Local Podcast Chronicles Community Voices and Visions

An interview with Cincinnatus Hibbard, Founder and Podcast Host of Sonoma County: A Community Portrait 

Photo by: © Erik Castro

Made Local: Tell us about your podcast Sonoma County: A Community Portrait. What inspired you to start the podcast?

Cincinnatus Hibbard: I’m a home gardener—and a utopian—which is just a home gardener in the larger sense. The podcast and my column in the North Bay Bohemian are together a venue home where local visionaries and newsmakers can make direct, person-to-person appeals to this locality. And being Sonoma County, listeners can contact them directly to get involved today.

ML: You’ve curated a great collection of local movers and shakers (including our very own Made Local Magazine publisher Janeen Murray), but you also coordinate with the community in your event series; tell us about the recent Fashion Ball.

ML: What have you learned about the community of Sonoma County through your interviews? Have any common themes or values emerged from the stories shared?

The 2nd Annual North Bay Fashion Ball on Saturday, May 20, 2023 at The Phoenix Theater in Petaluma. Photo © Erik Castro

CH: I love Janeen. Publish that. The North Bay Fashion Ball is a focused continuation of the podcast and column. It is an attempt to identify and organize makers and movers in a fragmented scene with the prospect of an annual showcase. The fashion scene here is very floral, fridge, and joyous. And the show takes its tone from the designers. For that reason, it’s very heartfelt too. Next year, I hand the baton to Lena Claypool who will continue the NBFB with Lagunitas Petaluma. I hope to set up and hand off additional annual events in the coming years. The next will be street-legal art-cars. I would like to have more in circulation! The vehicle infrastructure here is fairly dystopian. And after that, perhaps an annual prize giving for the best native front yard gardens!

CH: Locals love the land and hate the rent (laughs). There is much to say about that. One goal of the podcast and column and fashion annual is to develop a superordinate, regional identity based on shared values. One that rises above the pettiness of towns and villages so we can work together in common cause. What I can say is that Sonomans are, for the most part, open, available, curious, compassionate, concerned, flawed, talented and cultivated, humble, close to the earth, factual, and a little magical. And that I love them.

ML: How do you hope your podcast will impact the listeners and the broader Sonoma County community?

The 2nd Annual North Bay Fashion Ball on Saturday, May 20, 2023 at The Phoenix Theater in Petaluma. Photo © Erik Castro

CH: I think we are in a transitional time of instability and change. The show showcases an array of leaders, ideas, and choices we are empowered to make. I want Sonoma County to take charge of its future before these choices are made for us by historical trends and tides.

ML: What future plans do you have for the podcast, and who can we look forward to hearing from in July and August?

CH: My ambition is to continue to raise the platform for these amazing models and exemplars by launching a radio show and a ticketed live interview series this year, to run in tandem with the podcast and Bohemian column. Maybe even a book. I will be experimenting with different formats, but the solution will be some combination of media piecing together presence in this fragmented media market. Do you think we should relaunch KFTY?

Upcoming guests on the podcast include Psychic Pie Pizza; The Imaginists Theater Troupe; Corazon Healdsburg, which protects the rights of farmworkers; a firefighter on preparedness; California Indian Museum and Cultural Center on the thriving indigenous community here; the R.R. Square Music Fest with a survey of the local sound; Cool Petaluma climate response; and a spirit medium who is going to channel Luther Burbank.

Fashion Ball Lagunitas group 2024 – photo by Eric Molyneaux

Find Sonoma County: A Community Portrait on apple podcasts or spotify. IG @cincinnatus.hibbard

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