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.


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.

* * *

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.


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.


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  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.


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.


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. . .


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.


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.


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. . . .


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.


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.


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.


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!

Sunday Afternoon Thoughts Part 12

Just when I think I have things figured out, somebody comes along . . . .

From everything I’ve read, the radio industry is imploding. I’m still placing regular spots both regionally and state-wide but have planned within a few years to shift all promotion to the Web.

Then Wizard of Ads guru Roy H. Williams comes along calling radio “the best value” of any type of media. “I believe 2008 will be a major growing-up year for radio and readers of the Monday Morning Memo need to understand what’s going on,” the Wiz says in a recent post. I respect Williams a lot. I’ve seen him person twice. On stage he’s dynamic, electric. In person, he’s quiet and shy.

He’s also an advertising visionary.

Check out his thoughts and see if you agree.


I had also concluded that there’s not more of a handful of kids in the civilized world that read newspapers. Then last week a business professor friend stopped me on campus and said he had taken his class to New York City for a competition. He took pictures of them. “Several of them asked me if the picture could be in their hometown newspapers,” he said.

Maybe it was a fluke or maybe I’m off base on this one, too.

No. It was a fluke.


Check out Advertising Age’s article, Yahoo Makes Goo Goo Eyes at Google. There’s a strange dance going on among Microsoft, Yahoo and Google and it’s going to affect us all. Oh, and there’s Rupert Murdoch pacing along the edge of the dance floor.


Good article in Podcasting News on podcasting, Madison Avenue’s Worst Nightmare and the phenomenon Willitblend which increased its business 500% with its zany videos.


Also through Podcasting News I found a cool site entirely devoted to microphones. (Umm, yes, I love mics). Professor S.O. Coutant’s features information about a large variety of microphones used in broadcasting and recording studios.

The site delves into the most commonly used mics in broadcasting, as well as articles on communication pioneers. There’s also a page devoted to early celebrities and the mics they used, including the first host of the Today Show in 1952.

My favorite feature, however, is the play button below each photo which lets you hear how each mic sounds in the studio.

A lot of work went into this site.


100 college presidents and athletic directors are lobbying NCAA President Myles Brand to rethink the presence of alcohol ads on broadcasts of games. They feel that college sports and beer advertising are a “bad mix.”

I gave this one some thought and, concluded: yes, I’ll drink to that. . ..

Sunday Afternoon Thoughts Part 8

Hmm.  The celebrated 100th post slipped right by me.  Just noticed I’ve done 102 posts since I started in February 2007.  We’ll toot the horns at 200.


I’ve given in. I’m beaten.  I’ve taken the sex out of Lonely Girl.  I tried an experiment and entitled my July 3rd entry Lonely Girl 15: Sex, Mystery and Web 2.0 just to see what would happen.  It’s an accurate title and I did get hits, lots of them.  Still does.  But a lot of them are coming through searches for subjects I don’t even dare mention.  Anyway, I want my readers to be those who share my interest in higher ed marketing.  I don’t care how popular I am (well, that’s a lie; I care a lot).  So I  changed the  title to Lonely Girl 15: S**, Mystery and Web 2.0.  Is that going to solve the s*x deviant problem?  If not, I may have to boot her off my blog, lonely or not.  I shudder at  the thought of how many testosterone-driven teens are disappointed when they hit my post. And if they are getting off on it, we have some major problems with American teen males.


Found:  through Bob Johnson’s blog this site which just blew me away at the Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter   That’s right.  It’s no longer the Adcenter.


Radio sales reps, to survive, must live in a constant state of denial.  A rep was selling me on her station. I said I was thinking twice about radio in the face of iTunes, etc.  She said it had not affected the listenership of her station a bit.  I knew she had daughters, ages  12 and 15.  “Do they have iPods?”  I asked.

“Oh, yes.  They  listen to them all the time.”

“When do they listen to your station?”

