People are home from work and school. Sports (usually) airs on the weekends. So why are so many phoning it in on the weekends?
With sports so uncertain, how are your weekends really looking?
We get it. You’re running a million miles an hour just dealing with day to day and these aren’t exactly routine times. Since we focus exclusively on the weekends, we pay attention. So, we thought we’d let you know some of our findings and observations.
There are rich opportunities for stations on the weekends to capture and retain new viewers and eventually, when things normalize, revenue.
RE-RUNS: Will you capture or shed viewers with oft-repeated, long-in-the-tooth programs “tired” from exhaustive network or cable runs? Have you ever noticed the copyright year of your weekend programming? Take a look sometime.
REPACKAGED SHOWS: We get it, COVID presents a challenging environment for us all. But if content suppliers are repackaging old stuff that is disguised to look like new stuff (new openings, themed re-runs, etc.), they need to be honest and let you know. First-run original content is KING and will be rarer than ever this fall 2020. Stations airing all-original, first-run programming will have a competitive advantage.
COMMERCIAL LOADS: There is no sugarcoating that some weekend program suppliers are cramming in so many commercials that the content is now “that stuff that goes in between ads.”
Why would viewers, with a plethora of choices, watch sub-par, old programming crammed with interruptions? Even the commercials themselves are sometimes repeated so often in the same show that it causes viewer tune-out.
CREDIT SEQUENCES: Ever notice some producers cut corners on content by featuring abnormally long, drawn-out credit sequences with little or nothing to entertain the viewers. This isn’t vanity, but a sign of a somewhat sloppy (or perhaps greedy) production. And it means that lead-out programs and the station’s overall weekend numbers suffer. Why not hold on to viewers at every opportunity?
ELECTRONIC PRESS KITS DISGUISED AS CONTENT: EPKs are not TV content. EPKs, at best, are meant to support or enhance story-telling, not replace it. Travel, Cars, Pets, or other types of themed-programming that relies almost exclusively on “b-roll” or EPKs provided by a hotel, travel destination, car manufacturer, etc. is NOT compelling content and does NOT belong on broadcast TV.
EXPLOITED CONTENT: This is difficult to say but it is true. How is a “sports clip” program, with a straight-face, showcasing footage of girls in bikinis dancing around as sports content? Are so-called “outdoor enthusiasts” hunters skirting regulations to kill endangered animals? Is this now considered entertainment? Do we understand it’s 2020? Viewers certainly do.
Weekends matter. These long-creeping trends are not just one production by one studio. These issues can be observed every weekend on programs from studios and distributors of all sizes. Many of us are just too busy to notice, but it hurts overall viewership and we’re missing golden opportunities to court new audiences.
Broadcast TV has a rare opportunity at a renaissance in 20-21. Still, it could be a final chance to garner new audiences before viewers return to pre-pandemic media habits (and advertisers will hopefully return).
Our industry needs to be “all hands on deck,” to claim these new, and often young viewers. Weekend programming beyond the strip is a great way to experiment with unique, under-served content to garner new viewers while offering current viewers something blessedly original.
Like you, we can’t see the future, but we all know that the short-term will be challenging. However, we think the long-term prospects for broadcast TV could be bright… if we don’t phone it in. If we cease some bad habits and laser focus our approach to super-serving our viewers and advertisers like never before, perhaps broadcast TV can come out of this challenging environment as a more robust, healthier, and savvy industry.
Raw Travel pledges to you, our station partners, that Season 8 (20-21) will feature original content from around the world. Most, if not all, was filmed in 2019-20 (pre-pandemic). No previous season re-runs, or old, repackaged, “best of” stuff until we get to summer 2021.
October through June we pledge to premiere brand-new, first-run, top- of-the-barrel stuff. Travel offers escapism many viewers crave, especially now. We owe them our best. We’re working harder than ever to seize this unprecedented opportunity to garner new friends, fans and viewers.
RAW TRAVEL PLEDGE TO AFFILIATES
1) ALL ORIGINAL CONTENT FOR SEASON 8 (20-21) I’ll admit it. We were lucky. We never said “no” to a travel opportunity in 2019, and we’re sure glad we didn’t. The happy result is plenty of content to ingest and many great and inspiring travel stories yet to tell!
2) LIMITED COMMERCIALS: We will stick to our agreed-upon commercial load and will NOT try to sneak in extra commercial breaks. If we can’t make a living on our agreed-upon inventory split, then we need to find another way to make a living. Viewers crave content. Greedy pigs get slaughtered. We’re in this for the long haul.
3) EXTRAS IN THE CREDITS COUNT: We believe in TV and the power of storytelling to lift up, inspire, and yes, affect positive change. We will always endeavor to entertain viewers right up until the closing credits finish rolling with behind the scenes or “extra” bonus content to keep them engaged into the lead-out programming whenever possible. Even our music during credits is carefully selected.
Our mission is larger than Raw Travel. We want to make heroes of our affiliates and our advertisers. We wish to entertain and inspire viewers to see the world in a different light, and someday soon, when it’s safe again, experience the life-changing benefits of travel first-hand.
Season 8 Trailer below (3 Min. TRT).
To see how Raw Travel Stacks up to other weekend shows go HERE. and email us at RawTravel@aimtvgroup.com for password access to the research included in this presentation.
Thank you for your kind attention.
