Category Archives: Radio

Blogs, Press Releases, and Farmers in Appalachian Valleys

This is the meme that won’t die. I was going to stay away from it, until I received a comment from Stowe Boyd yesterday. His comment was so long that my response (I feel) deserves a post, rather than a simple reply. The funny thing is, today I received an email from a former student (Sarah) who opened her eNewsletter from Lawrence Ragan Communications today and saw my name at the top of Shel Hotz’ post about the post in question. Kinda cool. Oh, and “Hey, Sarah!”

If you aren’t confused, re: Farmers in Appalachian Valleys, then I’ll appreciate your help – ’cause I am confused. You see, I have never written about Appalachain Valley farmers and press releases (have I?), but apparently Stowe Boyd thinks I did.

The title of this post is but part of a comment left by Stowe Boyd on the post, Blogs are Soma to So Many. At least he liked the metaphor – sort of. His comment is in blockquotes below. I respond.

Stowe Boyd: I think the metaphor is pretty, but misleading. You could make the case that anything that any group advocates is like Soma. I don’t buy it. Blogging is not like taking an anti-depressant. It is (at a physical level) a collection of tools for web publilshing, and (at the societal level) a social medium through which we gain understanding of the world. Not a drug.

Actually, my intention re: the use of the metaphor is as follows.

The assertion that blogging will right the wrongs of poor corporate and organizational communication with stakeholders gives blog enthusiasts solace. Enthusiasts hope and believe that social media’s conversational form will bring relief to the distress of poor customer service and customer relationship marketing / management. So, it is the idea of a blog revolution that serves as your soma. You embrace it as something that will make society and corporations, for instance, co-exist in harmony. And, you seem to expect us to get in line – quick.

I agree that blogging is a medium, but I’m a little surprised that you used that term. Isn’t “place” or “space” the blog-speak appropriate term, along with “people” instead of audience? I wouldn’t want you to be drummed out of the Blog Thought Leaders Club. (See David Weinberger’s JOHO the blog, your own reference to Doc Searls, Dan Gillmor’s The Former Audience Joins the Party, and Jay Rosen’s The People Formerly Know as the Audience.)

Those enthusiasts are, after all, creating waffle words or jargon. (See Milton Friedman.) But, wasn’t this supposed to be the movement that did away with required appropriate norms of speech and definitions. Isn’t it the movement that frees all to speak in their own voice? The implication being, if you don’t subscribe to the dogma, “you don’t get it.” I think Stowe Boyd used that phrase.

Stowe Boyd: Your argument boils down to the fact that established mechanisms of PR have been baked into law and other conventions, and therefore blogging — which wasn’t foreseen when those where codified — shouldn’t be used in place of old timey ideas like press releases distributed by newswire services. I have suggested that we could work collectively to get these conventions, or laws, if necessary, changed.

No, my argument is two-fold. But, yes … we can work to change the old laws. However, it will take a lot of time. Continue reading


The Day That Changed The World

For those of my generation, and older, this is the day that changed the world. November 22, 1963 at 12:30 p.m. CST.

If you are going to read one book about the events of November 22, it might as well be this one. When the News Went Live: Dallas 1963 (Hardcover), by Bob Huffaker, Bill Mercer, George Phenix, Wes Wise.

It is a great book.

The stories of these four men are quite remarkable. Students, they were – for the most part – just starting out in their careers. Imagine that for a moment. Powerful stories.

Excerpt from the Publishers Weekly review of the book:

Before November 22, 1963, people depended on the morning or afternoon newspaper for their news. But once Kennedy was shot, America turned to television for up-to-the-minute reports—most of which were supplied that fatal weekend by Huffaker, Mercer, Phenix and Wise of Dallas’s KRLD, a CBS affiliate. As Huffaker explains, back then a TV reporter had to be able to do everything, from getting the scoop at the scene to writing the piece and reading it on the air. Mercer describes the huge sound cameras they’d lug, with film that they’d have to process and edit in time for the next newscast. As each of the authors gives his account of the segment of the Kennedy assassination he was most involved with—the race to get the injured president to the hospital, Oswald’s flight and capture, Ruby’s shooting of Oswald and Ruby’s trial—he opens a window into that earlier era of broadcast history. In the conclusion, the contributors make comparisons to today’s “embedded” reporters. One big difference emerges: in 1963, the KRLD crew had a whole nation awaiting their latest report.

