london - davey winder
an american webwolf In london
Steve Preston was born in New York City in 1960, and moved upstate in '74. Having graduated in everything you can imagine ("I took physics, calculus, archaeology, English literature, acid, speed ... ") Steve got a job as a "Vanilla Editor" at TV Data in New York -- at the time, the largest TV listings bureau in the world. It was the beginning of a love/hate relationship with TV listings that goes on to this day.
Come 1983, Steve had to go Easy Rider and took his Yamaha Virago from NYC to Portland, Oregon. It was a year before he headed home to TV Data once more. "I cut my hair, put my tie on, and prepared for the next ride of my life."
Through a succession of promotions and career moves at TVD, Steve eventually came to the UK in 1991, when the BBC hired TVD as consultants. A three-month role as project manager turned into a fulltime gig as Systems and Production Manager for the Beeb's "Broadcasting Dataservices." Four years came and went, and the much-longed-for "resident's stamp" arrived. At last Steve was a free agent. And then he found the Internet.
In 1993, when Steve encountered this net thing, a misplaced mouseclick would result in a deluge of unstoppable data being transferred. "Those were NOT the days. But the seed of my idea was born."
Steve proposed that the BBC and their publication Radio Times should go online. Head, corporate brick wall, and banging occurred. "Fuck it, I'll do it myself," said Steve. And he did.
He left the BBC, got a job as Deputy Systems Editor on the Mail on Sunday newspaper (where he remains to this day), and formed Yearling Communications the same day. "my dream was simple: dynamically changing data, a hook into the real world via that most sacred of icons, the TV, and an editorial edge.
"I'd had dreams for years about a company called Yearling -- and now it's real."
What I like about Yearling, I mean what I really like about Yearling, is the fact that it's not just some company with big ideas; it's a family-and-friends outfit with small ideas that matter. Steve's wife Kim makes custom bonsai trees in the greenhouse and searches for Peter Rabbit memorabilia. She also acts as editorial director for Yearling. Kevin Ryan spent five years in the UK TV listings business; he dances naked in the moonlight and claims not to be 100 percent Irish. He's also the production editor.
What they have created between them is a cutting-edge site that makes, perhaps, one of the best uses of two media. It might not win any awards for design, but do you need frames and fancy graphics when the job in hand is producing quick and intuitive TV listings? I think not. Check it out, it's starting to grip the imaginations of plenty of people out here -- more than 30,000 registered users at the last count, and amazingly, not all from the UK. Some of my biggest feedback comes from readers in the States who check my columns to see what's happening over here.
If there's one thing, love it or hate it, that binds a community together then it's television. For a community to come together and create a TV listing company such as this is a move in the right direction. Radio Times watch out, the small boys are gonna kick your ass!
Oh yes: I got involved; I do work for them, I never got paid -- and I love it.
Wavey's Parting ShotIsn't it odd that it took an American to come to the UK and do something that the BBC, the elder statesman of world television, couldn't do themselves? Is this a case of corporate lack of vision, or maybe more a lack of true understanding of the medium? The net is not a threat, it's an avenue of opportunity. In the States they know that. In the States they are living that. It seems to me that here in corporate UK we've got a bit of catching up to do.
Is also another thing is taking into accounting...if is being online, is taking away experience of purchasing album. Is changing beyond recognising. Is ending of "cover art" as is knowing. Could being birth of new era in purchasing music, but is certain death of everything is knowing in old. Ivan Ivanovich
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