Welcome to the feed zone

Your Humble Narrator in the salad days, covering a race in Bibleburg.

A bitter wind continues to thin the herd of cycling journalists struggling to make headway in the bloody gutter of vulture capitalism.

Yet even as the ravens screeched “Nevermore!” for Zapata Espinoza and two colleagues at Hi-Torque Publications, Wade Wallace and Caley Fretz were crowing over the news that they had signed up enough committed members to launch their new venture, “the best damn cycling website on the planet,” a.k.a. Escape.

Turn your radio on.

The notion of journalism underwritten by membership is not new, not even for cycling journalism. The Greater Outside Globe-Spanning Vertically Integrated Title-Killing Paywalled Conglomerate relies on memberships (and vulture-capitalist beggary), and The Cycling Independent (which we help prop up with a monthly tenner) strives to get by on subscriptions.

It’s a rough old road, no matter how you ride it. The sport is pricey to do, and even more so to cover. Memberships and subscriptions can only take you so far. Advertising is a hard sell.

And the vulture capitalist? Basically a pimp who says things like “synergy,” “scale,” and “best in class,” instead of “bitch,” “hoe,” and “Shit, it’s five-o.” He might not take a straight razor to your lips if you don’t bring in the Benjamins, but he will cut the hell out of your masthead. He didn’t add you to the stable because he liked the look of your legs, honey; he thought you’d be a good earner.

The wild card in this bum hand at Casino Velo is the audience. A lot of people think information wants to be free. They want to be paid for whatever they’re doing for work, when they can find it, and actually show up to do it. But you, pal, don’t you bogart that information.

Lucky for you, you’ve stumbled into the cheap seats. We’re serving up another episode of Radio Free Dogpatch, absolutely free of charge, and we guarantee it’ll be worth every penny you paid for it.

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: The setup remains the same: Once again I set up shop on the dining-room table, using a Shure SM58 mic and the Zoom H5 Handy Recorder. Editing was in Apple’s GarageBand, with a sonic bump from Auphonic. Zapsplat, Freesound, GarageBand, the 1988 world cyclocross championships, and Your Humble Narrator provided music and sound effects.

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13 Responses to “Welcome to the feed zone”

  1. Shawn Says:

    Wow. A couple of days ago I was running some numbers and was writing up a post describing just what Caley and Wade are doing. Although I was targeting $100 a year and not $99. My idea was to hire the journalists and hire them as independent contractors for $100K a year. A part of the idea would be the continued PBS style marketing from each of the journalists throughout the year. Based on my plan, I was going to be ringing your doorbell.

    With that said, I need to go find the piggybank and throw money out there where my mouth is.

    P.S. I was perusing old posts of yours’ last night There’s about 333 pages on WordPress. It’s interesting to see all who’s commented and if they are still active.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, I’ve been at it for a while. More than 14 years in this particular WordPress setup. I decided to go this route after seven years of running a self-hosted WP build that didn’t permit comments. People wanted to be able to chime in on the posts, and I found it really makes for a much better blog. Many hands make light work.

      It’ll be interesting to see what Wade and Caley come up with. I never paid any attention to CyclingTips for some reason, so I have no expectations. I know Patrick Brady and John Rezell at The Cycling Independent, and I like reading Emlyn Lewis, too; it would be nice to see that outfit thrive.

      Dan Cavallari is trying to make something happen, too. I really need to touch base with him, see where he’s at. There are so many privateers out there it’s hard to keep track of them all.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I have not seen too many posts by Patrick, aka, Padraig, over at TCI lately. Seems Emlyn, aka Robot, is doing a lot of the lifting. They have survived so far and I hope they keep air in their tires.

        But with everyone trying to go their own way these days, whether in politics or bicycling or whatever else it is (and if I was more generous, there would be about ten different “blogs” I would be supporting), it is getting a little hard to keep up with the “brother can you spare a subscription” stuff. One could probably make some money figuring out how to bundle some of these things.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Robot and Raz are churning out the copy, for sure. Padraig and I haven’t chatted in a while. He seems to be recycling his greatest hits, a temptation I try to avoid, perhaps because I haven’t had any. I should tug on his coat, see what’s going on over there.

  2. Pat O’Brien Says:

    Nice work Patrick. The music publications and brick and mortar stores have serious headwinds too. The ultimate venture capitalists are the oil producing monarchs and dictators. And, they are buying the world.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thanks, Paddy me lad. This podcast faced a few headwinds of its own. There’s been way too much going on around here lately and it’s been damn near impossible to find a quiet moment to toss a loop over the voices in my head and get them all jogging in the same direction.

      Every time I thought I had it finished I gave it another listen and thought, “Aw, man. That ain’t right.” I should start blaming all the retakes on my producer, “Juan Motime.”

      Meanwhile, independent bookstores are in the same pickle, and have been for years. I go to Page 1 Books first, then Powells. Never Amazon.

  3. Pat O’Brien Says:

    Now the venture capitalists / hedge funds are sweeping in to buy SVB bank accounts for 60 cents on the dollar. The over 8300 staff is offered 1.5 times their current salary for 45 days by uncle sam to close this shit show down gracefully, while startup depositors scramble to meet payroll. Real people suffer, the taxpayer bails out another group of assholes, the rich get richer. Sound famliar?

    Shawn, I’ve commented enough. Time for me to start listening.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Andrew Ross Sorkin at the NYT’s DealBook has a breakdown on the Silicon Valley Bank debacle. What a Charlie Fox that appears to be. It’s about time that the tumbrel and guillotine made a comeback. But I guess you need garlic, a mallet, and a wooden stake for vampires.

      Also, John Gruber at Daring Fireball has a couple of interesting links on the subject.

      • SAO’ Says:

        “Companies and institutions that need to be bailed out by the government when they fail, should be owned by the government. You can’t privatize the profit and socialize the losses.”

        Halli Thorleifsson

        (Yes, *that* Halli Thorleifsson.)

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          Ho ho ho. Fuck with the bull and you get the horn. And “Phony Stark” has to be the best Elon nickname yet.

        • Shawn Says:

          I believe I read somewhere that the people of Iceland are some of the happiest. I suspect after reading the twitter thread between Halli and the guy that just bit into the lawsuit cheese and will be contributing more to the Icelandic tax system, is making the people of the country even happier. “Please, please Mr. Stark, have some more.”

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