Man, are we having fun! That’s the good news. Padraig and I are bursting with ideas for TCI, more ideas than we have the time or resources to chase. This is a good problem to have. Readership and listenership are both growing, and that remains a steady motivation for us.
Unfortunately, our friend Cush (Mike Cushionbury) left TCI to become Editor-in-Chief at Mountain Flyer, a return to his print publishing roots, and while we were sad to see him step away from the project, who could deny him what looks like a bit of a dream job? Hopefully you’ll see some TCI x Mountain Flyer collaborations in the future. Cush’s exit made us both more busy, and we lost his Rolodex, which is a who’s who of fun contributors, but, and this brings me to the elephant in the editorial room, we have not grown our subscriber base quickly enough to be able to pay ourselves salaries.
The subscription model is, as ever, in a transitional phase. Today, everyone is competing for your monthly dollar. Apps like Photoshop, iCloud Storage, DropBox, et. al. have moved to a monthly payment model. Content providers like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, etc., etc., etc. are all taking a bite. It’s as though the revenue generating mechanisms of humanity have all discovered that, if you ask folks for just a little money, more often, they’re more likely to say yes.
Of course, many of these entities ALSO sell ads or supplement their revenue in ways we might term “double dipping,” but no one consults us on the ethics of such things. Like you, we’re beholden to the powers that hold the keys to the best tools. The message we take is, “be better at what you do.”
Our own experience is that the true-blue supporters of what we do, the folks who came with us from Red Kite Prayer, as just one example, got on the subscription bandwagon early, and that has allowed us to pay for the day-to-day operation of the site as well as some fees for contributors. It has not, unfortunately, replaced the ad revenue we got from RKP, which let us pay ourselves. And we have a seemingly devoted, larger group of readers/listeners who are not interested in another subscription. This is understandable, if disappointing.
At least, when you’re involved in a labor of love, it’s good that you love what you do.
We have begun putting out feelers out to companies within the industry whom we admire in hope of securing some simple sponsorship for our podcasts. This is a first step, to see how it works. We remain committed to keeping the operation as simple and content-focused as possible. We don’t like ad-cluttered websites, and we don’t want to operate one. It requires energy and compromises neither of us is interested in. You will remain, as ever, in the loop.
Meanwhile the creative engine is purring along. You’ll see a new, short-form podcast soon, “The Crash” which will collect stories of pivotal bike crashes with bright silver linings. “The Crash” will feature personalities from our bike world, and maybe even beyond. Look for it next week (or maybe the week after).
If you’ve read this far. We thank you. And if anything above inspired you to subscribe, you can do that here.