STERLING — Town resident Dan Thibeault has parlayed a love of metal detecting into podcasts dedicated to unearthing Sterling’s history, inspired by the objects he comes across.
His Life Underground podcast series features stories and musings about items Thibeault digs up while metal detecting around town, giving listeners a glimpse into the fascination he has for the town’s past.
“I try to tie the past to the present and show the similarities, and how, deep down, the basic things we strive for in life have not really changed all that much,” Thibeault said.
Thibeault has been fascinated with history for many years. He was a history major at Bridgewater State University and taught eighth grade for a period. His career took a turn when he was approached a few years ago by state treasurer Tim Cahill and comedian Jimmy Tingle to produce and publish their podcast.
“I didn’t know how, and I had to learn really quickly,” Thibeault recalled.
His business, Fast Twitch Media, was born from that encounter and, through it, Thibeault does podcast production, media host management and digital sound engineering — including Life Underground, whose tagline is “May you bring the lost to the light.”
Thibeault began metal detecting a few years ago and often goes out with friend Matt Watson on hunts for buried treasure, which ultimately inspire his podcast material. Some of his favorite spots to look at are Flanagan Farm and Crystal Brook Farm.
“I started metal detecting a few years ago, and I got to know the farm owners in town and gained an enormous respect for them,” he said. “Farmers and small business people hold our economy together when the huge corporations let us down. We need to value them. I thought these stories might help do that.”
His personal favorite Life Underground podcast, Compact Case 001, is one that focuses on a lock of hair he dug up.
“It was an unbelievable find, and the lock of hair really inspired me to write,” Thibeault said. “Finding the compact case with the locket of hair in it got me thinking about our relationships and how important they are. I wondered who the woman was who owned it, and who she cut the lock of hair from. Back then, in the mid 1800s, you might be away from loved ones for long periods of time without ways to communicate. Keeping a lock of hair was a way to keep someone close, at least in memory. Many people also kept locks of hair from loved ones who passed on (and) made artwork and jewelry from it.”
Thibeault’s business has grown fast; he now records, edits, produces and publishes podcasts for 12 clients at the home recording studio he built. He said he has been “extremely fortunate” to have met, and now work with and been mentored by TV and radio legends Jordan Rich from WBZ, Candy O’Terry, formerly from Magic106.7, and former Channel 5 news anchor Liz Brunner.
“They have freely given me an incredible amount of coaching and support,” he said.
While running Fast Twitch keeps him very busy, Thibeault said he plans to continue his Life Underground series. The reaction from listeners, he said, has been “really heartwarming and positive.”
“I believe that stories bring us together,” Thibeault said. “They can transcend differences in cultural background, gender and political persuasion. I want to create messages that go beyond the dysphoria of current society and give people a welcome change from the rampant nonsense that popular media pushes on us. Podcasting is a great medium for this.”
For information, including the Life Underground podcasts, visit www.fasttwitchmedia.space.