Since 2013, podcasting has been steadily growing around the world. Podcasters and shows are now making significant amounts of revenue in various ways, and a select few have become celebrities.
Seeing a void in the podcast marketplace, Frank Sasso started his very own show. Sasso felt there were other areas of the podcast world he could help. Sasso founded New Pod City to help aspiring podcasters and established shows in a variety of ways.
Today, New Pod City is a market leader in the development and production of podcasts. Sasso has led a diverse career that has seen him work as an animator. He has been a part of a variety of animation roles from hit cartoons to worldwide commercial campaigns.
As an entrepreneur, New Pod City is Sasso’s baby. The company has a lot of plans in the pipeline to grow even further.
Frank, can you start off by telling us about New Pod City and its creation?
New Pod City is where you go for all things podcast-related. Our team advises you and sets you up with the right equipment, training, and guidance to ensure you sound amazing. A person can go to the website and choose the level that’s right for them. Our collective skills and award-winning podcast production skills make the New Pod City family a truly unique team dedicated to the art and craft of producing and distributing high-quality audio productions and podcasts. We care about you, which means that we care about the details. Every single millisecond of audio that passes through our process matters to us, to you, and most importantly – to your listeners. Of course, we also understand that the details fit into an overall plan, and we coach you on how to make your podcasts fun and engaging for your listeners.
Why did you decide to establish New Jersey’s only podcast hosting company?
I was working at a very tedious and repetitive temp job and needed something to combat the boredom. I figured listening to a podcast was the perfect way to break up the monotony. As a Christian, I wanted to hear a show featuring a few people talking about Jesus. Not “churchy”, not “sermon of the week” – just real people talking real about Jesus. As I searched, it became apparent that the show I was looking for didn’t exist. So, I just started recording conversations with my wife and my friends with my phone. The next thing I knew, we won podcast of the year in a sub category that our “show” was in! Through the promptings of a neighbor, New Pod City was born. After we started, I realized that there was no other company in New Jersey offering this service. A lot of time and work later, New Pod City was born and I’m proud to say that our headquarters is in the capital city of Trenton, where the United States got started!
Podcasts are everywhere these days and have replaced talk radio. Top celebrities and average Joes get into podcasting. How lucrative are podcasts and how can people make money from their content?
Podcasts are as lucrative as you want them to be and there’s a multitude of ways to make money with them. For more detail, any of your readers can contact me and I’d be glad to go over it with them. I had someone consider podcasting as a way to generate some side income and he had the nerve to ask me, “How much money do you make a month with podcasting”? Once I got over the initial shock of him asking such an inappropriate question, I answered him by saying, “If I told you I make 50 cents a month, would you believe me”? He said, “no”. I continued, “If I told you I make roughly $8,500, would you believe that”? He said, “Yes”. I ended the conversation with “So, it doesn’t really matter what I tell you, you’re going to believe whatever you want.” He looked at me puzzled and walked away. The point is, are you going to base YOUR success on how much money I MAKE? It’s a stupid question.
There are many benefits for companies and entrepreneurs to start podcasts. The most important reason to start a podcast is to simply grow a brand. A podcast can help a brand grow over time and become a wildly popular business.
What are the benefits of a podcast for a company or entrepreneur?
There are a few. Off the top of my head, the first thing I would say is that it’s a great way to find your voice. Stepping up to a mic can be intimidating, especially when you’re not sure of what aspect of yourself to share. Podcasting is a powerful tool to play around with how you speak, what you say, and how you choose to present yourself to the world. A great tool an entrepreneur can develop is the ability to ask better questions. If you want to get ahead in life, the blueprint to what you seek already lives within the confidence of someone else’s mind. Ever hear the expression, ‘Experience is the best teacher? Well, the second part of that is ‘as long as it’s somebody else’s experience’. The way to get to that experience is by asking questions. Another way to build your network is by inviting others to share their story and knowledge on your show. Not to sound cliche but your network really is your net worth. On our podcast, ‘Trenton Waves’, my wife, Christina, loves sitting down with someone to dive into the depths of their world. Finally, podcasting is a great way to build your brand. Listeners want to hear what you have to say. While interviews or magazine articles are a great way to share your message, there is something far more intimate about hearing your voice. Your community will have a close-up and personal connection to you and your mission, whether they are walking their dog or driving to work. Podcasting is a personal brand-building tool that helps you showcase what you believe in, what your values are, and where your missions lie. It also acts as a modality to advertise your products and services to the audience that connects with your voice and message.
