A! Magazine for the Arts

J.C. Schweingrouber

J.C. Schweingrouber

'Appalachian Shine' promotes the region's culture

October 30, 2023

J.C. Schweingrouber is an investment advisor, author (using the pseudonym Cyrus Alderwood), runs a small non-profit and recently became a podcaster.

The podcast, “Appalachian Shine,” arose out of the pandemic and his non-profit.

“We started Appalachian Shine during the pandemic. Like most organizations, we were not able to get out into the community to see folks face to face, to raise donations or collect items for donation (such as clothing that we pass along to other organizations for the homeless in the region). However, a lot of people were starting to tune into podcasts that had never bothered to listen to one before. We have a small audience, but a growing one. And we’ll be nearing our 100thepisode soon,” he says.

The Foundation he refers to is the Foundation for Appalachian Advancement which works for economic, education and cultural advancement.

“Appalachian Shine is a show that captures a potpourri of topics that concern all things Appalachia. Just like the foundation is not a single-issue nonprofit, the podcast is not a single subject podcast like most are. Sure, we center our topics on Appalachia, but we try to have a show that can appeal to many people. Some episodes we may have guests such as local elected officials, artists or folks from other nonprofits in the region that are doing good work to make our Appalachian home a better place. Other times it may just be me talking about upcoming events, local lore and legend, or interesting history that happened right here in our own backyard,” he says.

The podcast is a companion to the foundation’s quarterly newsletter that highlights its mission, promotes others for their work and promotes history and heritage. Topics have included fall foliage destinations, storytellers, writers, festivals, visions for the future and more.

“Sometimes they require a good bit of research. For example, we had one episode where we talked about the importance of Appalachia in the Revolutionary War, especially the time period leading up to it. If you notice certain historical road markers as you drive through parts of the Appalachian counties of Virginia, you’ll see reference to many forts that used to stand in those locations. Researching those led to our show about Lord Dunmore’s War and how we upstart Appalachians were involved in the unofficial first battle of the Revolutionary War. On behalf of Appalachians everywhere, you’re welcome America.

“We strongly believe that is our region’s artists that define who we are as a people and a culture. We welcome artists to come onto our show all the time to discuss their works. We even have writers that will read from some of their books. We have such a long and rich history and culture that needs to be celebrated. We all should share that pride. That is why it is vital (and a vital part of our mission) to promote all of our artists.

“I like to think of Appalachian Shine as our own little radio program. As great as it would be to have an actual radio program, we use what we have to make this fun little show on a laptop. It is a goal that in the future we can do something like that, though. We are a small organization but if we were to receive significant funding it would be widely beneficial to have a program/station that is the go-to for all things Appalachia. We could highlight local artists on a regular basis, other organizations that are doing amazing work, our economy and economic development, as well as a regular history segment,” he says.

Schweingrouber creates the podcast alone – unless he has a guest on the show - using a free download, such as Audible, on his laptop.

“Once the recording is saved as an MP3 it is available to upload on the hosting website. Then, just like magic, it shows up on for you to listen to on your smartphone and online,” he says.

As of now the podcast is promoted through word of mouth and by sharing posts on social media. He hopes to expand that promotion to include stickers and email links.

Those who wish to find Appalachian Shine, visit appalachianshine.podbean.com and click on the podcast icon. The show is also available on platforms such as iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, GooglePlay and others.

For more information about his foundation, visit www.supportappalachia.org.