Peckhammer - The next generation of moto entertainment is hereJan 16, 2009
produced by David Aldrich, AKA Peckhammer on November 23, 2008
Forget all the jive you see on YouTube. Remember - there's only 24 hours in a day and despite the rapid rate of technology, that will never change. Anyone with a handy cam can shoot something, anything - and waste your time having you watch it. Video documentary is an art and you won't find the pros on YouTube. As special interest motorcycle programming has almost vanished from Speed Channel it was only a matter of time before a few entrepreneurs would transition it over to the Internet. Meet Peckhammer.
Photo: Eddie Mulder being interviewed by David Aldrich, AKA Peckhammer
Peckhammer TV is an Internet TV show about motorcycling, racing and general information. The show documents the efforts of riders and racers who are passionate about the sport; the hosts speak with people in the motorcycle industry about products and services, and each show brings with it an educational element.
The program is the brainchild of David Aldrich, AKA Peckhammer, who is known in the new media field for his early work in podcasting. Together with his assistant producer, Girl Wonder, the two fly around the country to document the industry news from Glen Cox, a privateer from Los Alamos who works in risk management and was running a KTM Super Duke at PPIHC, to their recent interviews of racing great Eddie Mulder, Rich's Custom Seats and Hollywood stunt woman Alisa Hensley-Lane. With both a national and local focus, Peckhammer is one show to keep an eye on as it progresses from its first stages of broadcast.
We thought it would be a good idea to speak directly with the source and let you get an inside look, so we recently conducted an interview with the man himself.
SR! Tell us about your background in motorcycling.
Peckhammer My first bike was a Yamaha DT 250, which I had to hide from my parents. They eventually found out about it and made me sell it. I used the money to put towards a Yamaha RD 350 and the security deposit on an apartment. And I've been riding ever since. I never had a car until I was in my mid-twenties. I once rode a KZ400 from Buffalo New York to Tampa Florida for spring break. Not the smartest thing I ever did, but it sure taught me endurance. Now I ride more off-road than on. Girl Wonder, who is my inseparable better half, would rather ride pillion when we are street-riding, but she loves the dirt. We ride our trials bikes out at Reiter Pit as often as we can. The more gnarly the terrain, the bigger the smiles.
Photo: On location at the Bonneville Salt Flats working on the Les Triplets interview.
SR! What kind of bikes are you currently riding today?
Peckhammer A couple of summers ago we had 12 bikes -- sport bikes, vintage bikes, dirt bikes and trials bikes. We had so many bikes that it felt like we were doing daily oil changes. We've scaled back since then. Now we ride a BMW R1200R, a couple GasGas trials bikes and some hopped-up French mopeds that are capable of speeds that I can't talk about in public.
SR! What got you interested in producing TV for the Internet?
Peckhammer I work as an IT Manager at UW, and my team established the first formal educational podcasting service in Washington state, in October 2005. Our pilot project was also the first fully-automated podcasting system used in the educational environment here. A year or so later we applied the same technology to video and screencast recording. Working in the new media space inspired me to borrow a video camera, shoot some footage, and post it online. The first video I did was about having a custom seat made at Rich's on Aurora. I posted it on line and I couldn't believe how many people watched it. That got me hooked.
SR! Is there a set schedule for your uploads, or do they just go up when ready?
Peckhammer We started out averaging about two uploads a month - with a run time of four to ten minutes per webisode. We wanted to build a portfolio of work as quickly as possible. It's a lot of work though - especially since I do all the post production, including writing and performing the music. This year we will probably post one webisode a month.
SR! Do you syndicate any of the pieces to other shows?
Peckhammer We are about to sign an agreement with Small Screen Network, which is a local company here in the Seattle area. They target niche communities and their interests with high quality video. They've been looking to branch out into sports-related content, so it looks like this will be a good fit. We won't sign any exclusive deals, however, so we are open to syndicating through other channels if the opportunity presents itself.
SR! What are the financial means or revenues that make this endeavor go?
Peckhammer Girl Wonder's checkbook mostly. We've been operating as an independent, nonprofit project. Our passion for the sport, for riding in general, has driven us to document the accomplishments of motorcycle racers -- all levels of racers and riders -- some of whom are famous and some of whom are just accomplishing their personal goals. Sometime passion has its price. The equipment and travel expenses add up, but the experiences we've had would never have happened if we were sitting at home with the channel changer in our hands, never taking any risks. That's not how motorcycle enthusiasts live, and now all the work we did this past year is starting to pay off.
SR! The current content seems to be focused on racing. Will that broaden out in the future?
Peckhammer Well, racetracks are where you find a lot of motorcyclists all in one place, so we'll continue chasing those amazing stories that you'll never find on TV. A lot of action happens in the pits, and we strive to shine a bit of well-deserved light on the support teams. This, and the fact that Girl Wonder is tri-lingual and can conduct interviews in several languages, makes our show notable.
So yes, more racing webisodes, but we've received a lot of viewer feedback telling us how much our more technical or educational videos are appreciated. For example, I met a rider in Seattle who said he had driven from South Dakota to Seattle to have Rich O'Connor build him a custom seat - all because of our video. That's a testament to the power of new media, of online video and social networking.
And there is one more angle we've been trying out. We flew to southern California to interview racing great Eddie Mulder this past weekend. Eddie talked about the cool projects he's working on, and showed us some beautiful triumph motorcycles he's got in his shop. He even introduced us to his wife who manages part of his West Coast Vintage Dirt Track Series. It's the complete opposite of "Orange County Choppers" and we'd like to do more of this kind of work.
SR! Any plans to focus on the local Northwest scene?
Peckhammer There are some great off-road events that happen here, and we'd love to cover them. We did a webisode about the Chehalis Classic this summer, and it was very popular. So if there are events happening around the Northwest where we can take the R1200R rather than a plane, that would be great. Road-racing, dirt-racing, ice-racing, or freestyle moped supercross - we love anything with two wheels and a motor. And we are also interested in doing webisodes about Northwest motorcycle industry folks that provide some type of outstanding service or product. Dumond Tech Oil is on our short list, and we'd consider almost any business so long as they understand we aren't shooting a commercial. We are trying to provide educational and technical material for our viewers.
SR! Are you available to contract out by others wishing to put together video press kits of the sort?
Peckhammer We would certainly consider it. We really know motorcycles and have a creative approach to our shoots. That's something you may not find in your average videographer. We've got an eye for what works, and we've got access to some great people in the business.
SR! What's the 2009 schedule looking like?
Peckhammer Our bigger projects will likely be Pikes Peak and Bonneville Speedweek. Pikes Peak is an amazing venue -- one of the most unique races left in America. We are also hooked on Speedweek, and we've been following Malcolm Smith's son, Alexander, in his quest to set a land speed record on a Suzuki GSXR 1000. And there's always a chance that Malcolm will jump on a bike and take a stab at it himself. We wouldn't want to miss that.
We've been meeting a lot of stunt riders in California - young, old, men and women -- many of whom race. They all have great stories to share. We just interviewed Alisa Hensley-Lane at "A Day in the Dirt," which was held at LACR this year. It's one of the few venues where you find men and women racing together. We'd definitely like to have more content that would interest women riders and this may be one avenue to accomplish that.
Lastly, there is a chance that we will be shooting something at the Isle of Man TT this year -- something pretty unique. One of our racing contacts may be running a very interesting motorcycle in the race. I can't talk about the details right now, but we sure hope it pans out.
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