P100 Podcast

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Ep. 7 - Lighting Up the Night and Trotting with Turkeys

November 19, 2019
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We’re past the “I can’t believe holiday decorations are already up” portion of the season. It’s time to celebrate the holidays, and Pittsburgh has two big events coming up that we’ll discuss in this week’s episode.

For starters, we talk with some representatives from the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership about Comcast Light Up Night on Nov. 22. Then we bring in the race director of the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh’s Turkey Trot.

After that, Paul and Dan take a deep dive into a potential change to the U.S. immigration system, and we close out with a special guest for our Pittsburgh Polyphony series.

 


This Episode is sponsored by WordWrite

Centuries before cell phones and social media, human connections were made around fires as we shared the stories that shaped our world. Today, stories are still the most powerful way to move hearts and minds and inspire action. At WordWrite, Pittsburgh's largest independent public relations agency, we understand that before you had a brand, before you sold any product or service, you had a story.

WordWrite helps clients to uncover their own Capital S Story. The reason someone would want to buy, work, invest or partner with you through our patented story-crafting process. Visit wordwritepr.com to uncover your Capital S Story.

Here's the full transcript for this episode:

Speaker 1:
You're listening to the P100 podcasts, the biweekly companion piece to The Pittsburgh 100 bringing you Pittsburgh news, culture, and more because sometimes 100 words just isn't enough for a great story.

Dan:
Hi everybody. Welcome back to the P100 podcast. I'm your host Dan Stefano with my cohost here, Logan Armstrong. Our other co-host Paul Furiga will be joining us shortly.

Logan:
Ho ho, ho. Dan.

Dan:
I can't believe you just said that.

Dan:
Well, the ho, ho, ho, and all of the holiday celebration nonsense here fits in with our first couple of segments that we're going to have today. We're going to be discussing Light Up Night with a couple of people from the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. They're the group that puts on the event every year and does such an awesome job, and then following that, we're going to have another discussion with another big holiday event. Logan.

Logan:
Yeah. We're going to be talking about the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh's Turkey Trot Race, one of the biggest races in the city. We're going to be sitting down with Catlyn Brooke, race director, and she's going to give us a lowdown on that.

Dan:
It's an important race too because it goes to a very... The funds from it go to a very big cause and a lot of important donations there. So following that, we're going to take a left turn there and go into a deeper dive into a recent story we had on immigration, and we have an attorney from a local Pittsburgh law firm here to discuss that. And it's a really interesting talk that affects not only people in our region but nationally. We're excited to have him in for that.

Dan:
Following that Logan, we've got a special Pittsburgh polyphony. It's not just us talking about an artist here. We have somebody pretty interesting coming in.

Logan:
Yeah, that's right, Dan. We're going to have Connor Murray here, a label manager of Crafted Sounds, a local Pittsburgh record label that's doing a lot of cool things in the region. And one of the coolest, he's trying to bring back cassette tapes.

Dan:
Cassette tapes. That's great. Yeah, I think there might be some at my mom's house here I could dig up. I don't know. We'll have to find out, but all right everybody, let's get to it.

Dan:
All right everybody, we're happy to have two members of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership here with us. We have Colten Gill, manager of marketing communications and Roya Kousari, another member of the marketing team there. Thanks for being with us.

Roya:
Thank you for having us.

Colten:
Thank you guys.

Dan:
Guys, it's a busy time of year for you here and can you tell us why that is?

Colten:
Yeah, for sure. So coming up in just a few days, it's going to be the 59th Annual Comcast Light Up Night. It's kind of the kickoff to the holiday season in Downtown Pittsburgh. It's a celebration that's been going on in Pittsburgh for almost 60 years now. It's what a lot of families around the region use to kickstart their holiday celebration. And we're just about ready to kick things off. Coming up Friday, November 22nd.

Dan:
Right. And what's interesting too about Light Up Night is it is not a night. It's a full day of just all the great holiday stuff and multiple tree lightings. What's it like for you? This brings in hundreds of thousands of people every year, and I got to believe it's kind of go, go, go.

Roya:
It is very much organized chaos in a lot of ways. As you said, it's a full day of events. So the first activity of the day is the Dedication of The Creche at noon, and then we keep going strong until 10:00 PM. So there are a lot of moving pieces. We have an amazing team put together to help things run as smoothly as possible. There are seven official tree lightings and ceremonies.