Robert G. Rose Executive Producer AIM TV Group & Raw Travel TV
RAW TRAVEL’S EIGHTH SEASON WITH ALL-ORIGINAL CONTENT
– Nation’s Leading Travel Show Still Growing Strong, Despite Pandemic –
NEW YORK, NY: August 5th, 2020– AIM Tell-A-Vision® Group (AIM TV) announced today that its first-run, syndicated TV series Raw Travel® has been greenlit for an eighth consecutive season. The show will kick off on October 3rd and 4th, 2020 with a full slate of all-original content as many producers are struggling to come to grips with original productions as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the US and other parts of the world.
Thanks to an aggressive shooting schedule pre-pandemic, Raw Travel will be rolling out an entire season of original, first-run content. Coming off a seventh consecutive season of audience and distribution growth and defying the trends of the broader-based television industry, the travel genre is perhaps more popular than ever as home-bound and claustrophobic viewers crave escapism.
Destinations from around the globe will be featured, including Lithuania, Ukraine, Turkey, Colombia, Indonesia, Jamaica,Ethiopia,the country of Georgia, and some limited, domestic U.S. travel. With travel and tourism at a virtual standstill, and many shows relying on re-runs or repackaging old material to get them through, original, first-run, non-news content is a rarity.
“Travelers miss traveling, and viewers need a dose of optimism, love, and hope. I’m so grateful that last year, I said ‘yes’ to so many travel opportunities. I had no idea that we’d need this content in 2020-21to complete our eighth season of all-original content”, says Producer, Robert G. Rose. “First-run, original content can help broadcasters attract viewers on weekends when sports are uncertain, and many syndicated shows have no choice but to re-run or repackage old content. We want to help viewers face this daunting new reality by giving them a chance to live vicariously through our adventures until eventually we can all safely and enjoyably travel again,” Rose added.
Raw Travel’s Season Eight will debut in 174 US cities and 95% of US TV homes, also a record for the show. The show currently airs each weekend in the USA on broadcast affiliates such as WNYW Fox 5 & WWOR My9 in New York, KCBS 2 & KCAL 9 in Los Angeles, WFLD Fox 32 & WPWR 50 in Chicago, etc., with multiple airings each week in most major markets.
In addition to domestic growth, Raw Travel continues to expand its international footprint on a variety of outlets worldwide and can also be seen via several In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) offerings on airlines such as American Air,Delta, Air Canada, Virgin America, and more.
Today Alamo announced all employees are required to wear masks. I don’t know if our posts had anything to do with it, but I assume it didn’t hurt. Let’s hope other car rental companies follow suite. Here is the letter I sent their customer service.
To Whom it May Concern at Alamo Rental Cars / Enterprise Holdings
My name is Robert G. Rose. I’m the producer and host of Raw Travel TV and a recent Alamo customer. On April 1st, 2020 during the beginning of the peak of COVID 19 pandemic in New York City , I decided to travel and self-isolate on the farm where I grew up in Middle Tennessee. I booked a one-way flight to Nashville Tennessee.
After flying on a near-empty flight to Nashville International Airport (BNA), I proceeded to pick up my rental car from Alamo, which I had reserved for 14 days since I knew I would be self-quarantined at least 14 days. During the trip, I took every possible precaution, including wearing a mask and gloves the entire flight and drive home, as well as frequently sanitizing my hands.
When signing paperwork for the vehicle, I asked the gentleman at the counter if I could extend beyond 14 days if needed. He replied I just needed to call into the number on the receipt jacket to do so.
After my initial 14 days of isolation, it became clear that New York City was still not safe. I thought it safer for me and others to remain on my rural farm rather than a small apartment in a crowded city rife with the virus.
On or about April 13th, I called in to extend my rental. I spoke to Michelle, who said she would extend the rental for 14 more days until April 29th at the same weekly rate I’d previously booked. She specifically recommended April 29th as the return date because that date would lock me into a lower weekly rate rather than a more expensive monthly rate. I thanked her and agreed to her terms. She gave a reference #35133893.
I took the opportunity to report to her that the front passenger tire had a leak and was flat on day 2 of the rental, but that we had fixed the tire by plugging it ourselves to avoid any unnecessary contact with roadside assistance. Also, I told her about damage on the rear left fender, which I hadn’t noticed when I had picked up and she said she made a notation
On April 28th, when it became apparent I would not be returning to NYC anytime soon, I called customer service again to inquire about extending the rental for another two weeks. The lady I spoke with informed me that since I had already extended once on the phone, that I would need to go into a physical Alamo location to extend the rental again.
I asked her if I needed to go to the Nashville Airport
location specifically, or if there was a location closer to me where I could
take care of it.
After giving her my current zip code, she suggested that I instead go to the Huntsville, Alabama airport (approximately 40 or so miles away from me as opposed to Nashville almost 90 miles away).
Since I had an issue with the tire and back rear damage, I
inquired about the possibility of exchanging the vehicle.
She stated that if I wanted to exchange the vehicle, I’d have to do that in Nashville, but if I just wanted to extend the current reservation, I could do so in Huntsville. She stated she was sending a message for Nashville to ring or email me within 48 hours to be certain, but I never heard from them (and my frequent phone calls and emails went unanswered or flipped over to the national customer service).
To my initial confusion, she also insisted that the vehicle was not due back until 6 pm on April 30th, not April 29th as I had in my notes. After a little back and forth, I took her word for that. However, to be sure, I did call back a few hours later and spoke to Robert, who confirmed the information, and he also stressed that the vehicle was not due back until 6 pm on April 30th and he again confirmed that I could extend the rental at the Huntsville airport.
