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Podcasting comes to Tahoe

David Bunker
Ari Steffen / Sierra Sun/ Bill Hedge, center, and Steve Marra, right, of ApplauseCast interview Phil Kaznowski of Alpine Home Inspection for their "Tahoe Home Talk" show last week.
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An inconspicuous gray box on the table of Pullen Realty Group’s office is the first indication that Steve Marra, Bill Hedge and Phil Kaznowski are recording an Internet radio show.

Then, there are the typed scripts and the radio show-style banter.

On Thursday the trio recorded a podcast, sponsored by Pullen Realty, called “Tahoe Home Talk” – giving tips for home maintenance in a radio show that will be available on the Internet.

Marra describes the show as “Car Talk for second homeowners.”

And there are distinct similarities between the popular National Public Radio show and the nascent “Tahoe Home Talk.” The interplay between the three seems styled after the often slapstick comments of the two Car Talk hosts and Massachusetts brothers, Tom and Ray Magliozzi.

The advice on keeping a home maintained in the harsh environs of the area’s winter climate mirror some of the insight given by Car Talk’s two automobile mechanics.

But Marra and Hedge are producing their broadcast at a fraction of a mainstream radio show’s cost.

With $2,000 of recording equipment and software, and some technological know-how, the duo has formed ApplauseCast – a podcasting company that is putting out high-quality radio shows on the new, inexpensive recording technology.

“This is bringing media to mortals,” said Marra.

Marra motions to the box, about twice the size of a wallet, that houses what amounts to an entire recording studio.

“With today’s technology we have the power of a radio show right here,” Marra said.

On Thursday, Marra and Hedge interviewed Kaznowski of Alpine Home Inspection. Kaznowski gave tips on keeping pipes from freezing, maintaining a sauna during the winter, and insulating homes.

The information, which Nick Pullen of Pullen Realty expects second homeowners and potential clients to reference, is a way a realty group can differentiate itself from the myriad other real estate firms around Tahoe, said Pullen.

“For anyone visiting our (Web) site, it is something new and different that they will remember,” said Pullen.

For Pullen, podcasting is an avenue for marketing. For Marra and Hedge, who met working together at a Silicon Valley software engineering firm, the new medium is an entrepreneurial opportunity.

“The reception we have gotten here in Truckee, compared to the Silicon Valley, there is no comparison,” Marra said of the openness of companies in the area to try a unique form of marketing.

Marra brings a knack for words to Applause Cast.

“I’ve just been talking a lot,” said Marra, to explain his hoarse voice.

Hedge keeps an eye on the technology, and even composes music for breaks between podcast bits.

“You have to go through phalanxes of lawyers if you want to use other people’s music,” he explains.

As “Tahoe Home Talk” wrapped up on Thursday, the trio moved on to their next task – editing. Unlike most radio programming, an integral part of podcasting is going back through and cleaning out the “uhms” “ahs” and verbal fumbles.

“What’s interesting about podcasting is you hear something while you are recording, and then you hear the finished product and it is totally different,” said Marra.


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