Dan:
Geez.

Roya:
Yeah. Yeah. And then, of course, we end with the true Pittsburgh element of everything, which is Zambelli fireworks. The BNY Mellon fireworks finale is at 9:30 and that's sort of the culmination of the event.

Dan:
You guys as members of the downtown partnership, you're probably a big part of witnessing this, but the downtown neighborhood itself is vastly different than whenever I was a kid. Can you talk about maybe the Renaissance that we're seeing downtown? A lot of new buildings, a lot of new shops and how they just work with the Light Up Night's celebration too.

Colten:
Yeah, for sure. So, like you said, it has changed a lot, and it's a really good energy that's around downtown right now. We have 140 small businesses and retailers in the downtown community. So while you don't have that big keystone department store, you have these really great opportunities that you aren't going to find anywhere else in the city to visit these smaller shops that have these really unique gifts, items, apparel, and a really strong sense of community.

Colten:
One of my favorite things about all the shops in Downtown Pittsburgh today, if you go to one store and say, "Hey, I'm really looking for this very specific item," they're going to be like, "Oh. Hey, I might not have it, but go down the street to our neighbor store because you'll be able to find it there." So there's a really strong sense of community in the business community that's here in downtown right now.

Dan:
That's great. Kind of speaks to that Pittsburgh being a small-town feel with big-city amenities.

Colten:
For sure.

Dan:
We love that stuff. Looking at this year's though on the 22nd here, what are some of the big highlights that you guys see for right now? I know they've got a pretty big name on the main stage too at the end of the night here.

Colten:
Yeah, for sure. So on the Comcast main stage, we're bringing Adam Lambert to the city of Pittsburgh, which we're very excited about. He was here earlier this summer actually touring with Queen out at PPG Paints Arena. So we're happy to welcome him back to the city for this holiday tradition. In addition to him, on the EQT Jazzmaster stage, we have a really exciting new piece. The MCG Jazz Group is going to be presenting the music of Fred Rogers. There's going to be a really great legacy there in that jazz music that's being presented with special appearances by Daniel Tiger. So he's a character from Daniel Tiger's neighborhood. So a really great mesh of the old and the new Fred Rogers community there on that stage.

Dan:
Perfect timing too because I think the movie comes out too, the Tom Hanks movie. So yeah, a lot of just like perfect synergy with Fred Rogers.

Colten:
For sure.

Dan:
But looking beyond Light Up Night then here downtown will remain a hub for holiday activity too. Can you talk about just certain, some of the things going on there? And I've spent some time in downtown in the holidays, the season last year and there's just so much fun stuff going on.

Colten:
Oh, for sure. So returning is the Peoples Gas Holiday Market. So Market Square is going to be that big destination market where you're going to be able to stroll through an illuminated marketplace. You're going to be able to buy some really unique gifts and enjoy some time in this really, really traditional setting with the decor and everything going on there. Returning are some favorites like the Holly Trolley. So you're going to be able to stop at Fifth Avenue Place, get on the Holly Trolley and enjoy free transport around all the holiday hotspots, including the Heinz History Center, our home good shop, PG&H right here on Smithfield Street and to the Holiday Kids Play, which is going to be taking place holiday weekends. So a lot of really fun family activities going on as well all season.

Roya:
We also want people to know that with the Peoples Gas Holiday Market there's a lot of activities happening within that space. Even beyond just the shopping. We have a karaoke contest ... Oh yeah, Oh yeah. Come down, sing holiday best. There are also photos with Santa. So you can visit Santa's house and if you bring a donation for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, then you get a complimentary photo with Santa. So it's a way for us to engage the community and give back as well.

Dan:
Yeah, that stuff's hugely important. Even if you don't want a picture with Santa, I would suggest that everybody out there, if you get down there, try to bring a donation because that stuff's just so important. Guys, thanks so much for being here. We really appreciate you visiting, and is there anything else you'd like to mention? Happy holidays message for anybody or?

Roya:
We just look forward to seeing everybody coming downtown to enjoy both Light Up Night and the rest of the holiday season here in downtown.

Dan:
Right. And we'd be remiss to not mention this too. Where can people find you online?