On April 30th, I ultimately chose to extend the car rental in Huntsville because it was 1) closer than Nashville and 2) I was short on time and 3) I could then be assured of keeping the same vehicle which had only had one occupant for the month, so I knew it was clean and safe from infection.
I arrived at Huntsville airport at approximately 5 pm, one hour before the car was supposedly due at 6 pm. I was surprised to see that receivers at the return area were not wearing masks, nor were they seemingly practicing social distancing, even though I had on a mask and gloves and was clearly trying to maintain distance.
When I walked into the airport to extend the rental, the clerk was behind a makeshift plexiglass window, and she did seem to be sanitizing her hands frequently. However, after a few minutes on the computer, she informed me that she was unable to extend the rental beyond one more day. And when she tried to extend for one additional day the entire bill increased by over 50%.
She seemed incapable of grasping the billing discrepancy but
made no attempt to call Customer Service Headquarters or to ask for help from an
on-site supervisor who she said was busy with other customers.
So, I called Customer Service while standing there and after getting hung up on by someone initially, eventually spoke to Danilo. He said that because I returned vehicle April 30th instead of April 29th, the extra day had kicked in the monthly rate instead of the weekly rate I’d been quoted.
Frustrated that was getting late and I was getting nowhere
fast, I informed the lady at the counter that I was going to try to drive to
Nashville and return it there before they closed. I asked her what time BNA closed.
She again was unhelpful and was unable or unwilling to tell me and replied that
every location has different hours.
Before heading back to the vehicle to drive to Nashville,
now a 2-hour drive instead of a little over an hour drive, it would have been
for me initially, I tried customer service once again. I spoke to a young lady
whose English-language skills were challenging. However, she did connect me
promptly to a supervisor, David.
Unfortunately, David only made this deteriorating situation
worse. Instead of helping to resolve the problem, David droned on endlessly
without pause how company policy was that rental extensions had to be taken at
the physical location where the vehicle was picked up.
When I was finally able to edge a question in, I asked why both
previous agents had told me otherwise. David deflected and again went on a
long-winded explanation about company policy, without addressing the erroneous
information I’d received or offering a hint of apology.
He also all but accused me of being a liar, saying that he had no record of me extending the vehicle to April 14th. When I gave him the reference number provided, he said he could see in the notes that I’d called in and wanted to extend but saw no evidence of the contract being extended. He kept saying he understood that I thought I had extended but that since Michelle didn’t extend the contract in “the system,” I hadn’t actually extended the agreement. Thus, because I had returned the car a day later, I would be subject to the higher monthly fee. He then added that I was currently in breach of contract because it was past 6 pm on April 30th and would be subject to even more potentially higher penalties and fees.
I asked for David’s employee #, and he gave me #E772PF, but
given how the conversation was going, I have doubts that is his real Employee
#. If that is indeed David’s employee # and if his role is to de-escalate
tension and retain customers, he did the exact opposite. Because of David’s
rude tone and could-care-less, glib response to my inquiries, I then decided
that I’d return the vehicle to Alamo and use any another car rental company my
remaining time in Tennessee and, if I could help it, for any future travel.
When I finally arrived at Nashville Airport about 2 hours later nearing 8 pm (4 hours after I had set out) with a fully gassed up vehicle, the young attendant who received me was without mask and gloveless. He was climbing into the vehicle to check the mileage, etc.
He asked if everything was ok and I told him I was not happy. He then walked me over to the night manager and asked him if he could help me. The mask-less night manager and the other young man were standing right next to each other, about a foot apart. Despite me having a mask and gloves neither appeared to be practicing any social distancing.
When I mentioned there was a pandemic going on, they did
apologize and separated a bit. But when I aired my grievances with the night
manager, he mumbled something about the car was no longer accruing charges and
that he’d take up with management in the morning about my billing and
I rented another vehicle with Budget Rental Car on the spot paying a premium for the last- minute rental. I sprayed and wiped down the new car from Budget as much as possible and drove home with my mask and gloves on, trying not to touch anything other than what was necessary to drive safely. I arrived back home at about 11 pm, roughly 7 hours from when I’d begun an errand that should have taken 2 hours to complete.
Despite the billing hassles, the repeated misinformation, and the glibly rude treatment by David the supervisor and the shrugging treatment by the Nashville night manager, by far, my biggest concern from this experience was Alamo’s attitude towards customers during this pandemic. Instead of making it easy to extend via telephone, I had to interact with up to 6 people in person yesterday, each seemingly taking safety precautions much less seriously than their customers, many of whom were wearing masks.
This morning, May 1st, Anthony, the Nashville Tri-Brand Manager for Alamo, Enterprise and National called to apologize and straighten out the billing. He informed me that as of today, May 1st, 2020, all Alamo employees are required to wear masks when interacting with customers. Anthony was going to send me an email with his contact info and billing summary, but as of the writing of this letter about 4 hours later, I have not yet received it.
I did, however, also receive a call from Mr. Shawn Hurley, VP of the Middle Tennessee area rental car locations, and he assured me that corporately, Alamo and Enterprise Holdings do take customer safety seriously. Shawn expressed his frustration at my treatment and said he would do everything he could to improve his staff’s behavior when it comes to safety. I appreciated Shawn’s call and believe he will try his best to address this issue.
