The primary Small Town WNY banner you'll see on our site & shows
Because they need our help... With even just a quick, cursory drive through the majority of small towns in the US, most people might come to the sad, uninformed conclusion that between the unrelenting rise of eCommerce and the soulless, crushing one-two punch that mega-Corp retail and overseas manufacturing have dealt to small towns throughout this country, that their time has come and gone and their best days are behind them. But I think they have so much more left to give us that most of them haven't even come close to reaching their full potential yet and I'm here to prove the naysayers wrong and even convert a few of them along the way. I believe that with a little vision, good faith and good, old fashioned elbow grease, most small towns that have fallen on hard times or even just need some TLC, can be collectively resurrected and together, can usher in a new golden age of small-town communities spread out across the entire county. Re-banding and coming together once again to create an even better, stronger version of themselves than ever before. I believe that through the fundamental understanding of what we've learned from the successes and failures of the past while utilizing the best current and future technologies as well as good civic, social, cultural, and environmental planning, we can breathe new life and breath into these cornerstones of American culture, all while honoring the past and creating and inspiring a better, safe and more sane future for us all. Giving everyone, regardless of income, race, educational level and age, beautiful, inspiring, accessible and affordable tight-knit/small-scale/hyper-local communities in which to live, work, and play.
Because they bring us home... We are all collectively missing a true sense of togetherness, community and place now in this country due to the massive, endless and empty corporately sponsored sprawl we all were suckered into over the last 100 years. Add social media, the web/eCommerce and the great-empty-nothingness that the modern mega-Corps have wrought upon us to the mix and all we've been thrown the last, great, knock-out punches. Yeah, most small towns may be on their collective ropes at this point, but they're not down and out cold yet. There are those of us who still believe in what they stand for and what they are at their cores. I am still out here and still fighting the good fight every day to support them until the very last building is shunted and the final corporately sponsored wrecking ball is plunged unmercifully into their hearts. Taking a way of life we so desperately need now with them that we will never get back. That is, unless we collectively act now. Yeah, that's a pretty heartbreaking image, isn't it? Well, that's why I do what I do here. So that won't ever occur. Ever. Nothing has paid the price more through this great-corporately-sponsored-cultural-gutting than our beloved small towns and it's our mission to help bring much needed attention, focus and love back to the places where (to very-loosely paraphrase George Bailey) the majority of Americans once did all of their living, loving, working and dying in. The end of our time on this ever-careening dirtball is nigh and has been wholly bought and sold and brought to you by... (insert almost any large corporation here). This is the world I/we were born into, and it's mostly become a corrupt, dying, narcissistic, hot mess. The stiff-armed, great big-brother/corporate takeover, the decimation of small towns and small-town life, social injustices of every type, inequalities in every shape, way and form and the unencumbered, environmental, social, cultural and psychological destruction that we are all collectively experiencing and trying to live through for the last many decades is the hard, harsh world we inherited.
Because they give us hope... The only place I feel that we can personally get some peace of mind and heart anymore are in the nape of good communities anywhere. But most of them are holding on for dear life. And that's just wrong. Like so, so much of today's world. It's just one more thing thrown into the hellish mix of this dehumanized planet. Small towns are one of the only places left that make me feel good about modern society, where we are going and where we have been. They give me hope and most importantly, in a world of deeply fragmented ideologies, contractions, hypocrisy and selfish greed, they simply make sense to me. As a species, small communities were how we lived, worked and died for centuries and if any of our work here can at least, inspire even one couple or person to set down roots in one of the towns we feature and start a new generation there, well, then we've done our job. ~AA
"SOCIAL MEDIA FREE" THE POINT & PURPOSE
Social Media FreeGet your Social Media Free logo to use anywhere at: socialmediafree.org
Help spread the word... As you can see (or not see) throughout this site, this is a "social media free" company for too many reasons to mention and most of what you already know, and as such, it relies on old fashioned, word-of-mouth by it's patrons and fans to help spread the word about the good work I am doing here for the benefit of the hundreds of small towns throughout the state and all the small businesses they contain. So, with that in mind, if you love what you see here, then please help spread the word!