When The New Went Live

Gallaudet University Is Protesting :: Homecoming Cancelled

Correction: Actually, Homecoming was postponed, not cancelled.

You have got to go follow this story.

…I love the deaf culture. There may be no disability culture with a more fervent following…

Students at Gallaudet University are protesting. No, not just carrying signs and such. They have taken over College Hall on campus. It is the 1960’s in D.C.

The Washington Post (radio) has an interview with some of the students and faculty.

“Now with us this morning through their sign language interpreters (Emphasis is mine.) are LaToya Plummer, a student at Gallaudet University, and one of the faculty members, Dr. Jeff Lewis, who’s with us as well.”

Yep, a radio interview with interpreters. I’d love to have heard that one. The audio is actually there. I missed it. Seriously, this is a great story.

LaToya Plummer explained the reasons behind the protest. “Well, the protest is all about a flawed process for the selection of the next president. It’s not only that but the lack of leadership capabilities that we’ve seen in Dr. Fernandes over the last 11 years.” (Source)

One of the issues is audism. Haven’t heard that one before, have you?

What is audism? A simple definition would be that it is a negative or oppressive attitude towards deaf people by either deaf or hearing people and organizations, and a failure to accomodate them. People who have audist attutides (sic) are considered to be audists. For example, the refusal or failure to use sign language in the presence of a sign language-dependent person is considered audism. (Source)

The following excerpt kind of says it all with regard to how strongly the students feel about this issue:

Jane Fernandez is the president-designate of the University who is scheduled to take office in January. Protestors (sic) deny that they ever charged that Fernandez, who learned sign language in her twenties, is not, as some put it, “deaf enough.” (Emphasis is mine.) But they do say that Gallaudet is more than a school. It is a symbol of what deaf people can achieve and the president must be an advocate for all deaf people. The student protestors (sic) and many faculty members are angry that they were excluded from the selection process. (Source)

We need to follow this story and think about how you would handle it if you were the media relations person for Gallaudet. I truly wish I could be there. I even tried to chat with Erin Caldwell, who is in D.C., to see what news coverage is like up there. Erin, of course, was asleep. The nerve of that girl. 😀

(Google Blog Search for Gallaudet and Technorati Search for Gallaudet)

University President Podcasts :: Hollins University

Interesting development. I haven’t seen this before. A university president taking to iTunes for message delivery.

Hollins University, a small private liberal arts university in Virginia, offers “women’s undergraduate and coed graduate programs with a liberal arts focus.” Hollins has “819 undergraduate women and 238 coed graduate students. From 46 states and 9 countries.”

In their first program, President Nancy Gray chats about the school.

Hollins University president Nancy Gray talks about happenings at Hollins and answers listeners’ questions. This bimonthly podcast is hosted by public relations director Jeff Hodges.

…focusing on exceptional alumni, new campus facilities and programs, and faculty activities, this podcast serves a useful purpose…

It is billed as a bimonthly podcast. I think once every two months is too little for them to build an audience, but we’ll see. Since I don ‘t know about their staff and resources, it may not be possible for them to do more. Now, a school like Auburn could easily fill one each week (if not each day) with interviews from administrators, faculty and students. A lot has been written lately about professors using podcasts for their lectures. I hope university PR offices start to join in, as well.

I like this idea. Just imagine how many news organizations would love to have this to check out each week, or so. A 9:52 production, the program is short enough to get listeners and long enough to have some purpose.

They are calling it the “Ask the President Podcast.” Many universities have had radio actualities online, in the past. The practice seems to have diminished as they go after more and more television and print placecments. Just my anecdotal observation, really. This is an interesting way to get audio online and easily available to media and stakeholders.

