The public in recent years has drifted away from conventional forms of media such as newspapers and magazines. What has risen to fill that void is the era of the ‘new media’ – online media sources that tend to be more focused than their generalized predecessors. For those that follow space matters, there are Spaceflight Now and a new group broadcasting out of Watertown, Minnesota called Spacevidcast.
Spacevidcast is the literal ‘mom and pop’ operation, (without the kids) run by Benjamin and Cariann Higginbotham. This married couple posts numerous bits of ‘evergreen’ information on their website every week and has a live show held at 9 p.m. (CDT). Until recently their work was largely a labor of love, but Spacevidcast is now officially a business.
They no longer just post video from outside sources such as NASA TV – they are now sending reporters to cover these events live. It was my good fortune to act as their reporter for the launch of STS-130 and despite some initial hiccups; the effort was a shining success. Interviews with astronaut Michael Foale, 45th Weather Squadron spokesman Lt. Col. Patrick Barrett and NASA Public Affairs Officer Candrea Thomas were included in the broadcast which allowed viewers to interact and ask these guests questions from the comfort of their own homes, (Ms. Thomas’ name was mentioned several times on the chat board prompting her inclusion – which led to a lively Q & A session).
It is this interactivity which steals the show from large media outlets such as CNN, FOX News and MSNBC – who have a traditional ‘hands-off’ format when it comes to viewers asking questions of their guests. This limitation is viewed as a hindrance by players on the new media stage and has been removed.
“The best part about our format is that it is a two way conversation, Benjamin Higginbotham co-host and owner of Spacevidcast LLC said. “Don’t agree with us? Tell us live on the show and we’ll stop and actually discuss. Do that with traditional media!”
Spacevidcast is also expanding its operations to include its new epic format – broadcast in high definition and available to subscribers who are passionate about space exploration, but want to see it packaged in a different format than the dry way that NASA TV presents it. Those that subscribe will be charged $10 monthly or can select an annual subscription for $100. As Mr. Higginbotham describes it:
“Spacevidcast epic is a way for everyone interested in our content to get just a bit more, Higginbotham said. “So far epic has beaten our expectations, our first goal was 20 subscribers in the first month – we blew past that number in about a week.”
This new venture provides subscribers with even greater access to the content that attracted them to this media source in the first place. As a start-up company in this current economic climate funding is a major concern. However, the folks at Spacevidcast refused to gouge their fans and only charged the bare minimum. This new source will place Spacevidcast on the world stage and allow them to cut out the advertisements and provide viewers with a ‘post-show’ segment, the so-called, ‘show-after-the-show.’ Other aspects allow for those members who refer new members to receive a discount on the amount they pay.
As this small space media start-up cranks out the content and becomes a full-fledged media outlet, it appears to be making all the right decisions. Viewers have a hard time not enjoying the funny antics of the co-hosts as they work hard to both provide their audience with important spaceflight information while at the same time making the process as fun as possible – as their logo says, ‘Spacevidcast – Making space commonplace.’
For More Info: http://www.spacevidcast.com/