Well, a year has gone by since our official start last March 25th. We passed the 100,000 marker on our visitor counter since we installed it in April last year. Now it reads 130,000. We estimate 150,000 visitors in total (including those before April 2007). In addition, we’ve produced over 600 videos and over 1,100 posts. Deo Gratias!
We wanted to celebrate on March 25th but with Easter coming we had to wait until the Annunciation (this year it was on the 31st of March) but then we needed to get the server updated and that proved more difficult than expected. In fact we were down most of that day. But now that we have the new server up and running and with more features on the site than ever before, its time to pop the champagne!
We are now uploading our videos in bulk to ten video share sites, both secular and Christian. These include YouTube, Yahoo, Metacafe, Myspace, Google, Revver, Gloria.tv, Catholic Online, Love to be Catholic, and GodTube. Because of all the bad materials on some of these secular sites we do not, at all, recommend nor encourage people to go there to view AirMaria videos but are merely trying to reach the audience already on these sites. This has tremendously increased the number of views these videos get (roughly 40,000 per month). Some on YouTube have several thousands of views already. We have become the largest contributors to some of these sites. With a combination of a network of volunteers to do the uploading, and technology to make it easier, we should be able to keep uploading all our videos even if we double or quadruple our production rates. And that is just our near term capacity. We hope to be one of the largest contributors even to YouTube and so reach a new generation with good Catholic content.
Speaking of good content and quadrupling our production rates, Mark Miravalle has started a new series called MaryCast which we are very excited about. And, yes, he has been producing four shows per week. He gave a basic introduction to Mary and the Fifth Marian Dogma and now is giving more detail. It is geared to both Catholics and non-Catholics.
The Dry Wood
Hilda Nicolosi is writing this series of text posts which will be published more frequently in the near future. She will be addressing the many life issues that the Church upholds in Her beautiful moral teachings and which are being so relentlessly attacked by the culture of death.
You may have noticed the daily homilies have a different format for the post. This format is easier to produce and, combined with some changes in the filming and editing process, has enabled the homily to be posted soon after Mass. We have posted the homily as early as 7:45am, not bad for a Mass that usually ends at … well … 7:45am! We cannot guarantee this every day but we have consistently posted it by 8:30 each weekday and by noon each Sunday. The next step will be to transmit the homily live each day and have it available to view immediately after its finished. And this will make the production even easier for us friars and will give us some good practice in daily, live broadcasting.
We have also been very busy obtaining radio licenses last fall. This was largely successful. Of the five stations for which we applied, we are certain of three, fairly certain of a fourth and still have hope for the fifth. The next step besides trying to get those last two stations is to start building the stations and then start broadcasting!
Long Overdue Thanks
Gavin Mac Carthy
Gavin gave us free access to his server in Boston for over a year. He continued with this free service despite AirMaria becoming a larger consumer of bandwidth than any of his very large corporate accounts. We had to go to another server only because the open source software we are using is more compatible with a different kind of server and this was becoming more of an issue. Thanks a million, Gavin!
Kyle came to Griswold as a volunteer last summer early in July, and stayed with us through our Greenwood, Indiana conference in October. This was a crucial help at a pivotal time in the development of AirMaria. We are only now recovering from the loss of his departure. (You probably noticed the decline in posting after the Conference last fall.) Many thanks, Kyle!!
We are continuing to receive both great financial help and expert advice from Dave Wroe, Susan Mackewich, Mark Falcon, Chris Wendt and many other supporters too numerous to mention. And we want to mention the many contributors such as Hilda Nicolosi and especially Mark Miravalle. Without this help Air Maria would not be able to continue to operate. Thank you all.
Live and light
We are continually trying to develop new techniques that will make the production process easier and simpler for your average busy friar. The main tactic will be to go “live and light,” and so reduce the amount of editing work to a bear minimum. By “live” we want to film and broadcast as many events as we can live and, so, when an event is finished it will be immediately posted for on-demand viewing and so little editing is required, if any. This will free up time to be able to develop new shows. By ‘light’ we mean having less expensive and simpler equipment that will enable more people to participate in the production of video and do so more frequently. Before 2008 is finished we hope to be doing live call-in shows. This technology will also come in handy for the radio apostolate which will also have live call-in shows.
If our light and live strategy pans out, we hope to start increasing the number of posts in the coming months, including more live shows, even from the field. We already have a good system developed for producing videos at many remote locations and being able to give technical advice long distance and then be able to mass distribute this good Catholic content. So we are planning on adding more video producers even now. These include Raymond de Souza and Fr. Pablo Straub. We will also get Fr. Peter and some other FI priests up and running again.
One advantage of having friaries in over a dozen countries and on every continent on the planet (except Antarctica) gives us the ability to provide programming from a wide variety of places. This is especially true of News reporting and interviews. So we plan on getting more of these international friaries and convents involved in production.
With almost all the labor provided by the friars and other volunteers, we have very few expenses here at AirMaria. Nevertheless, we have some regular expenses that need to be covered and the need for more equipment. Here is a list of some of our more immediate needs:
Broad Band Cellular $60
Web Space and Services $110
Tapes, media and consumables $100
Total Monthly $770
Please take a moment and look at this figure. It is very low. Normally, any production outfit that is producing two videos per day would require huge resources, even many thousands per month. With the low figure you see here, you can be assured that any of your donations will be very well spent, going directly to the cost of delivering good Catholic Programming to the Internet.
Equipment and Software Expenses
Upgrading Current Computers $1,500
Editing Computer $2,500
Development of live technology, buying and testing of equipment that holds promise based on our research. $1,000
Hard Drive Video Camera $800
Gigabit Network System $500
Portable Camera Light $500
Total Cost Equipment and Software $7800
Additional Immediate needs:
Outstanding Radio License Acquisition Fees $2500
If you wish to specify whether to donate to Equipment or to Monthly Expenses please specify in the “purpose” field in the PayPal donation page. Otherwise, benefactions will be spent to cover Monthly first and then Equipment.
Or if you wish to send a check you can get the address here
Again, we thank all of you for your continued support.