Thursday, February 26, 2009

People We're Glad We Know: Photographer Michael Zide

Michael Zide, the Amherst MA-based photographer, has been shooting photos for WFCR's Special Events for over a decade. Finally, he gets some long-overdue kudos in a profile by Kathleen Mellen from Northampton's Daily Hampshire Gazette.

For a link to the Gazettenet article:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Recent Press Placements:

Some of our recent press placements for clients.

4/20/06: Springfield (MA) Republican and MASSLive: Interview with Paul Winter Consort's cellist Eugene Friesen for Academy at Charlemont benefit:

5/18/06: USAToday: Cross-Culture Journeys: Europe by the Book: The DaVinci Code Tour.

5/20/06: New York Times: Cross-Culture Journeys: Europe by the Book: The DaVinci Code Tour. The article reprinted in several other newspapers which used NYT syndicated columns.

4/26/07: Springfield (MA) Republican and MASSLive. Interview with Jazz Mandolin Project for Academy at Charlemont benefit.

10/18/07: Valley Advocate (Cover Story): A Bigger Band. Feature on David Sanford, The Pittsburgh Collective, and Matt Haimovitz for a WFCR Special Event:

2/18/08: Reminder Publications: Cross-Culture's 2008-09 Ecotours.

5/15/08: Valley Advocate (Cover Story): A Wolf At The TurnTable / Profile of author Augusten Burroughs who did a reading/booksigning benefit for WFCR:

6/17/08: MassLive: UMASS/Amherst Blog: Augusten Burroughs Benefit Reading/Booksigning for WFCR:

August 08: Reminder Publications PRIME Magazine: Cross-Culture Journey's customised Italy Art Tour for the Mount Holyoke College Museum of Art.

10/29/08: EDGE Boston. "Capitol Steps to perform at Harvard". Feature also ran in EDGE Provincetown and EDGE Providence/Rhode Island. (for Mike Thornton Agency).

11/29/08: Boston Globe. "Capitol Idea" Feature on the Capitol Steps (for Mike Thornton Agency).

12/04/08: Springfield (MA) Republican and MASSLive. "Capitol Steps" to offer comic relief (Feature for WFCR)

1/30/09: The Washington Post: Cross-Culture Journeys' Belgium Tours.

Ronni Gordon Update: The Fight Continues

Back on January 12, I posted a short entry about my colleague, journalist Ronni Gordon. Although sidelined from covering features and theatre for the Springfield (MA) Republican, she turned her
focus to chronicling her journey (as runner and tennis player) with leukemia.

She'd profiled her journey in the New York Times:

She also keeps a daily blog, which just won the major award that I asked people to vote for last month:

The blog and her Facebook entries have been silent this last week. She's had some complications from a stem-cell transplant. On the plus side, her transplant seems to be taking. On the minus side, it's a tough journey.

Hopefully, those of you who know Ronni from work in the local media, and those who know Ronni merely through her writings, can summon up some good thoughts for her as she wages an incredible battle.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Late Night Musings: 2/12/09

Late last night, I was working on newsletter copy for a client, and it was showtune time on the boom box. I was listening to the under-appreciated Marvin Hamlisch/Craig Carnelia score to the 2002 Broadway musical "The Sweet Smell of Success". The musical, a tale of a ruthless newspaper columnist (like Walter Winchell) and an ambitious PR guy, resonates for me--because the movie on which the musical is based was so film-noir. It also resonates because I'm an ambitious PR guy, (although I think the days of the powerhouse columnists are somewhat passe). It's kind of cool to hear Brian D'Arcy James sing a lyric which recaps my job description in a jazzy line: "I can do the five Ws: who, what, when, where, WOW".

Starbucks is introducing an instant coffee, called Via, according to published reports. Does that mean that high-priced, organic, hand-crafted Mountain Dew will soon be available at chic formerly FEMA trailers on every street corner ? I'm the first to admit it. I'm a coffee house snob. For the Seattle Post-Intellegencer report:

Anna Nicole Smith will be the subject of a new opera, scheduled for performances at The Royal Opera in the UK somtime down the road (possibly 2011). What's next on the opera stage ? Here's the USAToday announcement:

Gone High-Tech

***As of February 1, our entire press list has been computerized, and all of our media advisories and press releases with accompanying photos are now sent electronically. (Upon request, we occasionally send media kits by priority mail). In a moment of nostalgia, I recalled my first job at the American University Theatre, when sending out a press release involved typing on a form which then ran through a mimeograph machine (with its medicinal ink smell). Then, the folding, the envelope stuffing, addressing, stamping, and sorting by zipcode...everything had to be banded in batches and taken to a special post office. Now, it's type, proof, point, click, send. Wow !

