If you're looking for entertainment, a local businessperson hopes you'll give something new and old a try.
Brett Bickley, a Lake Hiawatha-area standup comedian, Patch blogger and promotions specialist is the owner of King Rhino Concerts, a music events company. Not long ago, the entrepreneur launched another enterprise—a radio show, or actually, a newfangled kind of radio show: a podcast.
For those who don't know, a podcast is an Internet-era radio show that you get to hear whenever you choose to play it. Digitally recorded shows can be found on websites all over the 'Net, and they're just waiting for listeners to discover and download them.
That's certainly the case for Bickley's production, which is called King Rhino's Garage A-Go-Go.
The weekly show, which focuses on music that pays tribute to cars, jalopies, hot rods and sweet, sweet rides, debuted in early December. (Check out episode 1 here.) Its host says things already are chugging along positively.
"The podcast is doing really well for only being on the air five weeks," Bickley said. "It's getting between 3,000 and 4,000 listeners all over the world, which is really cool. We have listeners in Australia, Finland, the U.K., Denmark, New Zealand and parts of Cleveland."
Yes, comedy is part of King Rhino's Garage-A-Go-Go too, as is madness and mayhem, Bickley told Patch.
"It all started when I happened to pick up a copy of "Traditional Rod & Kulture Illustrated" magazine at Barnes & Noble," he recalled. "I know absolutely nothing about cars. In fact, I joke I don't know a carburetor from a carbunkle. But, I love classic cars and hot rods due to their connection with music and and films and the rockabilly scene. It's like art. I don't know much about it, but I know what I like.
"In the magazine, there was a small ad for a podcast on iTunes called "Friction In The Static," which is broadcast weekly and totally centered around cars," he continued. "I started listening to the podcast and really enjoyed it. Even knowing nothing about what they were discussing, it was still very entertaining. From the podcast, I started following their page on Facebook and eventually became friends with Tiny, the host of the show. Tiny now lives in Pocatello, Idaho, but is originally from Englewood, ironically enough."
"Friction In The Static" was the first podcast to be aired by Set To Stun Productions. The company followed "Friction" with another car-centric podcast, "Hack with Ambition," hosted by Milo and Cinder, a couple from Modesto, Calif.
"King Rhino's Garage A-Go-Go" is Set to Stun's third podcast.
"I have free rein to play and do whatever I want each week, which is nice," said Bickley. "Because it's a podcast, I am not under the restrictions of the FCC, which means I can talk about what I want and not have to worry about language. I'm enjoying playing bands and artists that I love, as well as finding new music to play and turn people onto."
Because Bickley's show is under the Set To Stun Productions umbrella, he said he decided to stick with the automotive theme and play music for people who are part of the custom car/hot rod scene.
"I like to think my show is one the audience can listen to while they are working on their cars in their garages or out cruising," he said. "I play everything from metal to rockabilly to funk to world to soul to jazz. And I often mention during the show that I'm in J and the show is co-hosted my Neopolitan mastiff, Mule the Mastiff, who pretty much just lays under the desk during the show and snores."
The show's name, of course, comes from Bickley's King Rhino Concerts, and it all is very much a business.
"We will eventually have advertisements and sponsorships and will have merchandise available for sale," he said. "Some day you can wear a King Rhino's Garage A-Go-Go T-shirt."
Asked if the idea behind the podcast is to make a profit, Bickley couldn't say "absolutely" fast enough. He said he is grateful to have the opportunity to work with Set to Stun Productions and wants to make the show a moneymaker to benefit the production house as well as King Rhino. But the entertainment veteran said that at this point—five weeks in—it's about building his audience.
To that end, Bickley is focused on promotion. The podcast has its own Facebook page and can be found on the podcast website Podbean and by searching for "King Rhino's Garage-A-Go-Go" on iTunes. (Note: The shows are marked "explicit" and are defnitely not suitable for children or for playing at work.)
"People can write and dedicate songs via our email, KingRhinosGarageAGoGo@gmail.com," Bickley said. "The podcast is up every Friday."