Based on my observations, neither Nashville or Huntsville
Airport Alamo Rental Car employees are taking enough safety precautions to
protect themselves or customers. It’s frustrating to see and hear companies pay
lip-service only to something as crucial as customer safety.
I, like many, am extremely challenged during this time. I’m trying to continue to run my business, while working remotely. I am trying to ensure my employees, vendors, freelancers, and others who depend on this show for their livelihood are taken care of while keeping myself and my loved ones safe. I’ve had many friends and friends and relatives of friends who have had COVID 19 and recovered but it was tough. I’ve had others who have not been so fortunate and have succumbed. I take this dangerous disease and health recommendations seriously and if you want my business, I believe you should as well.
I specifically chose Alamo because I felt the service would
be better than an off-brand, less expensive choice so I could focus on other,
more pressing issues. Unfortunately, the opposite has occurred. As a result, I
am behind on my sleep, my work, and my business.
Yet, I consider myself very fortunate compared to so many who have lost so much. I owe it to them to do what I can to communicate the urgency of this matter to others who may not understand or comprehend the potential of this situation. It is absolutely zero fun to watch a pandemic explode all around you, while you wonder if you will be next, or do you already have the virus and not know it or does your neighbor have it or who will die next from the disease or to wonder if you should shelter in place or escape while you can to a safer environment?
I could have easily dropped this matter when the billing discrepancy
was adjusted. However, I feel a bigger responsibility to my friends, family,
viewers and social media followers to be transparent so that they can
potentially avoid any unnecessary safety risks or additional stress during this
stressful time. I regret that I cannot recommend Alamo Rental Car to them.
I hope that by publicizing my experience, this may help in some small way bolster Alamo’s commitments to better customer treatment, more robust customer service training, and most importantly, during this unique time, a much more significant commitment to employee and customer safety and health.
WATCH RAW TRAVEL SEASON-ONE ON-DEMAND & HELP FEED HUNGRY IN COLOMBIA & GUATEMALA
As tough as the economic toll of this pandemic has been on the USA, it’s been devastatingly worse in many developing countries where the poorest of the poor live day-to-day. These folks, who struggle mightily in the best of times, have been unable to work to garner their daily meals due to lockdown restrictions.
The governments of these countries do not have much if any, social net to speak of. Only private individuals, companies, or NGOs are able to help and they are now struggling as well. The United Nations has issued dire warnings of hunger of biblical proportions is something isn’t done. So what can we do?
We can each do something big or small (a little goes a long way in developing countries) to help trusted and vetted partners address their communities’ hunger.
If you remember my pal Andres Ocampo from Medellin Colombia (Los Suziox lead singer, Raw Travel theme song composer & El Sub music venue owner) from Raw Travel Episode 706 – “Going Solo: Medellin Rocks”? Andres has turned lemons into lemon aid (pun intended). His venue, El Sub is unable to host any events or concerts during the lockdown, so Andres has turned the space into a repository for donated food & toiletry items for the poorest of the poor in El Castilla and surrounding working-class and poor neighborhoods in Medellin, Colombia.
People who are unable to feed themselves let their needs be known by placing a red flag outside of their home. As you can see by the photos and videos, there are lots of donated items, but there are lots of red flags outside of homes as well.
GUATEMALA: Our old friends at the orphanage of Casa Guatemala are doing something similar in rural Guatemala, collecting funds for their neighbors who are locked in and unable to work and thus feed themselves. Casa Guatemala is a much-respected resource in their rural area of Guatemala near Belize, and they understand that their neighbors are suffering.
We didn’t want to simply call attention, we wanted to come up with a way that our affiliates, vendors, advertisers, and viewers could help, either big or small.
Between now and May 15th, 2020, donate $50 or more to either Casa Guatemala HERE:
or for El Sub’s Relief for Medellin, Colombia HERE: and we will donate the money directly to the organization.
Then simply send us an email of your donation receipt to RawTravel@aimtvgroup.com and we’ll forward you a pass for a free rental pass for Raw Travel – Season 1 good for all 19x episodes of Season One HERE
If $50 is too much to ask for this vulnerable time, we have smaller increments and rewards:
2) Between $6 and $49 donation will get you access to all three of Season One’s Colombia and Guatemala themed episodes:
Or if you prefer to rent any individual Colombia themed (#105 & #105) and/or Guatemala themed (#116) episodes between now and May 15th, the $1.99 entire rental will be donated and split between both organizations.
I know these are tough times, so we are trying to do our best to give you an avenue to help in a small or big way depending on your situation and hopefully at the same time help you remain entertained while at home.
But please if you are suffering economically yourself, do not donate. But if you are like me, feeling blessed at having a fairly secure job and outlook economically I thought this could be a good way to help.
As always, thank you all. God bless and stay safe… and sane. I know, I know… easier said than done.
* Please note this offer to view episodes is limited to viewers in the US only. Sorry Canada and others, it’s a territorial rights issue. But please do feel free to donate if you so desire and still send me an email and we’ll work out a way for you to be rewarded as well.
UPDATE MAY 17th, 2020 : Thanks to the following contributors who helped Casa Guatemala raise several thousand dollars and our pals at Justice for Andres in Colombia raise hundreds of dollars to help feed their neighbors in during the Covid 19 crisis. Special thanks to:
Stacey Pryor – Casa Guatemala
Laura-Lee Gosa.- Casa Guatemala
Rosalba Gordon – Colombia
Judy Smith – Colombia
Heather Pauli – Colombia
Brian Eubanks – Colombia
Lauren Wheat – Colombia
While our fundraiser is no longer active, if you do wish to donate, please feel free to do so at the links above and we will make sure the money gets to the right place as hunger, as you know, doesn’t take a holiday!
