Author Archive

Media Trends 2015

August 11, 2015 Comments off

New technologies are emerging all the time which give public relations and media agencies many headaches trying to keep up, but also greater control over how and when consumers are exposed to brand messages. There still are huge challenges on how to connect across media “storehouses” and how to reduce and or make sense of digital data labyrinth.

.Creatives have a much more exciting tool box these days with  nearly more advertising formats than sand in the sea….but telling a coherent, consistent, and connected multi-screen and multimedia story across a thousand seas of different platforms to a very diverse audience across generations is a challenge and an art.

Additionally, consumers ( and young kids) navigate so easily between media platforms and the entire mobile Internet, all while watching TV, playing a video game and another tablet is open somewhere close-by.  And, MarComm professionals must build strategies around this intricate set of Millenial and Generation Z behaviors. Brands and businesses need to understand the synchronized impact of these behaviors to justify continued (and increased) media investment.

And, then there are a bunch of new digital brands out there worthy of further discussion- but I will save that for another post.  The key mountain to climb for 2015 into 2016 is how to intelligently integrate the fast-growing Internet of so many things with social media. In short, smart devices need to improve their social intelligence capabilities.

And,  finally, the whole wide world is always trying to play catch up technological changes going on, so if you are not formatted for mobile media then you are behind the power curve, so to speak in the hyper-cycle of “Internet Time”


As previously reported by Time, “Hacks released in October (2014) a hidden payment feature deep inside Facebook’s popular Messenger app. If activated by the company, it will allow the app’s 200 million users to send money to each other using just debit card information, free of charge. Meanwhile, the network has also already rolled out a new Autofill feature (a kind of Facebook Connect for credit cards), which allows users who save their credit card info on Facebook to check out with 450,000 e-commerce merchants across the web. So why does Facebook want to handle your money in 2015? Right now, some of tech’s biggest players are battling it out in the mobile payments space, including Apple with its new Apple Pay app, upstarts like Square and Stripe and even online payments veterans like PayPal. The endgame at this stage isn’t exactly clear. Facebook may eventually charge for its money transfer services, leverage customer purchasing data to pull in more advertisers or even try to rival traditional credit cards like Visa and Mastercard (which make billions on fees). One thing’s for sure: You can expect to see major social networks jockeying more aggressively to handle your transactions in 2015.


With the frenzy of Holiday shopping coming down the pike for 2015, both Twitter and Facebook began beta-testing “buy” buttons, which appear alongside certain tweets and posts and allows users to make purchases with just a click or two, without ever leaving the network. Expect e-commerce and social media integration efforts to deepen throughout 2015 into 2016. It’s taken quite a long time, when you think about it.

And, despite all the technical media changes and trends there’s a lot going on out there with all things Hand Made, a Retro-Vintage resurgence, Made In America Movement and Small Business Enterprises popping up everywhere. It can be tough to straddle both worlds. But at the end of the day, I think people are looking for value with a great sense of genuine purpose, instead of always operating at hyper-speed business life cycles.

Want to know more about social media trends? Here is a detailed report put out by MillwardBrown that you can download.

Podcast Production Tips

August 5, 2015 Comments off

 Image Credit: Getty ImagesIf your spend some time now making decisions about how you plan to format your podcast, it will only make your show more enjoyable for your listeners, but it will also save you a lot of time and frustration in the future.

Spend a little time deciding how long your podcast will be, how often you will post new show, and what your typical show outline will be, and your boiler plate messaging, links and call to action messages.  These are important decisions that will affect your time commitment and enjoyment making your show. They will also determine what kind of web hosting you will need. Now onto a some tips for planning and producing a podcast.

Preliminary Podcast Production Planning Steps:

  1. Research & Planning

  2. Messaging & Talking Points

  3. Actual Interview

  4. Recording, Production, Editing

  5. Publishing/ Supporting Blog Content

  6. Hosting, Listing, SEO/SEM/RSS

  7. Distribution

  8. Promotion

Research & Planning Your Podcast

We know you are probably anxious to record and get your voice out to your community. But a little planning will help you focus. In the end you will produce a better podcast that will attract and keep more listeners. This will also make your job a lot easier, or we can help. In the planning session we will ask a few questions for you to consider and help you make some important decisions about:

