We love strengthening utility storytelling through Pioneer’s podcasts. As we plan our 2022 editorial content, we had fun looking back to see what stories hit home in 2021.

We’re sharing our most popular podcast episodes of the year. Haven’t been tuning in? Search StoryConnect: The Podcast and Rural Broadband Today episodes by topic on our website at PUR.coop/podcasts, and subscribe to all of our podcasts on Spotify, Google Podcasts and Apple Podcasts.


StoryConnect: The Podcast logoStoryConnect: The Podcast

What challenges are you facing as a communicator at your electric or broadband company? Chances are, someone else has been there — and we’ve likely asked them about it on StoryConnect: The Podcast. We celebrated our 200th episode in November! Here are the top three episodes from 2021

  1. Highlights of the Annual Rural Video and Broadband Industry Study. Innovative System Director of Marketing Scott Meyer shares insights from ​​Innovative’s annual study. Hear how to keep video service going, offer speed increase trials and much more.
  2. Journey — Exploring the Customer Experience. This is the first episode of our six-part miniseries exploring the customer experience, presented with our partner, Calix.
  3. Communicating through a Ransomware Attack. When his rural Minnesota telco was hit by a ransomware attack, CEO and General Manager of Federated Telephone and Farmers Mutual Telephone Kevin Beyer shares how his staff sprung into action to both combat the attack and communicate with customers and co-workers about its effects. 


Rural Broadband Today podcast logoRural Broadband Today

Rural Broadband Today tells the stories of those working to bring broadband internet access within reach of every American. This interview-style show presents conversations with industry experts, business leaders and elected officials at the forefront of America’s efforts to solve the rural broadband challenge. Here are the top three episodes from 2021:

  1. The Challenges of Rural Broadband. John Greene, CEO of New Lisbon Telephone Company, co-led a session at the 2021 Fiber Connect conference discussing rural broadband challenges. In this episode, John points out several problems with providing broadband to rural communities, including obstacles and issues at the local, state and federal levels.
  2. Broadband Today: Rural America’s Critical Connection. Pam Becker, executive director of Foundation for Rural Service, shares highlights from the white paper “Broadband Today: Rural America’s Critical Connection.” The report focuses on the impact of the pandemic on the state of broadband in rural America. Download the report at FRS.org.
  3. Tips from a Network Operator on Deploying Fiber. Mark Freeman, Cullman Electric’s manager of network operations, discusses his co-op’s successes, plus challenges that other cooperatives looking to enter the fiber business should consider during the buildout phase of a network.


Heart of Community

Heart of Community, produced by Ruralite magazine and supported in part by the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, focuses on arts and culture outside the big city. This is a comeback story about how artists have weathered the pandemic storm to keep the arts beating in rural communities. The show presents stories of resiliency and hope, told through the voices and sounds of those rising to the challenge.

  1. The Music Goes On. When the pandemic stopped live musical performances, Alaska native Caitlin Warbelow created a virtual stage to support traditional musicians in sharing their love of music with a global online community. One musician really can make a difference.
  2. The Heart of Community. In this inaugural episode of “Heart of the Community,” the stage is set to tell the stories of rural artists who have weathered the pandemic storm to keep the arts beating in rural communities throughout the Northwest and West. Leaders from Pioneer Utility Resources and M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust join the show to discuss our yearlong look at rural arts.
  3. The Show Must Go On. The pandemic could have easily dropped the curtain on its performances and activities, but the Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association (CGOA) had other ideas. Rallying an entire creative community, CGOA members met the challenge head on, not only finding fresh ways to perform, but also creating a sense of togetherness even when far apart.


NewsData Podcasts

While they are not part of our popular podcast review, don’t forget to go inside the headlines with podcasts from our partners at Energy NewsData. Two podcasts, Substation NW and Substation California, explore energy policy and insights from utility industry leaders. And a NewsData and Clatskanie PUD partnership on the popular Public Power Underground podcast promises more impactful stories in 2022. Tune in!

Want to share your story on one of our podcasts?

We’d love to hear from you. Send ideas to hello@pioneer.coop.