‘Living in Las Vegas’ podcast host has talked Vegas for 11 years

Vegas Voices is a weekly series highlighting notable Las Vegans.

For more than 11 years, Scott Whitney has hosted “Living in Las Vegas,” which he describes as “the longest running podcast about Las Vegas that actually originates in Las Vegas.” He’s also the founder of Podworx, Vegas Video Network, Vegas Video Co-Op and, most recently, Live Stream Las Vegas, all of which have produced podcasts and streaming video on various aspects of life in Las Vegas.

Through those businesses, Whitney and his partners speak to a worldwide audience about what’s happening in our valley. The Review-Journal caught up with him to ask about the conversations they’re having.

Review-Journal: Podcasts are making a comeback after being out of style for a while. How have you seen the market change?

Whitney: It’s been fantastic to watch. I got into podcasting in 2005, which is basically when it got started. In 2006 and 2007 a lot of people got into it, including businesses, which is when it got interesting. The problem is they didn’t understand the criteria for success. The reason most business podcasts fail is they forget to entertain or educate. So while everybody was doing it, nobody was listening. So everybody stopped. But some of us kept doing it, and people started to see if you do podcasts, and do good work, it affects business.

Video podcasts were the trend for a while, but now people seem to be going back to audio only.

I do both. Every show is both an audio and video podcast. The reason audio is more powerful is because it’s more portable. I can listen to an audio podcast in my car. In fact more people listen to the audio version of my show than watch my video version. And it’s easier to do a decent audio podcast. Plus there’s a certain closeness associated with someone in your ears talking to you. It’s a very personal way of communicating.

How has your experience living in the Las Vegas Valley changed over the past 11 years, and how has the “Living in Las Vegas” podcast changed to keep up?

I think both just reflected the reality we were in. I was a home buyer. And when we first got here, home prices were going up. Our house appreciated $100,000 in six months. And that’s insane. And I knew it was insane. And come to find out, it was insane.

So in the beginning it was the celebration of being in Las Vegas. Because Las Vegas is cool, there’s some pretty cool stuff going on here. And then it was frightening to be here. We were the No. 1 foreclosed city in the world. And it was scary. And our show reflected that. We weren’t trying to hide from the fact that people around us were being foreclosed.

Now it’s fun again. The housing market has stabilized — and if you’re a homeowner that matters. It matters to me. Business is stabilizing. And now it’s a bit more of a tempered celebration on my show.

What do your viewers and listeners complain about?

One of the most (expletive) about things on my show was paid parking, when it happened.

Pricing on the Strip is expensive, of course. An $18 drink is a lot of money. So a lot of people ask me “Where can I go for a cheaper drink?” And, of course, Fremont Street is a good response for that, where I can get a beer for a buck and a half.

But you know, that $18 drink, you’re not paying just for the drink. You’re paying for the experience. Like The Dorsey (at The Venetian) is a beautiful bar, and they make a nice drink. Is it worth $18? Once. (Laughs.) There’s something to be said for a good drink. Just like there’s something to be said for a $55 steak, if it’s worth it.

Most people are cost-conscious. Everybody wants the best deal, the inside scoop. And we answer those questions when they come up. But sometimes we say, maybe you want to treat yourself to the $55 steak, because I know a great restaurant. Go there. You’re going to have the best time of your life.

When you get beyond international stars like Celine Dion and Elton John, do tourists know who most of the Vegas-centered Strip headliners are?

No. People don’t know what’s happening here. And that’s a problem. Vegas is believing its own press. Everybody in Las Vegas thinks everybody knows everything about Vegas. And that’s just not true. There’s too much to know. And the reason why these local acts who are big, fail, is because they’re not here long enough to get traction.

What are the hidden gems you like to tell people about?

Well, Absinthe isn’t a hidden gem. But I think most people outside of Las Vegas don’t know about that show.

I’ll tell you a hidden gem that most locals don’t go to, but they should. It’s called the Composers’ Showcase. It happens at The Smith Center’s Cabaret Jazz about once a month. It’s a late-night thing that starts around 10:30 on Wednesday and goes to maybe midnight. And the concept is brilliant. You have all these entertainers in Las Vegas, many of whom are on the Strip, and a lot of these guys write their own music. And at the Composers’ Showcase, they get to come in, no tracks allowed, and play their own music. So it could be Travis Cloer of “Jersey Boys” writing a country song.

You know who else is doing something good? The Tuscany. The Tuscany has really embraced live music. I think they’re doing live music every day in the lobby by the entrance.

■ Most recent download or favorite music?

This was a band that opened for Steel Panther. They’re called Gina and the Eastern Block. And it was the most amazing first time I’ve ever seen a band in as long as I can remember. She’s kind of a combo of a little Marilyn Manson heavy metal, a little Nine Inch Nails, a little Nicki Minaj and all this weird syncopated rock stuff put together. … She can sing her face off. After I saw her, I listened to her for two straight days, and she only has five songs on Spotify.

■ Favorite movie?

The best movie in the world is “Mary Poppins,” period. The best music ever. It’s joyous to watch. I probably watch it about once a year. And it always makes me feel good.

■ Most notable achievement?

Before I got into online broadcasting, I was a full-time musician. I played solo guitar, a classical guitarist. And I sold 55,000 copies of my own music.

■ Food you could eat every day?

Claussen pickles. I’m obsessed with them. Because they’re always cold … and they’re fantastic.

Contact Al Mancini at amancini@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlManciniVegas on Twitter.

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