  1. Podcast Topic

  2. Podcast Format

  3. Choosing a location to record your podcast

We’ll also talk about how to outline and plan each episode of your podcast before you record. And, we want to help you make a quality podcast that will attract and keep more listeners. Here are a few things you need to decide for your podcast:

  1. What’s the topic of your podcast?

  2. What’s the format of your podcast?

  3. How long will each episode be?

  4. How often are you going to release new shows?

If you take just a little time to think about these things now, then your podcast will turn out much better. A well planned podcast will get more listeners. Here are the questions to consider when it comes to choosing a format for your podcast:

  1. Will you be doing a solo podcast or will you include other hosts?

  2. What segments do you want to produce (e.g. tip of the day, reviews, breaking news, interviews etc.)?

  3. How long will your podcast be?

  4. How often will you release new  podcast episodes?

  5. Will you just be talking or will you play music and sound effects as well?

  6. Maybe you’ll come up with something completely different?

NOTE: If you plan to insert music in your podcast that you did not produce, then you need to get permission to use it. We can help with this as well. It’s not legal to use copyrighted material in your podcast, without permission. You should form a basic idea of how you want to structure your podcast.

Also, just because we are talking about a “plan” and a “format” does not mean that this stuff is set in stone. You will certainly change your mind as time goes on. You will add things and drop things. Eventually you will find your groove and settle into what works well for you.

But it’s good to start out with an outline so that  you have an idea of where you’re headed. We can guide you on this. It will make the process easier and also help make your podcast better. A better podcast means more listeners and more fun for you!

Let’s talk about a few things to consider when you choose a format for your podcast.

Should You Have A Co-Host

It’s up to you. There are a lot of solo podcasts out there. Some podcasts have two or more hosts. There are also podcasts with several participants discussing a topic at the same time, like the fairly new entertainment podcast

You can even co-host a show with someone who lives in another state or another country. This is often done using Skype or a similar platform.

There are advantages to having a co-host:

  • Listeners find the discussion between multiple hosts more interesting than just one person talking for 20 minutes
  • With multiple hosts you can split the work required to produce the podcast
  • There are more people to come up with creative ideas and content

This comes with the added complication, though, of coordinating the schedules of multiple people, maybe even across time zones. The advantage of doing it solo is that you’re totally in control.

What Kind of Segments Will Your Podcast Have?

What do we mean by segments? Well, back before podcasting, we drove to work in the city and we listened to the local radio drive shows. They had certain segments that they did every morning. We always knew that they would do the serious news, then later the silly news, then the “funny” people awards, then an interview or two and so on.  These were the segments that they always did. If you watch the morning shows on the TV or radio shows on NPR it’s the same. There are certain segments that they do on each show.

So, what segments will your podcast have?  Your listeners will want to know what to expect. Familiarity and structure are comfortable. And, it make your job easier. Having a planned structure, maybe even an “editorial topic calendar” will also make producing your podcast easier for you. The point is that a little thought and planning is helpful at this stage.

Here’s an example segment structure for a localized podcast:

  1. Intro & Welcome, Date

  2. Announcements

  3. Shout Out for the Top 10 in the Community

  4. Mid Roll Ad Spot

  5. Commentary

  6. Quick Tips & Resources

  7. Outroll Theme Music

This is just one example. Find a structure that works best for you and your intended local listeners and don’t be afraid to mix it up. You can be spontaneous.

Music in Your Podcast?

Even if you don’t have a music podcast, you may still want to use music in your podcast. Music is a great way to change things up and drive the show forward. You can use music to transition between segments. This adds variety and keeps things moving. It also serves as a cue that you are moving into something new or changing gears. Music makes a good intro. Having an intro theme song is useful for a couple reasons:

  • When your listener hears your theme song, it instantly cues them in that they are listening to your show.

  • An intro song raises the energy level and gives you some momentum going into the show.

If you think you’ll want to use music in your podcast, there are some legal and copyright considerations.

How Long Should Your Podcast Be?

The beauty of podcasting is you’re not limited to the typical broadcast radio timing. If you listen to a talk show on the radio, everything is timed to the commercials and the “top of the hour”.

But now you’re in control. Your podcast can be five minutes or it can be 45 minutes. We suggest between 10 and 20 minutes. When you decide how long your podcast is going to be, you should think about what’s going to work for your audience. How long of a podcast will your audience will actually listen to? If the purpose of your podcast is to cover the latest community information on a certain topic, then you probably want to keep it to 10-20 minutes.

