Thoughts of: A Pickup Truck Podcast

Podcast:  An audio recording that is played, downloaded, or streamed on a computer, smartphone, or other mobile media device.  The recording is loosely based on a talk radio format and is created variously from the hobbyist to fully funded industries.

How many of you listen to them?  I started when I won an i-pod in a contest.  I’d download scads of them and listen through the day as I did my mundane and tedious chores at work.

Podcasts are wonderful things because, like blogs or the internet, they allow you to find a topic you enjoy and bring fellow enablers to strengthen your biases.  I’ve seen podcast sites for gardening, cars, books, sailing, comedy, motorcycles, firearms, Star Trek, farming, bicycling, hiking, horse riding, news, music, business, video games, religion, and even old radio shows from the era before television.  There’s even a small section that focuses on dating and relationships if you’re so inclined.  It doesn’t seem to be that popular though given how hard it is to find anything on that topic.

Like the web, there is a podcast for anything.  Well, almost.

Perusing through various podcast sites and search engines, I have found one glaring omission.  The pickup truck podcast.

That’s right.  In the great streaming digital universe there is no podcast that focuses solely on the pickup truck.

Why is that?

It makes no sense to me.  Given that the pickup is still number one and two selling vehicle in the country and that 60% of GM’s profit comes from the pickup platform, you’d think a market savvy entertainment company would jump on this.

Let’s look at another auto based entertainment sector for a moment.  Printed magazines.  When it comes to motorized vehicle based magazines, every corner of the market is covered.

You like motorcycles?  Take your pick according to style, age, and market.

Cars?  Enthusiast or fact seeker?  Amateur racer or vintage restorer?  Big block engine or four cylinder hybrid?

Pickup Trucks?  You can focus on small trucks or big diesels.  Low ride street machines or off road trail riders.  You can find restoration magazines or wild customizations.  Anything and everything.

Scooters?  Yes there are magazine for scooters of all sorts and character.

But when it comes to podcasts I’d bet money that you will have an easier time finding a ‘cast about scooters than you would about pickups.

So then the obvious question becomes:

“How would you do it?”

That parts easy.

Since the pickup is made by car companies, you go the same route as a car based podcast.

News:  You report about the new vehicle coming out, the new regulations affecting future products, the way the market meets the challenges of the times, economy, safety, recalls, new technologies, and other newsworthy items.

Reviews:  Tests of the various trucks both on and off the road.

Interviews:  One on one with the designers, engineers, marketing, sports people, and spokesperson for the vehicles.  You could even record “live shows” where listeners could call in and ask questions.

Sporting and events:  From the Baja 1000 to auto shows to truck pulls, reports of what’s happening along with interviews of the stars of the event will always be wanted.

The Personal Angle:  A “This old truck” segment where an average person talks about why they chose the truck they did and how they use it; or a general discussion about the truck and how it fits psychologically into society.

Aftermarket products:  The pickup truck is the most personalized and accessorized vehicle on the planet.  There are so many companies out there that would love to come on the air and tell their story about how their product fits into the pickup world.  Plus all the above topics can fit into this section as well.

So, as you can see there are tons of topics to build a podcast around.  The “how to do it” is easy.

I can hear your next question already:  “If it’s so easy, why don’t you do it?”

To be honest, I have thought about it, but I believe that having a voice for sign language is a hindrance in this endeavor.  The time conundrum is another.

So for now I will keep searching for this elusive podcast, but I also would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.  I know I have some pickup fans here.  Tell me what you think and what truck topics you’d like to hear about.

Until then, keep on truckin’.

Ramblings about: What works for you?

Printed ads of boats for sale were taped on the windows of a small yacht brokerage company in the touristy part of town.  “Boats” was a misnomer in this case.  With prices ranging from $53,000 to $150,000 and sized averaging 60 feet, they were more mini yacht than boat.  I glanced upon the ads with the same disconnection one usually gives to mansions listed on the realty sites.  Fun to glance at, but not worthy of deep introspection.  Then, unexpectedly, an ad jumped up and demanded my attention.

It read:  “For Sale, 1975 30’ Catalina sail boat, well maintained, $10,000”

Thirty feet?  That’s live-aboard size.  Ten grand is a real world attainable price range too.  If you can get the load of course.  I had always thought that living on a cheap boat tied to a dock was much better than living in a tiny apartment.  It would be even easier to do when starting out.

