Andy in 2006 founded Beet.TV as a video publishing platform to provide media professionals with key industry insights and to bring them together at in-person events. Beet.TV has been a culmination of Andy’s experiences as a filmmaker, concert promoter, television producer and public relations executive.
Andy got his start in filmmaking as a high school student in Great Neck, New York — a Long Island town not far from the media capital of Manhattan. Multimedia artist Michael Singer introduced Andy to the elements of filmmaking in a class that taught students how to create visual works with eight-millimeter cameras.
In his junior year, he borrowed the football coach’s Bolex 16-millimeter camera and recorded his own story of love and alienation. A rough edit of the film was seen at a local arts center screening by the Young Filmmaker’s Foundation, a Manhattan-based arts group that helped teens express themselves by producing short films. For months, he travelled after school to the group’s Lower East Side center to edit the film.
“Page 2,” Andy’s 11-minute film, starred his high school friends as the actors, classmates created and recorded the soundtrack. The movie was distributed nationally by mental health groups concerned with understanding teens.
Andy followed up with two more films while still in high school.
As an undergraduate at Antioch College, he focused on the emerging art form of video.
It was during college that Andy developed his skills as an organizer and event promoter. With the cooperation of the college, he produced campus concerts with the rock band Poco (audio of perfomance on YouTube) as well as concerts with jazz pianist Chick Corea and jazz fusion pioneer John McLaughlin.
After moving to San Francisco in 1974, Andy taught video arts at Antioch College/West. He also pursued his interest in music promotion, becoming manager for the jazz/rock group Listen with Mel Martin. He was the publicist for the venerable jazz club The Keystone Korner and became the San Francisco correspondent for the iconic jazz magazine Downbeat. He produced three outdoor concerts, two in Golden Gate Park and one in the McLaren Park Amphitheater which was previewed by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Moving to New York in 1976, Andy become part of the avant-garde jazz scene, producing weekly concerts at an art gallery in Manhattan’s SoHo district. For two years, at the gallery, he presented many noted artists in the “loft jazz” movement including Anthony Braxton, Dewey Redman, Paul Motian, John Abercrombie, David Murray, Sam Rivers and Mike Nock. Here is a 1977 report on the series in The New York Times.
When legendary theater producer Joseph Papp visited Andy’s concerts, he invited him to present jazz programming at the New York Shakespeare Festival’s Public Theater on Lafayette Street. This key development, the presentation of progressive jazz at an established theater venue, was reported in The New York Times by chief pop music critic Robert Palmer.
For the next three years, Andy presented nearly 100 concerts with artists including Betty Carter, Cecil Taylor, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Jack DeJohnette, Archie Shepp, the Heath Brothers, Pat Metheny, Oregon, the Gil Evans Orchestra and many others.
Concerts were presented at the Public Theater, the Delacorte Theater in Central Park and the Shubert Theater on Broadway where he presented jazz singer Betty Carter. Her performance was previewed in The New York Times.
Many performances were recorded by NPR for the Jazz in America series. Several were recorded as albums including Live From the the Public Theater with Miles Davis arranger Gil Evans.
In 1979, Andy was invited to join CBS Cable, the fledgling arts channel launched by CBS, to produce jazz programming. He produced shows with Count Basie and Betty Carter, but the network closed shortly thereafter.
He soon joined a small public relations firm in New York, and three years later he became a press officer in the New York office of Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro’s 1984 presidential campaign. Soon after the election, Andy returned to public relations joining the powerhouse firm of Howard J. Rubenstein Associates.
At Rubenstein, he worked on a variety of clients in technology, legal services, beauty and media. He rose to become a senior vice president, representing the National Law Journal and all Hachette magazines including Elle.
It was his work with media clients that eventually set Andy on a new career path, and he opened his own public relations firm in 1992, as noted by The New York Times.
Andrew P. Plesser Associates Inc. represented a range of clients including the Estée Lauder Companies, Condé Nast publications including Self, Gourmet, Wired and Architectural Digest.
When book publicist Kent Holland joined Andy as a partner in 1995, the firm was renamed Plesser Holland Associates, and clients included Ziff Davis, Red Herring magazine, The Deal, ZDNet, CNet, Wired and Dartmouth College.
It was in 2005 that Andy rediscovered his affinity for the camera when he decided to produce a series of five-minute video interviews with several Dartmouth College business school faculty members. The videos were widely shared by the professors on their listservs and email lists. The impact of the segments was an early demonstration of the power of niche web video and a new opportunity for content creation for marketers.
In 2006, Andy launched a media-focused video blog called Beet.TV as a separate enterprise from the PR business. The videos focused on media innovation, particularly around innovative web video.
In June 2006, Beet undertook its first major reporting project with a visit to Google in Mountainview, California, for interviews with the search giant’s then-head of video Hunter Walk.
In 2013, Plesser Holland was sold to the Chicago-based marketing and PR firm ASGK, the firm founded by Eric Sedler and David Axelrod. Beet.TV continued as a separate corporate entity as Beet Media LLC.
Since 2006, Beet.TV has published more than 8,000 videos. Its videos are distributed on the Beet.TV web and mobile sites, via Reuters Insider and on Beet.TV’s social media channels of YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Beet.TV also has established itself as a conference business focused on custom events and high-level executive retreats. It has created dozens of events in New York, San Francisco, Miami, London, Las Vegas, Cannes, Washington and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
A part-time resident of Vieques, Puerto Rico, he was involved with medical relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. His early reporting of the disaster on Vieques in the Huffington Post, brought global media attention to the island in need of essential services.
Andy serves as chairman of the media committee of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico. He has been involved with raising awareness for the group in the U.S. media by creating public service announcement programs and with fundraising activities.