Your Podcast Should Be As Long As It NEEDS To Be

Too general?  What we mean is, make it long enough to serve its purpose, but not so long that you will bore listeners. There is a point where it’s just right and then wrap things up. With time, you will find the happy medium. We suggest being consistent in how long your shows are so your listeners know what to expect.

In GENERAL, our personal opinion is that a 10-20 minute show is a good length. Your listeners might listen to a lot of podcasts. If you want your podcast to be one that they listen to regularly, then you don’t want to take up more of their time than you need to.

In the end, you know what’s best for you, your show and your audience.

How Much Time Will It Take to Make A Podcast

Just because you do a 10- 20-minute show doesn’t mean that you will only spend 20 minutes a week creating your podcast. Your time and our time commitment will vary depending on how much preparation you need and your experience and the amount of technical help we provide.

Keep in mind that the longer your show is, the longer is it will take to produce it. Many podcasters spend 2-4 times the length of their show just on preparation before and publishing afterwards.

How the Length of Your Show Affects Your Web Hosting

We will talk more about podcast web hosting later, but for now you need to know that the longer your shows are, the more storage you will need. The longer the show, the larger the MP3 file.

Also, a larger show means you need more bandwidth for your web site. Bandwidth is the amount of information transferred to and from your web site each month. There is a limit to how much you can transfer. With most web sites this is not a problem, but with podcasts it can be a problem because of the size of the MP3 files. We will talk more about bandwidth later, and where you can host your podcast. For now just know that the longer your podcast, the larger the MP3 file and the more bandwidth you will need for your hosting.

How Often Will You Post Your Podcast?

Will you do your show daily, weekly, monthly or just whenever you feel like it? This will depend largely on how busy your life is. How much time does your job, family or other obligations take up? Take an inventory of your life and estimate how much time you will have to work on your podcast.

Stay in Regular Contact with Your Listeners

It’s important, if possible, to have a regular schedule for posting your show. If you have a regular schedule it will help with listener loyalty. They will know when to expect from you and look forward to your new shows.

With our busy schedules, we don’t always get our podcasts out when we plan to. But do your best. we’re working on getting better at this.

If you’re podcasting for an organization or fund raising promotion, then we would suggest doing at least one podcast a week. Bi-weekly may work, but it’s important to have regular contact with your listeners. Every day that goes by your listeners can easily forget about you a little more.

People have short attention spans and short-term memory. You want to stay in the minds of your listeners on a regular basis. Bandwidth is an issue here, too. The more often you post your podcast, the more people will be downloading from your site which requires more bandwidth from your hosting.

How Often Can You Get Fresh Content for Your Podcast

How much fresh content is available for your show and how often can you get it? For example, if your podcast is women sports-based, how often does interesting news on your topic come along? How often can you create the content for your show?

Technically Producing, Editing and Hosting Your Podcast

This is where we help you to open the mic and just start talking (or whatever else you plan on doing in your podcast). We can coach you on this!

But, there’s a lot of back end production work that goes into the final polished podcast.  And, this is where we come into play with our technical expertise. Once you’ve created your first podcast, we need to prepare it for editing, publishing and then hosting it on the Internet. This involves some of the following:

  • Editing for sound quality
  • Taking out umms, ahhs and pauses, coughs and sniffles
  • Inserting music
  • Inserting ad spots ( if appropriate)
  • Creating an MP3 Files
  • ID3 Tags for Podcasts
  • Podcast Hosting (blogs, web hosting, RSS feeds)
  • Free Podcast Hosting
  • Naming Your Podcast File ( 3-4 words)
  • Uploading Your Podcast
  • Writing Podcast Show Notes
  • Posting Show Notes


With all this in mind, remember, you know what’s best for you, your show and your potential audience when it comes to the length and frequency of your show.

One final suggestion, is spend some time listening to other podcasts. My previous post has a list of some women podcasters.  Pay attention to how long they are. How long of a podcast do you like as a listener? Take note of their structure and the segments used in each show. What segments do you find enjoyable? Brainstorm on some ideas. Now we need to determine a location for us to record your podcast.

Our Brief Suggestions for Promoting Your Podcast

Of course you’ll want more listeners for your podcast. We will work with you during a special planning session and talk a bit more about how to find and build listeners for your podcast.

Email me at for more information on how we can help get you started with coaching, planning and helping your host a podcast.