It isn't easy... My approach isn't easy, and certainly isn't the norm nowadays, but considering what eCommerce combined with large mega-corps have done to small towns for the last few generations, I feel it's well worth the extra effort to do things the way they've been done long before they mercilessly rammed their wrecking balls down this country's throat, choking most everything into submission in the process. I hope you feel the same and can empathize with my ideology and see the value, care and love I give to all we do here and still believe in small-town life as much as I do and have faith that we can all find our way back to something that each of us feels a deep sense of loss for. ~AA
OUR SPONSORS & YOU OUR DUAL-ENGINES
The small business sponsorship graphic you'll see on some of our web pages
My sponsors... This website, the PBS TV show and our entire company is solely supported and funded by the generous contributions of local, small business owners throughout New York State and because of their support, I am able to provide all of the content that I create and produce for you for free. In turn, each of the sponsors is provided with super-affordable, long-term, far-reaching advertising campaigns that any local small business can easily afford and then showcase them to a large regional & worldwide audience through my TV shows, web and retail distribution.
Thank you... Thank you for your continued patronage and support as we fight the good fight and do our very best to help the small, awesome small towns that make life here in Western New York and New York State so uniquely special. ~AA
SOME HISTORY THE LONG ROAD HERE
One of the longest, straightest and just-so perfectly hilly roads in all of WNY
Looking back... A. A. Augustine's Media Co. is, was and always will be a small, fiercely independent, social media free media company that was initially, only created to produced public and commercial kids television shows along with it's peripheral products including the very popular book, DVD and handmade doll series featuring Sequoia "The Littlest Bigfoot". But after spending15 years traveling through hundreds of small towns in southern New England while I was recording and producing bands for my indie record label and then, almost 5 years later, through literally, all of Northern California selling regional "Mom & Pop" sponsorships for the kids' TV shows as well as opening up new retail accounts for our products, it became all too clear to me just how much I cared about small towns and small-town America. A lot of what I was seeing was a disproportionate amount of disheartening blight, abandonment and disparity among a good majority of the small towns I was traveling through, and it deeply disturbed me. So much so, that I felt like I just had to see if there was anything I could do to help the dire situation so many small towns either faced or were already in. And slowly, over time, as these things tend to do, I felt my truest life's purpose and path come into view. From as far back as I can remember, I always felt a deep connection with and to small towns, but now, as an adult, witnessing what has happened to small towns all across this country over the last century seemed to be having a much more visceral hold on me than ever before. I felt the pull, the need, to try to do something about it. And eventually, a germ of an idea was born that took many twists and turns along the way and many years to finally come to fruition. Of course, as soon as it started to all come together, my life had other plans for me. For now. ~AA
Looking forward... After a sudden, personal/family emergency occurred in April 2014, that unfortunately/fortunately forced me to move back to Western New York, I was able to quickly snag a job writing for the Buffalo News to fill in the monetary and creative gaps until I got my new life situated and sorted out. And as I am want to do, as soon as the dust settled and the work, income and the homestead were stable enough again, I began developing a new kids TV show for the WNY market. I simply would not succumb and let an unforeseen incident in my life hold me down or back. I decided that I would double down and work harder than ever and create something even bigger and better this time around. The professionally challenging part about this time period was that for the last year in Northern California, I had already started developing my first small town travel show for Northern California PBS entitled "Exploring Sonoma". The show was immediately green-lit during my initial pitch meeting with the primary Northern California PBS station and pre-production began later that week with a fall 2015 premier penciled into the programming schedule. The show focused on the many less frequented and more unknown Sonoma County small towns and the small businesses, people and the features that held them and gave them life. But within a few months, the event would occur that found me having to move back to WNY and "Exploring Sonoma" would have to be put on the back burner for now. For how long, I had no idea. But I had no choice in the matter. Sometimes, life just happens to you while you're busy making other plans (to paraphrase John Lennon) and sometimes, those things take immediate precedence over everything else, and you're left with no choice but to deal with the situation at hand in spite of what you were doing not even five minutes ago. Being that "Exploring Sonoma" was specifically developed for PBS for the Northern California market, there really wasn't any way to stay the course with the show given that I was now, so, so far away from Sonoma County.I would just have to leave it where it was and literally... move on. Again, for now. In the meantime, in one of my more personal and professional begrudgingly stubborn moments, I had to simply come to terms with where I