New Media Pioneer: Paulie Podcaster of Bounce Radio and Digi Vegas Podcast

Q: How long have you been broadcasting?

A: I’ve been broadcasting off and on for the past 20 years. I started at my college radio station in the late 80’s, then earning a BA in Radio, Television and Film. Since then I have worked in various capacities at radio stations, TV stations, recording studios, running live sound for musical theatre, corporate events and live music (my favorite of the three).

I started podcasting in early 2006 with my show DigiVegas. (That’s where I got the name “Paulie Podcaster”) I started at bounce Radio in May of this year as a DJ, became Indie Music Director in July, and Program Director in late August.

Q: In your opinion, what does a good song need to consist of?

A: First, the instruments have to be in tune, and vocals have to be on key. I can’t tell you how many tracks I’ve rejected because the vocals are off key. It amazes me that people can’t, or refuse to, hear it, whether they are the vocalist, or involved in the musical project in some other way. You’re not doing the band any favors by telling the vocalist that he/she is on key when they are not. You’re wasting everyone’s valuable time and money.

Secondly, the song has to sound like it’s coming from the heart of the performer, not the head. I want to hear emotion, I want to hear the artist reaching out to me on that level. I don’t really want to hear calculated logic. If you simply must put your political or religious beliefs, or whatever, into song, give it to me on an emotional level. Tell me a little story about how it affects you emotionally.

Thirdly, no gratuitous language, sexism, violence, misogyny, etc. That’s my own personal opinion that does find it’s way into how I produce my show and program the station. I have a feeling I may not be the only producer/programmer who feels this way..

Q: What is your favorite band or favorite genre of music and why?

A: I’ve always been a big fan of indie music, regardless of style or genre. I’ve always been a big fan of the underdog, the unsung hero. I get a kick out of finding some really cool band or song that no one else has heard of yet. I like to be the one to give it to people first, and even gloat a little bit when everyone else jumps on the bandwagon (”I was listening to these guys way back when…”. Either that, or I just don’t like being spoon-fed the music, being told by some corporation what I’m supposed to like simply because they say so.

Q: What changes in content laws, broadcasting rights, etc. have effected you most?

A: The biggest thing to affect me is reading in the news about how certain private citizens have been prosecuted for having a few “illegal” mp3’s on their hard drives. Remember that one where the mother was facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines and maybe even a prison sentence because her kids downloaded some “illegal” mp3’s? “It was her computer, she should have known and controlled what was going on with it” was the prosecutor’s argument. That’s complete B.S. IMHO. Lighten up people. Yes, piracy is wrong, and every artist should get paid for every copy of their work that’s made, but come on. Go after the right people.

I make sure I cover my behind… legally, that is. Bounce Radio is a fully licensed station and essentially, we can play anything we want. As far as the podcast is concerned, I have to be very careful to attain the artists’ permission before I play anything. I rely on services like Ariel, Podsafe Music Network, and even the direct, written permission of the artist before I play anything on my podcast. It’s one of the reasons I do an interview show. I highly doubt someone will turn on me and say they never consented to have their music on my show when they consented to an interview and sent me their tracks to play

Q: A recent study found blogs to be more effective than MySpace in generating album sales, do you feel podcasts have the same power?

A: No. I might say that if this were 2005 or 2006. I feel as if podcasts run the risk of going the way of 8 track and cassette tapes if we’re not careful. I quickly discovered, after producing my own podcast for only a few months, that unless you were one of the fortunate ones who got in on it on the ground floor, like Adam Curry, Fr. Roderick, or C. C. Chapman, you were facing an uphill climb to get your podcast noticed. All too quickly, everybody and their brother was producing a podcast.

There are now thousands and thousands of podcasts starting up, and fading, every day, offering a huge variety of content. It’s extremely difficult being a podcaster trying to stand out as a gem in a giant bin full of junk. It’s extremely difficult for the consumer these days to sort through all these podcasts to figure out what suits them. All too often they swing and miss, and get something of low quality, or content that doesn’t measure up to their tastes or standards.

Think about it, it takes time and effort to download a podcast. How likely is someone to take a chance on one they have never heard of before? After a few sessions of fruitless searches they give up on podcasting all together. That, I think, is causing podcasting to be passed over as a legitimate, viable, first tier medium. Sure, they will always be here, and they do serve their purpose, but I think they have quickly taken a back seat to more timely and immediate mediums such as streaming media, blogs, social networking sites, etc.