The Marty Riemer show, a fixture on Seattle radio for years, lives on as a 30 minute podcast produced from Riemer's basement production studio with his long time co-host Jodi Brothers.
It is streamed live as an audio show and is also available as a webcast through MartyRiemer.com. Available every weekday at 9:30 AM the podcast is full of fun, entertainment and a surprising mix of musical guests. Coming this September it will be the official podcast for Bumbershoot and will be produced live from the festival at the Seattle Center.
Marty Riemer is alive and well podcasting from his West Seattle basement
When West Seattle's Marty Riemer went to work one day at 103.7 FM KMTT last September he thought something might be brewing. "They hadn't been talking to me, even though my contract was nearly up," he said, but he never thought that after 12 years with the station he would be "escorted out of the station by a guard." He loved working at 'The Mountain' even though in the last year it had gotten tougher. But given all the commitments he had, it never occurred to him they would remove him so suddenly. "The industry has learned that no one is doing that anymore."
He and his on air co-host Jodi Brothers were both let go the same day. But in many ways it has proven to be a positive change. He had previously gone to a seminar on the future of media where he heard, "radio will be dead in 5 to 10 years". That same seminar predicted the future would lie in providing content where and when the audience wants it. For Riemer, that meant moving to the internet to his own podcast. That podcast is available every weekday at 9:30 via his website MartyRiemer.com where you can also watch the video version of the show once it has been prepped for the web. The audio version is also available through Jack-FM's site.
Immediately after being let go he took some time to let the dust settle, "I had to decompress" he said, but that seminar was a reminder that it was time to take his life and career in a new direction. So, since he had a reputation for humor through the popular :20 Funny feature on his show and the festival it spawned, he and Brothers produced a show at the Paramount called "The Marty Riemer Funny Festival".
He had already created his own company, Twisted Scholar which produces acclaimed educational videos and built a well equipped production facility in his home. So after hearing the predictions for the demise of commercial broadcasting he told himself "It wouldn't take that much to upgrade and make it a podcast studio. We don't need the middle man anymore. We don't need the FCC license holder. We can create that material from our basement."
It took some convincing for Brothers to join him there, "As much as I didn't want to do it in the beginning because coming into Marty's basement, is not like an office, after the first day it was a done deal. We've been having so much fun. I feel like I was definitely wrong in thinking that a podcast was not as good as a radio station, it's much better, other than the fact that we're not getting paid. We're getting paid in fun!," she said. So on April 1 they started the 30 minute show. "When I first started to conceive what the podcast should be like my first requirement on the list was honesty. That if we're screwing up, we're honest about it... The only thing that we can really sell is that we are who we are," Riemer said.
The show is a mix of news, interviews, musical performances from a surprising array of talent, and general silliness. Both Riemer and Brothers love the freedom the format gives them. "Coming from a broadcasting background we were used to very rigid structures" so now when they do work in broadcast (they sometimes sub on KIRO FM and do comedy for 96.5 JACK-FM) it can be "somewhat painful for us to go back and even do fill in work on radio because we always have this to compare it to, and this is nirvana," Riemer said.
So far, the podcast has not made any money, despite its growing popularity. It attracts several hundred listeners live daily and thousands more who download the show or watch the webcast version, and it's growing fast. The show is done almost entirely by Riemer and Brothers (who does all the guest booking) but they do have an intern, Yasuharo Muraki, or "Yaz" who looks after many of the technical details a podcast entails.
Riemer has become so adept at this new format and the show is so well recieved that it is now the Official Podcast for Bumbershoot coming up Labor Day Weekend Sept 4-6. The show will be produced live from the Seattle Center with minor and major musical acts coming before the microphones for interviews and conversation. "We pitched the idea to them, and they loved it," Riemer said.
An important difference between broadcasting and podcasting is the sheer range the program now has. Listeners now stream it live from all around the nation, sometimes calling in to talk with the affable Riemer.
Next on the agenda is something true to his whole history, his "Listener-Appreciation Backyard BBQ" that will happen later this summer with some of the show's more familiar local musical guests. It's typical of how he feels about his place in the world. What persists for Riemer is how much fun he's having and the amazing connection he feels with his listeners.