Influencing the influencers.
Smart culture for smart people.
Two inches wide, two miles deep.
These are the words and phrases that you've read or heard from me that truly define our successful website. We are now a year old, having launched the site last 5th of July. What started out as a media experiment has become a full-time gig for my partner Richard Burns and myself.
Over the past year we've had tremendous help from our web designer Jason (and new man Jonas), our art director Paulina, our site editor and extraordinary writer Steve Holtje, our lit editor and guru Ken Krimstein, our team of stellar writers Henry, Christine, Victoria, Sadie, Alex, Hot Johnny, and Rob (in Manchester, England), and others. Our West Coast ally Elizabeth Lahey has been crucial as a sounding board and spiritual guide, and of course, our marketing man Walter Hutchins's prudent expertise and timely small capital infusions, as well as our avatar-advisor Geoff Judge. And lastly our friend and agent Jonathan Trumper, who has maintained this simple mantra from the start: "Just keep putting up your fantastic content and people will find you."
You know, he's right. We've grown about 35% every month. And we've done it without any serious financial backing or marketing budget. And while it's been difficult, we're starting to turn the corner. You see, we're not competing with the Yahoos and AOLs of the world. We don't have the financial resources, nor the inclination if we did. We're looking for content-starved smart culture folks who want quality, in-depth podcasts and quirky original vidcasts. We know that they can eat all the sound bite candy they want from those other folks, but probably don't, because they tell us how much they've enjoyed the artists we've already interviewed and are looking forward to those we're about to add to our growing library of content. We know that if we have a loyal core group of users that check in with us daily that we've succeeded in this domain.
Hell, I'm the ultimate pop culture junkie, so I'm the first person to get excited about the folks that we ultimately convince to share their world with our viewers and listeners in our own fly-on-the-wall style. We want them to be excited about the experience, too. We want them relaxed and engaging, not in some "I'm-the-brand" pitch mode.
And we want potential sponsors to see that we're not after just ordinary brands or products. We want sponsors who love the podcasts they're sponsoring. We want them to be smart culture junkies, too. We want them drinking the same kool-aid.
They know that if they sponsor a video or audio podcast on CultureCatch.com, they'll reach 100,000 times more people than any traditional media (print/radio/TV) outlet at one-third the cost.
That means we've had to put in longer hours to find cool sponsors to help defray our costs. Make no mistake, that has been a real challenge, but more and more companies are witnessing the merits of this form of low-key, on-line advertising, reaching a captive market who will spend 30-40 minutes with our podcasts.
What can you expect these next few months?
We'll be offering documentaries. The first is from our new friends The Bartoks, who've lovingly produced an homage to Elvis Presley entitled Altered By Elvis
. The first installment will be posted in early August.
We're going to start recording some live jazz concerts at Iridium, possibly even behind-the-scenes rehearsals, with some of most vital jazz players on the scene. Check out our compelling vidcast conversation and performance with jazz pianist pioneer Matthew Shipp
We've recently become part of a new art collective in Chelsea called Emergency Arts, and we'll be providing coverage of some the most cutting-edge art the world has ever seen, both as curators and as first-run interviews. You'll dig our interview with cult artist Rich Jacobs.
Plus plenty of remarkable audio and video podcasts including my audience with truly a man of letters, Mr. Gore Vidal. Having moved from his long time residence in Italy, Mr. Vidal granted me an interview in his palatial Hollywood Hills home. Every bit the gentleman and scholar, Mr. Vidal didn't mince words in his critique of American politics and the dire plight of the world.
And with Ms. Tera Patrick, we have a serious audio and video podcast interview with one the adult industry's biggest crossover stars. A few folks may complain that they didn't know Culture Catch worked blue, but with Ms. Patrick's wit and charm, none was needed. You'll get to enjoy a real conversation with a real person. (She's got plenty of XXX content available from her site - www.ClubTera.com.) Trust me, her real life is real, not some dumbed-down reality show.
Plus we've got about 20 new podcasts to post, and I'm certain many of them will resonate for most of our users, including: a performance and interview vidcast with Echo & The Bunnymen; a chat with Mr. Mark Morris, the king of modern dance and choreography; actor/singer John Hawkes from HBO's Deadwood
, who also fronts L.A.-based roots-rock ensemble King Straggler
; an interview and performance with the Belfast-based duo Oppenheimer, set to play N.Y.C. in August; and the L.A.-based and world-renowned graffiti artist Saber. Currently touring the world, one of the hippest psychedelic rock bands out of Australia, The Morning After Girls; zenoid Luke DuBois, the N.Y.C.-based artist/musician who's redefined the artistic music landscape with his sound designs and music installations. (He's one of my favorites!) And the beautiful Lori Earley, a young and gifted portrait painter who has quickly becoming one of the most collectible artists on the scene, selling out shows well before they're even mounted.
And many others too cool to name at this time.
Yup, podcasting has arrived and Culture Catch is a force to reckon with. What was once an occupational hazard has become a full time gig. Not only are we offering smart culture interviews with real smart culture artists, but we're still providing it all for free.
So light a sparkler and celebrate our independence from interdependence.
Mr. Wright is the former editor-in-chief of
Creem and Prince's
New Power Generation magazines as well as a writer of films, fiction, and music. He is also a singer/songwriter who has released 3 solo CDs and a member of the folk-rock quartet GIANTfingers. And before all of this he was an agent at the William Morris Agency!