Now, a bold step would be to have some unscripted conversations between the president, students and faculty. Wonder if they’ll go out on the limb with their’s?

This podcast is clearly scripted. If it isn’t, then I’d be amazed. Listen and I think you’ll understand. But, the process will – I hope – develop a more conversational tone along the way. Hey, it is new. Let’s cut them some slack.

Still, this is a good example of how podcasting’s growth has begun to catch on in education. Check it out. It was a good podcast. The podcast is listed in iTunes under public relations. They also have a Web page devoted to the podcast’s feed and it features another podcast on creative writing, too. No blog, yet. But, perhaps that’s coming in the future. I’d love to see university presedents blogging … with comments on. Don’t know if any of them will ever take that chance, though. We’ll see.

David Parmet Is A Ham … Radio Fanatic

David Parmet never ceases to surprise me.

Today, David has an interview with Allen Pitts,W1AGP, ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager at his blog, Marketing Begins at Home.

…ham radio has saved lives and reassured families and loved ones in times of disaster…

I, too, am a Ham Radio fan, but not an operator. No license or anything cool like that … unlike David.

If you’ve ever wondered where the term “Ham Radio” comes from, the ARRL has the answer. Essentially, it is the adoption of an unflattering reference to “hogging the airwaves” that was worn by ham operators with pride. Check out the link and scroll down to “Ham – “Ham: a poor operator. A ‘plug.'”

Thinking about it, the tie in to ham radio and PR makes more sense than any of us probably imagine. PR is about diffusion of information. “The spread of linguistic or cultural practices or innovations within a community or from one community to another.” (Source)

Ham Radio (spark gap transimission) at Auburn University, dates back to 1912. It even includes an initial broadcast from Auburn to Thomas Alva Edison. No kidding.

Pioneer Alabama amateur radio pivots around the electrical engineering department at what was then called Alabama Polytechnic Institute (API) in Auburn. In 1912 API alumnus, Miller Reese Hutchinson, an electrical engineer who served as assistant to Thomas A. Edison, gave a spark gap transmitter and crystal receiver to API. In that same year Congress approved the Radio Act, and universities throughout the nation applied for licenses.

For their station, API students erected a 150-foot steel pipe on the east end of Broun Hall and strung an antenna to the second floor where the set was located. Hutchinson arrived on June 2, 1913, for the dedication, reading the first message transmitted, a note to Edison at his New Jersey laboratory:

    “This wireless formally christens the two-and-a-half kilowatt apparatus which I have this day presented to the Alabama Polytechnic Institute in commemoration of the first homecoming of the alumni. The president, the faculty, the alumni, and the student body join me in expressing love and esteem to the father of electrical development.”

Reading David’s interview made me think of other activities here at Auburn University, today. David asks, “How can amateur radio position itself as relevant when communicating with the rest of the world is as easy as signing up for an instant messenger account?” Well, at Auburn University, there are many examples of ham radio operation in education. The School of Forestry, for example, supports a program providing Remote Internet Access Using Radio and Satellite-based Communication Systems in Tachira and Apure, Venezuela. The program is located in Lineville, Alabama. Lineville is, um, well … a tiny town. The cool thing about technology is that it can free you to be “wired” anywhere.

Visit David’s blog and you’ll even learn that ARRL has a podcast, too.

I love history. Many thanks to David for reviving some historical memories from Auburn, for me, with his great interview.

Post Audio To Your Blog By Phone

UPDATE: The newer – and better – way to do this is by using

I have been aware of Blogger/Blogspot’s Audioblogger and LiveJournal’s Voice Post functions for some time. Simple to use and free (except for the phone call). Now those are built into their systems, so you are freed from giving out your login/password to your blog to a 3rd party.

