Taking chances is in our DNA here at Void. And back in 2012, as the world began to peek its timid head out from the financial pit of despair, we did the unthinkable. Our magazine was less than two years old and we thought of no better time to dive into something we had zero experience with; we launched Void TV. Sure, we had naysayers forecasting impending doom brought on at the expense of a fading medium, but we’re Void and we charge.
So where did Void TV go? It would be easy to call the endeavor a simple swing and a miss. But that’s not exactly accurate. We swung, hit a standup double (we produced two seasons) and scored some runs. After we called it a game, Sunday nights on CW17 would never be the same.
“At the time it felt like a natural evolution. Surf Jax Pier led to Void Magazine, which led to Void TV,” says Tye Wallace, Void Magazine’s publisher and a founding partner in the mag. Alongside fellow Void partner Aaron Meisenheimer, Wallace served as an executive producer of Void TV. The pair have a foggy recollection of how the show idea came about, but like most things Void, it arose out of a passion to highlight the Northeast Florida scene. “Mitch Kaufman had been doing ‘The Radical Side’ (a legendary weekly surf show based out of Jacksonville Beach) and it kind of felt like we were taking up that mantle in some way,” Wallace recalls.
Void TV had its fair share of surf-shred footage, but–like the magazine–sought to cover much more. “We had 22 minutes to fill for every episode we produced. Aaron and I were helping with story-boarding the episodes, I was helping curate the content alongside [then Void Magazine editor] Kayla (Beckmann),” says Wallace, referencing the amount of time the show consumed.
“In reality, Void TV happened because we had the right people in our orbit at the right time,” says Meisenheimer. “Director L. Gustavo Cooper, was in town at the time and we had great creatives like Chad Dennis and Sean Shea ready to jump in. It wasn’t some sort of master plan. We all thought it sounded like a cool idea and if we could represent our town in cool way, then absolutely.”
New endeavors here at Void have that innocent air of “wait…what’s going on?” and searching for the show’s host was no different. “We had no idea what we were doing and we had over 100 applicants for the position. We held the casting call at Nipper’s and there was a line around the block,” Meisenheimer recalls. “I remember Tye and I looking at each other going ‘Well, I guess we really have to do this now.’”
Spring Ines was a natural fit for the spot. Talented, with a relaxed on-camera persona, she nailed the audition and the call-backs. “The best part of the show was that I’d never really done anything like it before. I was interviewing bands for an online music show at the time, but moving to a full-fledged TV production was completely new. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the team,” Ines says.
Every week, as the host and really only regular on-air talent, Ines would interview musicians, athletes and artists. She would visit restaurants and report on contests.
“I’m glad I let Jay (Dodson) talk me into auditioning,” Ines says, whose on-screen duties sometimes vacillated with outright silliness. But Ines took it all in stride and at one point even let a pack of wild groms bury her in the sand up to her neck while she was covering a surf contest. It made for good TV. “I would absolutely do it again if the opportunity came up. I had so much fun and I had such a great experience.”
So where did it all go south and why don’t we have our own cable station right now? “Making the numbers work was difficult when we looked at the type of show we wanted to produce,” Meisenheimer says. The skeleton crew was working on the edge of burning out, with many of them pulling double and triple duty producing content for a TV show, a magazine and web at the same time.
“A magazine is a viable product in a local market. A TV show needs a national audience to really work well. It (Void TV) helped propel and push the publication and media channel forward, but it was never our goal to be these TV giants,” Wallace says.
“The show and experience was not a failure. It was something we did, learned from and moved on. The network wanted more, but we decided when it was time to stop and that’s a benefit not given to everyone. Void TV was fun and when it was done, it was done. That simple,” Meisenheimer says.
Some say it is best to leave the game at the top, while others say live fast and leave a pretty corpse. Well lucky for us here at Void, and the community, the whole series is archived on Vimeo and YouTube. We pull up episodes at holiday parties and special events and puff our chests out a bit more remembering the days when we ruled the tube.