‘Beachbilly Lifestyle Show’ puts Perdido Key family’s adventures on TV
The Brown family talks about what it means to embrace the ‘Beachbilly Lifestyle.’
Josh Brown, Pensacola News Journal
In case you didn’t know, a “beachbilly” is someone who is part beach bum, part hillbilly.
That’s according to Josh Brown, a Perdido Key resident and creator of the local television show “The Beachbilly Lifestyle Show.” More specifically, Brown defines a beachbilly as “any person who loves the beach, woods, farming and all things simple.”
Before Brown, his wife and his three sons became unlikely TV personalities whose adventures were broadcast weekly on WFGX, they led a fairly typical American family life.
The 38-year-old Brown had an epiphany a few years ago when his mother died of cancer. He and his wife, Jessika, a school teacher, had done well for themselves to that point. Brown worked with youth at the Perdido Bay United Methodist Church and in his late teens, even saved a little money from his music days during the boy-band craze of the late 1990s, when he was a member of the group Real Soul, which briefly had a record deal with a Columbia Records subsidiary label.
Brown’s mother, though, a preacher’s wife, never had much wealth.
It was the outpouring of compliments that Brown received at his mother’s funeral service, about her graciousness and generosity, that made him want to forget about social norms and become one with Northwest Florida’s unique blend of beach and country living culture.
“My mom left me nothing but great memories, and that’s what I wanted to do for my kids and my family, I wanted to start making really great memories,” Brown said.
So, he and his family took a leap and went “off the grid,” as he put it. He sold his house and started giving away some of his valuables with no long-term financial plan in sight. He wanted his sons to experience the outdoors, something they couldn’t do in the small yard of their former home. Far from a farmer, he and his wife started growing vegetables and giving them away on the side of the road.
They began living out of a camper and surfing off the shore of Perdido Key on a daily basis.
“The Beachbilly Lifestyle Show” logo. (Photo: Courtesy of Facebook/Josh Brown)
“I would jokingly call it a mid-life crisis without the Harley or the affair,” Brown said.
A friend came by during the height of this family adventure in 2016 and commented, ‘Man, you’re living like a bunch of hillbillies at the beach, I like it.’ At that moment, Brown said, he thought to himself: “Beachbilly.” And he trademarked it.
At first, he thought it could be a cool term to slap on a T-shirt and a way to make some money, because after months of little work and a lot of play, his savings were dwindling. Meanwhile, the family adventure was ongoing and he’d usually film their shenanigans on his phone and upload clips to YouTube.
From shark fishing and mountain climbing, to do-it-yourself videos on subjects like growing vegetables and building chicken coops, to just general silliness like diving out of boats, Brown started stringing together a decent catalog of YouTube clips — some getting more than 5,000 views — and some people, like Blab TV Paul Cope, started to take notice.
Jessica Veatch and her daughter, Violet, of Port St. Lucie are not happy FWC voted to begin working on shore-based shark fishing regulations.
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Cope asked Brown about hosting their TV show and he agreed. “The Beachbilly Lifestyle Show” was born, with Brown shooting and editing his own videos and Blab serving as the platform to gain new reach. In turn, Blab brought in ad revenue through sponsors.
It was after a few episodes on Blab TV without much in the way of a profit, that Brown came to a crossroads. He recalled one day at dinner his wife asking him whether his new show was going to be a hobby or a legitimate career pursuit. Though grateful, Brown decided to leave Blab so he could maximize his show and turn it into a profitable TV program.
“When we started doing the show, people started coming up to us at Walmart like, ‘We love your show, there’s not too many things our whole family can watch together,'” Brown said. “Definitely made us want to keep going, keep promoting Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key and everything, because no other local show is really doing that in this region.”
One sponsor connect led to another, and his show took off in 2017. Recently, he landed it on 30A TV, WFGX, CW in Baton Rouge, Roku, Amazon Fire TV and more.
He thinks the show’s wide range of relatable content is what’s made it a regional hit.
“It’s like, one week will be something about your backyard chickens, then it’s ‘This is the time to start growing your backyard green beans,’ and then boom we’re out with some professional surfers surfing the waves,” Brown said. “And so we’re trying to encompass the whole country living on the Gulf Coast lifestyle, it’s what Beachbilly is.”
The 28-minute weekly episodic show is growing. It currently airs Sundays at 7:30 a.m. on WFGX, but is moving to a better time slot of 3:30 p.m. in July because of its solid early-morning ratings.
Brown said he’s been blessed so far to have people take him under his wing as the show has picked up steam. He credits Cliff Van Gestel, the co-owner of Big Rhino, a clothing and product services company, for being one of people.
“He looked at my website and kind of chuckled on it, like most people do and said ‘Let me redo it for you,'” Brown said. “He’s spent hours doing all this stuff on the website and you know what he’s asked for? Nothing. To me, that’s a cool cat. He’s not even an official sponsor but I give him airspace, like, let’s work together.”
Van Gestel said if he didn’t see the potential in Brown and the good his show can do for the Pensacola community, he wouldn’t do it.
“I think his show is great, ’cause I’m actually learning things I didn’t know,” Van Gestel said. “They’re bringing lights to other organizations within our community. Like one episode they’re on a deer farm out in Jay. Plus, their hearts are in the right place. They want to take some of the profits they make from their apparel and good sales and give to charities and back to the community, as well. They’re working on that and how to portray that through the site. That’s something that’s in their hearts.”
Jake Newby can be reached at email@example.com or 850-435-8538.
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