Attack of the Pod People!!!

Yellow Cab hosts first ever Dayton Podfest

By Rusty Pate

Follow me kids, down the path to yesteryear, back to a time when phones were attached to walls and spoken into. Televisions had dials and a dozen channels, if you were lucky. Movies were only made by huge studios with equipment that cost more than the average citizen would see in their lifetime.

In those days, “mass media” was the shared language in the schoolyard and around the water cooler. TV shows were not binge-watched, and the only music streaming available was from radio stations.

In those days, everyone was a consumer of content that only a select few produced.

The internet changed all that.

Now, anyone with something to say and the willingness to say it has any number of avenues with which to express themselves. One of those avenues is the podcast.

Podcasting is no new phenomenon. It has been around for nearly a decade now and everyone from nationally known radio hosts and comedians to small business owners and beer enthusiasts are producing them.

So, what is a podcast? Local producer Izzy Rock has a pretty simple definition.

“It is the freedom to say exactly what you want to say, without it being edited,” Rock said. “You can create whatever you want to create.”

In essence, it is a throwback to old-time talk radio, but without the restrictions of advertisers or the Federal Communications Commission. Producers can discuss any subject they want, using any language they want.

Rock has been involved in the podcast community since its earliest days—first as a listener who would travel to live recordings of his favorite shows. In 2012 he started his own podcast, “Tales from the Hard Side.”

In late 2013, he joined forces with Eric Ruiz and Mark DeGrossa at the “Gem City Podcast.” The show is Dayton-centric, hosting everyone from local bands to local business owners with a focus on what is going on in the community and what makes that community great.

“I grew up in the 1990s going to a lot of local Dayton shows,” Rock said. “I would go to see different bands. I knew that Dayton had a rich history of music and when the “Gem City Podcast” popped up in 2013, I wanted to be involved in it. My role was to showcase local music through these storyteller podcasts. Now, every Wednesday, we release a podcast of local music where the artists are not being interviewed. I have an outline and they follow it. It’s really gained a lot of respect in the local music community.”

The idea for Dayton Podfest stemmed from a series of recordings done at Sideshow 9. Rock had previously traveled to similar recordings for his favorite shows. In fact, he flew to Salt Lake City in 2011 to attend a recording of “The Mediocre Show,” but it was the process of getting home that showed him how tightly-knit podcast communities can be.

“I was just going out for the weekend and I got stuck out there,” Rock said. “My flight rolled over 16 times. I was supposed to fly home on Sunday morning and I didn’t get home until Wednesday morning. The only reason I got home and didn’t keep getting rolled over is because of this community through Twitter and Facebook. The Mediocre nation put out a call on Twitter to help get me back home. These are people that don’t know one another other than listening to podcasts, calling in and being part of a community online.”

It is a true labor of love, as very few shows actually earn any money. In fact, while it is possible to record and post podcasts using nothing but a cell phone, Rock said that producing the shows often turns into a money pit, as users look to improve sound quality with better microphones and recording equipment.

Dayton PodFest hopes to harness that passion and bring together show producers and listeners.

“That’s the goal now, to get more interaction with the listeners we have and to build a community up,” Rock said. “My goal was to bring the people together in the community. It’s been my goal since I’ve done “Gem City Podcast” to reach out to whoever I found doing a podcast and I’ll have them on my podcast to talk about it and have a conversation. That’s all podcasts are—they’re just conversations. They’re stories from other people. It’s true pirate radio.”

The first ever Dayton PodFest will take place on Friday, June 3 at The Old Yellow Cab Building, 700 E. Fourth Street. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m. Food trucks will be on site. Admission is $5. For more information, visit daytonpodfest.com.

Reach DCP freelance writer Rusty Pate at RustyPate@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Rusty Pate
Reach DCP freelance writer Rusty Pate at RustyPate@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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