Today is the 11th anniversary of the publication of Galveston Fax, which launched Guidry News Service as a regional news service -- covering posted public meetings and special events in the Gulf Coast Region.
Our First Issue
Galveston Fax , a subscription newsletter reporting on posted public meetings on Galveston Island, which was published each weekday solely by fax, has evolved into Gulf Coast E-news and GuidryNews.com, The Online News Station.
Lynda and I were married on Galveston Island on February 29, 1996, just months before the July 8 publication of Galveston Fax. We have enjoyed the past 11 years; and are eager to move forward as Guidry News Service becomes an even greater chronicler of events in the Gulf Coast Region. In 1996, Lynda compared the "Fax" to "having a new baby in the house" because of the around-the-clock demands the new publication put on us daily as we responded to the interest in our innovative news product.
Fax technology, which we used to distribute the new publication to an audience hungry for an alternative to the daily newspaper and local radio, was destined to be replaced by email and the rapidly maturing Internet. We chose to publish by fax at that time because most of those interested in our product had fax machines and few had email. As the dynamics changed, so did we; and we are now considered pioneers of Webio Journalism.
Lynda coined the term “Webio” in recognition of the publication of radio-style journalism over the World Wide Web. Of course, the Webio in the 1990s included photos and text, as well as audio, and now includes video and other features that the Internet makes possible.
As we expanded our coverage from Galveston Island to all of Galveston County, then to the Clear Lake area and then to Downtown Houston and eastward to Jefferson County, the technology of the Internet continued to expand.
It was in December of 2003 that I realized the impact of Apple's iPod, which at the time was being used primarily to download music from the Internet. We quickly (in two weeks time) converted from Real Audio, which was the standard for the day, to MP3 files for our audio. The MP3 files could still be used to stream to a RealPlayer for those accustomed to listening that way, but also could be downloaded to an iPod.
We became the first in the Gulf Coast Region to feature "podcasts" on The Online News Station. The distinction was lost on many of our listeners because we had been publishing "webcasts" since 1997 and most iPods were in the hands of the children of our audience. Most people saw no change, but understood that we were on the cutting edge of the new technology.
Other MP3 players followed the iPod and we quickly ceased the use of the word "podcast" and prefer to call our coverage of special events "online broadcasts”. Guidry News Service has continued to dominate the regional market as a provider of audio broadcasts, as well as comprehensive coverage of public meetings and special events with audio and photos and text.
A major new technological development within just the past month was the introduction of Apple's iPhone, which adds cell phone technology to the iPod. Actually, Cingular already offered a similar device, which has received very little media attention.
A source of major excitement for Lynda and me is that the iPhone includes an Internet browser that allows users to access GuidryNews.com, including our MP3 files. This means that the audio that visitors to The Online News Station have been enjoying for the past decade are now available on iPhones everywhere, including in moving automobiles.
Thus, Guidry News Service, which began as an alternative source of news to the traditional media, now can provide an alternative to talk radio for aficionados of news broadcasts.
Of course, only a few people have iPhones or other cell phones with Internet browsers and MP3 players at this time. I have no doubt that within the next few years, automobiles will come equipped with factory-installed iPhone docking stations or other built in Internet devices.
Lynda and I are eagerly positioning Guidry News Service to take advantage of the new mobile technology.
I have recently launched a series of one-hour, radio-style newscasts featuring current events and quality excerpts from the Guidry News Service archives, going back to the 1960s. Click Here
These newscasts are being published in MP3 format and may be enjoyed by listeners at their computers using the RealPlayer, but also may be downloaded to an iPod or iPhone or burned to a CD.
As we understood in 1996 that the fax machine would not be our primary means of news distribution indefinitely, we understand that the CD player will not be a major tool in a few years. However, for the past few years, and at least for the next year or two, all new automobiles come equipped with CD players. This provides the perfect platform for our listeners to enjoy our newscasts, as well as other audio on GuidryNews.com, in their automobiles.
Other improvements to our products are in the works, as well.
In January of this year we launched a new data driven website which is continuing to evolve.
We are in the process of adding a full time editor for the daily publication of Gulf Coast E-news and are designing a new Meetings Page for GuidryNews.com where we will feature video of public meetings that are currently offered only on cable television in the cities where the entities reside.
We expect our marketing efforts to attract new advertisers to our publications, as well as to increase our visibility in the Greater Houston market and the Golden Triangle of Texas and beyond.
To those who have supported us since the July 8, 1996 publication of Galveston Fax, and to those who have joined our list of subscribers and advertisers throughout the past 11 years, Lynda and I say "Thank you!" and we pledge to continue to provide excellent coverage of the Gulf Coast Region in the future.