New Pod City offers a number of products and services to individuals in the podcasting world. What are the advantages of working with New Pod City to produce podcast episodes?
We have five main service branches. They can be used together or a la carte. I’ll unpack this really quick. Our services at New Pod City are Hosting, Recording, Distribution, Promotion, and Monetization. We have podcasters that use the hosting aspect of the company but don’t use the recording studio due to the fact that they live in another state or country or have a studio set up in their home or office. We also have sub-branches of the five main ones. An example of that is the Promotions branch. Voiceovers, audio editing, artwork, intro/outros — those are all part of promotions whereas Monetization includes one-on-one consultations, profit sharing, merch, etc. The main advantage is the network. We consider a podcaster being in business. With our network, they’re in business for themselves but not by themselves. With a network you’ve got a ‘sales force’ surrounding you where they can have you on their show as a guest and vice versa. With you supporting the network and the network supporting you, you’re showing that your part of something bigger than yourself.
New Pod City has become much bigger than Sasso expected it to be. In August 2021, Will Foskey was hired as the company’s president due to the growing amount of work at New Pod City. Foskey has already brought his expertise to the New Pod City family, making it even stronger than it was before.
In August 2021, New Pod City named Will Foskey as the organization’s new network president. What led to Foskey being appointed as president and what does he bring to the business?
During COVID, New Pod City more than tripled. It became much bigger than Christina and I. Even some of my podcasters were telling me that I needed an assistant. Will Foskey and I were already friends. In addition to being a soundboard engineer when I couldn’t be in the studio, he was always an ear for me to vent about issues I was dealing with. It just made sense to offer him the position of network president. He’s uniquely qualified for the role. He has deep market and tech knowledge, thought leadership and insight, and a genuine care and concern for the success of podcasters on the network. He sometimes even acts like their therapist, however; he never lets any lines between New Pod City the company and individual podcasters get blurred. He runs a tight ship and I can’t think of anyone else that is better suited for this position.
In a press release announcing Foskey’s arrival, it stated that you will focus on “New Pod City’s transformation, strategic direction, and organic and inorganic investments” as well as the “long-term strategic priorities.” Can you tell us about the company’s change of direction and long-term strategic priorities? How have these areas evolved over the years?
In order for growth to happen, change is essential. We’re always looking for ways to make the New Pod City UX better — more effective, more rewarding, more prosperous, and yes, more fun. Remember that? Fun? New Pod City’s long-term strategic priorities include pushing the tech envelope even further and, as I said to one podcaster, Don’t waste time trying to think outside the box just come to the realization that there is no box. We’re living in a golden age right now. Anyone can open up a computer, jack in a mic, start talking and before they know it, they have thousands of people listening to them.
Sasso worked on the very popular 1990s Nickelodeon animated series Ren and Stimpy. He also worked on commercials for the Cheetohs company. He has led a very successful, unique career and it is still growing thanks to New Pod City and the Legends of Valdoria series he co-developed.
Frank, you have led a very interesting career which has involved working on the Ren and Stimpy Show. Can you tell us about your career outside of New Pod City?
Back in 1988, before I became an animator, I worked for a TV broadcast equipment manufacturer in Paramus, New Jersey. It was my job to demonstrate the equipment to potential buyers at trade shows as well as product manage a system called ‘The videoDesigner’ a graphics editing platform which was way before Photoshop. When the company decided to expand their services, a spot opened up to lead their art and animation department and I grabbed the position. Since then, I’ve been the chief remote penciller for Stimpy from the series, “The Ren & Stimpy Show,” was animation supervisor for three Cheetos commercials featuring Chester Cheetah, and trained Disney animators on animation techniques for such movies as “The Beauty and the Beast” and “The Little Mermaid.” I’m also a contributing member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC). I currently hold six ”Member Excellence” awards for my industry articles to the organization and I’m a long-standing member of the American Cinema Editors (ACE).
