DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — Podcasts have grown exponentially in popularity over the last ten years. So, it’s no surprise local organizations are using them to expand their reach.

The Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association, which is based in Decatur, wanted to extend its reach to a new audience.

So, in late 2021, it launched the “Unexpected Adventures in North Alabama” podcast.

Melea Hames, the Social Media Manager for the tourist association, is the host. She said becoming the host of a podcast was an unexpected adventure of its own.

“I really didn’t think that was in my comfort zone,” Hames said. “People laugh at me when I say that because all I do is talk anyway.”

Since the podcast launched, it has covered a wide range of topics, with one goal in mind.

“We try to highlight those places and people, things to do and events to go to that people might not know about,” Hames said.

New episodes are released on the first and third Thursday of every month.

Hames has lived in North Alabama for the majority of her life, so she’s a bit of an expert on all things North Alabama. She told News 19 she tries to bring some of that knowledge and experience to the podcast through personal stories.

“We grew up camping at Joe Wheeler State Park,” she said. “[So] we did an episode about the state park and I got to share some of those memories,” she added.

While she is pretty familiar with the region, she still manages to find unexpected adventures of her own. “It has been eye-opening for me as well,” she said.

The podcast can be found online here. It also streams on major podcast networks like Spotify and Apple Podcasts. It recently celebrated reaching 10,000 all-time streams.