(From left, Tao and Jason; photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
First, he brought in the Rock-afire Explosion animatronics.
Then, he painted the windows (while leaving peek-a-boo spots through which passersby peer, continually).
He’s on notice his temporary digs at 4724 California SW will be replaced by a 7-story building. (No worries, he’s bought his own building anyway.)
Does Jason Rudolph of Sound Advertising Group sound busy enough to you?
Nah. Now he and two of his team members have launched the West Seattle Podcast.
And they’re inviting you in to see it all – and be part of it all! – during this Thursday’s West Seattle Art Walk.
We first introduced you to Jason and Sound Ad Group (which focuses on Internet marketing) back in February, when the animatronics’ appearance drew attention to the space vacated by Petco when they moved to Capco Plaza last year.
Two months later, he hired West Seattle’s most famous sign/window painter.
Two weeks after that, we broke the news that a major development was in the works for the site.
“We found ourselves in the middle of part of the community’s story,” observed Jason, as we sat down with him and West Seattle Podcast co-host Tao Craig (Celeste Kean is also working on the podcast but wasn’t on hand for our chat), in a set with part of the Rock-afire Explosion scenery in the background. (Webcams too – they might be streaming here during the Art Walk 6-9 pm Thursday.)
So now they want to help the community tell its story, by inviting just about anyone to be a guest on the West Seattle Podcast. “With people looking into the windows, walking in the door, asking us questions, we thought if there WAS a West Seattle Podcast, we’d be the kind of people invited to begin with!”
If you’re not familiar with the “podcast” concept – it’s an audio production, kind of like a radio show, and can be of any length, any kind of content, as long as audio can be recorded, placed somewhere for upload/listening (iTunes, the Web, other places).
Though they’re in the marketing business, Jason and Tao stress, “We’re not trying to sell anybody anything.” In fact, they do most if not all of their business outside West Seattle – their major product, “lead generation” software called Leadmesh, is particularly widely known, as “marketing software for marketers.” They, and several other members of the more than 20-member staff, are West Seattleites, and happy to be working close to home, instead of battling the bridge. (They have a few Vashon Islanders on the team, too.) Tao lives literally steps away – in Mural, the apartment/retail building right behind Sound Ad Group’s temp digs.
The staff count, by the way does NOT include the Rock-afire characters, but they are placed throughout the space, and might as well be on the roster.
(You will likely see some of them performing during Thursday night’s Art Walk, by the way.) Jason and Tao are still amazed at how much interest they’ve generated – “all ages, young and old, are completely fascinated.”
Unfortunately, he says, their new building on California SW just north of Genesee – undergoing renovations now for them to move in later this year, as their lease for the ex-Petco space only goes through late October – doesn’t have room for them; it’s just under 2,000 square feet, enough room for their full team to be there on some days (several routinely work from home), but no animatronic characters, especially not ones this big.
“So we’re looking for some kind of retail space … we love The Junction, of course, it’s a lot more fun than we thought it would be.” Maybe they’d even be perfect for a bar, he suggests with a mischievous smile.
“Karaoke, maybe,” adds Tao.
Whatever happens, they’re hoping to get the most mileage out of the unusual setup all the way till the end of their stay – possibly even a Halloween event will be in order. And besides inviting anyone and everyone to be part of the West Seattle Podcast, they’re thinking any interested artists could come in and set up shop during the Art Walk nights ahead – lots of room on the floor. “They could pretty much just show up with their art,” Tao laughs. “Tons of wall space,” Jason adds. And they’re open to art being created on the walls – after all, the building’s days are numbered.
Back to the West Seattle Podcast. Don’t judge them by the first edition, the one up on the website right now, they implore – Jason insists it’s “just a placeholder for iTunes”; he and Tao chatted for 1 hour and 21 minutes. Future editions are expected to have guests, maybe even music (the opening song is by a local band called Big Eyes, according to Tao). And, they promise, “levity.” Plus, support for small business – “we want people to know you can do business here very successfully.” (Jason waved a local coffee shop’s branded paper cup at one point during our chat, saying that’s what else they love about having their business based here – supporting other local businesses. “It’s important to keep the community strong, to support the community by being IN it.”)
So if you’d like to volunteer to be a guest, or suggest someone, and/or tell/ask them anything else, all the contact information is on the official site – westseattlepodcast.com. (Of course there’s a Facebook page and Twitter account, too.)
And stop by this Thursday night, 6-9 pm. You might at least see and hear the Rock-afire Explosion characters do their thing. And who knows what else. (Watch for the potential live stream, too.)