Colten:
Yeah, for sure. So you can go to downtownpittsburgh.com for all the holiday activities but also everything happening year-round in downtown, including a list of restaurants, shops and things like that. We're also on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at Downtown Pitt. So connect with us there and find out what's going on.

Dan:
All right. Be sure to go visit those channels, everybody. And thanks so much and let's hope that organized chaos of Light Up Night turns into just an organization and a fun night for you.

Colten:
For sure. Thanks so much.

Roya:
Thank you.

Logan:
Hey everybody, we're back here with Catlyn Brooke, race director of the YMCAs Turkey Trots. Of course a race almost everybody in Pittsburgh knows. Catlyn, thanks for being with us.

Catlyn:
Hi. Thanks guys.

Logan:
Yeah, sure. So we have the Turkey Trot coming up here in the next week or so. Can you just give us a little bit of a background on the race and kind of what you do as race director?

Catlyn:
Yeah, absolutely. So this is our 29th year doing the Turkey Trot here in Pittsburgh. This year our sponsor’s UPMC Health Plan, they are 5k sponsor and our overall race sponsor. So we're super excited to have them on board.

Catlyn:
Being race director, we can put it into a nutshell is I get people to sign up, and I handle race logistics. But I mean a little bit more than that. It's getting the word out to why we're doing the race. Obviously getting people to register, getting folks to participate in our food drive for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, and just doing race things like ordering thousands of shirts that you end up seeing around the city for the rest of the year. Making sure that we have enough food and water for our folks when they're done the race, so that we can have them refreshed after the fact. It's not too glamorous, but it's really rewarding knowing how many people come together on Thanksgiving Day to give back to their community and to try to end hunger here in Pittsburgh.

Dan:
Yeah, and in particular, this goes to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, right? And you guys have a set goal that you want to get for some donations this year, right?

Catlyn:
Yeah, absolutely. So my loft goal, my reach goal for this year, is to collect 10,000 pounds of food. Last year, unofficially, we reached that goal. I probably had around 8,000 pounds of food come into PNC Park just during our packet pickup days. And we do have donation locations as well at all of our YMCA branches. So unofficially last year we hit our goal, but this year I officially want to hit 10,000 pounds of food.

Dan:
That's great. And then unofficially we can try to like shoot for like 20,000 or something, right?

Catlyn:
Yes.

Dan:
It's all for the best. It's a great cause.

Logan:
Yeah. And I saw last year, according to you guys that you raised over $280,000 for the organization last year in last year's race, which is just incredible. But I was looking and it sounds like there's a few different things to do. You guys have the Fun Run, the Turkey Trot, and then the Double Gobble, which is the five mile plus a 5k run. So it sounds like there's kind of everything for somebody in the family, something for everybody to do, whether you want to bring your kids or just bring your spouse or things like that. It sounds like there's something for everybody to do. Is that correct?

Catlyn:
Yeah, absolutely. And we like to think about the day as more than just your exercise. You're coming out, you're supporting the 1.2 million people in Allegheny County, which nearly one in seven of them are facing food insecurity. So that's the point of the day. Our hashtag is #EndHungerPGH and that's really our goal. So while we do raise money for the Y and the programs such as summer camp, before school, after school, senior programs, men's housing, et cetera, we do also collect all that food. But like you said, there is something for everyone. So we start off our day with the Med Express One Mile Family Fun Run, and you can walk or jog or sprint that if you like. It's really excellent to see the little kids come through the finish line who are like just huffing and puffing. They gave it their all, and it's really cute to see that. And all of our kid competitors for that get a medal, which they're excited about as well.

Dan:
Logan, maybe you can try this out. You can do one mile. You can get yourself a medal.

Logan:
I could probably do a mile, yeah.

Dan:
I don't know if I could do one mile.

Catlyn:
You can walk. It's all good.

Dan:
Oh, perfect. Fun Walk. Oh, that's correct. It's a Fun Walk. I could just have fun by walking.

Catlyn:
Exactly. The most fun. After our one mile, we have the UPMC Health Plan 5K, that's our main event. We have the most people who run that. It's usually about 5,000 people who run the 5k event. And then after that we have our five mile event and that is sponsored this year by The Pirates who are also our gracious venue hosts. And like you said, the Double Gobble.

