ELLSWORTH -- Hosting a podcast to share updates and news about the energy company is helpful during the time of the coronavirus. But the podcast actually began before the pandemic was a pandemic. The first episode dropped on March 10. The next episode, released on March 20, focused on plans for addressing COVID-19.

Nate Boettcher, the president and CEO of Pierce Pepin, explained the inspiration behind the podcast:

“Realizing that a good portion of our members commute each and every day to jobs in the Twin Cities metro area or River Falls or Hudson or other places, we thought it would be a great outlet for us to communicate with them about things that are going on at the cooperative.”

The podcast is titled “Live Better,” a slogan frequently used by the company.

“We believe that our electric coop helps our members live better, whether it’s through the normal things like lighting their homes and providing energy for heating and cooling. But also, we start thinking about things like electric vehicles, we think about decarbonizing our world, electricity can play a good role in that," he said.

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The original plan for “Live Better” was to release a few episodes and then begin advertising the podcast to Pierce Pepin members and the community.

“And then COVID hit and kind of derailed our plans a little bit on that,” Boettcher said.

Episode topics vary. They include interviews during the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association meeting in New Orleans, updates on how the company is running during the pandemic, a farewell interview with Barb Nick, the retired president and CEO of Dairyland Power Cooperative, and an introduction to the company’s three interns on National Intern Day.

A press release from Pierce Pepin states, “communicating effectively with cooperative members and the public is a priority for Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services. PPCS uses traditional (media), such as magazines, newspaper ads and radio commercials and in recent years, they’ve added social media channels like Facebook and Instagram to the mix. Now, they’ve gone a step further and created the 'Live Better' podcast.”

The podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, iHeart Radio, Google Podcasts, Castbox and Radio.com. A link to the podcast is also posted on the cooperative’s website, piercepepin.coop, under the “My-Co-op” tab. It is free to listen to on any of these platforms.