Want new music from New Jersey and beyond? Then you must check out Jim Testa’s The Jersey Beat Podcast. He’s been producing his podcast for 6 years this month! Let’s celebrate his 6 year anniversary by subscribing or leaving a comment below 🙂
Fun, fame, or profit?
The first Jersey Beat podcast went online in April, 2006. We recently posted our 91st episode. The podcast was a natural outgrowth of Jersey Beat, which I started publishing as a print fanzine in April, 1982, when there were no personal computers or Internet (my first issue was created with a manual typewriter, some rubber cement, and press-on letters for headlines.)
About the time I started the podcast, it became financially impossible to continue publishing the print zine so I converted to a web zine/music blog called JerseyBeat.com, which I also still do. The podcast has always been an extension of the fanzine, in that I play mostly local (NJ/NYC) music with the occasional interview or commentary.
I’ve always done this for fun, although I suppose I have achieved a small measure of fame out of it. And my visibility as a music writer in the zine has led to opportunities as a freelance writer, so I’ve indirectly earned some money out of it too. We sold ads in the print zine but always just enough to barely break even and cover the costs of printing and mailing.
I’ve never sold advertising on the Jersey Beat website or solicited commercials for the podcast. Podcasting has changed enough that if a sponsor I approved of came along at this point, I would welcome the financial support. But I still wouldn’t take, say, cigarette or hard liquor advertising.
What has changed most in your recording setup since you started?
I had always been a PC person. We used PC’s at work and I basically taught myself personal computing, from the first monochrome early DOS computers through the introduction of Windows and all the other advances as they occurred. So when I started my own podcast in 1987, I naturally used a PC.
A friend recommended a program called Cast Blaster that I bought for $50, and I jerry-rigged a microphone through a small pre-amp that plugged into the soundboard of my PC.
Cast Blaster discontinued the software and replaced it with something called Studio Rack, which I didn’t like at all. So I went on eBay and bought a used iBook-series laptop for $250.
A friend of mine installed the latest OS and Garageband for me and I taught myself how to use it. I’ve had a couple different Mac laptops since then but I wouldn’t consider using anything today but Garageband.
I use the laptop’s built-in mic at home but I have a USB “Snowball” mic that I bring with me if I record live music or do the podcast from a remote location.
Have you found that social media has expanded your listener base/reach? (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google , etc)
Yes, very much so. I created a Blogspot page for the podcast when I started it and use that to post my playlists. That also has a download link to my libsyn page and a button that lets you subscribe to the podcast from the iTunes store.
But I’ve found that using Twitter and Facebook to announce new episodes greatly increases the number of downloads and subscribers I get. It also lets me interact with the musicians I’m playing or whose music I would like to play.
Also obviously sites like Bandcamp, where bands give away their music for free, have pretty much completely replaced the old Podsafe Music Network, which I relied on heavily back in 1987.