Logan:
Yeah, I would not be doing that one.

Catlyn:
The double gobble, you run the 5k first and then you just keep on running tack on the five mile after that. And our sponsor for that is a GH&A. So we're super excited.

Dan:
Yeah, well it's getting close to December. Obviously it is a Thanksgiving day on November 28th, nice and early in the morning at 7:00 AM. But that's one thing that I think is important about these days is people think about Thanksgiving and they get there and it's an entire day. It's not just the meal. It's having a big breakfast with your family, starting to cook early in the morning. So I think it says a lot whenever you can see families coming out taking a significant portion of their day, a big part of the morning there to come out and support a cause like this. And it says a lot about Pittsburgh. I think you'd agree with that.

Catlyn:
Yeah, absolutely. We see people, the majority from Pittsburgh, but we have participants from almost every state in the country, which is really awesome to see. I'll get letters or emails from people like from California and they're coming in. And they're asking about packet pickup and things like that. So yeah, it's cool. We've even had participants from other countries, so it's a special race. And it's really awesome to see how many people come together.

Dan:
That's great. In 29 years, 30 next year. Have you already started thinking about that one?

Catlyn:
The big 30 is next year. Yes. We have started thinking. I'm not going to give anything away, but there'll be some surprises.

Dan:
Triple Gobble maybe?

Logan:
You'd be in a lot on Thanksgiving.

Dan:
Exactly right. Yeah.

Logan:
And so what kind of food items are you guys accepting for the Greater Food Bank? Is it just nonperishable or what kind of things should people bring to donate?

Catlyn:
Yeah, so actually you can bring more than just nonperishable food items. So they also collect household items, toilet paper, toiletries, baby products, things for seniors. Basically that is anything that's not in a glass container and that is nonperishable. If you do go on our website, our Facebook page, YMCA Turkey Trot, we have a nice little graphic showing everything that they collect. You think of nonperishable items and it's like, "Okay I'm going to go get chicken noodle soup and a can of green beans." But we like for people to think outside the box with that as well. Macaroni and cheese is great for the kids. Granola bars, pasta, pasta sauce that is in a plastic container. So just thinking more about, would you want to eat out of a can for every meal. There's so many more nonperishable things in the supermarkets that we can provide.

Dan:
Importantly too, you don't have to just register today. I mean if you want to, you can go to Pittsburghymca.org, and the link is very nice and right in your face for the Turkey Trot. But also you can register on race day, right?

Catlyn:
Yeah, absolutely. You can come up if you decide early morning, "Okay. I'm ready to run this thing." Just come on down to PNC Park. Our set up is on Mazeroski Way right past home plate. And just say hey.

Logan:
So where can we find the YMCA more than just a Turkey Trot on social media and give us that URL to sign up one more time.

Catlyn:
Yeah, so the URL to sign up is YMCApgh.org/turkeytrot. Also if you just do a quick Google search for YMCA Pittsburgh Turkey Trot, it should be one of the first things that pops up. And again, it's the 29th year, so that's the one you want to look for on active.com. We are on social media, Facebook, Twitter. It's just YMCAPGH, and we also have a Turkey Trot Facebook page, which is YMCA PGH Turkey Trot.

Logan:
All right. Well, Catlyn Brooke, race director of the YMCA's Turkey Trot here in Pittsburgh. Thanks so much for coming on and we appreciate you being here.

Catlyn:
Thanks so much, guys.

Dan:
Bye.

Logan:
Centuries before cell phones and social media, human connections were made around fires as we shared the stories that shaped our world. Today stories are still the most powerful way to move hearts and minds and inspire action. At WordWrite, Pittsburgh's largest independent public relations agency, we understand that before you had a brand, before you sold any product or service, you had a story. WordWrite helps clients to uncover their own capital S story. The reason someone would want to buy, work, invest or partner with you through our patented story crafting process. Visit wordwritepr.com to uncover your capital S story.

Dan:
Hey everybody, we're back and we're going to be taking a little sharp turn here into a conversation about immigration. And we have here an attorney from Meyer, Unkovic, and Scott. They're a Pittsburgh based law firm here. Joel Pfeffer, he's one of the focuses is immigration in his practice. And thank you for being here.

