Steves has a passion for helping people travel and for pushing Americans out of their bubble, and if he can reach more people without charging, that’s what he’ll do, he told me on The Pub.
“But I’ve always made plenty of money because . . . with that sort of energy, people want to give you money, I guess!” Steves said. He actually makes his living primarily off of his travel guidebooks, for which his shows build his personal brand.
In our live show at the American Public Television Fall Marketplace in Atlanta, I talked to Steves about his business model (and why he thinks it couldn’t be replicated), whether he feels pressure to adopt a more “gonzo” style of presenting á la Vice, his advocacy for marijuana legalization and more.
Also on the show:
- Doc Martin actor Ian McNeice and Celeste Headlee, host of Georgia Public Broadcasting’s On Second Thought, compete in a special BBC-themed edition of our game in which contestants must identify parodies or other appearances of public media in the broader culture.
- I talk about British public television’s charming tradition of using live continuity announcers, and Channel 4’s daring 2013 experiment with temporarily employing announcers who have communication disabilities. If American audiences can’t handle a little vocal fry, imagine how they would react to Channel 4’s Jess Thom.
- I also talk about the battle between Georgia Public Broadcasting and Public Broadcasting Atlanta for radio news-talk dominance, and whether head-to-head competition is a good thing for local public media organizations.
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Adam Ragusea hosts Current’s weekly podcast The Pub and is a journalist in residence and visiting assistant professor at Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.
Related stories from Current:
- Despite ongoing conflict, Steves strives for careful balance in Middle East travelogue
- Pubcasting wayfarer Rick Steves wins Journalist of the Year from travel writers
- Rick Steves: “I think you should know people before you bomb them.”