If podcasting is one of the items on your New Year’s Resolution list, you’ve got a friend in Zip Zap Media.
The recording studio and incubator space recently opened over on the corner of Abercorn and 33rd, on the same block as Planet Three and Sly’s.
Zip Zap Media is run by Garrett Zajac and Danger Mendrala, who met through doing Front Porch Improv. Last year, Zajac held “Stories in the Park,” a live storytelling event in the style of the Moth.
“I really enjoyed it, but the hardest thing was nailing down a place to record someone,” admits Zajac. “I was basically always emailing WRUU and being like, ‘Hey, do you have someone in the studio? If not, then I’d love to use it.’”
There, the idea for Zip Zap Media was born. Zajac tapped Mendrala, who works in the film and TV industry and has lots of tech knowledge.
“I have what’s known in the industry as Gear Acquisition Syndrome,” he explains, “which is a bad thing, which means I always want the newest gadget—cameras, audio stuff. I waste all my money on that. I thought this would be a fun challenge and a good excuse for me to buy a bunch of stuff.”
Buy a bunch of stuff, they did. Zip Zap Media is a soundproof room with SM7B microphones from Shure.
“These are industry standard,” Mendrala says. “Earwolf has them.”
“All the cool podcasts are using them,” adds Zajac.
Zajac saw a need in his own circle of friends for a reliable, professional recording setup.
“I know people who are literally sending in submissions where they’ve thrown a blanket over themselves with a microphone,” he says. “It almost upset me that Savannah didn’t have an affordable recording studio.”
Before you ask, yes, Savannah has musical recording studios aplenty, but for someone just recording audio, they’re a little inaccessible.
“They’re much larger and you can use them, but because of all the instruments and the space, and basically because of their audience and normal clientele, it’s super expensive,” explains Zajac.
While Zip Zap Media’s mics can be used for any kind of audio recording, both Zajac and Mendrala would like to see it focus more on podcasts.
“I would say, more than anything, we want this place to be an incubator for people’s ideas,” says Zajac.
“Basically, I love listening to podcasts, and there’s not a ton of local Savannah podcasts, and why isn’t there?” asks Mendrala.
Podcasts are definitely experiencing a major cultural moment. There are so many podcasts out there, on any topic you could imagine, and Zip Zap Media hopes to tap into that movement.
“There’s an entire Savannah Podcast Association, and they have a Facebook group of everyone in town that does them, and they all do it out of their houses,” says Zajac. “So what I’m hoping is that not only will those people start using it, but people will start coming out of the woodwork when they know there’s a designated place. All of a sudden, the startup cost of a podcast goes way down.”
Another perk of recording in a studio is the flexibility for guest speakers. Zajac hosted Algonquin Kitchen on WRUU, which was an interview-style show with chefs.
“WRUU is still filling up their slots and if you’ve got a good idea, you’ve got it,” he explains. “The only downside to going through there is that it’s hard to have one designated time slot, and that’s the only time you could have someone visit for an interview. For that kind of interview format, a podcast would be so much better.”
Your first recording session costs only $15, an affordable price for trying something new. After that, an hour costs $60.
“The idea is we just want to be a home base and making it accessible for people who want to try out an idea,” says Zajac.