RAW TRAVEL TV HITS ALL-TIME HIGH AUDIENCE GROWTH, YET AGAIN
– Series Proclaims
Authentic Travel is Stronger Than Political, Paranormal or Gossip –
YORK, NY: December 18th, 2019 – AIM Tell-A-Vision® Group (AIM TV) announced today that its
internationally syndicated television series Raw Travel® recorded its most
substantial audience full season figures to date for its just completed 6th
season. With a still-growing affiliate list that includes 173 cities in 95% of U.S. TV households, the 2018-19 Season 6 of
Raw Travel was the sixth straight year of both audience and distribution growth.
The producers further
crowed that the soon to be completed calendar year of 2019 is on track to be
Raw Travel’s best year ever with +4%
year to year total audience growth over calendar year 2018. Raw Travel’s
continued growth, as most shows face eroding audiences due to fragmentation,
continues to surprise observers.
The recently launched
Season 7 (2019-20) includes a roster of far-flung destinations including, China, Ethiopia, South Korea, Indonesia,
Georgia (the country), Turkey,
Ukraine, Lithuania, and more. Closer to home destinations in South America, the Caribbean, and the USA are
outlets such as the former Travel Channel switching
to “paranormal,” Raw Travel has diversified to showcase a more extensive array
of travel, such as Recreational Vehicles, Road
Trips, Sailing Excursions, Solo Travel,Voluntourism,
Ecotourism, and more.
“There is such an
obvious void on U.S. television of authentic travel content,” states Robert G. Rose, Executive Producer, and
Host. “Cable seems to have lost its bearings, is floundering and frankly seems
desperate. We believe this presents a great opportunity for Over the Air, Free
Broadcast TV, assuming broadcasters answer the call,” said Rose. “As cable continues
to zig, we’ll continue to zag, and as they continue to lose their audience,
we’ll continue to grow ours. If they are going to leave the entire niche up to
us, we’ll gladly serve it,” Rose Continued.
Also bucking current
media trends, Raw Travel has continued to attract younger demographics to
broadcast TV while growing traditional core demographics from lead-in programs
all across the country. The fiercely independently produced show has ranked #1
or #2 in key demographics in time-slots in significant markets the past six
seasons, even when up against network or large studio productions, showcasing
viewers’ appetites for authentic shows with socially relevant messaging.
Besides pay-TV outlets in Europe, Asia, and Africa, several major commercial airlines and cruise ships have begun licensing the series, spreading the Raw Travel movement of socially conscious, authentic adventure travel to viewers in all corners of the globe.
Travel is an adventure travel & lifestyle series showcasing socially and
environmentally aware, independent travel. The series weaves together themes of
eco-tourism and voluntourism (giving back) with underground music and authentic
culture in a unique way. Each weekend the show is seen in over 173 U.S. cities on
major broadcast affiliates as well as in several international territories
(Asia, Africa, Europe, etc.). It can also be found on several major airlines
and soon in Over the Top (OTT Digital) platforms as well. AIM Tell-A-Vision Group produces and
distributes the show domestically. Visit www.RawTravel.tv for more information.
AIM TELL-A-VISION GROUP
Tell-A-Vision (AIM TV) Group is an independent content and distribution company
founded by media veteran and entrepreneur Robert G. Rose. Since 2000, AIM TV
has been producing and distributing positive, compelling content that reflects
a mission of presenting “Media That Matters.” Visit www.AIMTVGroup.com for
AIM TELL-A-VISION GROUP ANNOUNCES “RAW TRAVEL” TV SERIES
– Indie Producer Announces a New Kind of Travel Series for Curious Travelers –
– AIM Tell-A-Vision® Group (AIM TV), the company that pioneered syndicated English language TV programming for U.S. born American Latinos, announced today their latest production “Raw Travel®”, a new kind of travel series showcasing the rapidly growing wave of socially and environmentally aware, independent travel.
The series incorporates eco-tourism, voluntourism (giving back) and adventure sports, with underground music and culture in a way, that is unique to television. The inspiration for the series occurred when AIM TV Founder Robert G. Rose was traveling abroad and discovered a trend among a growing number of socially conscious travelers who were striving for more authentic and rewarding experiences.
Rose collaborated on the project with his long-time production partner, Renzo Devia. The award winning duo rekindled their creative relationship and enlisted the help of other trusted associates from their many years in production to create four (4) complete, one hour episodes. The crew traveled to off the beaten path destinations which offered unique opportunities for authentic cultural, environmentally sustainable and socially aware travel experiences.
True to the title, the program illustrates the raw and, sometimes unglamorous, frustrating reality of independent travel while simultaneously showcasing how this type of travel is not only more affordable, but can spur the kind of growth and fulfillment that rewards and changes lives forever.
“Travel is the most powerful experience I know. It takes you through a wide range of emotions ranging from often irrational fear to almost always incredible fulfillment. We hope to demystify the concept of socially aware travel and, in the process, encourage people to get their passports and go meet the neighbors,” states Rose, Executive Producer and Host of the series. “Travel can spur empathy, deeper cultural understanding and personal spiritual growth. These are experiences that I believe everyone can and should have,” Rose continues.
