without friction or cost. , fun and free.
In a short-term rental next door or in the kitchen, just touch the phone and you'll find historical references and location-based audio guides from Galvestonunscripted.com right at your fingertips.
You don't need to download an app. All you need is a smartphone. And you have direct access to all of these interviews I've done to tell the story of Galveston and how amazing this place is. Even if it's only in this three-minute clip. Some podcasts are over an hour long and others three minutes.You never know what's going to be featured in this podcast feed. 
When was the last time you saw a young man reading a book? Especially a history book? The barriers between picking up a history book and seeing it on your phone or listening to an audio guide couldn't be further apart. The friction is so low, just touch and open. I think this audio podcast guide template can be used anywhere in the world.
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