Upon meeting New Pod City host and serial entrepreneur, Frank Sasso, you can’t imagine him doing anything else besides hosting his own show and being the owner of, a state-of-the-art podcast studio, distribution, and monetization network.
Sasso talks fast, has an infectious personality, and a tell-it-like-it-is attitude that keeps listeners of his popular podcast “Trenton Waves” coming back for more every Monday. Trenton Waves began in 2019 and dubs itself the official unofficial podcast of Trenton, and regularly features a bevy of capital city stakeholders, such as Mayor Reed Gusciora and Tom Gilmore, formerly of the Trenton Downtown Association. Sasso had an official ribbon-cutting ceremony for New Pod City’s ground floor 247 E. Front Street location in January 2020, just months before the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down. Although the pandemic wreaked havoc on a variety of small business owners, it proved to be quite lucrative for Sasso. “We more than tripled our numbers during the pandemic, because everybody was home and was looking for ways to express themselves and wanted to start a podcast.” Many podcasters across the country and Trentonians have used New Pod City’s services, which include studio rental, podcast consulting, voice-overs, and social media branding, starting at $19.95 a month.
New Pod City currently has 15 shows on its network, including the widely popular “Dear Sis,” a show hosted by author and Princeton resident, MJ, that encourages and challenges people to be their best selves. "The day I met MJ, I saw on her face how serious she was," said Sasso. "She knew exactly what she wanted her show to be and was determined to make it work. She has only gotten more confident since then, and her numbers (in the thousands) reflect that." New Pod City is also the network home of “Rich and Tim Unleashed,” a show about two middle-aged men talking trash on hot topics, and the “Film Blerds,” a show that takes a concise, deep dive into movies. Sasso noted that he has the only podcasting hosting service in New Jersey.
Prior to co-hosting the popular “Trenton Waves,” with his wife Christina, Sasso worked a temporary 9-to-5 job at an insurance company that left him feeling uninspired but would prove to be the catalyst for his podcasting career. “I’m a radical Christian and I pray with my clients, and what’s cool is that I can talk about Jesus and not get fired. I don’t care what you believe, you’re going to hear about Jesus. No disrespect to any other beliefs, I’m just saying what you are going to hear from me. There was no show talking about Jesus the way that I wanted to hear it. A bunch of buddies of mine got together and I would hit record and we would just sit there and talk about the Lord.” Sensing Sasso was on to something with his impromptu spiritual phone calls with his friends, Christina suggested that he make his recordings public so people could access them.
It was at his position at the insurance company where Sasso started, “Who’s Your Daddy Godcast,” his first podcast, which explores faith and spirituality. Sasso’s path to building his podcasting empire is due in part to none other than the blunt, abrasive investor Kevin O’ Leary of the hit TV show “Shark Tank”. After an event that O’Leary was supposed to speak at in Philadelphia that Sasso bought tickets to was canceled, Sasso received a call that would change his life. A member of O’ Leary’s team picked Sasso’s name out of a virtual hat to connect with as a consolation prize for the cancellation. “I immediately thought it was my friend John,” Sasso recalls with a smile. [We crank call] each other from time to time. So I said, ‘Have Kevin O’ Leary call me himself,’ and then I hung up. Bye! A couple of days later, I got a phone call from a guy introducing himself as Kevin O’ Leary. He wanted to know if I would be interested in his business boot camp.” When O’ Leary asked Sasso if he needed anything to help him out with his business, still uncertain if he was dealing with the real O’Leary, Sasso replied, “I need a LiveTrack L-12 mixer. When can you give it to me?” The next day when Sasso saw the mixer on his desk at work he knew he was not being pranked, “because John is cheap and no way would he take a joke that far.” Sasso is currently two years into a 10-year business boot camp run by O’ Leary. “He gets me anything I need. He doesn’t want a cut. He doesn’t want a percentage. It’s just his way of giving back to people that want to work hard and be entrepreneurs. He is nothing like you see on TV.”
The New York City native also spent years sparring in the ring as a pro boxer before moving to Trenton 17 years ago. Sasso has also led an eclectic career in the arts before becoming his own boss, notably working as an illustrator for the widely popular Nickelodeon cartoon “The Ren & Stimpy Show” and working as a consultant on the famous ballroom scene from Disney’s Beauty & The Beast movie.
It was announced in early September that Will Foskey of Trenton’s 78 Ways Studio, was named the president of New Pod City, and will help podcasters build their brand and listenership. Sasso is looking to add more high-quality shows to his network and is working on an upcoming comic book. “What’s my hope for Trenton? I want Trenton to be the only destination. I want people to understand the value that Trenton still has. The entire state of the country happened here. Trenton is where it happened, Philadelphia just wrote the trademark. My dream for Trenton is for people to start realizing the value that is here, not just in [terms of] investment, but in livability and safe streets.”
Visit Trentonwaves.com, iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher to listen to new and past episodes.