She smiled.  “When I drive them to school, I make them leave their iPods home and we listen to my station.”


I couldn’t get out of my mind Karine Joly’s post about the study showing the TV-online activity among kids.  This has huge implications for marketers.


Found this dichotomy while surfing Podcasting News.  Podcast guru Adam Curry’s company Podshow  just laid off 1/3 of its workforce.  At the same time podcasting network Wizzard Media announced it’s  working on the “first international geo-targeted audio podcast advertising campaign.” Tumultuous times.

But the biggest news?  There is a podcast dedicated to The Big Lebowski .  Dude, that’s awesome . . . .


Scoble Rocks Out:  Came across this from a facebook friend.  Robert Scoble as rock star.  Hilarioius.  


What do you do when the most popular DJ in the region goes off on a half hour rant calling you the “worst PR person in the world?”

That’s the subject of my two-part blog next week. 


Sunday Afternoon Thoughts Part 4

Looking at my previous posts, I see two weeks ago we had an ice storm. Last week it was a blizzard. Today it’s raining on six inches of snow. Go figure.


On the University of Illinois killings. Campus police responded in two minutes but it was already over. I hope every college is going through an extensive, exhaustive emergency plan. We began ours right after Virginia Tech. You can’t stop something like this, as our police chief and safety expert told local reporters. But a plan that’s followed – and that includes the administration, information technology, public relations and the police – shows the media that we’re living in the real world. Most importantly, it lets the parents of these horrible tragedies know that the institution did everything it could in a caring, professional manner.


I’m impressed with the candid discussion on Andrew Careaga ‘s Higher Ed site This honest talk (combined with seething passions beneath controlled civility) is refreshing and thought-provoking. It brings up good questions about the role of bloggers, exploitation, attracting readers and, yes, communication. I’d love to see more discussion along these lines. I still marvel at the pioneering age we’re in where rules, protocol and procedure are continually being defined and refined.

BTW, I agree with everyone’s points. As I said in my comments on Andrew’s site, I started my career as a newspaper reporter. While his assessment may sound hard to someone who has never experienced the high of looming deadlines and eventual bylines,Andrew nailed it. Check it out and contribute to the discussion. You can also find the blog, as I did, on BlogHighEd



For fellow bloggers or anyone thinking of blogging, Chris Garrett has an excellent, concise post on how to grow your blog.


Okay, so how long have Jaycut and New Video Pro been around?


I’m beaten. I’ve taken the sex out of Lonely Girl. I tried an experiment and entitled my July 3rd entry Lonely Girl 15: Sex, Mystery and Web 2.0 just to see what it would do. It’s an accurate title and I did get hits, lots of them. But many of them are coming through searches for subjects I don’t even dare mention. Anyway, I want readers who share my interest in higher ed marketing. I don’t care how popular I am (that’s a lie; I care a lot); seriously, I want readers who care about this business. So I changed the title to Lonely Girl 15: S**, Mystery and Web 2.0. Is that going to solve the sex deviant problem? If not, I may have to boot her off my blog, lonely or not.


Deanna at higheredmarketing issued a challenge to rewrite our mission statement in plain English. With everything going on this week, I haven’t gotten to it but I’m going to try.


I interviewed English prof Dr. Ed Washington on the importance of Black History Month for a two-part podcast. I think we were both surprised when the 57-year-old Shakespeare expert began interweaving his personal history with our national history. It turned out to be one of my best podcasts (because of him, not me). There were a few twists that I never saw coming. For music beds I used music by black artists up through the decades. If you have time, check it out and let me know what you think. *

Footnote: I see the higheredmarketing blog is the number 2 referrer on BlogHiEd right below highered.prblogs Thanks to all of you for following my thoughts, experiments and discoveries each week. Oh, and watch out, Andrew Careaga, I’m coming after ya!

Lightnote: John Cleese’s Letter to America

Update:  According to Urban Legends, Cleese didn’t write it.  But it’s still hilarious.