Podcast Trends & Women in Podcasting

August 5, 2015 Comments off


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Hi everyone! With technology being so ubiquitous in our daily lives, I want to talk first about some evolving podcast trends, as there are some changes going on out in the pod-stratosphere. And, then in my next post I’ll move into some basic podcast production tips.

Earlier this year I read an article in Wired Magazine about how Podcasting has enjoyed an increased amount of media attention of late. And, even PEW Research shares the same inclinations towards the continued but substantive growth of Podcasting in their Podcast Fact Sheet.

  • “Mobile devices are increasingly the preferred way to listen to podcasts. Libsyn also recorded that, of their 2.6 billion podcast downloads in 2014, 63% were requested from mobile devices – up from 43% in 2012.

  • In 2014, there were about 22,000 active podcasts (up from 12,000 in 2012).

  • An additional indicator of the strong growth of podcasts is the launch of three relatively new podcast networks by public radio alone: Radiotopia by PRX, SoundWorks by PRI, and Infinite Guest by APM.

  • In the following excerpt from Dorie Clark, a Forbes ccontributor, wrote that: “…New York magazine declaring a “great podcast renaissance.” There’s been practically no mention of podcasting from 2008 to 2013,” says Harbinger. “Why? That’s because it wasn’t new anymore, so nobody was talking about it. But, if you look at the statistics…podcasting has been growing steadily, in great numbers.” Indeed, Rob Walch of the podcast hosting service Libsyn agrees, noting that “Smartphones, and specifically the iPhone, have really been the driver of growth the last few years” because they make podcast downloading and consumption easier….”

  • As of February 2013, men hosted 70 percent of the world’s 100 most popular podcasts. Two years later, the disparity in the top-100 remains woefully the same. But other podcast trends suggest a shift is underway. Late last year, massively popular true crime show Serial, hosted by Sarah Koenig, became the fastest-growing podcast ever, hitting five million downloads.

IMHO, podcasting is coming of age ( especially for women in the field) and it was ahead of its time. More importantly the following two new podcast examples are produced by women. This is unique in and of itself, because as I noted the market is saturated with male podcasters. Farther below I provide a more extensive list of some women podcasters, but I want to highlight the following two new comers to the podcast arena.

  1. Pushing Hoops with Sticks, hosted by Ayesha A. Siddiqi. There needs to be more shows like this, period. Her show examines race (often within the creative community, like comedy and music) and does so in such an important and direct way.

  2. Baby Geniuses, hosted by Artist Lisa Hanawalt and Emily Heller.

  3. Two Brown Girls, hosted by Fariha Roisin and Zeba Blay. Fariha and Zeba are writers and critics whose show is a mix of topics, ranging from culture, politics, pop culture, style, feminism, race, and politics

  4. Death, Sex and Money, Hosted by Anna Sale. Anna’s podcast, which interviews people about the topics we all struggle to speak openly about, is about to celebrate it’s one year anniversary and his been a major hit since it first hit WNYC’s airwaves.

  5. The JV Club, hosted by Janet Varney. Janet Varney happens to be one of the funniest people around, so when you combine her with some incredible female guests, speaking about what it was like to be a teenager

  6. Hot Grease, hosted by Nicole Taylor. Currently on sabbatical. Nicole’s podcast is dedicated to the American south and all the ways it interacts with (and influences) local food and culture in other places. There are over 160 episodes in her archives.

  7. Design Matters, hosted by Debbie Millman. She tackles more serious issues within the design community.

  8. The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson & Nikki Silva). The Kitchen Sisters produce a show for NPR and other content for public media across the country. With a long history in radio, these incredible women cover stories ranging from food to serious discussions of life and death

  9. Strangers, hosted by Lea Thau. Lea is the former director of NPR’s beloved Moth series, and her show is dedicated to the same concept – sharing personal stories that mean something to both the teller and the listener.

  10. Black Girls Talking, hosted by Alesia, Fatima, Aurelia and Ramou. This round-table format show. Think of The View.

  11. Rendered (formerly Destination DIY), hosted by Julie Sabatier. This is a show predominantly about design and “maker” talk online.

  12. Radio Cherry Bombe, hosted by Julia Turshen. Food and Cooking. First two years interviewing women in the food industry.

  13. The Spin, hosted by Esther Armah: Esther’s show launched last year and it’s a fantastic weekly show that discusses race, politics, culture and personal stories with women of color.

