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San Benito
April 16, 2024

Kosmicki: What is San Benito Live?

So what is San Benito Live?

San Benito Live is a new approach to local media that primarily covers community and culture topics with a video focus.

At its core, the website, or web channel as I like to call it, is built on partnerships throughout San Benito County. As part of those collaborations, San Benito Live works with partners to develop video programming—a variety of themed web shows—on topics of local interest. But the media outlet goes much further by regularly providing local features through video, audio and print formats, along with an abundance of local information focused on community and culture themes.

As for the programming, premiering this week on the channel are shows like Conversations on Art & Culture. The San Benito County Arts Council hosts the series at The ARTSpace Annex, 217 Fifth St., which involves interviews with local artists and goes behind the scenes into studios to get a closer look at how they create. In the first episode, premiering this week on SanBenitoLive.com, Arts Council Executive Director Jennifer Laine interviews local sculptor Dustin Kinsley, who makes his pieces out of wood and metal.

With San Benito Live focusing heavily on arts and culture, Cesar Flores will host his own series on artists called Heart to Art, but with a different twist. The local acting icon—who worked alongside Luis Valdez for decades at El Teatro Campesino—is known for his heavy involvement in the local arts and nonprofit communities. On the series, Flores will interview a new local artist in each episode, but he’ll do so at rotating food or drinking establishments that will host the sit-down talks. I joined Flores on the introductory episode (premiering this week) just as a way to explain the show concept. We had our friendly talk at Dona Esther Mexican Restaurant, and owner Tami Castañeda-Huaracha was extremely gracious and supportive while serving as venue host.

Businesses will get a whole lot of exposure on San Benito Live, and we’re fortunate to have a partnership with the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce so we can help spread the word on updates in the local economy. The chamber is presenting a series called Business Beat involving profiles on local businesses and businesspeople along with topical feature videos. Watch the premiere on this year’s Wreaths Across America ceremony hosted by the chamber in December, and look out for upcoming episodes like a feature on Ohana Shave Ice, the Hawaiian-themed shop at 738 San Benito St.

Health topics will play a central role in coverage as well, and San Benito Live is proud to partner with the Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital to present Hazel Hawkins Health Tips. In each episode, we will interview a local health professional on a different health topic of interest. On the premiere episode showing this week, Dr. Michael Bogey, the medical director at the hospital emergency department, offers insight on how flu patients should approach using the Hazel Hawkins emergency room.

With perhaps the most eclectic theme among shows premiering this week, Passages, host David Huboi covers some facet of culture, philosophy or architecture in each episode. The local architect loves to play his guitar Ruby and meet up with interesting characters along the way. In the first episode showing on SanBenitoLove.com, Huboi takes a tour of the Jovian Poolymid, a giant pool enclosure being built in the shape of a pyramid on inventor Steve Jove’s property in San Benito County. Look out for upcoming episodes like a behind-the-scenes look at rehearsal for Huboi’s band—before their performance at the county fair—in Rudy’s Salcedo’s local barn.

Still on the topics of homes, local Realtor Tony LoBue will host Realtor’s Corner on San Benito Live. In each episode of the series, LoBue will cover a real estate topic of relevance to San Benito County residents. In the first episode, LoBue introduces himself and lays out plans for future topics he’ll cover on the show. LoBue is president-elect of the San Benito County Association of Realtors and a former Realtor of the Year in the county, so he knows his stuff when it comes to selling homes.

Pets in need of a home are lucky if they find their way to Pet Friends of Hollister. In the first Pet of the Week segment showing on San Benito Live, Pet Friends employee Kathy Puthoff introduces a sweet dog named Jill who’ s living at the no-kill shelter. Viewers will meet adoptable pets from the Buena Vista Road facility in each episode, while San Benito Live will run pictures and information of other Pet Friends dogs and cats waiting to find permanent homes.

One show I’ll host myself is Sunday Guest, an interview show where I sit down with interesting local people in each episode and find out more about their lives. I’ll use nearly two decades of interviewing experience to learn more about guests in these casual conversations.

These programs, meanwhile, are just the beginning. Looking ahead, expect to see even more locally hosted shows along with a regular presence of music, sports, faith , events coverage and just about any life or cultural topic viewers might find interesting. Expect to see a lot of local information such as community announcements and regular public safety updates. You can also turn to San Benito Live for traffic and weather updates, including a weekly forecast show hosted by a local student, Adam Bell. And the website will offer another convenient place for locals to turn for information on events and entertainment options in the county.

Beyond video, there are plans to expand content offerings through live video, audio, photography and print formats. In other words, San Benito Live is just starting, with expectations to grow and evolve over time into something much bigger—and I hope much more enlightening—than what we see today. But we’re off to an exciting start, either way.

Kollin Kosmicki is editor and founder of San Benito Live. Reach him at [email protected].