was in life at the time and face the fact that I would now, just have to go back to working in the kids' television field for the time being here in WNY as it was the industry space that I was most familiar and comfortable with. That is, at least until I could figure out how to make the transition to a regional travel show again. Whether it was here in WNY, or back out in Sonoma County again. It really didn't matter to me. This was about starting the work that's since become my mission. Which is to help spread the word about just how awesome small towns and small-town living still is, and inspiring and incentivizing people to visit their regional towns as often as they can and to maybe, even consider living in one. That was and is the goal. But again, for now, my newly "discovered" life's mission would just have to wait a while and I would have to be patient. So, with my heart, hat, humility and ire all firmly in hand, I set out to create not just one kids show for one market, but two kids shows for two markets. Remember, I was determined for my shows to be even bigger and better this time around. So why NOT two? I decided I would create and produce one show for the Buffalo/Southern Ontario/Toronto market and one show for the Rochester/Finger Lakes markets. Each show would be specifically created for their respective markets and each show would have an initial title and character reference to the cities in which they would be broadcast out of. The first show would be called "The Tall Tales of B, Blue & Roc Too!" for the Buffalo market with "B the littlest Buffalo" as the main character, and the second show would be called "Roc n' B & Friends" for the Rochester market and would have "Roc the bear" as its primary host. The initial show for the Rochester/Finger Lakes market premiered there on July 4th, 2015 with the Buffalo market to follow almost an exact year later. Independence Days indeed and two deeply sweet, sweet personal and professional victories for me! In the end, considering how viscerally inspired and impatient I felt toward wanting to do something about the state I saw many small towns in as I was traveling through New England, Northern California and WNY over the past16 years, and given the fact that I had to suddenly leave behind an already green-lit and in-preproduction PBS travel show in Northern California and was now back to producing kids' shows, my internal frustration during this time period ran deep. And to complicate matters further, even if I had had the opportunity to create a small town WNY style show back then, I still would have had no idea as to exactly what a WNY travel show would even look like or have been about. The idea needed more time to gel and looking back, I needed much more time to really dig in and travel throughout the entire region again before I could properly develop a new show about something so specific that I really didn't know anything about it at all at the time. I was gone for 15 long years and even when I lived here in WNY before I left, I honestly didn't see that much of it. Now that I was back and producing regional shows, it would give me a perfect opportunity to see pretty much all of it now. I simply had more work to do and a lot more to see before "Small Town WNY" was mature enough to release to the region and as hard as it was, I had to be repeatedly mindful that I had no choice but to accept what was before me and go with the proverbial flow. I honestly, didn't even have the time, money or energy left at the end of each day to even focus on a third show for the WNY market anyway at this point. It was a conflicting time for me for sure and the two initial WNY kids' TV shows would have to serve as a stop-gap so I could still maintain a presence in the industry, keep the cash and proverbial creative juices flowing until the time was right for a proper transition into a regional travel show that focused on the small towns in WNY. But when and how would I make the transition? I had no idea. I eventually had to leave "Exploring Sonoma" behind as the sheer logistics and economics of producing that show without me leaving WNY once again were becoming impossible. I was here and had a new business to run. So, I stayed. I focused on the kids' shows and developing the travel show concept through my first few years back, and as I mentioned above, I was indeed able to travel through the entire region now. Multiple times. Always keeping the Small Town WNY idea firmly implanted in my rather stuffed-to-the-gills nogg'n at every step and turn along the way. Then, when the time was right, and the idea had had enough time to gel, it all came together in less than a half-hour. Late one night, after months and months of sleepy-eyed, behind the curtain wood-shedding on the concept, lightning finally struck and I "discovered" (pun intended) that the solution for a smooth, seamless transition from one demographic and program format to another was... duh... already right in front of me. I could simply use the content and broadcast infrastructure I already had in place and put together a few new hybrid, transitional travel/kids/family test shows under a different name and call them "specials". They could be broadcast through to the Rochester, New York and the Finger Lakes in the same time slots my kids' shows were already in, and then, over time, I could carefully tweak them and slowly transition everything into a more family/general audience-oriented, small-town focused program. And hey, wouldn't you know... It worked. In the middle of the second season of those hybrid kids'/travel show "specials", towards the start of spring 2017, I felt that these new shows and company were finally ready to make the transition and I could properly say goodbye to the past and hello to my truest path and purpose and to all that you now see here on this website. ~AA