The episodes currently produced include treks to Colombia, Argentina & Uruguay, Trinidad & Tobago and Ecuador with additional episodes slated to begin production once distribution is secured. An 8 minute video trailer can be viewed at the show’s website www.RawTravel.tv along with more information on the show, links to the blog www.RawTravelBlog.com and more.
AIM TV will be attending the upcoming NATPE convention as well as Real Screen summit to screen the series for interested networks & media outlets.
ABOUT THE AIM TELL-A-VISION GROUP
AIM TV is an independent content production and distribution company founded by media executive and entrepreneur Robert G. Rose. AIM TV aspires to produce and distribute positive, compelling content that reflects their mission of presenting Media That Matters. Visit www.AIMTVGroup.com for more information.
Lima, Peru – After living abroad in Latin America off and on for almost a year, I’ve come to expect the unexpected, both good and bad. I was not prepared, however, to fall in love with Lima, especially in the middle of their cold, damp and grey winter when the sun rarely if ever makes an appearance.
In fact, my eyes are super sensitive to sunlight so when out doors I almost always wear my sunglasses but in two weeks while in Lima, I never once wore them .
Lima, Peru is a huge city and if you are visiting Peru, chances are you are at least stopping through this city of 8 million souls. Most travelers will spend 1 or maybe 2 nights here.
If you’ve done the Machu Picchu thing, you already know that while it’s stunning it’s also a little like visiting Disneyworld, albeit more beautiful, natural and spiritual. When I was there in 2007, I couldn’t escape the feeling I was trampling on something sacred.
At the time there were almost 1 million visitors per year and geologists, archeologists and even the U.N. were calling for limiting the number of visitors for fear of doing irreparable damage. Since then, I’ve heard that some steps have been taken to limit the number of visitors to Machu Picchu.
Luckily for Peru, there is so much more to this incredible country than Cusco and Machu Picchu and that includes the capital city of Lima.
This was my first time to spend a significant amount of time in Lima, so I wanted to live as much like a local as possible. After staying a few days in a hotel, I secured a small apartment in the somewhat upscale and modern neighborhood of Miraflores.
Miraflores is where many tourists end up and I heard English being spoken almost as much as Spanish. Normally in such circumstances, I’d flee another direction, but after so many months of basic, survival conversations in Spanish (ordering food, securing a room, etc.) I was ready for just a touch of English and yes, even some Gringo culture.
Miraflores and nearby neighborhoods like San Isidro are so modern, clean and full of high rises, it’s easy to forget you’re in a third world country.
In Miraflores life seems to revolve around Parque Kennedy, a beautiful park dedicated to the slain U.S. President. The park is surrounded by restaurants, hotels and hostels with tourists seamlessly mixing in with the locals.
Just off Parque Kennedy is Calle Pizza (Pizza Street) which is named after the inordinate amount of pizza restaurants. It could be renamed to Calle Tout, as a lone traveler this was really the only place I felt pressured and slightly harassed to buy stuff (legal or otherwise). Overall, I’ve seen much worse in my travels abroad and most travelers can freely roam around Miraflores without too much unwanted attention.
If you want souvenirs in a hassle free environment, at night vendors come from all over to the center of the park to ply their wares. Or try the massive Inca Market, just a few blocks away.
I think the thing I welcomed most about being in Lima was the wide variety of restaurants. I probably appreciated it more after spending so much time in Medellin, Colombia, where the local cuisine is awesome but can be a little redundant after a few weeks.
Of course I sampled the ceviche and sushi, which I had been craving for months, but I also tried some pretty good Middle Eastern food, vegetarian cuisine and of course street food, which in my case was a pavo (turkey) sandwich that was cheap and out of this world good (and cheap).
I also tried a longstanding, favorite restaurant for locals and travelers alike called Manolo’s, which is pretty legendary for their over sized deli sandwiches and churros, a common South American pastry that you can get filled with chocolate, dulce (caramel) and other flavors.
In addition to the wide variety of food and accommodations, Lima has a decent amount of sites and cultural activities that could keep a traveler busy for a solid week or more.
In El Central, the downtown area of Lima, there is the beautiful and picturesque area of San Martin that is also a good spot to sample a bit more authentic Lima nightlife. I was able to check out the area with some local residents who took me down a couple of side streets to see the El Averno Cultural Center, an important and very colorful cultural center well known in the Lima underground scene.
Like most downtown areas in major cities, you want to be a little careful with your belongings and follow precautions like taking taxis and trying not to wander the streets alone at night.
Also near San Martin is the famous Magic Circuit of the Water in the Parque de la Reserva, which is reportedly one of the biggest outdoor water/light shows in the world. I’m disappointed to say that as close as I was, due to time constraints, I was unable to get by there and take this in, but I hear it is the thing to do.
And if you are in the mood for ruins and don’t feel like paying the exorbitant fees to assist in the trampling of Cusco and Machu Picchu, then check out the Huaca Pucclanaruins located right in the middle of the city on the outskirts of Miraflores.
The Huaca Pucclana ruins were settled sometime around 500 AD by the Lima Indians as a temple to worship the sea. The ruins are still being excavated and archeologists are still discovering fascinating details of what life was like for the Lima Indians every year.
I’ve seen a lot of ruins over the years (including the aforementioned Machu Picchu) and let me tell you I found Huaca Pucclana to be fascinating. Tours are provided in Spanish and English and last for about 45 minutes. Admission is only 10 soles (about $3.50 U.S.) and in my opinion that was money well spent.