Joel:
My pleasure.

Dan:
What we want to discuss is lead in to this with a talk about the Public Charge Rule. It's a new rule that we discussed very briefly in The Pittsburgh 100, and these legal issues, they need a lot more than 100 words to breakdown.

Joel:
Dan, you need a lawyer to explain it.

Dan:
A lawyer and more than 100 words, correct.

Joel:
Thank goodness we have one.

Dan:
Right. Precisely.

Joel:
Who's an expert.

Dan:
Yes. Okay. Joel, can you take us ... I mean again just on a brief overview of what the Public Charge Rule is.

Joel:
So going back 100 years when immigrants came to the United States to Ellis Island, they were in essence judged at that point by “are you going to be able to make a living in the United States without securing or being dependent on government benefits.” And in every family there is a legend about how that answer was given to the immigration officer. A strong handshake, a description of what the person's skill level was, his history in the country he came from, a smile. All of those things are part of everybody's family history.

Joel:
For the last 25 years or so, immigration has focused on what I'll call an objective standard. That if you can show that you have income or you've had income or your employer is going to pay you more than 125% of the poverty level, then there's no need for a handshake or a smile. There's no discussion. It was just you knew that that case was going to go through. There was a consistent standard depending on what your history of earning or what your projection of earning is, or if you did not have that, a relative could file an affidavit of support saying that they would support you. Or if you ever tried to get on government benefits, their assets would be deemed your assets, and you couldn't get the government benefit. And that process has worked for the last 20 or 25, perhaps 30 years. It was all on paper, and it was all objective. Didn't matter really what, anything about you, what your education was, what your level of English was, what's your job prospect was.

Joel:
Now immigration is divided between family immigration and business immigration or employment immigration. So if you are on the employment immigration side and you were coming because you had a job that no American could fill. So obviously you had some projection of income. You had some security of income. Those cases are still going to be pretty much the same, but family based cases will be impacted by this new rule, which essentially says we're going to view this on a subjective basis. We're going to look at you and we're going to see what is your education, what is your age, your health, your family status, your assets, your resources, your skill level. And we're going to take a complete picture of you and we're going to decide whether or not you are going to become dependent on government benefits to survive in the United States.

Joel:
It's moving from somebody looking at paperwork and giving you the opportunity in a letter to respond by saying, "Well, if that's not good enough, I'll get uncle so-and-so to give me another affidavit." To a situation where that's only going to be part of it. Whether someone's given you an affidavit, it's only going to be part of the total subjective picture of who you are and whether you're going to become dependent on public benefits.

Paul:
Seems like Joel, you're going to need an interview now, right? There's got to be some interaction in order to answer some of that.

Joel:
Well, it just so happens that one of the other initiatives of the Trump administration is called... It requires a total review of your situation, and almost every case today is interviewed. So in the past, the only cases that were interviewed were marriage cases, other cases. So for example, if you wanted to bring a parent to the United States, if you wanted to bring a child to the United States, there was no reason to interview you. In a marriage case, they interviewed you to see if you were really married.

Paul:
Subject of many popular films and literature, et cetera, et cetera. The sham marriage, right?

Joel:
Yes. But everything else was judged on the basis of a petition. Is the relationship true? Is there a birth certificate? But the Trump administration issued an executive order that said, "No, we want everybody to be vetted." That vetting process includes pretty much an interview for every single case, which is why there's become a serious backlog at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services because they weren't geared up for that.

Paul:
Wow. So, Joel, what's the impact? What are you seeing? I mean, obviously it's slowing things down, but how bad?

Joel:
It's slowing things down to a point that it's unpredictable when you're going to be seen by the US CIS and how long your case is going to take to be completed, especially if you are an employment-based case where historically they have not interviewed these cases. So it's taking, I would say probably an additional three to six months for them to get to you. I expect that it'll go to six to nine months pretty soon if it hasn't already. In a marriage case, married to a US citizen, I'm not seeing a serious slow down. Maybe two or three months backlog greater than before. But they officially like to get their cases completed in six months. I don't know that they can meet that target anymore.

Paul:
Now a lot of your clients are businesses with employment cases, correct?