  14. Strangers

  15. Fugitive Waves with The Kitchen Sisters

  16. On the Media

  17. Answer me This!

  18. Fresh Air

  19. Pop Culture Happy Hour

  20. The Longest Shortest Time

  21. Design Matters with Debbie Millman

  22. Criminal

  23. The Business

  24. The Digital Human

  25. One Bad Mother

  26. Wham Bam Pow

  27. Destination DIY

  28. Sawbones

  29. Slate Culture Gabfest

  30. Slate Political Gabfest

  31. Shortcuts

  32. Re:sound/Third Coast

  33. DecodeDC

  34. Grammar Girl

  35. Serial

  36. Josie Long’s All of the Planet’s Wonders (only 4 episodes)

  37. Sex Nerd Sandra. Sandra Daugherty discusses a broad range of topics from the instructional to the philosophical, including kissing, fetishes, healing after abuse, and, in the most recent episode, the intersection of sexuality and the Bible.

  38. Ronna & Beverly. Two vaguely disapproving Jewish mothers you’ve always wanted but never had. The characters, played by Jessica Chaffin and Jamie Denbo, have an elaborate forty-year backstory, including ex-husbands, children, and a book they coauthored.

  39. Girl on Guy. The format of comic-interviews. Aisha Tyler, the titular girl—who you may recognize as the voice of Lana from Archer—has her own spin on it, where she interviews a guy (sometimes a girl) who is successful in a creative field. It’s more of a conversation than an interview. Her podcast is always a good listen, especially the Self-Inflicted Wounds segment near the end, where she invites her guests to tell a story of a time they humiliated themselves.

  40. Slumber Party with Alie & Georgia. Alie and Georgia first showed up on the Internet’s radar in 2009 when they crafted the McNuggetini out of a chocolate milkshake, vanilla vodka, a barbecue-sauce-rimmed martini glass, and a chicken nugget garnish. Now they have their own show on the Cooking Channel as well as their own podcast, which what it sounds like, pajamas, pillow forts, ghost stories, snacks and all. They almost always have a guest—although a few solo episodes have been recorded—and they have fun regular questions, including, “What did you learn this week?” and, “Who is your Internet crush?”

  41. Go Bayside! When I first heard there was a podcast dedicated to discussing Saved By the Bell, I thought it was a ridiculous idea. But then Paul F. Tompkins was a guest. April Richardson, who grew up watching reruns on TBS, is happy to address it, one episode at a time, on her couch with a weekly guest.

  42. Thrilling Adventure Hour The Thrilling Adventure Hour, performed and recorded live, is a throwback to the Golden Age of Radio. There are several recurring segments, but two of the most frequent are Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars, and Beyond Belief.There’s also a great rotating cast of guest stars, and since it’s recorded in LA, you never know who might show up.

  43. Who Charted? Kulap Vilaysack (once you learn how to say it you’ll want to do it all the time) acts as a guide (and occasional translator) for the glorious anarchy of her co-host Howard Kramer. Together, they count down three top-five charts, one related to music, one to movies, and one grab bag, all with a weekly guest.

  44. Throwing Shade. In Throwing Shade, Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi, self-described “femme-nasty” and “homo-sensual,” locked in a love/hate friendship, talk about current events related to feminist and LGBT issues. Every week, they each bring an issue to the table, and if that sounds boring, you should know that the two met performing at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in LA and are contributors to Funny or Die. Episode 111  is relevant.

  45. How Did This Get Made? This is a podcast dedicated to breaking down bad movies. Paul Sheer hosts, with Jason Mantzoukas and his wife June Diane Raphael making up the rest of the regular panel. The three of them seem like they’re friends in real life, because they’ve played off each other perfectly from the first episode, when they dissected Burlesque.

  46. I Seem Fun: The Diary of Jen Kirkman. Do you know Jen Kirkman from Drunk HIstory or Chelsea Lately? Well, hear her podcast recorded from her bed, it kind of feels like you’re on the phone with one of your best friends after a long day.

