Saturday, May 10, 2008

New Media Pioneer: Jason "Macedonia" Smith of Radio BSOTS

New Media Pioneer: Jason “Macedonia” Smith
Radio BSOTS : Both Sides of the Surface

BSOTS: A cyberspace archive of life commentaries and music reviews written between 1999-2005, as well as a portal to artist and record label sites and online music stores, also the home base for the Radio BSOTS podcast playing electronic soul, funk, and hip-hop.

Q: What's the biggest challenge you've faced as a podcaster?

A: My biggest challenge is (and continues to be) successfully navigating my way through this world of new media and social networking. I consider myself an old head using new technologies in order to express my love for music and support for its artists. I am flesh, blood, and bone, but to be a part of the podcasting game you must learn the language of ones and zeros to some degree, whether it's RSS feeds, tagging blog posts, search engine optimization, or whatever new social platform will premiere in the next five minutes. All of these things fight for my attention; as a result, time management and prioritizing become rather challenging. Never mind that real life demands that you go to your day job, make sure your child gets to day care, etc. I can only speak for myself: I do not have a mind for marketing or metrics. I do, however, have a mind for music. My passion for music drove me headfirst into podcasting.

Q: I've noticed you tend to feature on your podcast more unknown and indie hip hop artists what's your reasoning behind that?

A: Radio BSOTS was created because I had so many friends that were making great music - MCs, DJs, producers, and beatboxers. I just wanted to be a platform for them, an avenue for them to get some exposure. So right from the beginning, championing the unknown and independent artists was key to the show. In my opinion, their efforts can stand alongside and even outshine so much of what's being released within mainstream circles. Soul, funk, and electronic sounds add to the musical makeup of the show, but hip-hop remains at its core. To be honest, I didn't even realize how much of a hip-hop head I was until I started doing this podcast.

Q: Any words of wisdom ... anything you've learned so far in podcasting that you'd care to share?

A: What's true for an artist goes for a podcaster: this has got to feel good to YOU, first and foremost. Podcasting is too much work for it not to be fun, so what got you excited about it in the first place has to remain present in order for you to continue doing it. All artists go through their creative slumps or feeling of apathy about their craft. However, if those times start to outweigh the good times, you seriously need to reassess your situation. Beyond that, there is no "right" way of doing this. Since August of 2005, I've been podcasting on a dial-up modem and a computer that still had Windows Millennium Edition on it. I just got a new computer in the past month, but the dial-up situation remains. I didn't let that stop me, though. When you have something that you're passionate about, you find ways to make it work.

Q: I see you are very active in the Twitter world. Why do you think Twitter is important for a Podcaster, Internet Radio Station, etc.?
A: Honestly, it was the simplicity of Twitter that got me hooked. It's a microblogging tool that's perfect for a person like me who's constantly on the losing side of time. With Twitter, you're forced to get your point across quickly and in a limited number of characters. Somewhere along the way, I started notifying people whenever a new episode was posted. A number of my followers tend to go check it out within minutes after that. For a musician, blogger, or podcaster, that's valuable real-time feedback from people who have a vested interest in your content. And if you're involved with communicating with your followers, it's only a matter of time before relationships build into something more tangible. What you have is a potential community.

Q: What's next for Radio BSOTS?
A: Right now, I just want to continue putting together the best shows possible. There's so much incredible music out there it's almost overwhelming. As much as I like putting together freeform shows, I see more genre-specific episodes in the future, as well as shows dedicated to one record label's output. With the summer coming up, it's a great excuse to put more continuous mixes together as well. The month of August will mark the third-year anniversary of Radio BSOTS and I've been trying to figure out how to celebrate. Maybe I'll unveil some "behind the scenes" recordings or audio collage craziness from my college days, who knows? What's next is more music, more episodes, and more reasons to spend your cold hard cash in support of talented artists so that they can continue doing what they love.

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