Lighthouse Media Solutions-Boating in New England

Parker Kelley lands a nice trout on Lake Champlain with Captain Brian Dunkling
Parker Kelley lands a nice trout on Lake Champlain with Captain Brian Dunkling

New creative companies are popping up in New England. Many might not have been thought of before the digital age so successfully miniatuized almost every piece of equipment used to produce motion images and streamlined post production workflows into a single desk top. The word integration has taken on a whole new definition of geometric proportions.

Lighthouse Media Solutions is one of those companies. By their own definition, Lighthouse is a forward-thinking integrated media solutions and creative design company that specializes in identifying and executing strategies that leverage traditional and emerging technologies. With core competencies in e-mail marketing, website development, social media management, video production and yes, even print publications that include a host of magazines I”m sure you’ve seen. The Lighthouse team of creators, technologists, artists and strategists, thirty-one of them on staff, have the experience and technical abilities to deliver cutting edge solutions for their clients and for their own products.

Shooting Nantucket Harbor from the Boston Whaler 25, the official Boating in New England Production Boat
Shooting Nantucket Harbor from the Boston Whaler 25, the official Boating in New England Production Boat

All this under one roof, more or less, as they do have more than one location, but the same company nonetheless, with their main office located in South Boston near the waterfront.

Gene Allen, one of the four managing partners I met with, explains that he has been producing video in and around Boston since 1987. He formed New England Productions mainly interested in producing video for local television shows. One of his mainstays was Ports O CaLL, which aired on NESN for five years. When the recession began, the boating business softened, but the show was one of his favorites.

Soon after Gene merged his company with the Allen Roche Group, a Boston-based full service advertising and marketing company where A|R Marine was developed. His love of boating and video productions fully incubated, he was looking for even further options for a company that wanted to capture all the boating enthusiasts of New England. Boat owners constitute one percent of the population in the United States, but I believe you can weight that a little more heavily in New England.

Tommy, Jimmy, Tom & Parker in New Bedford, MA
Tommy, Jimmy, Tom & Parker in New Bedford, MA

The economy’s coming back provided the fuel for Gene Allen to join with three other partners to form Lighthouse Media Solutions, one that brings together an amazing labyrinth of client options. Russell A. Piersons serves as President/ CEO, David F. Jensen, CMM and Chief Operations Officer, Steve Wyman Lighthouse Media Solutions Managing Partner for New Business Development. Gene Allen also serves as Managing Partner and Executive Producer.

Here plans to create an integrated behemoth marketing network for the boating industry, Boating in New England, a 30-minute TV Show, supported by a twice annual informative Boating in New England Magazine and a 24/7 Boating in New England website was born. Each entity is intricately involved with serving the other.

Gene Allen writes, directs and produces New England Boating
Gene Allen writes, directs and produces New England Boating

Major sponsors GMC Trucks and Boston Whaler along with their New England network of dealers came on board providing the truck and the boat that would become stars of the show. The show launched July 1, 2013 on New England Sports Network at 7 pm. Each show explores the region’s ports, bays, harbors and lakes, and provides viewers with useful boating information and interesting things to do. Boat lovers look forward to it every Monday evening. Viewership is good, about 50,000 people in each audience so far.

Strictly it is not a fishing show by any means. Gene Allen, the shows producer and director says, “The show is a blend of an entertaining travelogue and an informative boating guide,” explains Allen. “It appeals to all types of boaters, from fishermen to sailors, paddlers to cruisers.” One destination is focused on each week delivering advice from local experts on a variety of topics, including good places to fish, kayak, water ski, and fuel up, grab a mooring or slip, or simply drop anchor and hit the beach.

On location in Nantucket at the Cisco Brewery, one of the most popular spots on the island
On location in Nantucket at the Cisco Brewery, one of the most popular spots on the island

The show’s co-hosts, Parker Kelley and Tom Richardson, fill in the program with the locale’s historical background, scoops on restaurants, shops and attractions. Both hosts are seasoned journalists in the television and magazine industries according to Allen. And they are life long boating enthusiasts. Richardson also serves as the editor of the magazine Boating in New England, and oversees the website as well. Gene says the website gets 40,000 unique visitors per month providing great feedback from viewers.

Each production goes something like this: Gene plans and writes the show, gathers his small crew where everyone wears many hats, Tommy Costello is the shows camera man, but Gene also shoots. They drive off to a new destination every three weeks in a $60,000 GMC truck for their gear, towing a $150,000, 25-foot, center console Boston Whaler 25. Imagine the heads turning when it arrives at the shoot. Gene says he ups the production value of the show by taking the time to use a steady cam, jib arm and a GoPro Camera that he gives him all kinds of unique shots and sound by throwing it into a lobster trap and watching the lobsters flop around or following a school of fish.

New England Boating hosts Tom Richardson and Parker Kelley getting psyched for their second episode in New Bedford with a thumbs up
New England Boating hosts Tom Richardson and Parker Kelley getting psyched for their second episode in New Bedford with a thumbs up

Each show has a three week production window, one to write and shoot and two weeks to edit and deliver. The show has two editors one to do the rough cut and the show editor Jimmy Baggott who does the final cut. It’s a grinding schedule for this talented and experienced team made a bit more palatable by the fact everyone involved loves boating and the water.

Gene Allen has been a visual person all his life. As a kid he talks about his making little films on a Super8 in the backyard, then graduating to Claymation, shooting one frame at a time. A world traveler, his parents were missionaries, he and his sister once drove with them from Germany across Northern Europe, Eastern Europe, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan on their way to Bombay (now Mumbai) India where they attended boarding school while their parents did their work.

Producer/Director Gene Allen and Cameraman Tommy Costello shooting in New London, CT.
Producer/Director Gene Allen and Cameraman Tommy Costello shooting in New London, CT.

He has many visual memories of that time. He later attended art school at Alfred University in New York and then received his MFA in Interactive Multi Media at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth in 1983. About five years ago he produced an independent feature film, WAKE. A mystery he shot on Boston’s Harbor Island featured five very different couples from around the world including a crack addict and a millionaire married couple. It had a good festival run around the country and he says it was good experience.

I asked Gene about Massachusetts Film Tax Credits. “Film Tax Credits are very instrumental in the success of what we’re doing; they have allowed us to grow to our thirty one full time employees and countless free lance hires as they are needed for special projects.”

In addition to Boating in New England, LH Media publishes several, upscale magazines including Southern New England Home, Southern New England Wedding, Southern New England Living, Southern New England Weddings, Weddings Destinations Edition, Home Remodeling Cape Cod, the Islands & the South Coast and Golf & Leisure Cape Cod, the Vineyard and Nantucket.  Most have two issues per year and it is the intent of Lighthouse Media Solutions to produce an accompanying TV show for each of them. They can do that because here’s what they are prepared to do for their products and their clients: website and mobile website design, management, hosting and optimization, video production, radio production, print ad design and layout, event strategy and production, direct mail, strategies for branding and corporate identity, sales collateral and, yes, magazine publishing.

Their goal is to bring more good people into the organization and to deliver cutting edge solutions all under one roof.

For more information on Lighthouse Media Solutions visit www.lhmediasolutions.com.

 

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