Get to know the two local pastors behind an entertaining, informative, and uplifting podcast inspired by the city they love and call home
Andy Searles and Drew Taylor have many things in common. They’re both beloved pastors in the faith community. They’re both Casselberry residents. They both cherish their friendships and relationships with fellow clergy members, neighbors, and local leaders in business, politics, nonprofits, education, and beyond. Separately, Andy and Drew have devoted countless hours to serving Seminole County and the Central Florida area, but there’s a special place in their hearts for their home city of Casselberry.
A huge part of their lives is spent collaborating with other local ministries and community builders to discuss what they can do to help the city thrive. Over the years, these casual conversations have led to great partnerships and have been instrumental in getting popular Casselberry events off the ground, including the annual Easter Egg Hunt and Funtober Fest.
It was only a matter of time before Andy and Drew came together to create something wonderful of their own, and that’s how the What’s Up Casselberry? podcast came to be.
“The podcast is a labor of love born out of our desire to strengthen our community,” says Drew. “Andy and I have great banter, and we can do more good together. Our goal is to build bridges in our community. We share the good news and promote the city we love, but we also want to help people understand what it means to be an involved citizen and be part of a community.”
“Some listeners and guests assume we want to have a conversation about faith, but we always emphasize that this is a podcast about our community,” adds Andy, who has been a resident of Casselberry with his wife and two children for more than 20 years. “We want to be inclusive and connect with as many people as we can. That’s our main agenda. When it comes to my family and my experience, everything we imagined and hoped for in our community is here in Casselberry!”
Andy says the podcast aims to provide listeners with a positive perception of Casselberry and help shape the city’s identity as a genuine community of people who are deeply invested, neighborly, and want to bring the city to its full potential.
“The word ‘Up’ in the podcast’s name What’s Up Casselberry? has the connotation of moving the city forward,” explains Andy. “It’s a way to say that we’re getting better every day – that there are so many great things to be celebrated that are happening here. We desire to seek peace and prosperity for the city.”
After a few attempts at producing the podcast themselves, Andy and Drew recruited a talented team to give What’s Up Casselberry? a more polished look and feel. The team includes producers James Buettner and Robin Koeppe (who also designed the podcast’s website) with music by Jeremy Birdsall and graphics by Cristian Moscoso.
Since launching in January, Andy and Drew have released a new episode of the podcast every Tuesday at 7:00 a.m. They host guests from a variety of backgrounds, answer listener questions, and touch on everything from practical life advice and wisdom to current events and local news.
They’ve discussed hot topics like school reopenings and racial tensions and hosted a spectrum of guests including a licensed mental-health counselor and an emergency-room nurse to discuss how to cope with the realities of COVID-19. Drew and Andy have also welcomed local business owners and real-estate professionals to talk about the economic impact of the pandemic. They’ve interviewed local politicians and most recently hosted all the candidates running for seats on the Casselberry City Commission.
“We want to show people how the city works and introduce them to the players,” says Drew. “Andy and I have both been blown away by how many talented and gifted people there are in our community. Every conversation we facilitate, we walk away like, ‘Wow!’ It’s been a blessing to learn a lot of new things alongside our listeners.”
Simply put: “This is the best podcast in Casselberry about Casselberry!” Andy says with a laugh. “We encourage residents to tune in and ask us anything. There are few better places to live than in Seminole County.”
To listen to the podcast and learn more about the project, visit WhatsUpCasselberry.com.
Lightning Q&A with Andy and Drew
Q: What’s your ideal way to spend a weekend in Casselberry?
Andy: A long run in the morning around Casselberry’s interconnected parks, spending the evening at one of the great (pre-COVID-19) concerts, attending worship at one of the great churches, and then a nice walk around the neighborhood connecting with friends.
Drew: I love attending the food truck and live music events at Lake Concord Park with my wife and son, grabbing some dessert at Culver’s, walking or biking around the Camelot neighborhood, fishing at Dew Drop Park, then worshiping at Willow Creek Church.
Q: What’s your favorite park in Casselberry?
Andy: Secret Lake Park. Great walking trail and waterways and a great place to see the sunrise or sunset.
Drew: Dew Drop Park is our neighborhood park, just down the street from my home. It’s a hidden treasure and is very peaceful.
Q: What excites you about the future of Casselberry?
Andy: Our continued development as a healthy city that provides even more amenities that strengthen our sense of community.
Drew: Casselberry has so many wonderful individuals. I’m excited to see them come together to serve our community, together, for the sake of the peace and prosperity of Casselberry. That means seeing residents serving on local boards, in the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, faith community, as business leaders, as involved parents, or running for political offices, etc.
Q: What’s one thing that should be on everyone’s Casselberry bucket list?
Andy: Follow the interconnected paths and trails to as many of our parks as you can.
Drew: To attend the Casselberry Food and Wine Festival (usually the first week of November). The Casselberry Chamber of Commerce hosts this event at Lake Concord Park. It’s a great way to taste the food and drink of local restaurants and to meet the great people of the city in one of the most beautiful locations in town. It’s a memorable evening!
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