Curious Characters: Inside Plano Podcast

Tales of Curiosity and Character

From serious topics, like the story of local business owner and author Diana Reeve taking her ex-boyfriend to court for purposefully giving her HIV, to quirky profiles of Plano’s artists and early-risers, Tammy Hooker and Mary Jacobs at Plano Podcast are dedicated to bringing our city “Tales of Curiosity and Character.”

Or so says their tagline.

Producer Mary Jacobs is a veteran of finding the angle in a story, having written for such institutions as The Dallas Morning News and The Washington Post. She believes in covering the type of stories that help define Plano. “Whatever it is that gives Plano its unique character and identity – its soul – is still emerging, because most of Plano is relatively new,” Mary says. “I think of Plano Podcast as maybe helping the process along.”

This identity search is prevalent in every episode of the Plano Podcast. For instance, Plano’s sense of community and perseverance is examined in episode 13, “The Heroin Shutdown: 20 Years Revisited,” an in-depth look at the heroin epidemic that plagued Plano in the late 1990s.

“The heroin epidemic story reminded me of the scene in the movie “Apollo 13” where the engineers devise an on-the-fly repair with available parts and duct tape. This terrible epidemic came to Plano, and our city leaders and law enforcement tackled it with the same kind of competence, ingenuity and teamwork,” Mary says. “It didn’t end in triumph like “Apollo 13.” There are still drug problems in Plano. And there were kids who died and others whose lives are ruined to this day. But, the work of Plano Heroin Task Force was a major turning point, and it earned our police department a reputation as one of the best in the country.“

Plano Podcast Producer Mary Jacobs and Host Tammy Hooker // photos Jennifer Shertzer

For Tammy, intimacy and emotion are the most important things she can bring to the story. She says that she tries to “bring true stories to the mic in a way that makes you feel like you’re right there with us, privy to a personal conversation.”

“Emotion is more important to me than perfectly orchestrated segments,” Tammy says. “I like the messiness of discovering the unknown and learning something new. It’s a goal to keep our guests, topics and questions real.”

That being said, Tammy sees the importance in sampling from various beams of the emotional spectrum. She adds, “We do try to mix heavy/light episodes so we don’t go too far either way.” Tammy also works in digital marketing, where she certainly applies that same mix of professionalism and good humor.

For the more lighthearted topics, check out the episodes that cover the Downtown Plano Art & Wine Walk, an in-depth interview with Mayor Harry LaRosiliere and even a look at Plano’s haunted hangouts.

Previous Plano Podcast Episodes

Mary and Tammy first met in Leadership Plano Class 31 and worked together with their class to found TEDxPlano. Tammy calls Mary “a genius writer,” and Mary calls Tammy “a doer.” They have a great working relationship and one that shines on-air. They are both excited about future episodes, which they say will focus on such varied subjects as the local smallpox epidemic of 1895 to exploring Plano’s nightlife.

Newcomers to our city could be forgiven for believing that Plano’s identity is built on trendy eateries, hot shopping and world-renowned corporations. Plano Podcast reveals the truth, however, that none of these things would exist without something even more important to Plano’s identity: the people.

Plano Podcast >

Tammy and Mary decided to turn the table on Plano Magazine’s Nick Bridwell and interview him for a short episode:

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