I recently began watching the wp-hackers (WordPress developers) listserv and find it quite informative. It was there that I learned of the following…

…post audio
by phone to your WordPress, Blogger
LiveJournal and Drupal sites…

A new way to post audio files via phone to your WordPress and Drupal sites has now appeared. It is called PhoneBlogz. The downside is – they want/need your login/password for the process to work. Who is going to be willing give that ability to post directly to an unknown party, I wonder? But, you can create a limited access role/user with the ability to create an audio post, but not let it be posted to the blog, and this may be a workaround.

If they can come up with a plugin, that removes that unfortunate problem, then this could be a fun way to post snippets of info to your blog (length of possible audio posts vary in all of the options listed above).

I’m interested in practical business applications. Is there a PR possibility here? Ideas? I don’t know.

Citizen journalists (just as we’ve seen with video and images) may use the function and then one day an audio post will makes it to major media because an eye witness posted audio of some incident. It is bound to happen one day. NowPublic, for instance, offers the capability to publish news via a 1-800 number. Also, there is the idea of a citizen journalist posting observations of an event they are attending. I wouldn’t be surprised if some hard-core blogger did that this week from CES, the International Consumer Electronics Show.

Phone interviews could be posted. However, someone could also post a phone interview (with 3-way calling) and you would never know. That’s not too good, now is it? Think of the goober gotcha’s attempted by someone someday. That is bound to happen, too.

A radio station, with their own implementation of this, could allow listeners to send in requests, news tips, traffic alerts, questions, and more via their station’s site. Podcasters could accept questions and comments for inclusion in their programs. Shel and Neville have a way for listeners to leave comments for their podcasts already. They use (free) for their ‘comment line’ for listeners to share shout outs.
But what of other applications.

For news organizations, if you can post as a draft and someone can edit it before placing it on the site, then the process has even more value.

So, what tactics can you see this being used for in a productive positive way? Or, is this just another cute little toy that won’t catch on? Continue reading

The NewPR ::: Web 2.0

Good post today from Mike Manuel at Media Guerrilla: DIY PR in a ‘Cheap’ Economy. It reminds me of the meme Jeremy Pepper was tacking during Global PR Blog Week – Jeremy Pepper: PR Blogging, and the New PR Meme. Note: The full post is here at Global PR Blog Week is down now (database snafu) so this is Jeremy’s post that refers to it. Global PR Blog Week blog is back up now.

Certainly, these two bloggers are two of the best you can read. And, their posts/articles take a pretty rational view of NewPR and how CMS is making inroads. They understand blogs. They get it.

Still, I think most all of these posts and articles fail to state the one point that would really make it true, or valid for the broader business community. All should say / add “smaller regional or national/international” companies instead of the broad and generic ‘small business’.

…the one thing we are,
missing is a clarification
of what small business really is…

Why? Well, I fail to see the successful broad application for truly small business (a.k.a., mom & pop). Sure, there is a handful of examples. Maybe three or four handfuls. But, the PR blogging meme for small business ‘other than’ the one person shop of consultants, etc. just hasn’t proven true – yet. Can it? Will it? I don’t know. It may. But, right now – the proof isn’t available in sufficient numbers.

The problem? It is due to where most PR bloggers are coming from. Almost all are working in national / international companies – or, they serve clients with national/international customer bases. So, they don’t think like small / regional businesses.

I think that is, in a way, a natural omission due to their focus on PR activities.

So, I believe that if we can make the distinction – clarify, clarify, clarify – when speaking of where blogging / CMS has worked in PR and avoid the broad generalizations – we have started to make inroads. It is, perhaps, the broad promises of how it will work (without the examples to back it up) that may be a barrier to entry for many small business owners.

The last step is to truly identify and analyze a sufficient number of small business blogs. Anita Campbell does a fine job of it. And, she gave me “a talkin’ to” when I posted about Blogs as Panacea or Placebo some time ago.

Still, I don’t think we’ve acquired a sufficient database of small business blogs (other than individuals in business) to judge the effectiveness.

Kudos to Anita, by the way. She now has added a radio program to her armada of small business tools for all of us to enjoy:

Small Business Trends Radio
Tuesdays, 1:00 PM Eastern U.S. time
on Voice America network
Click to listen