Joel:
Yes. Many of our clients are employers who are either established or in the process of establishing that a particular employee from abroad is not going to impact the US labor market, that there is a shortage of this skill set.

Paul:
They're a specialist of some kind.

Joel:
Or they are a distinguished professor, researcher or a person of extraordinary ability. Somebody who is at the very top of their field and they've established to the satisfaction of the Department of Homeland Security that they are at the very top of their field and deserving to come to the United States as an extraordinary ability alien. So those are the kinds of cases, that the kinds of employment cases we handle.

Dan:
One thing that's important to point out with the Public Charge Rule here is that it was some federal courts pumped the brakes on it. They blocked the rule here, but that probably won't be the last time we hear of it. Correct?

Joel:
No, I would think it's fair to predict that eventually the rule becomes law and that this is a temporary setback for the Trump administration. In fact, there are two government agencies that apply the Public Charge Rule, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State. The Department of State processes cases that are where the alien is outside the United States and there is the Department of State is applying this rule and has been applying this rule since it was originally introduced even in the first stage of promulgation of the rule. Department of State picked up on it and there's been an uptick in denials because of public charge at consular offices, consular posts abroad.

Joel:
So not only is the Department of Homeland Security going to deal with these injunctions and eventually likely to overcome the objections but the Department of State is going to, to some degree or other, enforce this rule that sort of converts this from an objective to a subjective test.

Dan:
Right. Well, it's certainly a complicated process here, complicated law, but Joel, we appreciate you coming on and speaking with us and helping us break it down here. Definitely more than in 100 words.

Joel:
Yes.

Dan:
Hey, thanks again and hope to have you back on.

Joel:
Thank you for having me. Thank you.

Dan:
Thanks a lot. Bye.

Logan:
For our Pittsburgh Polyphony segment this week, we're taking a little bit of a different approach and instead of highlighting a specific artist, we're going to be talking to Connor Murray, the label manager of Crafted Sounds, a local Pittsburgh record label that has about six active bands on their roster right now. Connor, thanks for being with us.

Connor:
Yeah, thanks for having me, Logan.

Logan:
Sure. Yes. So if you could of just give us a little rundown of what Crafted Sounds is, kind of how you got into it, and maybe a little background on yourself, that'd be great.

Connor:
Yeah. So I started the label when I was 18, on my 18th birthday in high school. I tried to play music, try to make music or whatever, just like too stubborn. Didn't put enough time into it. It was also kind of, I don't know, getting frustrated of what I was missing out on as far as new music is concerned because I always like sharing new music with my friends and whatnot. Going to shows, et cetera.

Connor:
Once I kind of realized that like I personally didn't want to be a musician, I was like, "Okay, how can I be involved?" So there was a couple smaller labels but also like bigger labels that I was very aware of on like independent level. And I was like, "Oh, I'll just do that," without like knowing what goes into that. I mean, I think taking like engineering approach, it's just like once you have your problem statement, that's when you start to figure out what it is, you know how you're going to do that.

Connor:
So without knowing how I was going to do it, I was like, "All right, I'm just going to run this label." And I don't know. I guess running a label for me was just providing physical format copies to artists that were underappreciated that I really liked, that I felt could be recognized on a more grand scale. And that concept has changed and molded and adapted into other formats, other artists, other sounds, other communities because I'm not from Pittsburgh. So it's been really cool just to be like the, I don't know, number one fan in the back.

Dan:
Not from here. You're a senior at Pitt, correct?

Connor:
Yes. Yeah. I'm going to stay here though. As long as I graduate and get my things set straight, I'll be working downtown for a couple of years. So I accepted an offer and I don't know. I like it here. I'm trying to stay here. So yeah.

Logan:
Pittsburgh tends to pull people in once they get here. I love it. It's a great city.

Dan:
Steal off Godfather Three, "Once I get out, they pull me back.

Logan:
Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back.

Dan:
The only good part of Godfather Three is that line I think. Andy Garcia.

Logan:
That's something I can really appreciate though that you're saying that you're trying to take these underappreciated artists and kind of what you think is cool. And like you said, be that number one fan and not really worry how much clout they have at the time or how much presence they have at that time. But something that you could take and really mold and them to do. But so it sounded like you kind of just took a hands-on like dive-in approach. Like you said, you didn't really know exactly what you were doing. Kind of what were some of the first things and the first steps that you took that to develop some of your artists you look back on now.

