Writing on the beat

One USF professor is trying to promote local artists, musicians and performers by publishing a magazine that puts them in the spotlight.

The primary mission of Bay Area Beat: Local Music News is cultivating growth and a sense of community for the local music scene, said editor and co-publisher Thomas “QB” Garcia, who teaches a Human Relations Skills Counseling class at USF.

The magazine is a product of Garcia and Pro Star Studio owner Jeannette Goldman.

Garcia said he plans to include a special section specifically for students at USF and the University of Tampa who want to promote their bands and music.

“We wanted to somehow help those local musicians working in the (Tampa) Bay area,” Goldman said. “Maybe someone will establish themselves on the scene locally, get discovered and move on nationally.”

Garcia, who has worked in journalism and public relations, said he was disgusted by local media giving more attention to nationally touring acts than local artists and performers. He intends to cover all musical genres in the publication.

“I wanted to include news about local clubs and venues, spoken word, recording studios, as well as local film and television producers,” Garcia said.

“My inspiration for taking this Herculean task arose from my numerous encounters with Bay area artists and musicians,” Garcia said. “(Jeannette and I) put our collective heads together and finally decided it was time to give them a voice.”

The first issue was released April 2. Since then, Bay Area Beat has partnered with several local management companies, radio stations, club owners, promoters, producers and record labels.

Keyboardist and vocalist Bobby G. Summers said he heard about Bay Area Beat from an advertisement on Craigslist last week.  He contacted Garcia and they immediately hit it off.

“It’s a real good avenue not only for local artists but for all musicians,” Summers said.  “I plan on using it to publicize some of my upcoming events.”

The first issue featured world champion boxer and St. Petersburg native Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy. Although Lacy is not a musician, he is a local boxer who promotes the art community. Anyone who is a dedicated performer and committed to the Tampa community can participate in Bay Area Beat.

In addition to the monthly print version, Bay Area Beat also has an interactive blog that allows artists, writers, promoters, club owners and record labels to electronically submit news and information about themselves and their services.

Since the first week of Bay Area Beat’s online and print issue, bayareabeat.org has received more than 400 hits and 23 submissions from local artists.

“People in the local entertainment industry were skeptical,” Garcia said. “However, when the first issue rolled off the printing press, Jeannette and I breathed a monumental sigh of relief.”