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Business Observer Friday, Apr. 28, 2017 3 years ago

The Right Note

With listeners in 125 countries, Bruce Wawrzyniak believes his popular podcast can be much more than a marketing tool.
by: Traci McMillan Correspondent

Bruce Wawrzyniak started his podcast as a marketing tool to expand his business, hoping to do musician management, promotions and booking outside Tampa Bay.

Three years later, Wawrzyniak is realizing the podcast has taken on a “life of its own.”

Wawrzyniak has posted more than 160 weekly episodes of the “Now Hear This Entertainment” podcast. During the show, he interviews a guest who has had success in the entertainment business and provides “Bruce's bonus,” a weekly tip for up-and-comers.

Beyond meeting new clients from the podcast, Wawrzyniak has found more ways to increase his revenue — from selling advertisements to publishing an e-book. Earlier this year, he was asked to host his podcast live for four days from the main booth of the semi-annual National Association of Music Merchants trade show in Anaheim, Calif. The show is hosted by TASCAM, a professional audio equipment manufacturer, and boasts 1,700 exhibitors and more than 100,000 attendees over four days, according to Wawrzyniak.

Now Wawrzyniak sees the full potential of his podcast, something he envisions as a larger revenue generator than his music management and marketing business, Tampa-based Now Hear This. With listeners in more than 125 countries, Wawrzyniak hopes to find some big sponsors.

Because his podcast is for musicians on the road, he hopes to target companies such as Holiday Inn or Papa John's Pizza for sponsorships. One challenge is to find the decision-maker at those companies, he says.

This year he also hopes to have guests who will bring more attention to the show. That said, he purposely doesn't target a Bruce Springsteen, Katy Perry or John Mayer for guests. Instead, he picks lesser-known names to help people learn the basics of getting good gigs, vendors and placements in television and films.

But even many guests who might not have well-known names still have a following. Wawrzyniak has interviewed finalists from hit TV shows “American Idol,” “The Voice” and “America's Got Talent.” He's also interviewed Mike Delguidice, a guitarist on tour with Billy Joel; Brian Scoggin, the drummer from Casting Crowns; Roger Fisher, founding guitarist of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band Heart; Frankie Scinta, a Las Vegas headliner; and Chrissy Chase, a musician with 30 songs placed on Nickelodeon.

For e-books, he compiles tips he shared in 40 episodes (a nod to the late Casey Kasem's “Top 40”). Wawrzyniak says the e-books, $4.97 apiece, have become a cross-promotional tool for his podcast. He's also used them as follow-up content for audiences where he's presented workshops at songwriters festivals.

Wawrzyniak declined to release specific revenue figures on the podcast. The end goal for his podcast is similar to his music clients — he hopes to make a big break and become the next Ryan Seacrest. “Thanks to this digital age that we live in,” he says, “it's much easier for people to get discovered.”

Peas in a Pod

Tampa-area music promoter Bruce Wawrzyniak learned how to start a podcast at a monthly meetup for the Tampa Bay Business Owner's e-marketing group, where the “podfather,” Steve Cherubino, presented.

Though Wawrzyniak says he “casually kicked around the idea before,” the presentation made him realize how accessible starting a podcast could be.

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