In addition to ruins, they also raise animals that would have been typical during the time of the Lima Indians. These include llamas, alpacas, cuy (guinea pigs) as well as a hairless Peruvian dog that the Lima Indians bred and while nothing beautiful to look at, petting him was highly addictive.
His body temperature was so warm (evidently to compensate for lack of hair) and his hide felt a little like maybe a really warm elephant might feel. He enjoys being petted so much that he barks loudly when people stop, so the guy is a little spoiled and perhaps explains what I understood his name to be “Shout”.
According to our tour guide, this breed of dog was almost extinct just a few years ago, so the Peruvian government has taken steps to save the dogs, including making them the official dog of Peru. On the day I was at the ruins, there were folkloric dancers as well.
Now if you’re an adrenaline enthusiast, then just head to the Malecon overlooking the beach area of Miraflores. There are professional Parasailers that jump off the cliffs and travelers can either watch (like me) or for around a $50 U.S. fee, take a dive with the pros. Finding the parasailers is easy, just head to the hard to miss Parque del Amor (Park of Love) statues and look up or out to sea. Chances are you’ll see one flying by.
As I said, in Lima in winter, the sun does not shine much. In fact, it can be a bit gloomy and depressing with the heavy clouds and fog on a daily basis. But maybe because I found Lima to be such an international city with restaurants, nightlife and friendly but not overbearing locals I was really glad to be there.
After so much time in Latin America, I found Lima to be a good transitional city for me to ease the culture shock of returning back in the U.S. Overall, it’s a good city for any city slicker traveler who’d like to experience authentic culture without missing some creature comforts.
So next time you’re in Peru, be sure and allocate a couple extra days to take in the sights, sounds and tastes of Lima and if you happen to visit outside of winter bring your sunglasses. I hear you’ll need them!
The beach town of Mancora, Peru is as rowdy and boisterous as nearby Vichayito was quiet and tranquil. Mancora doesn’t have a particularly pretty beach either, but then again, people don’t flock from all over the world for the picturesque beaches (though there are plenty very nearby) . They come for the surfing and nightlife.
Here, in Mancora surrounded by desert on one side and a beach on the other, it’s easy to feel both cold and hot at the same time, at least this time of year (Peru’s winter). The sun beams down and trust me, will burn you, yet there is always a brisk, cool breeze blowing. Indeed, after attempting to surf my 1st day here, I never got 100% warm again.
I stayed at the beautiful if rustic Kon Tiki bungalows, which sits high on the hill with an incredible view of the town and beach below. To get to town and the main beach area from Kona Tiki you must walk down a twisting and turning (and if you happen to be very intoxicated or really clumsy, potentially perilous) path of steps and dirt until you get to the bottom. About a 2 minute hike down.
Once at the bottom you navigate through a narrow alley, which in the almost pitch black darkness of night, could feel intimidating for 1st time visitors, but is completely safe, as families live all along the alley.
The biggest danger was the unpredictable, small and old dog who couldn’t figure out if he liked me or hated me. Half the time he growled, barked and acted like he wanted to rip my face off and the rest of the time he seemed to forget the previous incident and completely ignored me as if I never existed. To steady my nerves each time it was time to pass the old guy, I made a game out of it trying to predict what his response would be. Though I had a 50/50 shot of getting it right, I rarely was. By the end of the trip I had figured out he was harmless.
Of course climbing back up the Kon Tiki is not as much fun as going down and even a seasoned runner like me was a little winded when arriving at the top, but it was good exercise. Sort of like living at the top of a 5 story walk up in New York City, without all those silly handrails to hold on to.
Besides the surf and partying, the locals here are perhaps another draw. While not aggressively friendly, they are not overly pushy either. A simple “no gracias” is all it takes for someone to stop offering to sell you something.
I also couldn’t sense any of that awkward tourist vs. local vibe you get in some heavily traveled areas. The locals are laid back and very non aggressive and the tourist, which consist largely of young backpackers, hippies, surfers and the occasional older tourists from around the world, seemed for the most part respectful in return.
Speaking of hippies, I discovered a lovely Vegetarian restaurant called Angela’s and it became my top stop for almost all my meals while in Mancora. They had a good vibe and killer Wi-Fi but the main draw was the food which is healthy and like most things in this town, very reasonably priced. Their vegan sandwiches were as big as a plate and cost about $3.50. Maybe I’m making up for lost time after so many months of struggling to eat healthy in Latin America but I do believe I’d never eat meat again if I could simply take the chef/cook from Angela’s back to the U.S. with me.
On the weekend I was there, I was approached by a trio of Argentine teen girls from Cordoba who were selling “happy cookies” to make some travel money. If you don’t know what makes cookies happy I won’t spoil the surprise. The girls seemed to be traveling with a larger group of gypsy like Argentines who were performing music, comedy, fire dancing and more for tips. A traveling motley crew of Argentine circus performers if you will. The entertainment was actually pretty good and well worth the $2 soles (about 66 cents) I provided as a tip.
Mancora was pretty much in a party mood every night of the week that I was there (Thursday-Monday) and if you’re not, well tough luck. Try though I tried I could not get away from the discos throbbing beats and incredibly annoying music (all music is annoying when you’re trying for some shuteye no?) no matter where I went. The noise traveled so well up the hill to Kon Tiki that some nights I literally felt I was in the disco. Ear plugs, especially purchased for the occasion, did little to stop the assault of cheesy electronica and reggaeton beats vibrating the walls.
