PBJ Spotlight: Amon Focus – “New York Said” Podcast

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The New York Said Podcast is a cornucopia of characters and people host Amon Focus meets in New York City, all trying to live out their lives and dreams in one of the world’s greatest cities. Amon is a native New Yorker who connects with each and every guest from the Bronx to Brooklyn.


The show has over 130 episodes with a consistent and loyal following. The show seeks to build connection in a world that has become less connected outside of social media. Amon talks to everyone. Everyone matters in the NYC ecosystem, from a man whacked out on drugs to well known and respected artists.

Here’s our interview with Amon Focus…

PBJ: How did you get involved in podcasting? 
Amon Focus: I first got into podcasting in 2005. I wasn’t creating them back then but I was a huge fan of a show called Media Artist Secrets with Franklin McMahon.

Fast forward 10 years later and I was a featured guest on a show called We’re Getting Better with Bryon Summers. I saw how Bryon created his show and I thought, “Damn, this is all you gotta do? I know I can do this.”

That is no disrespect to Bryon or podcasting as whole, but I come from a film/video background and there are a lot more balls to juggle with that type of production. Working with just audio felt doable to me. Podcasting is a lot of work in its own right, but seeing Bryon work his magic wasn’t too intimidating.

PBJ: What is the New York Said podcast?
Amon Focus: New York and New Yorkers speak their own language. Each podcast’s guest represents an individual commentary on their unique experience of one of the greatest cities in the world. From the homeless to the readily recognizable, every guest has a gem or two to drop on our listeners.

PBJ: What is the goal of the show?
Amon Focus: The New York Said podcast aims to provide the world a glimpse of 8.623 million (2017 United States Census Bureau) New York inhabitants, who live, dream, thrive and survive in this city. I want to promote curiosity, and I hope to bring a bit of the New York ecosystem into the listeners’ living rooms. It is not an unknown fact that New Yorkers are unique in their perspectives, voices, ideas, and creativity. It is my goal to document and preserve these stories authentically without an agenda or spin.

PBJ: Where do the guests come from and how do you line them up? 
Amon Focus: With a population as large as New York’s, I am not short on guests or ideas for guests. I’ve had more than 125 guests from all walks of life. I have interviewed expatriates in Paris, world-renowned artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, subway buskers, and people who face challenges with addiction. Guests are chosen intuitively and curated strategically to give our listeners the best audible experience possible.

PBJ: How do you get the word out about the show?
Amon Focus: I believe the best promotion comes through word-of-mouth promotion. When guests promote their episodes, I see high levels of engagement across the board. I also engage the community of other podcasters and do guest appearances on other shows. New York Said is not short on promotional materials; there are stickers, flyers, postcards, and even matchbooks.

I utilize social media in our promotional efforts. I engage every opportunity to send a link about the show and the guest that is being featured. When Libsyn tweets its “Promote the Tar Out Of Yourself Friday,” I promote! Listeners can find New York Said on all the usual platforms: iTunes, Stitcher, MixCloud, Spotify, Google Play, iHeart Radio, and of course, NewYorkSaid.com, where you can find some pretty in-depth show notes.

PBJ: What is the marketing plan? 
Amon Focus: I attempt to target audience based on the guest we have on and the subject(s) they are discussing. For example, if someone is discussing graffiti culture, I engage with members of the graffiti community, utilizing social media to get the word out about content that is relevant to their worlds. This year I am doing more grassroots/guerilla marketing by holding conversations with prospective listeners and marketing the show through feet-on-the-ground approaches.

PBJ: Who edits the show and what equipment does he use to record? 
Amon Focus: I am meticulous about the quality of the show and edits can take many hours to complete. Here are some of the tools I use:

Gear

  • Shure SM58 Handheld Dynamic Vocal Microphone
  • Heil Sound PR 40 Dynamic Cardioid Studio Microphone
  • TRITON AUDIO FetHeadIn-Line Microphone Preamps
  • Zoom H5 Handy Recorder with Interchangeable Microphone System
  • Anker PowerCore10000, External Batteries
  • Jays a-JAYS One Professional In-Ear Earphones
  • Auray TT-6220 Telescoping Tabletop Microphone Stand
  • LoweproDSLR Video Fastpack 250 AW (Black)
  • Think Tank Photo Airport Advantage Roller Sized Carry-On (Black)
  • SanDisk 16GB Extreme UHS-I SDHC Memory Card

Audio Editing Software

  • Adobe Audition
  • AuphonicLeveler
  • ID3 Editor

PBJ: How many downloads/listens per show?
Amon Focus: The New York Said audience of listeners is steadily growing month over month and year over year. The key, I have found, to building our audience is consistency. I believe if I put out great content, the audience will continue to grow. There is something to be said for being the smaller show with the growing audience. It allows me to have focused, honest, and creative discussions with our guests that are not influenced by some behemoth organization who doesn’t get the point. That being said, I don’t look at the numbers until I have to, i.e. for advertising opportunities and such. These days I am focused on giving our listeners content.

PBJ: How did you get Gorilla Coffee to sponsor? 
Amon Focus: When I started the podcast I was adamant that I only be involved with brands I personally believed in, enjoyed, and liked. That is how my relationship and the sponsorship between Gorilla Coffee came about. It is no secret I love coffee; I might even be considered a coffee snob. The relationship with Gorilla Coffee was cultivated years before the podcast was born. When it came time to choose a sponsor, they were literally my first choice. Because I love the brand, I made the ask to see if they would sponsor the show and they said yes. I am truly grateful for the sponsor relationships I’ve cultivated over the last few years.

PBJ: Are you making money?
Amon Focus: New York Said is making money. However there are always opportunities for growth and to make more money.

Where to find Amon and his podcast:

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