Connor:
I guess far as like the label's concern, I mean the first thing I was... It's like the name of the label and the imaging. It has to be cool I guess. At least to me, it has to be something other people could stand behind. I made the logo a house because I was just sitting in my house, scratching on papers, little sketches here and there. And I was like, "Oh, I should just like make it a house because I'm going to be doing this inside my house anyway." We're not going to make money. So I just made a very simple geometric house, like very, very simple and put letters out of the chimney. I didn't do anything crazy. So that was kind of where I started with that, the imaging.

Connor:
I guess as far as artists and where to start with that. I guess at first, the first record was through a friend of a friend. She was in New Mexico and she was like, "Hey, this guy is making cool music." And it's like, "Yeah, I like it." I mean, at that point I had no standard. I mean the music... I mean, I still love that record, but I didn't really look at who's this artist; what are their goals; where do they want to be; what have they done in the past; how long are they going to be continuing this.

Connor:
I was just like, "Wow, I like this music. Let's do it." That project fizzled out real quick. And I was just like, "Oh, maybe there's other things I should consider when I work with people. Maybe like communication should be clearer. Maybe I should be asking more questions. Maybe I should be setting things... Being more transparent on both ends and kind of make it bit by bit." It took me at least a year to figure out ballpark estimate how to do PR in house. By now I'm very jaded but a lot of people have been through a lot of crap. They dealt with a lot of characters. And I guess kind of conveying a message or pitching something you believe in over email. You have to be very considerate and very persistent at the same time. So it's like there was that. I guess show booking was the thing that took like a year and a half after that. Little steps. What's another thing I can put on my utility belt.

Dan:
Something interesting about your business, we were talking about this a little bit before we got going here. But everybody's really into vinyl these days. It's gotten really popular. You are into cassettes, which Logan, cassettes were on their way out whenever you were born. I mean, I remember using them as a kid. I remember my parents had a ton of them and stuff. But why cassettes? Why are they back?

Connor:
So essentially there was the resurgence of vinyl and that was cool. It started with indie labels getting back into it and supporting the format. And those real music nerds, shout out. But eventually the major labels caught on and there's only so many plants. So the cost of manufacturing the vinyl is just skyrocketed. Minimums have gotten higher obviously, and it's hard for an independent artist or an independent label to bite that initial investment and keep doing it even if it is cool. There's a point where you got to kind of make money unfortunately.

Connor:
I mean, if you don't really make money, we break even on everything and happy trails. But because it got so expensive, tapes kind of slowly kind of became more feasible, especially because people were just adopting the format. They were like, "Hey, I don't really want a CD." Whether it's because you could just download the music or stream it or whatever, but tape kind of sits right in between a CD and a record. And sometimes if not more often than not, it's less costly than a CD I guess when you're buying it as a consumer. I don't know. There's a lot you can do as far as customizing it. It doesn't sound good. Tapes don't sound good. I'm not here to tell-

Dan:
That's what I was thinking, yeah.

Connor:
I'm not here to defend tapes. Tapes are literally built to like deteriorate, like the acid that is required to make the tape literally destroys it.

Connor:
But I have older tapes from like the '80s and stuff and they sound terrible. But-

Dan:
Do you find people buy them? You can find people that-

Connor:
Yeah, I mean, we've, I don't know. I keep mostly everything that I have as far as like paper receipts and electronic receipts. I have binders full of just notes, and I've duplicated over 1000 tapes.

Dan:
Wow.

Connor:
Over 2000 tapes. Yeah. And to think like, "Wow, I've sold over 1000 tapes." It's like pretty hilarious. Cool.

Dan:
Some cassette holders are actually perfect cases for your cell phone too, so you can just keep all your music on your phone and put the phone inside the cassette tape holder, and it's perfect. Yeah.

Logan:
That's funny. I appreciate you being here, Connor. And I believe there's a track that you wanted to end us off with today from one of your bands. Is that correct?

Connor:
Yeah, yeah. Last month we put a track out. We put an EP out with this band called the Zells, local band we mentioned earlier. This is one of their songs. Graze.

Dan:
Awesome. Can't wait.

Logan:
Appreciate you being here, Connor.