Now it may be that most of the townspeople don’t mind this assault on the senses in the middle of the night EVERY night. Maybe they’ve built up a tolerance to the noise by now or maybe they see it as a tradeoff for the tourism dollars that float Mancora’s way. But I couldn’t help but feeling the whole town of a few thousand was held hostage to a few people (maybe a hundred?) who wanted to party the night away listening to God awful music turned up to well beyond necessary volume. Mancora’s mostly bamboo structures do a poor job of keeping noise out (or in, if you’re the disco in question) and you’d think there would be some kind of town ordinance to control the sound at least a little.
What Mancora has going for it, besides its surf and party vibe is its size. It’s big enough to offer almost anything a traveler can want… a bus station with frequent service, cheap moto taxis to get to surrounding sites (isolated beaches, thermal mud baths, etc), good restaurants, regrettably the aforementioned disco row and even a small gym where I had a decent workout. Yet it’s small enough that if you stick around for more than a couple of days, you’re going to make friends with some locals for sure and you can get from one side of town to the next by foot.
As a result, Mancora feels really safe and what parts aren’t safe for tourist (isolated beaches on the fringes of town), the police warn you away from. They even have one poor soul who patrols that part of the beach to warn unsuspecting, wandering travelers like me away and back to my assigned beach area.
Yes, Mancora has a lot to offer but quiet and tranquility on the weekends (or possibly any time) isn’t one of them. But if your easily bored by endless stretches of isolated beaches and crave things like fast Wi-Fi, excellent food choices and a pretty iron clad guarantee of a party going on no matter the time of year, then Mancora is your spot. Just remember to bring your earplugs!
Last night I fell asleep to the sound of surf in my ears without another bit of noise within earshot. I slept almost 10 straight hours, uninterrupted. I can’t recall the last time that happened. I’m visiting the Marcilia Beach Bungalows in Vichayito on the north coast of Peru just 20 minutes by moto-taxi from the party/surf haven of Mancora and about an hour from the nearest airport, Talara, where I had hailed from.
Marcial, the owner and host, greeted me when I got out of the moto-taxi , camera in hand. He had been filming the whales jumping in the ocean amid a perfect, bright orange sunset.
I remember living and working in New York City when so often it felt things were going comically wrong (i.e. late for the airport, just missed a free taxi and it started raining the moment I was leaving, etc.) and I would wonder if God wasn’t messing with me, conspiring against me. Getting some laughs at my expense perhaps? Yes, a bit self important I’ll admit, but I also admit I wasn’t thinking rationally.
I’d try to tell myself there were no coincidences and that perhaps it was my guardian angel working overtime to possibly save my life or for some other greater societal good. Maybe had I actually caught that taxi there would have been a horrible accident or maybe the flight was doomed to crash, etc. but deep down I didn’t believe that stuff. It was just a run of bad luck and I was pissed off about it.
Well, last night, after a journey that began in Lima, Peru at noon, with me once again almost missing my flight, but eventually arriving at Marciela at the pitch perfect time, I was wondering if God was conspiring FOR me (as I’m sure he has done many a time just to have me not notice). Well this time, God, I noticed.
I could not have arrived at a more picturesque moment and a more perfect spot. Backpack in hand, watching the whales jump at what seemed just a few hundred feet away and hardly any other souls around, I knew I was in the right place at the right time and there was for once, nowhere else, I craved to be. No other person I craved to be with. No what ifs… just a sunset, a beautiful beach, jumping whales and good energy all around.
I only booked one night at the Marcilia, once again by accident. My accommodations in Mancora had been booked up for my first evening so I needed another cheap spot to spend the night. I had assumed that Marcilia was within walking distance of Mancora and… it is if walking an hour one way is your idea of walking distance!
What a happy accident! The hosts, Marceil and Cecilia (hence the name Marcilia) both hail from the cruise ship industry and it shows in their hospitality. They could not have been nicer or more attentive. The food was excellent and the accommodations immaculate, especially for bamboo beach bungalows (and especially for around $15 U.S. per night).
I thought I was the only guest until a young, traveling couple from the north of England bounded up from the romantic bungalow just below mine (right on the beach) the following morning. They had already edited together a nice little video of the whales from the evening before. They, like another British couple I had “coincidentally” met on the way from the airport were raving about their previous trip to Bolivia? Hmm.. 2 young British couples in a row raving about the same spot? Is God telling me to go to England or Bolivia? I’m confused.
Shortly after my arrival and subsequent sunset I ran on the beach for 40 or so minutes. I could have gone for much longer but my tender bare feet were getting sore from the course sand. Towards the end I was no longer jogging, I was sprinting but I swear I wasn’t even breathing hard and it was so mild and cool that there was no sweat coming out of my pores whatsoever. The stars were bright and beautiful and everywhere! I felt really strong, healthy and full of vigor.
There was not another soul around, I couldn’t help but do the “Rocky… getting stronger” dance.. and while I didn’t scream “Adrian, Adrian!” I felt like screaming “I’m free. I’m free!” The joys of travel have never felt more tangible than this night.
Today I head to Mancora. A totally different vibe, an actual town full of surfers, partiers and hippies with restaurants, bars and ATM machines. That’s cool too. But if it gets too noisy or touristy or bad energy I’ll head back to Marciella’s in Vichayito in a heartbeat.
I have a feeling I’m going to be revisiting the place many times in the years to come, either physically or in my mind for sure. Especially when God inevitably starts to mess with me again!