Podcasting spawns a burst of online music, talk shows

(Original Publication: July 11, 2006)

Local podcasters

Podcasts produced by residents of Briarcliff, Mount Vernon and White Plains are available at the following Web sites

• "Both Sides of the Surface" www.bsots.com

• "The Working Musician" www.theworkingmusician.com

• "Golf for Beginners" www.worldgolf.com/blogs/ golf-for-beginners

Roger Zeitel considers himself a bit of a rebel, so it's appropriate that the White Plains musician is subverting traditional media with his Internet music talk show.

"The media we know is going to disappear. We're throwing out the gatekeeper," said Zeitel, a computer science teacher who records interviews with local musicians on his own equipment.

As the price of computer recording hardware falls, people like Zeitel with passions for niche topics are producing their own radio shows and putting them on the Internet for anyone to download.

"It's the democratizing effect of technology," said Zeitel, who performs locally as Roger-Z and The Zygotes.

In Westchester County, local podcasts, which derive their name from the iPod music player produced by Apple Computer, range from talk shows on golfing and musicians, to music blocks of alternative hip-hop and soul.

Podcasts don't require an iPod. Anyone with the proper software can download shows to a computer or put them on an MP3 player for portability.

In the most recent half-hour installment of "The Working Musician," Zeitel interviewed Nicole Hart and Lance Ong of a local group called the NRG Band, formerly The Shades.

Zeitel asked Hart and Ong about their musical direction, the band's name — New Rhythm Groove — and the gigs they'll play this summer.

One of the NRG Band's local gigs is July 20 at The Lazy Boy Lounge, 152 Mamaroneck Ave., in White Plains.

Zeitel peppers his interviews with his own observations on musical performances, such as his admiration for Judas Priest's stage show, which he says is one of the best.

Mount Vernon resident Jason Smith also offers a showcase for musicians, but he does it with music instead of talk on his "Both Sides of the Surface" podcast.

Between songs, Smith promotes other podcasts or offers commentary that sounds like spoken-word poetry. Smith, 32, got his start as a disc jockey at an Albany college radio station.

"I have a great number of friends around me who are making great music. I wanted to create a platform for them," said Smith, a customer service agent whose show features rap and soul tracks he downloads from Web sites where aspiring musicians and groups post their music for public consumption.

Smith, whose DJ name is Macedonia, said the artists he plays on his podcasts offer an alternative to mass-market rap, which frequently focuses on extravagant materialism, misogyny and violence.

"They want everybody to throw their hands up in the air and not have women disrespected in the process," Smith said of his featured musician friends.

Briarcliff Manor residents Barry and Stacy Solomon didn't have any broadcast experience when they began their golf podcasts in November.

The podcasts grew out of the "Golf for Beginners" Web site that Stacy Solomon had launched in 2000.

"Golf for Beginners" became so popular that the Worldgolf.com Web site offered to host it. The Solomons, who run a Getty gas station on Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains and are avid golfers, decided to create a podcast after listening to others on golf.

"We talk to the beginner, the average person," Stacy Solomon said.

"Our podcast is comedic. Stacy is a good straight man," added Barry Solomon, 54, whose professional background is in advertising and automobile sales.

On their July 5 podcast, the Solomons discussed chipping and putting, and bantered back and forth while addressing creativity on the green when deciding which club to use.

They read a listener e-mail about golf balls and suggest golfers save money by experimenting with different balls they might find in the rough, then investing in the brand they like best.

Public feedback to their podcast includes about 1,000 subscribers and e-mails from around the world. The response surprised the couple.

"We never imagined that there would be so many people out there who would like us," Barry Solomon said.