You are the creative mind behind Legends of Valdoria. What is Legends of Valdoria and how did you get involved with the project?
I am the furthest thing from the “creative mind of Legends of Valdoria”. For that, you need to be interviewing Legends’ creator, D.R. Vickery. I met D.R. through a mutual friend in 2014. When we met, it was clear that we were supposed to create something together. We actually met in a Starbucks. D.R. told me about some product ideas he had of these cute, little furry things to hold your iPod and keys and stuff, and in addition to that, he wanted to make them into a cartoon series. That’s what got my attention. When he showed me the sketches he put together, I was instantly intrigued and started thinking about how we can develop these characters further. After hundreds of illustrations, designs, and tweaks, the characters and habitat finally came together. One of the most profound moments was sitting in a diner in New Jersey from 6 pm to Midnight writing the pilot episode. We drank over 20 cups of coffee that night, collectively. After the diner closed, we went back to my house and sat at my kitchen table for another four hours and finished the first episode. It was crazy. I was talking, reciting, and acting out the story and D.R. was typing it out furiously on his laptop. We were exhausted but we did it. Things really started to take shape when Will Foskey joined the team. Yes, Will is involved with Legends as well. Again, sitting in my kitchen, Will told D.R. and I to draw a horizontal line on a piece of paper. That was the beginning of what was to be the Legends of Valdoria timeline which would go on to serve as an invaluable reference for the entire six season storyline. D.R. Vickery then formed G Force Creative, LLC as a result of creating the Legends of Valdoria. In addition to Legends of Valdoria (LOV), G Force Creative is currently planning other great animated and entertainment projects.
What is next in store for New Pod City?
One of the next steps is ToonCasting. I’m using my experience from being an animator and marrying it to audio shows. An entire animated web series can be birthed just from repurposed content alone!
Frank, how is a day in your life?
Well, it’s always different but here’s a rough layout:
- 6:00 AM: Wake up
- 6:05 AM to 7:00 AM: Pray
- 7:00 AM: Breakfast and coffee in bed with my wife Christina, sometimes coffee on the front porch with her.
- 8:30 AM: Start work – whether it be in the recording studio for a session, editing a show, phone calls, etc. (or on Tuesdays and Thursdays hit the gym with Christina)
- 11:00 AM: Recording Sessions in New Pod City Podcast Studio (or working in home office)
- 12:30 PM to 1:00 PM: Lunch (if I’m home)
- 1:15 PM: Still putting shows together, phone calls, meetings, podcaster onboarding, etc.
- 6:00 PM: Dinner (If I’m home)
- 7:00 PM: until sometimes 1:00 AM: still grinding, artwork, editing, writing, phone calls, etc.
- 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM: (on Mondays, meet with D.R. Vickery and usually Will for Legends)
- 11:30 PM: (sometimes a lot later): Bed
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I come off as a hard nosed guy. I have rules and that’s that. I’m very stubborn and focused but I’m actually very sensitive and it doesn’t really take much for me to get emotional.
Can you share two of your favorite quotes with us?
“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” – Unknown
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Jesus Christ Matthew 19:26
If you had the power to change just one thing in the world, what would it be?
I share this with my wife. If I could change one thing in the world, I would make it so that people would realize just how much Jesus loves them. I believe when people get that realization, their lives would fall right into place.
Sasso has carved out an extremely creative and unique career in media and entertainment. With podcasts growing in numbers and listeners consuming them at record numbers, New Pod City is thriving. New Pod City’s variety of products and services make it a one-stop shop for anyone planning to release a podcast in the future. Sasso is at the forefront of the podcast industry. His vision is pushing New Pod City forward with even more creative ideas.
For more information on Frank Sasso and New Pod City, please visit https://www.newpodcity.com
Journalist and author. Contributor