To encounter astrology is to dance with the mystery of existence. While many seek out astrology for answers, I propose that it’s better used for asking questions. Any honest question puts one face to face with the unknown — where learning is possible.
— Eric Francis, founder of Planet Waves
Eric Francis Coppolino has served as editor of Health Professions Report and New York Education Law Report. His coverage of mass poisoning incidents and legal issues related to PCBs and dioxins has been published by The New York Times, Sierra, The Village Voice, Woodstock Times, The Ecologist and The Las Vegas Sun.
Eric is also an internationally renowned astrologer whose horoscopes have appeared in metropolitan newspapers, top-title magazines and websites across North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia and Asia. These have included the Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror, the Sydney Morning Herald, the New York Daily News, People, Harper’s Bazaar, Woman, Lemonade and Flaunt. His articles have appeared in The Mountain Astrologer, The Journal of Bisexuality and Catalyst.
Today he is the editor of Planet Waves, and host of Planet Waves FM – Pacifica.
Overview and Introduction to our Business Plan
Planet Waves begun publishing in 1995, took its name in 1998, and incorporated in 2002. We are a general interest magazine with a speciality in spiritual astrology and cultural astronomy. Our focus is on personal development, global news and where the two meet.
We are subscription- and product- based business model, and do not take agency or robot-driven advertising. We offer a diversity of products, subscriptions and memberships, and offer content to print and web publications and to individuals.
Planet Waves services are delivered in writing, audio, video, and visual art formats. Internet services are delivered via web and professional-quality newsletters (specialized information publishing, based loosely on the Kiplinger Letter model).
Publications are distributed on daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal and annual cycles. Mainstays are weekly news analysis (often astrology-based), feature articles, investigative features, short features, eBooks, and 12-sign horoscopes in many formats.
Planet Waves serves a diverse, global audience which has spanned from the Antarctic research stations to the Northwest Territories of Canada. We provide professional information services, self-therapy products and a place of refuge available around the clock to newcomers free of charge. Our readership is concentrated in the United States, Western Europe and Eastern Asia.
Our ultimate goal is to develop our new model of news reporting, which is sensitive to the individual reader, listener or viewer. This is in essence a spiritually grounded model of the news, where both the impact of the story and the reader’s ability to respond are considered. We are fulfilling the missing element of news coverage, responding to the question, “Why do I need to know this?”
While many Planet Waves services are provided by a privately held corporation, we function as a community trust, on the level of sharing ideas, information, contacts, resources and art. We recognize that we are serving an international readership in a time of global crisis and transition.
Astrology is More Popular Than Ever
Study after study shows that astrology is more popular than ever. However, most people are finding a low-grade imitation of astrology online. We are offering the artisan, handcrafted and in-depth version of the work, designed to be accessible to to astrology fans on every level of understanding. Our work is priced affordably, with excellent free options.
With astrology and horoscopes as our primary draw, we then offer our readers interesting, diversified articles and other content, designed to reveal the potential of astrology and deepen their interest in life and in their own potential.
Our Concept of Astrology
We treat astrology as an analytical platform that applies to both world events and personal development. Astrology provides a flexible context that emphasizes the connection between humans and developments in our world.
Astrology provides an accessible platform for discussion of events and their meaning, and also a way to consider the passage of time.
While astrology has generally been treated as entertainment based on prediction or personality analysis, today many people are seeking it out as a form of either self-therapy or alternative spirituality. We agree that this position can be helpful if used honestly.
By those within the field, astrology is often still considered a deterministic “machine of destiny,” a model that is not supported by experience or by science, and which we consider antiquated and obsolete.
The Need We Address
Many people are in a state of existential confusion, overwhelmed by information, and stressed by life challenges. One of those is a spiritual need for meaning and a sense of purposes.
Most news and feature journalism exists without a discernible role in the reader ’s mind. It either drives a political viewpoint or provides content into which ads are placed. Our role is to fulfill need of our readers to perceive global events in a more meaningful way.