It’s been many years since I crunched the numbers, but I do recall that if you found the right marina, the dock rentals and hook-up fees were equal to or less than the average rent payment.  All your appliances were in the boat so cooking was no problem.  You had full bathroom in most cases, so those needs were filled.  You always had a parking spot for your car if you had one. And mail could be addressed to the main office if needed.  About the only problems I could ever think of was winter heat and laundry.  Laundromats solved the clean clothing dilemma, but keeping the boat warm would require a fair amount of research to see if it was not only feasible, but affordable.   No matter what; living on a boat would always be cooler than living in an apartment.

I let these thoughts and memories walk with me until I came to the local community peg board full of personal ads on it. There were the usual time-shares for sale along with the “What’s going on” leaflets.  And with these was the usual motorcycle ad.  This one was for a 2002 black Harley Davidson Heritage Softtail.  Price $15,000.

This ad was a great contrast to the sail boat.  You couldn’t live aboard it.  It had little storage.  You still had to pay rent while owning it.  And you could only bring one friend with you when you used it.  Clearly there were drawbacks.

But the most interesting thing about these two totally different devices is that they have the same aura about them and promise the same thing.  Freedom, Adventure, and Exploration.  Both the motorcycle and the sailboat scream out individualism and the ability to go where you want on a whim.  Sure, you could argue that once winter comes, the Harley will be hibernating in its garage like a bear in its cave, but I could argue back that the Harley owner might just as easily ride down to Florida or South California for a winters job and residence.  The limits to either are the ones we put on ourselves in the name of practicality.  We always base our choices on one simple phrase.  “What works for me.”  It’s a powerful statement.

That simple phrase not only dictates what we choose, but how we show ourselves to those around us.  Whether it’s a car, truck, SUV, motorcycle, bicycle, boat, or air plane; any device we choose can give us the ability to travel and explore any time we want.  Even if you just have a pair of tennis shoes and hate public transportation, you can still travel near or far. “What works for me” is how we choose to travel.

My first adult vehicle of adventure was a 1983 Dodge Aries Station wagon.  It was probably the most uncool vehicle anyone could think of, but it took me through seven states and another country.  Not only could I sleep in it if needed, but I could carry all my gear and still have room for trophies along the way.

A friend of mine chose a sporty Mercury Cougar 2+2.  He loads up the hatch with his luggage and stays at quality four star hotels on his journeys.

Peter Egan wrote about his great adventure from Paris to Barcelona on bicycle with his friend after finishing his tour of Vietnam.  Together they pedaled roughly 80 miles a day and slept in youth hostles along their journey.   Decades had passed and yet he remembered the tour as if it happened yesterday.

Another friend rides his Honda Goldwing from Florida to Michigan every year without fail while another couple chooses their Hyundai Santa Fe and mini travel trailer to explore with.

The desire to explore the unknown is universal.  How we do it is our statement to the world.  So get out and explore.  And let me know what works for you.

Thoughts on A Birthday.

There was a birthday in my family yesterday.  Well, more like an extended family member’s birthday.  My brother told me about it in an e-mail.  It was his car’s birthday.  His and his wife’s to be completely accurate.  One year ago they had walked into a dealership and drove off in their new Mini.

It’s a nice car.  It’s tastefully painted in a medium to dark blue with some nice rally stripes on the hood and the Union Jack on the mirrors for a touch of whimsy.  It’s a perfect match for them and their personalities.

But what really drew my attention was the attention BMW and Mini gave these two in recognition to buying this car.  I honestly can’t think of any other manufacturer out there that goes through this much effort to not only acknowledge a person or people who have bought a vehicle a year ago, but to keep up the excitement in owning the vehicle through its lifecycle.  This is brand marketing and owner loyalty at its best.  They hit all the hot buttons:

Nice photo of candles for the female market.  (Which makes 80% of the decision when buying a car.)

The announcement of the year gone by itself.

Suggestions to keep the excitement going via buying accessories or joining in the vehicle community.

Suggested activities to do with the car or to do in spirit of the car.  (Like watching, “The Italian Job.”)

And, again, to buy a gift for the owner and the car.

This is sheer brilliance!  Do you remember your fist car?  I sure do. There is an emotional connection that forms with the excitement and freedom that car brought to us.  As the years go on and different vehicles come and go, you lose a good part of that emotional spark.  Sometimes a dealership will work hard to create that excitement,  (The now defunct Saturn brand was good at that.) but ususally that will last for the first month or two.  By doing what BMW/Mini has done, not only do they instill appreciation and excitement for the brand, but they build owner loyalty to the company.  And that is the hardest thing to do in these modern times.

I sure hope that someone over at the big three in Detroit is paying attention because this is something they need to reconnect with.

Thank you BMW/Mini for thinking of the people who bought your cars and thank you, brother for forwarding the e-mail.