I get up early, my wife Deb does not. This is time for me to relax and catch up on my “me” time by drinking some coffee and watching my video podcasts. There are several video podcasts that I download and watch on my AppleTV, among them: TedTalks, Hak5, Tekzilla, Scam School, and the occassional DiggNation (until recently). However, the podcast I always looked forward to, that I knew I would always watch: Geek Brief TV with Cali Lewis.
It wasn’t just the energy that Cali displayed on the screen. It wasn’t just the unabashed enthusiasm she had for the show, her viewers, technology, and all things related to gadgets. It was her connection with the audience. You quickly got lost that you were watching a video podcast and actually believed that Cali was talking straight to you. She connected.
I’ve watched Geek Brief TV since it began four years ago. I watched when the “gimick” of the show was Cali in a new tech/vintage/cartoon/superhero T-Shirt every show. Those were my favorites. I watched when they tried new things, dressing her up in fancier clothes, better makeup (those didn’t appeal as much, because the connection got lost), and many, many, different hairstyles (long is better). I even watched when they tried spinning an “International Gadget Spy”. I also empathized with Cali when she had health issues, which she shared with her audience through video and audio podcasts.
Then, July 5th, 2010, I got Episode #779. It was a blooper episode. I thought it was okay, they didn’t really cover any gadget or technology news on the show, but okay.
No more shows…
No sign-off, no goodbye, nothing.
Then on July 14th, 2010, I saw a new show on the Podcast listing on the AppleTV. It was called Geek Beat TV with Cali Lewis. I thought, “Weird, the name is close, I wonder if she’s just trying something new?” But alas, she wasn’t. I subscribed to the podcast, downloaded the first episode, and watched. It was a Revision3 production. No way Mevio would allow her to run both of these at the same time, let alone on a competing network. Something was amiss.
So, I hopped over to CaliLewis.me and found the following blog aricle:
So, there WAS a final episode of Geek Brief TV! Unfortunately, Mevio pulled it not only from the Internet, but OUT OF THE ITUNES FEED! In fact, I believe it never hit the iTunes syndication feed. Therefore, all of the Geek Brief fans who were watching through iTunes downloads, NEVER SAW IT.
Shame on you Mevio! Shame. I can understand that you may own the rights to the name “Geek Brief TV”. I can understand that you wouldn’t want a “Final Episode” to go out, because you want to protect the brand. However, there are MUCH better ways of handling this than just pulling the entire episode and leaving your loyal viewers completely in the dark as to what has happened. When you have a four-year relationship with a host, you don’t just make them disappear without an explanation, period.
I’m very sad to see Cali Lewis leave Geek Brief TV. The new show is good, I’m going to watch it. But the connection with the audience seems to be gone. The intimacy of the setting is missing. That feeling that she’s talking directly to you seems to be a thing of the past. Revision3 produces great podcasts. But, that’s what they are, productions. Geek Beat feels productionized now, polished, more professional. With that comes a loss of intimacy with the audience. Cali is now presenting TO the audience, she’s not discussing WITH the audience. That feeling of wonder and desire to share and explore together is gone for me.
I’m not saying these things lightly. I’ve watched the first 10 episodes (all that are available). I think Cali is one of the best technology podcasters in the business. I’ve watched and listened to just about all of them. Unfortunately, the new format is pushing her into the background of “me too”, and the uniqueness of what was there is now missing.
If you don’t believe me, watch the final episode of Geek Brief TV (the one Mevio pulled from the iTunes feed and their website), and tell me you aren’t moved as Cali explains the difficulties she and Neal have faced, and the monumental decision to leave Geek Brief forever:
Now, here is one of the new episodes:
Some of my key issues with the new format are:
- She’s standing. Cali moves a lot, that makes a still camera chop her head off constantly, it’s distracting.
- She keeps moving back and forth. It draws your focus off of the subject and onto Cali herself, it’s distracting.
- She’s on a white background. The HD version of the podcast shows “jaggies” around her image, plus it’s moving, making it worse.
- She wears white, against a white background. Nuff said.
Hopefully these are just “first 10 show issues”. I certainly hope so…
However, my wife, who is not a techie (though I’m trying), likes the new show better. She believes the format is much less “campy” and is in fact more professional looking (I agree). She’s more inclined to watch the new show versus the old one. Hopefully, this is the reaction Revision3 wanted to get.