One element of this is guidance and strategies for living in a rapidly changing environment in a world dominated by the digital environment.
Reaching Men With Astrology
Astrology is a subject area generally sought out by women. Through our diversified topical approach (rather than focusing only on astrology itself), we reach men based on their interest in the subjects we cover. Our writing is crafted in such a way as to appeal to a diverse audience, written in clear, journalistic English and presented with warmth, personal contact and excellent illustrations.
We work through a for-profit S-corporation and a 501(c)(3) non-profit. This leaves open revenue streams that include product sales, subscriptions, investments, grants and private donations.
Our business model depends on non-centralized funding for both sides of the organization. This ensures our editorial independence and allows us the freedom to choose our subject matter based on our values, our ethics and nothing else.
While we are known as an astrology publication, an astrological angle is not necessary in every article. Often the astrology is integrated gently, woven into the topic, or added only in one section of the article. We call this an “astrology light approach.” Where astrology is included, jargon and technical terms are either used minimally or (following the rules of basic journalism) explained fully on the first reference.
In the field of astrology, we ’ve done in-depth coverage of new planet discoveries in including Chiron and Eris, the early history of classical astrology, the relationship between astrology and therapy, the science and delineation of deep-space points, and deconstructing the “your zodiac sign has changed” hoax. (We have the best history of that we’ve seen, provided by my colleague the late Jonathan Cainer.
Planet Waves emerges from a background of covering environmental science and related legal issues (principally fraud), which continues to the present day. We have devoted deep coverage to nuclear power and the associated astrology, the Moon landing and the associated astrology, and an ongoing investigation of how the internet has impacted consciousness, and as related to major planetary events. We covered, ongoing, the investigation of the Special Counsel and the impeachment in astrological and non-astrological modes of writing. And through 2020, we have published a panoramic news aggregation blog 1400 times, done numerous radio programs, and published a series of investigative feature articles by our founder Eric Francis.
Underlying Spiritual Philosophy
Astrology is of itself void of a spiritual framework or guiding ethos, as is news coverage. Our central ethical principle is “do no harm.” We are informed by (but do not necessarily discuss) Holistic Therapy, A Course in Miracles, Homeopathy, Human Design, and the philosophy of Marshall McLuhan. As journalists first, our policy is to publish only what we can prove or substantiate, and to refrain from making statements based upon belief or speculation.
Differentiating Planet Waves FM – Chiron Return, Inc.
Our nonprofit arm is called Chiron Return, founded as a 501(c)(3) in 2014. It is the owner and publisher of Planet Waves FM, our weekly radio program, which has now released 300 editions. Planet Waves FM is accepted as an affiliated internet station of the Pacifica Radio Network. Other affiliates include Democracy Now! and KPFA Berkeley.
Chiron Return is also owner of our 2,000 title astrology book collection, and major contributor to a 250,000 page document collection and online resource called the Gemstone File.
Our next stage of expansion of Chiron Return is a media literacy program, in large part based on my work studying with the McLuhans (Canadian media philosophers). This will include classes such as Reading the News, Basic Reporting for Students and Activists, and Investigative Reporting from the Kitchen Table.
Outreach and Expansion Plan
As an original content driven publication, our goal is to get our work into the hands of as many people as possible, some of whom become our customers. Building audience is a result of taking creative approaches to what covering events through the mode of astrology, and providing otherwise dependable news and features. The popularity of the horoscope drives traffic and builds interest in other topics.
We recognize that most sales come from direct mail marketing, so one goal is to build the email list by a diversity of means. However, we are redeveloping our front facing website to be more retail focused, and are in the end stages of a total rebuild of our database and store.
We continue to build our audience by three main approaches. One is the persistent use of social media and content sharing platforms. However, our most successful approach is to have our articles and horoscopes carried by larger websites and publications. Finally, we utilize both print and online advertising to draw readers. This is a scalable model, workable in proportion to funding and staff resources.