***A few years ago, I discontinued cable, because I wasn't watching enough TV for the price I was paying, or I was watching too much TV for the price it was costing me in terms of wasted time. A dish doesn't work well in my neighborhood, so I restrict my TV viewing to rabbit ears atop the set. If there's something important on cable, I record it at my dad's house.

So, in preparation for America's switch from analog to digital, I picked up a converter box. I was surprised to find some of the additional channels available, particularly on PBS. I've really enjoyed the Create network on PBS--food, cooking, wine, and travel shows 24/07.

***The office fax is now officially "inactive", going the way of the rotary phone, the VHS player, and the tape deck. We seldom send nor receive faxes anymore. In the heyday of faxes here (during the Butch years), friends and colleagues would send faxes to keep Butch jumping up on the fax machine. But, since Butch moved on to that communications center in the sky and we've moved on to PDFs, that dedicated phone line will get scratched from the budget. I plan to keep the fax here, just in case someone needs to communicate "the old-fashioned way".

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things (Websites) -- Part Deux

A Few of My Favorite Things, Part Deux

Some of the places I've been surfing of late...

Amtrak Stations Database: There are over 530 Amtrak stations past and present in the USA and this website has photos of all of them. Interiors as well as platform shots. Some are architectural treasures; some are trailers and shacks.

The Man in Seat Sixty One. A blog and information site for rail travellers and rail buffs. Mark Smith, its creator, has travelled globally by rail, from The Eurostar to Amtrak to train routes in Syria, Albania, and Zimbabwe.

Old and Abandoned Air Terminals. I'm not sure if ever there was a heyday of air travel with terminals to rival Grand Central or Washington's Union Station. But, some of the airports in days of yore were kind of interesting. This site profiles some terminals built prior to the 1970s (many of which were torn down after their more modern replacements were built). To me, Houston's Hobby Airport is the aviation equivalent of Grand Central.

MIR Corp. I develop travel programs for clients which utilize travel programs as a way to steward and cultivate donors. I was first attracted to MIR by a tour they were eveloping for Johns Hopkins' alumni program--a Trans-Siberian rail adventure. I emailed for a catalogue. Their tours, although pricey, are off-beat but elegant excursions that offer glimpses of parts of the world, from Siberia to Iran, that are definitely off the beaten track for most tourists.

The Laurel. A new blog about media happenings in Connecticut, started by Duby McDowell, long time political reporter in the Nutmeg State. It's a who's who and what's happening inside the newsrooms of CT newspapers, radio stations, TV studios and more.

Part One was published on 1/18/09

People We're Glad We Know: Gerry LeBlanc

I reconnected with an old friend and colleague, Gerry LeBlanc, who is an internetologist. Years back, Gerry, as webmaster and designer for the Daily Hampshire Gazette newspaper in Northampton, MA and I (wearing my WFCR hat), collaborated on what was then considered a pioneering effort: web banner advertising.

Now, the web is an essential part of any marketing effort, and Gerry has opened his own shop to help clients utilize web-based technologies to build cost-effective and targeted marketing strategies.

We hope to partner with him on some of our client work.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Save The Date

"Everything I Learned About Management, I Learned from Rock and Roll"
Wednesday, April 15 at 7PM. Breck Suite, Wright Hall
Bay Path College, Longmeadow, MA

A panel featuring: James M. Wilson III, assistant professor of business at Bay Path College and Gregory Jones of Cannes Associates concert production management. Wilson and Jones discuss how event management (specifically about rock & roll concert management) contributes to organizational theory.

Greg Jones and I have worked together for over ten years producing special events and consulting for various clients including 88.5FM/WFCR and The Academy at Charlemont. We've worked with a variety of artists, NPR authors, and NPR programs. Among the roster: "A Prairie Home Companion", "This American Life" and "Says You!"; authors Scott Simon, Terry Gross, Andrew Weil, Augusten Burroughs, and musicians the Paul Winter Consort, Jazz Mandolin Project, The Pittsburgh Collective with Matt Haimovitz.

Greg offers some cool insights, and this is an unusual opportunity to hear him speak.

Cross-Culture Journeys Featured in Washington Post

A 1/30/09 article in the Washington Post's Travel section featured Cross-Culture Journey's barge tours to Belgium.