Kevin Costner explains his road trip travel app HearHere

Kevin Costner is aware of an excellent story when he hears one.

That is why he mentioned he was intrigued when he heard about an app designed to alert vacationers of notable, but typically unnoticed, locations of curiosity alongside their journeys.  

“I am the man that driving round America … once you see these bronze markers alongside the best way, I need to cease. I need to learn what was there,” he mentioned. “It is one thing of historical past, and I bear in mind being actually thrilled by that. In any other case, you are simply watching the miles click on off.”

An app that will ship compelling, well timed tales straight to him was interesting, he mentioned, since “an excellent story has at all times been one thing that is thrilled me.”

Costner was loosely related to the app’s creator, entrepreneur Woody Sears, via their kids, Sears mentioned. Whereas the app was in preliminary levels, Costner agreed to relate a number of tales earlier than finally becoming a member of the corporate as a co-founder.

The app — known as HearHere — launched in August 2020, fortuitously coinciding with one of many largest journey developments of the Covid period: the resurrection of the highway journey.     

A ‘highway journey story information’

Just like the previous two years, highway journeys are anticipated to dominate this summer season, in response to a survey by journey web site The Vacationer. Almost 80% of American adults — or some 206 million People — plan to take one, in response to the survey of practically 1,100 American in March.

Nevertheless, HearHere — which is billed as a “highway journey story information” — was in growth earlier than the pandemic, mentioned Sears.

“The concept of journey had modified for lots of people,” mentioned Sears. “We occurred to open our doorways similtaneously the shift.”

Kevin Costner mentioned a key a part of the app HearHere is to inform the tales of the individuals who first inhabited North America, a topic on the coronary heart of his Academy Award-winning movie “Dances With Wolves.”

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Costner mentioned he is been concerned with a number of start-ups, however this one “was within the wheelhouse of what I already do when it comes to storytelling, and my sort of love of historical past,” mentioned Costner.

From “The Untouchables” to “JFK” and “Wyatt Earp,” lots of Costner’s most well-known films have touched upon pivotal figures in American historical past. A key purpose for his involvement with HearHere was his need to inform the tales of the primary individuals to inhabit North America. It is a topic he explored within the 1990 Academy Award-winning movie “Dances With Wolves,” which Costner starred in, directed and produced.

“That was the basic for me … who’re the primary individuals? — as a result of there isn’t any right here with out figuring out who was there earlier than,” he mentioned.

The tougher truths

HearHere has greater than 9,000 tales thus far, with subjects starting from Abraham Lincoln to Janis Joplin, and from Kentucky’s Nationwide Corvette Museum to Nashville’s music scene.

However to Costner, telling the tougher truths about U.S. historical past is paramount too.

“Our story shouldn’t be at all times an awesome one. There was a lot violence in America. We’re watching violence play out now throughout the globe …  to assume that that did not happen right here — it did,” he mentioned.

Tales about America’s Founding Fathers and its Civil Battle battlefields are interspersed with histories of Mississippi cities settled by slaves and the disenfranchisement of Black individuals.

“We do not have to be ashamed about it,” mentioned Costner. “We could be a little embarrassed, however it’s extra embarrassing to not know.”

An increase in audio content material

HearHere has been downloaded greater than 400,000 instances and has subscribers in each U.S. state, mentioned Sears. The corporate introduced in February it had raised $3.2 million in seed funding, led by the American leisure car firm Tenting World.

Although he is on the forefront of a brand new cellular app firm, Costner indicated he is not a lot into tech. He mentioned most cellular apps “fly over my head” and, of HearHere’s Twitter web page: “I do not even know how you can get on it.”

The co-founders of HearHere: Woody Sears, Kevin Costner and Invoice Werlin. “I am not a figurehead … that is my curiosity,” mentioned Costner.

Supply: HearHere

“I used to be actually raised with wolves,” he mentioned. “If I must increase my life … I’ve to open my ears, I’ve to open my eyes. Once I’m touring throughout the nation, my nostril would not have to be in a pc — it must be searching.”

Sears mentioned so-called “display fatigue” is among the causes audio content material outpaced video content material in 2021. Audio leisure can be simpler to combine into day by day life as a result of it may be consumed whereas “strolling, driving and doing chores, versus video which is primarily watched whereas stationary,” he mentioned.

Demand for audio companies surged throughout the pandemic, with corporations akin to Amazon, Twitter and Fb saying expanded audio platforms over the previous a number of years.   

Launching into different international locations?

Whereas U.S.-based tales proceed to be added to HearHere, Costner mentioned the corporate has a mannequin that lends itself effectively to worldwide enlargement.

He mentioned the corporate continues to be refining its enterprise and listening to its clients, however “I like to leap off the web page fairly truthfully … strive one thing new,” he mentioned.

Costner mentioned he applies the same method to his films.

“It is simple to comply with a development — it is far more troublesome to attempt to be unique. Traits, or the repetition of one thing well-liked, is a approach you make some huge cash,” he mentioned. “Doing one thing that is basic — that nobody’s felt like they’ve ever seen earlier than — can stay eternally.”

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