  47. Raise Your Hand Say Yes With Tiffany Han

  48. A Better Life with Rachel Rofé

  49. After The Jump – Grace Bonney

  50. Creative Living – Jamie Ridler

  51. The Lively Show – Jess Lively

  52. One Part Podcast Jessica Murnane

  53. This Girl Means Business – Carrie Green

  54. Lady Business Radio – Jessica Kupferman

  55. Off The Charts – Nathalie Lussier

  56. The Sarah Bagley Podcast

  57. Online Marketing Made Easy – Amy Porterfield

  58. Natalie Sisson’s The Suitcase Entrepreneur

  59. The Broad Experience – Ashley Milne-Tyte

  60. Elise Gets Crafty

  61. The Introvert Entrepreneur With Beth Buelow

Do you have a favorite female podcast show? And, are any of you looking for more women-hosted podcasts? Bitch Media has a list of great women-hosted podcasts

Want to start your own podcast? Get in touch with me via email at Anyone looking to help women get involved in podcasting can reach out.

Facebook & Twitter Newsy Trends

June 5, 2015 Comments off

Good or bad the social media stratosphere continues to change. This post is a brief update on Facebook and Twitter News and Trends.

Facebook News and Trends

  1. It’s no secret that Facebook post reach is significantly decreasing, and has become a serious problem for business owners who are spending lots of money and using the platform for marketing purposes. This steady decline in reach is what has been coined the Filtered Feed Problem.  As Facebook continues to limit the number of posts page fans actually see, the demand for promoted posts and ads are continuing to increase. And, with this increased demand will come increased pricing. According to an Ad Weekarticle in 2014 Q1 Facebook ad pricing was up 10% over 2013 Q4 pricing. This trend is likely to continue throughout all of 2015, as organic post reach continues to fall.
  2. Introducing Instant Articles. Facebook is giving publishers a tool to create fast, interactive articles on Facebook. Instant Articles is a tool for publishers to create fast, interactive articles on Facebook and was designed to give them control over their stories, brand experience and monetization opportunities. Read more
  3. Now you can choose to explicitly send a map of your location or another particular place as a separate message. Read more Providing a new method to send a Facebook friend your current location, the development team working on Facebook Messenger has launched a feature that provides a visual map of your current location or a destination location. As detailed within a post on the Facebook Newsroom, this action can be performed within a conversation, particularly ideal when attempting to coordinate a meeting location between friends.  Read more:
  4. Announcing Facebook Lite. Introducing Facebook Lite, a new version of Facebook for Android that uses less data and works well across all network conditions.
    Read more

Twitter Trends & News

  1. #confused? Twitter starts explaining trending hashtags for you. Read more:
    Follow: @digitaltrends on Twitter | digitaltrendsftw on Facebook
  2. Twitter’s new business advertising model, will it skyrocket in popularity?  With Twitter’s move to offering businesses more choice and flexibility in how and what they pay for in terms of advertising, more small and medium sized businesses will jump on the Twitter ad bandwagon.  The new fee structure allows businesses to pay for certain performance-based actions rather than just retweets or clicks.

Hacked US GOVT = Not So Safe Social Media?

June 5, 2015 Comments off

What Comes Next? 5 Social Media Trends for 2015I normally do a great deal of my own research when I put a blog post together here. But, I want everyone to read is what was predicted for social media trends for 2015, that HootSuite CEO, Ryan Holmes wrote. (I’ ve reposted some parts of his article below).

Why? Well with the very recent news of OPM being hacked, I am very concerned with our rush to produce new payment systems across social platforms given the recent and ongoing hacking targeting the USA.  The following question I have that begs more professional media and communications discussion: Are we wildly scaling social media too much, too far, too fast?

Holmes stated at the end of 2014, “the challenge in 2015 becomes how to more intelligently integrate the fast-growing Internet of Things with social media. In short, smart devices need to improve their social intelligence.”

“Increasing demand for (truly) private social media gives way to the real thing
2014 saw a number of anonymous and ephemeral social networks—Snapchat, Secret, Whisper, Yik Yak and Telegram, to name a few—surge in popularity. Not everyone wants every conversation over social media broadcast to the world, after all. At the same time, savvy users are increasingly aware—and concerned—about ways personal data is being collected and later sold to advertisers, manipulated in tests or accessed by government agencies.”

“The problem is that few of these “private” networks fulfill their mandates. Snapchat has been hacked, repeatedly, with hundreds of thousands of sensitive—supposedly disappearing—user photos posted on the Internet. And in October, it was revealed that the anonymous network Whisper was actually saving users’ posts and locations and compiling this information in a searchable database. As Venture Beat points out, real anonymity and privacy on the Internet is extremely difficult to achieve. While it’s easy to make promises, it’s nearly impossible to deliver.”

