When he was approached by the AJT earlier this year to host its first podcast, Jeff Silberblatt was eager to be part of a new media venture and recapture his former career and passion as a radio host and producer. “To me it was an interesting project. Podcasts are incredibly popular these days. One of my loves and comfort zones is to try to create interesting conversations,” he said.
Plus, he was excited about the opportunity to bring AJT headlines to life in a podcast called “Jewish Time.” “I love being part of a pioneer effort, especially because it touches on my professional roots,” he said. This is Silberblatt’s second stint with the AJT. He was director of advertising sales from 2007 to 2010.
So far, Silberblatt has helped produce three “Jewish Time” podcasts. The premiere aired last month about the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. Silberblatt interviewed AJT correspondent Bob Bahr, a longtime volunteer with the festival who teaches and writes about the film industry. The next two installments of “Jewish Time” – the latest aired April 1 – expand on stories the AJT published recently about the COVID-19 crisis.
Silberblatt brings to “Jewish Time” a memorable radio voice, accustomed to serving as a voice-over actor in radio commercials. This is the first time he’s hosted a podcast, but he has a 22-year history managing broadcast programming for radio stations and groups across the country, he said. Silberblatt has worked with CBS radio, Clear Channel Communications (now iHeartMedia), Viacom and Cumulus Media.
He managed radio stations in Michigan, Washington, D.C., and Honolulu before coming to Atlanta to manage Peach 94.9.
As a broadcast manager he rubbed shoulders with celebrities, including Elton John, Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen, and while in Hawaii, he was part of a production team that produced sold-out concerts at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu starring Celine Dion, Lionel Richie, The Rolling Stones and Ricky Martin.
One of his favorite moments in radio was being part of a lunch meeting with Ringo Starr in Los Angeles in 2002. “I’ve had artists to my house for barbecues. I’ve been in the studio when artists put together new music. I did with Lionel Richie.”
He recalled how Richie put on what was believed to be one of the largest lunchtime concerts ever held in Atlanta at the King and Queen office towers in Sandy Springs in 2003. “He was a great guy, very down-to-earth.”
Photos of Silberblatt with celebs grace the walls of his home-based radio studio in the Smyrna-Vinings area. This is where he interviews his “Jewish Time” subjects, usually through Zoom. In the future, the AJT might have its own recording studio, he said.
What he likes about his new podcast medium is the freedom it affords. “In radio and television interviews, there are strict rules that must be adhered to at all times. This podcast has no such rules, and that can lend itself to producing intriguing conversation with my guests,” he said.
He further explained the format. “This isn’t a news report. It’s a conversation, and I want listeners to feel as if they are in the room while the conversation is taking place.”
But how does he ensure the audience is fully engaged? The goal is to keep the podcasts timely. It’s a chance to bring the pages of the AJT alive with conversations beyond the printed story with newsmakers and people of interest in Atlanta.”
The goal is to “keep Jewish Atlanta connected,” the AJT tagline, featuring newsmakers associated with Jewish culture and lifestyle. “It’s not always hard news.,” Silberblatt said. “Sometimes it’s the arts and entertainment side. We find people who are part of connecting Jewish Atlanta.”
Tune in to the latest episode at podcast.atlantajewishtimes.com.