Interview With Podcast NYC Creator, Rob Safuto

Podcast-NYC-Interview.jpgAs promised in my last post about iMusic Flow, an interview with its architect, Rob Safuto of Podcast NYC, follows below. Rob’s a blogging, podcasting, and videocasting machine, as well as a indie music (and general media) guru. Check it out: Rob, you’re one of the busiest guys I know. I now count seven podcasts, two video casts, and a blog. Is there anything I’m missing? How in the world do you do it all? I sleep a little bit less and I watch a lot less television. I actually have two blogs. I have a blog about Marriott Hotels called Red Room Chronicles. I also co-produce a podcast called Brother Love Notes with a NYC based musician. How was the Podcast NYC media conglomarate born? Which “channels” seem to be the most popular? Podcast-NYC-Rob-RecordingI heard about podcasting through an article in USA Today in February. I knew it was going to be something big and as a creative person I knew that I needed to be a part of it. I started by creating a blogger blog for Podcast NYC. I put a few different types of podcasts on there including music and talk. I submitted the feed to the folks at iPodder and they got back to me and told me that they couldn’t categorize what I was doing. So then I thought about creating different channels. Thus, Podcast NYC was born. By far, my New York Minute podcast is the most popular thing that I’m doing. It’s an audio and video podcast that aims to be a multimedia guide to the city. I cover a diverse range of topics without bowing to the pressure to try do too much with each episode. The city is an incredibly interesting place, I know it very well and my goal is to bring a little bit of it to the show’s consumers each time I put one out. The response has been enthusiastic to say the least. I’ve gotten feedback from the U.S. and all over the world. The podcast was featured on the front page of iTunes and briefly held a spot in the top 100. I have at least 2500 regular subscribers and those numbers are growing weekly. Some shows have had nearly 5000 downloads. The next most popular channel would be my Alley Cuts music show which focuses on one band for each episode. The Alley Cuts podcast is also played regularly on KYOU radio so artists get really good exposure and usually sell a few CDs as a result of each show. How do you see the independent and unsigned music industry evolving, in terms of how artists find new audiences and gain new exposure? The recent developments with podcasting will change things big time. Things are already changing. Established mainstream music entities like Sub Pop Records and BMI are embracing podcasting along with thousands of people who are creating music oriented podcasts. So independent artists now have many new channels for promoting their art. And the producers of all of these new channels are very eager to play unsigned artists. That’s a huge change from 18 months ago when musicians sent CDs into the black hole of radio stations, mainstream publications and major record labels. How many more bands will start up or keep on going just because they know that they’ll finally have a real opportunity to reach a captive worldwide audience? You’ve been digging into the very, very deep New York City music scene — what have you found? How do you decide which acts to follow and which bands to feature? It’s kind of scary actually. LOL Just kidding. It’s been amazing. I’ve found a ton of quality music. I’ve found many talented musical artists committed to giving it their best shot even in the face of potential failure. I’ve also met a lot of nice people. The musicians I’m connecting with are open to trying anything new to get the word out and always greatful for the opportunity. I try to follow the acts that seem to be doing alot for themselves. The ones who have websites, are marketing a CD and are playing live shows are the ones who need the exposure the most. No matter what though, I do my best to feature at least one track from each artist somewhere within my podcast feeds. You recently started the new video cast, Get Your Flow. How did it start, and what’s it all about? Podcast-NYC-Rob-InterviewingWhen Steve Jobs announced the video iPod I considered that a call to action. Someone’s got to feed all those iPods, right? I knew that there would be a great demand for video media via podcast as a result of this new product. And I’ve been thinking that it would be cool to bring people from around the world into these clubs and have them experience live music from New York City. So I dropped an email to an artist who was playing a gig the next week. We shot the first episode, production hiccups and all, then I busted my butt to get some kind of a site up along with a proper podcast feed. Mission accomplished. We’ve got five shows in the can and four more planned by the end of this month. I like to call Flow, music liberated. That’s because the mission of flow is to break new artists and cut loose live shows that most people would not see or here. It’s a video podcast with two shows planned. Flow: On Location is the part where we film and interview bands. Flow TV is another show where we want to play independently produced music videos and clips submitted by artists. Then there’s Flow Audio. That includes 128 kps simulcasts of each video show and another show called Flow Music Mix which will be 30 minutes of random unsigned artists in various genres. What other projects do you have going on, and plans do you have for the future? How do you see PodcastNYC