“since Facebook and especially Twitter are real-time media, they’re perfect for short-term deals tied in with fleeting trends. With time-sensitive offers literally streaming by, consumers may well be inclined to act quickly and seal the deal, forgoing the obsessive comparison shopping that characterizes lots of Internet transactions.”

“Finally, there are major benefits to advertisers. Connecting individual Tweets and Facebook posts with actual purchases has thus far proved a huge analytical challenge. But with the advent of buy buttons, concrete revenue figures can be attached to specific social media messages in a way that hasn’t been possible until now.”

There is a need for the US Citizens especially our youth to know this information. Help them understand that they should not be so liberal about everything they post and tweet, and share.

Communicating Change – Spring Contest

May 5, 2015 Comments off

Alice's Seed Box for Essay ContestThe recent events in Baltimore and other cities have brought about more communication questions than answers, and these questions often do not produce the results or signigicant changes that citizens need.

I believe we can start a dialog for change through collaborative community projects.

Therefore, I and my colleaques at Flatlands Avenue LLC  though their Patriot Made Audio project are offering free garden seeds for spring planting, as part of our celebration of Mother’s Day and spring.

Therefore would like to inspire some of our own “seeds of hope and seeds of change” through a spring garden essay contest about how you would propose to help create hope and change.

Send your essay to  and please put Spring Garden Contest in the subject line. The deadline is Sunday, May 10th on Mother’s Day (before midnight).  We look forward to awarding three individual seed boxes filled with a variety of seeds, to three lucky winners.

All you need to do is send us an original short essay proposing how you would best use the seeds by growing food for yourself and for others, and how you’ll further save and share new seeds with other family members, an organization. or as a joint collaborative project in your community.

The best ideas or most creative plans win!  

Potentially, in time, hundreds of people could be fed, at little to no cost through our seeds of hope and seeds of change spring contest. Such a project could feed change and better communication in communities.

The essay must be 500 words, or less.

The seed boxes are original pieces of art created by me (Alice Fisher).  This past weekend, I refurbished a few cigar boxes (hand sanded, painted and varnished them) and then packaged up a selection of her own heirloom, non-genetically modified (NGMO) seeds which I grew, dried and hand saved by myself on my small farm in Frederick County, Maryland.

The essay deadline date is Sunday, May 10th at midnight, and if you need some ideas for your essay, try a quick visit to for more information and inspiration about gardening.

Rita Rich at Flatlands Avenue would like to follow-up with the winners in about three or four months with a special podcast interview, once your seeds of hope seeds of change projects have been implemented, and with any pictures you’d like to share as well.

We have three handcrafted seed boxes, filled with 10 – 14 different seed varieties which we’ll send out FREE to our three winners.

These simple hand painted boxes would possibly make a great Mother’s Day garden gift, or some kind of project for all the senior moms in a community, city or for a school to feed children.

The seeds, will keep for up to 25 years, if they stored in a freezer, and can be used for many years to come.

Please share with us your gardening dreams and creative community ideas, and we’ll share with you our seeds of hope and change from my very own garden.

It’s our way of saying, Happy Mother’s Day and happy gardening to you and yours, as you build memories together.

Seeds hold the promise of hope and change, maybe even better communication. Email us your essay at   Please write Spring Garden Contest in the subject line.

Is Radio Dead? Enter Podcasting!

March 16, 2015 Comments off

Image result for radio microphone wallpaperIs radio dead?  And, should we just burn the old radio microphone? Well for that matter, are all traditional news channels irrelevant? It seems that Native Digital News is the key to the future of media. Even, PEW’s State of the News Media Report for 2014 talked about the shift in the growth in digital reporting.

The following are some key points to consider, from the PEW 2014 overview.  A year ago, the State of The News Media Report struck a somber note, citing evidence of continued declines in the mainstream media that were impacting both content and audience satisfaction. As indicated above and throughout this post, many of these issues still exist, some have deepened and new ones have emerged. Still, the level of new activity during the past year is creating a perception that something important, perhaps even game-changing, is going on.

