Philadelphia plumber’s podcasts promote pop culture

By Shane Soderland
Special to The Communiarian

special
In his spare time, Philadelphia plumber Anton Reed produces a podcast that is getting noticed. Photo courtesy of Anton Reed

“See that,” Anton Reed says, motioning to the bottom of his street. “A kid got shot on this street and some people made that for him.”

The telephone pole at the base of his street hasbeen used as a local shrine to the slain young man. The memorial consists of a handwritten poster, a few multicolored ribbons, and various stuffed animals.

Reed, 25, is marching fervently through the Walmart’s electronic department in search of a microphone. Frustrated by the device’s absence from shelves, he departs immediately.

“Next up is Target,” he says. Rejuvenated, Reed advances toward the store in a last ditch effort to find the audio tool.

“We don’t have any of those,” the clerk tells Reed. “Sorry, we don’t sell that kind of mic.” Reed leaves the store, seemingly anxious and disappointed.

“Sh-t!” Reed exclaims. “I gotta make due with one mic. Maybe, we’ll just take turns on the mic. I don’t wanna mess with the audio — it sounds weird when I turn the audio up. You can hear motherf—–s breathing and sh-t. I’ll figure something out.”

Reed is not some run of the mill tech enthusiast. He is the creator of a podcast called “Sweetdogg and Friends.”

The show is a platform for Reed to discuss various pop culture events, such as sports, music, and film.

Reed will often have friends appear on the show to discuss these events, hence the name.

Reed records, edits, and distributes the podcast out of his home in Northwest Philadelphia.

Since Reed’s podcast has recently garnered the attention of the station manager from “G-town Radio,” Reed now does weekly broadcasts from their studio and continues to record material for his podcast.

Reed enters his grandmother’s home and hastily runs upstairs to get his laptop computer. He goes to the basement to set up for his sports broadcast.

“I wanna make sure I clean my computer before I do anything,” Reed says. “Just clear any junk files that could slow down my Mac. See, this ain’t so bad. A lot of the time when I work on this stuff, I gotta trash like 2000 files.”

Reed highlights numerous files and marks them for deletion. Afterwards, Reed moves the files to the trash and clears his junk files.

Next, Reed opens “Mixcloud” on his computer to display the material that he has uploaded to the service. The service holds less than a dozen of his podcasts.

Reed then mentions “Soundcloud,” a music streaming platform that he has uploaded content to.

The material includes a collection of a few personal songs — some even written and performed by him and his friends. His most popular song, “Blood Water,” has more than 1000 views.

Afterward, Reed shows the two types of editing software he uses for his audio. “This one is ‘Garageband’ — it works fine, but it doesn’t do everything I need it to do,” he says. “This next one is ‘Audacity,’ which is free to the Mac. I like this one because I can censor cursing on this if I want to.”

Reed then displays the software’s capabilities using a song from the catalog of artist Biggie Smalls.

“See, if I don’t wanna hear the n-word, I can just highlight that part and bleep it.,” he explains.

Reed went to Martin Luther King High School and apprenticed as a plumber for Kenneth J. Klein Plumbing and Heating after graduation. He has been working as a plumber for the past three years.

Reed is unsure what triggered his love of music and pop culture. “I’ve just always loved hip hop,” he says. “I’ve loved it as early as I can remember.”

Reed was inspired to do a podcast when the rapper Cam’ron was accused of being chauvinistic. “A white male feminist said Cam’ron was a misogynist,” Reed says. “I thought it was bullsh-t, and wanted to talk about it.”

Reed initially had little technical prowess. “I just kind of play with things,” he says. “I’m still learning things about this equipment.”

Reed’s content has had moderate public success — regularly maintaining steady viewership of about 20 people per podcast.

“I just do this for fun,” he says. “If something is big in the news and I don’t feel like talking about it — I won’t.”

Reed attributes his success to a helpful stranger. “Someone sent my former show to the station manager and he liked it,” he says. “My old show was called Hip Hop History.”

Reed also bi-weekly performs open mikes in Philadelphia at various venues and shares a few thoughts on how it applies to his Podcasts. “It helps with public speaking, I suppose,” he says. “I just do that because I’m bored.”

Reed pulls out a child’s book bag and combs through his show notes. “These are just some I wrote for today,” he says. “I’ll just thumb through this before the show. Sometimes, I look at it during the show, just to remember the talking points.”

Reed puts the notes back into his green folder and checks the time.

“Damn!” he says. It’s almost three o’clock. Mans is gonna be here soon — gotta put the game on.”

Mans, a friend of Reed’s, will arrive soon to watch a basketball game and be a quest on the show.

Reed then briefly speaks about his expectations for the show. “I’m doing this for fun right now,” he says. “I would hope people like what me and my friends think about things.”

Reed is unsure of the potential avenues the podcasting will take him down, but he remains positive.

“I have no idea,” Reed says. “I can’t even imagine where the shows could be. I would love to get paid to just talk about hip hop.”

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