If his claim to fame is any indication, Mike Hearne must be a native Oklahoman … but his accent reveals otherwise. Born and raised in Bridgend, Wales, the creator of the “This is Oklahoma” podcast first came to the U.S. about a decade ago.
An avid golfer, Hearne began the sport at age six. When he entered his teens, Hearne’s world revolved around the sport. He was a natural, so much so that as a teenager, he was gaining accolades.
Hearne later nabbed a golf scholarship to Southern Nazarene University in Bethany. So, his first trip to the U.S. was aboard a flight to Oklahoma City.
“When I first came here, it was August 2011, and I hated it,” says Hearne. “I was missing home. I didn’t even know how to spell ‘Oklahoma,’ and the heat was miserable.”
Then a friend invited Hearne to a family Thanksgiving dinner.
“Of course, we don’t have Thanksgiving in Wales,” he says. “It was a huge gathering. And I felt like I was at home in a family atmosphere, and I was around dogs. I had dogs growing up. I instantly felt comfortable. The people in Oklahoma are like in Wales. They are kind and warm hearted. I realized I wanted an opportunity to stay.”
Hearne earned his marketing degree in 2015, and in short order, he had a job in real estate.
“I did pretty well the first few years in real estate,” he says. “But I wasn’t very good at it. I didn’t really have to learn how to sell, because I was selling homes to university friends.”
Comfortable with shooting photos, Hearne launched an Instagram page named “This is Oklahoma” in 2017. He posted his photos along with popular Sooner State information, and it quickly gained traction. But he wanted more.
“I did a couple of videos and I was awful,” he says with a laugh, “so, a friend suggested a podcast. Friends loaned me equipment, and in May 2018, I launched ‘This is Oklahoma.’ And I am also still doing Instagram. When I’m not working or golfing, I spend my time on social media, where I post pictures and comments, and engage with people out there.”
And six and a half years ago, Hearne married. His wife, Taryn, was born in Oklahoma, and the pair lives in Yukon with their two dogs.
“I had an opportunity to change my life,” he says. “The American dream is very real.”
This Is Oklahoma
“The podcast took off,” Hearne explains. “People realized this is about people’s stories who live here, not cheesy ads. Where I record depends on where people are located. I travel to them a lot.
The podcasts were all audio. But since February 2020, they have also been video. I’ve now done over 400. And season one’s 13-video-episodes of ‘Oklahoma Luxury Home Tours’ is done. That was a lot of fun.
Now when I do podcasts I can also video the space. I would happily spend the rest of my life podcasting. I thoroughly enjoy real estate. I play a lot of golf, and I have a passion for cars. And OKC has a great car culture.”