evolving? How do you see the art of podcasting and videocasting evolving? I’ve got the Brother Love Notes project that I mentioned earlier. So I’m working with Brother Love, who has found himself in the number one spot on the podsafe music network for the last few months. We’re doing a monthly podcast using both audio and video that documents the story of an independent artist on the rise. It’s great fun and it’s a great marketing tool for a musician to do something like that. Podcast NYC will be changing in 2006. I think I’m going to be scaling back to focus more on the city and music. The other channels will still be there but they won’t have as much new content. That’s okay because when the new content does appear it will be special. I’d like to work more with folks who are interested in bringing different aspects of the city to the podcast audience in audio or video form with other people being the content producers and Podcast NYC being the portal for the delivery of those podcasts. All I can say about the evolution of podcasting and videocasting is that they are both going places. Anyone who is afraid that video will completely trump audio should forget that notion. People have much more of an opportunity to listen to programs then they do to watch. You can listen while driving. You can listen while jogging. You can listen while walking down the street. And so on. So there will continue to be a demand for compelling audio content. We’ll see more major companies using podcasting as a marketing channel. We’ll see podcast aggregation networks like PodShow who will gather large numbers of podcasters as a way to present advertisers with a way to reach a large podcast audience. And there will be a ton of businesses popping up to support podcasters and help them to improve the ease of creatio, distribution and marketing for their podcasts. I was at the Portable Media and Podcast Expo last month and I saw the beginning of a very big wave. Video podcasting is very interesting because it’s going to make a splash in it’s own right. We’re already seeing major companies dealing with Apple’s iTunes music store to fill the vacuum. NBC Universal announced a deal today that will give iTunes users access to a variety of older programs for a fee. So major players will be in the mix, but independently produced video shows will make a showing and don’t be surprised if some of those shows become wildly popular. The right tools are popping up as well. is great and has free hosting for videos. The latest Quicktime compression codecs allow people to squeeze videos down to sizes that are palatable for uploading, downloading and streaming. And of course, high speed internet is spreading as fast as people can get connected to the cables. I understand you’re a musician yourself. What kind of music do you record, and what equipment do you use? Is there anything we can listen to? I’m a hobbyist and wouldn’t put myself in the same league as the artists that I put on my podcasts. I’ve been playing guitar, singing and writing music for 16 years now. I’ve experimented with computer based recording for the last decade, trying to do the very most with very little. Most of what I write and record is straight up pop or rock. I have a Yamaha electric guitar, a Peavey Bass and a couple of acoustic guitars. I run those through a little box that boosts the signal into an Indigo IO card that plugs into my laptop. Sometimes I use a Korg effects processor for the guitar parts. Vocals go through the same setup via my trusty Shure SM58 mic. I mix in some live drums samples for tracks that have drums. And it all gets recorded via a piece of software called Magix Music Studio. I’ve put my music in my podcasts and I’ve had it up on my website for a long time. I’ve been doing some house cleaning lately so you can find one track here and a few more on the Podsafe Music Network here. Any other thoughts you’d like to share with GarageSpin readers, or unsigned artists seeking rockstardom? The best advice that I can give is to treat a musical career like a legitimate business. Be very professional. Learn about all the outlets and get exposure via those outlets. Take the intiative to contact podcasters and bloggers instead of wasting time trying to get played on tradional radio. Radio stations have so many restrictions and tight formats that it’s not worth the effort. Finally, play live everywhere that you can. Oh and you can listen to my free three part series on musicians and podcasting. Start here and the other two installments follow it on the website. Rob, again, thanks for your time. We look forward to watching PodcastNYC advance, and will continue to enjoy independent music from NYC. Thank you Mike for giving me some space to give my opinions and let folks know what I’m doing in podcasting. ***** If you have questions about NYC, indie music, podcasting, video casting, or life in general, you can reach him at You can also check out his many medua outlets at Podcast NYC. Thanks to Andy Kropa for the photos of Rob above (he’s the guy holding the iRiver, interviewing Brother Love at Arlene’s Grocery.) ]]>




One response to “Interview With Podcast NYC Creator, Rob Safuto”

  1. Manjit Avatar

    Bruce, you can do what I did go to skype and rent a number its very cheap and inetrgrates into spreaker very well giving you a call in number directly to your computer and thus makes your callers on the air with you when they call in THANKS SPREAKER for giving my website a voice finally

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *