Category Archives: podcast

My Bogged Down Blog

I haven’t written a blog here in weeks.

The words stopped.
I do three blogs. One is a fun, personal one. One is for Mansfield University. And this one.
I’ve done 208 posts on this blog, a few hundred on my personal one and one a week for the MU Blog which I started last summer.
And without any warning, I crashed. I had no energy to write, and worst of all no interest. No ideas. Nothing to say.
Writing is a way of life. It’s also an addiction. It’s also a way of sharing (or exposing) yourself, your feelings, your ideas, your hopes, dreams and disappointments.
So I’m doing what all addicts do. I’m confessing. “Hi, my name is Dennis and I’m a writer. . . . .”
In the dead zone of non-writing, I read — novels, articles, nonfiction, news, blogs, op-eds– filling the vacuum with the thoughts, ideas, dreams and disappointments of others, seeking a community of intellect and emotions.  Most importantly, I guess, is that I’m seeking  company.

I’ve found literary inspiration in These Lovely Bones, human inspiration in Temple Grandin’s Animals in Translation, which is giving me insight into animal behavior and autism.  I find anger and delight in news articles and reader responses on Huffington Post.  I quietly cheer when I watch YouTube clips of Stewart and Colbert. I watch the original Twilight Zone for its blend of a good story with simple, powerful camera work and famous actors at the beginning of their careers.  I occasionally listen to Rush until I feel myself wanting to rip out my car seats with my teeth.

I’ve talked about my radio and podcast habits in a previous post.

All things are natural, with their own rhythms.  When a well runs dry, you wait patiently for the underground water table to fill it again.

Mine was as dry as dust, but it’s filling again.

I can feel it.

It’s nearly there.

Putting The Public Back in Public Relations: Part 2

I enter part two of the review of Putting the Public Back in Public Relations reminding you that I think the book  is  valuable.

Putting the Public neatly summarizes the demise of the traditional media and the rise of the social media and PR 2.0.

It’s  ironic that the authors understand and capture  well the new media and the need to communicate ideas  in a quick, concise, clear way that’s tailored to our particular audience, and it takes them 300 pages to do it.

-A 300-page novel is not outmoded.

-A 300 page book on social media is.  With more thought and a good editor it could have been at least 50 fewer pages.

-As soon as it’s published, any references to Robert Scoble’s posts, or Chris Anderson’s blacklist is not news.  In the PR 2.0 world, this stuff is ancient history.

Granted, the  book is both a guidebook and history. But 300 pages is still too long.

The authors repeat things over and over.  I’m sure they’re doing it to drive home their points.  But I, like others, am reading this book because I already read the leading blogs,  listen to podcasts (which is where I heard an interview with them, leading me to buy the book), engage in Twitter, read AdAge and Wired and and follow Scoble.

In the larger picture, these are niggling complaints.  The authors have done a service to a profession in profound evolution, providing a pioneering work that’s  a textbook for the future of PR.

As the authors point out, we’re in the time of a huge transition.  PR is in an era of telling stories and being a part of a community that we understand and contribute to.

With each chapter I found myself grabbing a pencil to mark passages where Brian and Deirdre offer up insight, truth and a clearer way into PR’s future.

Just as importantly, I’ve subscribed to their blogs and sites to keep up with the conversation that they initiated.

Multimedia Blog, My Leap into the Norm

Okay, I’m sure others have done this but it was a big deal for me, a goal I’ve had for months.

Monday, August 31, I posted the latest installment of The MU Blog that utilized various social networking outlets.
It’s composed of 10 short graphs that can be read in two minutes.  There’s news, folksy gossip and teasers.

It contains  links to:
-an online  news release

-YouTube video created with a Flip camera

-YouTube video adapted  from a TV talk show

-two podcasts

-still photos on Picasa
I announced the posting on Facebook and Twitter and our internal daily online announcement network.

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Background: With  my Zoom H2 and H4  audio recorders, I recorded the president’s breakfast remarks and the convocation speaker’s address. I yanked out my Flip to capture the marching band’s music and faculty procession for convocation.

After a video shoot with our president in her home, we sat on her deck and talked. She mentioned that her 79-year-old husband was taking a motorcycle test.  He’s also the boxing coach.  I used this tidbit to link to a podcast interview with him about coaching boxing.

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I played with the concept for the MU Blog for nearly a year.  I was not at a point where I could put down on paper the concept of the blog but I knew the style.  I knew who I wanted to reach.  I knew I wanted a blend of news with a touch of the  personal.

And, finally, I knew that I just had to jump in, do it and let it evolve.

All this takes teamwork.  Our IT folks have created the technical pathways  to do these things– from podcasts in 2005 to content management systems, YouTube channels and my WordPress blog site.

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Monday was deadline day.  I was writing the content for the blog (and a look at my revisions record shows that I revised about 20 times).  One staff member  (wearing headphones and munching Doritos between keystrokes) edited and mixed two podcasts and two videos while a student worker recorded intros to the podcasts from scripts I wrote in between working on the blog text, answering phone calls and running to meetings.

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Most people, aside from this blog’s readers and a few others, understand the leap.

It’s now the norm.

My No Budget TV Talk Show Pt 2

“Conversations” has been airing for three months.  Our first guest was VP for finance Mike Reid about a new community relations committee and some of its goals.

I did this to show that  the university is very involved in the community and the region.   We interspersed information about Mike’s farm, his family who created a business selling maple syrup and apiary products.

Admissions Director  Brian Barden was another guest.  I wanted people to see how complex his operation is, how the admissions process works year- around, and some of the challenges he faces to bring in not only a diverse mix of students, but the challenges of filling certain programs.

I followed up on one request and interviewed Mansfield University President Maravene Loeschke and local optometrist and trustee Bob Strohecker about a new  college/community committee whose first project is to raise money for a movie theatre.

We took the equipment into the field and interviewed officials on a new business park and what it would mean to the community.

I have a roster of potential guests that could fill the next year.   I  do a show every two weeks so neither I nor my producer will be inundated.  The show airs four times morning and evening each weekend.

In the show itself, I take two breaks which we use  to air MU commercials.  Possibly, in time, I’ll seek commercials from area businesses, charge a nominal amount and turn the money over to our Foundation for scholarships.    (I’m thinking out loud here.)

After several shows aired, I wrote a news release and we sent it out to local media.    People on campus and around the area have stopped me to tell me how much they like the show and what a great community service it is.  This is the kind of word-of-mouth publicity you can’t buy.

Like everything else that all of us do, the producer and I have fit it into a crowded schedule.  But the payoff on a local and regional level is worth it.

We pull the audio, lay down a music bed and turn some of the shows into podcasts.  I also have an intern breaking the shows into four-five segments to upload on Youtube.  (I actually had requests to do this from people not on the local cable. I’m sure alumni will be interested, too).

Some of you have also expressed interest in seeing them so I’ll provide a link in a future post when some are up.

I emphasize again that this show is no budget.  No special effects.  No set design.  We use a few still shots when appropriate.  It’s exactly what the show title says it is, conversations.

As we do more shows, I’ll keep you posted on our progress and what I learn.

If you have thoughts or ideas, please share them.

Podcast Highlights: Laughter, Tears, Jesus and Darth

Michael P from orgsync submitted a comment recently with questions about podcasting:

What was the most memorable thing that happened during your podcasts? How many did you do? I was reading that most podcast don’t make it over 10 casts due to the amount of work that goes into them. Your thoughts…

Always in search of new subjects, I jumped on it (Thanks, Michael!)

I started doing podcasts in October 2005.  With more than 200 shows we’re still going strong.

I hadn’t read that most podcasts splutter out so quickly but it’s probably true. If you want quality podcasts, there is some work to them.  At the same time, they’re not as much work as quality video productions.   And being a lover of the spoken word, conversations and good stories, I think podcasts are worth the time and effort.

Several memorable moments crowd their way into that category.  One of the most emotional  for me was my first interview with our new president, Maravene Loeschke.  The subject of drunk drivers came up and she said she and her husband had “a very beautiful daughter” who was killed by a drunk driver.

I was totally unprepared.  I teared up and choked up, barely whispering how sorry I was to hear that.  After a moment I recovered and continued the interview.

Another very real moment came with Eden, one of the first students I followed through their freshman and sophomore years to let them tell the story of entering and adjusting to college through the students’ experiences.  One day Eden came in and sat down, totally shaken.  She had caught her fiance cheating on her with her friend. She told me the whole story.  “I threw my engagement ring at him and left,” she said.  “Later I thought, well, it will make a good podcast.”  And so we sat down in the studio. . . .

Casey, a 6’2″ music major, was another student I interviewed weekly.  He always provided a great interview with his offbeat vision of the world. He had a wonderful, hearty laugh.  One day, I said something that struck him funny and he launched into a laughing fit and couldn’t quit.  It was one of the few times I’ve lost control in the studio because I started laughing, too.  Later I time it.  It lasted a minute and a half, which is a really long laugh.  I left it in the interview.

Verne Lapps is a retired speech professor who years ago recorded the New Testament. He studied the Bible, and did a lot of research to prepare to do the dozens of voices in the Scriptures. His description of how he found himself disagreeing with Jesus a couple times, and what it felt like to be the Voice of God, was, to me, riveting.

Lapps also went to college with James Earl Jones, and hearing stories of what “Jim” was like at the very beginning of his acting career, and how a play they were in together drove them apart, again, was fascinating.

So, Mike, again, thanks for the questions.  Yes, podcast production is work but when you have real conversations and really get people to open up, their stories are compelling, and in a lot of cases, timeless.

I also did a series on how to podcast, equipment, etc.

You can find the shows at podcast.mansfield.edu  Scroll through the archives.

We’re redesigning the page to accommodate our growth and make it more user friendly.  Let me know how you like the shows.

Sunday Afternoon Thoughts Part 16

In my last post, guest Dick Jones wrote about the demise of newspapers, happening in part because they refuse to let go of their double digit profits. Ad Age has begun a series entitled Newspaper Death Watch. The first installment mentions many of the same problems Dick did. I’ll be following this series and provide a link to each installment. Intriguing stuff.

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Related to the death of newspapers and the huge transition we’re experiencing in news gathering- dissemination (and PR and marketing) is Chris Brogan’s post on Some Differences Between Pitching Mainstream Press and Bloggers. There are some marked differences and, of course, a lot of similarities.

Most revealing are the responses when Chris Twittered his friends for their opinions. Read this in full and think about it. There’s a lot about passion, opinions, homework, freebies . . .oh, yes, and pimping.

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Martin Weller is a Professor of Educational Technology at the Open University in the UK. I’ve subscribed to his blog, The Ed Techie for quite awhile but, like everyone else, I don’t get to all my feeds as often as I’d like.

In the virtual world this April 7 post, Whither the Blogosphere, might be considered old, but it’s relevant, well-written and thoughtful. It’s about the possible trend of bloggers moving away from the blogosphere and into different forms of communication on the Web. Martin writes in part:

What I think is happening is another example of technology succession. The blog was the primary colonizer for the barren landscape of online identity. The presence of this colonizer changed the environment, which made it more amenable to secondary colonizers. . .

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I found this interesting entry on The Ed Techie’s recent post, Making Connections 2.0

Blogger Tony Hirst was criticized harshly at a conference for having his laptop to do some live blogging. Both his account and the comments give some great insights into the schism between traditionalists and 2.0 practitioners.

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John C. Dvorak, VP at the former Podshow, explains the name change to Mevio. His post is short and to the point. The 68 responses range from agreement, to anger to thoughts on the term “podcasting,” branding, search engines, etc. Again, interesting insights into our fast-changing times.

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Finally, I need your insights and ideas.

Three weeks ago I did the three-part post on the drug bust. A week later I followed it up with a report on another one. As I posted them, each one attracted a larger-than-usual number of views. They continued to get a steady but lower number of views, which is the norm. Then, Friday night, views of these posts suddenly jumped way, way up. The views continued growing throughout Saturday, giving me one of my top five days ever. Has this ever happened to anyone else?

Any ideas as to why this seemingly untimely explosion of interest?

Sunday Afternoon Thoughts Part 14

I couldn’t believe the timing of my drug bust posts with an actual second bust. What are the chances? One of the offshoots of the arrests that I didn’t mention in my last post was that the hits on my bust series doubled. Why? As people did searches for Thursday’s bust news they came upon my three-part series and clicked on them.

Hey, always a silver lining somewhere. . . .

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A big thanks to Ray Ulmer, vice-president for communications at Targetx who, in a post about good podcasting, used Mansfield University as an example, along with my initial goals that I have pretty much lived by.

I was familiar with TargetX but not with Ray’s blog. It’s concise, thoughtful and well-written. I’m a subscriber now.

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Drew McLellan at The Marketing Minute turned me on to Microsoft video that’s making the rounds on YouTube. If you haven’t seen it, you must, along with his commentary.

On his latest post on Web Strategy by Jeremiah, the author lists some new search engines that track conversations about your company or school.

Just as interesting for Web and PR folks are the numerous comments, insights and questions.

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Just a general FYI as I record what I learn as I go, I’m changing the title to Lonely Girl, S*x, Mystery and Web 2.0. to Lonely Girl – the Creation Continues. We’ll see if that staves off the searches of the lonely, horny and perverted searching for something that has nothing to do with my post.

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Two Requests:

1. Our Web folks are getting ready to go live with a new web content management system. PR will be the first. The design is done. I’m looking for sites that have really cool category and content ideas. If you have some favorite sites – even your own—please send me the links.

2. I have to transcribe our podcasts. There are nearly 250, Has anyone used software like Dragon Naturally Speaking? If so, what was your experience? Our IT folks don’t recommend it and say it’s much better just to hire someone to transcribe. They’re probably right but I thought I’d check and see if anyone has used any electronic transcription programs.

Feedback, please!