  1. Digital players have exploded onto the news scene, (and into our personal lives) bringing technological know how and new money which is luring top talent. For example, BuzzFeed, once scoffed at for content viewed as “click bait,” now has a news staff of 170, including top names like Pulitzer Prize-winner Mark Schoofs, and is the kind of place that ProPublica’s Paul Steiger says he would want to work at if he were young again. Mashable now has a news staff of 70 and enticed former New York Times assistant managing editor Jim Roberts to become its chief content officer. And in January of this year, Ezra Klein left the Washington Post for Vox media, which will become the new home for his explanatory journalism concept.
  2. Philanthropic money has increased as well, in many cases focused on smaller outlets seeking to fill the gap in news coverage left by legacy cutbacks. As recently as March 2014, the Jerome L. Greene Foundation announced a $10 million grant to New York Public Radio to help build its digital capabilities, an expressed need among nonprofits.
  3. The year also brought more evidence than ever that news is a part of the explosion of social media and mobile devices, and in a way that could offer opportunity to reach more people with news than ever before. Half of Facebook users get news in their feeds even though they did not go there looking for it. And, the Facebook users who get news at the highest rates are 18-to-29-year-olds.
  4. Here are the events of the past year, put in some perspective. The first-ever accounting found roughly 5,000 full-time professional jobs at nearly 500 digital news outlets, most of which were created in the past half dozen years. But the vast majority of bodies producing original reporting still comes from the newspaper industry. But, those newspaper jobs are far from secure. Full-time professional newsroom employment declined another 6.4% in 2012.
  5. Since the fall of 2013, there has been a dramatic and conspicuous migration of high-profile journalists to digital news ventures. In October, Yahoo hired high-profile New York Times tech columnist David Pogue, who was followed a month later by Times political writer Matt Bai. In late October, former Times assistant managing editor Jim Roberts became chief content officer at Mashable’s growing news operation.

Photo by: Damien Maloney

Furthermore in support of Pew’s State of the Media research, I’ve read a timely article or two in Wired Magazine of late. There is a huge wave of new media money flooding into the media market. And, the graphic in Wired Magazine was very telling for sure, with $500M going for Vice Media and another $96.5M for Buzz Feed. That’s a lot of money for digital media.

Additionally, Roman Mars, was interviewed in a recent Wired Magazine article about podcasting, and he stated that radio needs a “Tune Up.”  Why? Well, he says, radio used to corner the market back in the day on being close to it’s listeners.” “Listening to NPR became the definition of who you were.”

People and families literally used to gather around their radios to get their news and listen to programs. Those days are far gone, I am afraid to say.

But, podcasting is taking up a growing niche in the news market. It’s not a new technology. And, Mars explains, “There hasn’t been a real spike in podcasts’ popularity so much as long, steady growth in listenership. Mars continues, “But there is a moment happening right now.”   “One piece of that is Serial, which is clearly doing something big and different. Another piece is that Ira Glass was on The Tonight Show and he was talking about podcasts. That’s huge.” And, Roman Mars is building a podcasting Empire, says Wired Magazine!

This niche communications medium is about to explode because of the portability of all our devices today, and how the radio broadcasting and traditional media world must adapt or die as they  continue their downward spiral.

What Roman Mars talks about is that podcasting is so much more personal and intensely close for listeners. It becomes very personal, Mars says. “Podcast listeners are also a very dedicated bunch, and the radio stations just have not gotten it.”  One podcast listener is like having 10,000 listeners on an average quarterly hour (AQH) listenership, because if it is a great podcast they will share it with their friends.

Everyone is multitasking today. And, podcasts are perfectly suited to people having their attention divided in so many different ways, simultaneously. People typically listen to podcasts by themselves, often with ear buds. We are right there, in their ears talking to them.

We’re in a world now where you have something to do at all time, whether it’s commuting on a train, bus or washing dishes and doing laundry or weed whacking the yard. Podcasting is more accessible, more portable.

Podcasts are available all the time, on demand anywhere, 24/365. Podcasts are perfectly oriented for the modern world, you can wash your car to it.

In total, all the new small digital operations have created nearly 2,000 out of the 5,000 full-time editorial jobs PEW identified, and they represent a growing and increasingly important part of a shifting media ecosystem.

Here’s what they’re like: They are young and lean businesses, close to home and a bit more than 50% are opting to run as nonprofits.

Why? Well, refer to the numbers, as I stated before about the new wave of money for digital media… it’s coming from philanthropic organizations, where  61% of the nonprofit news organizations surveyed by Pew Research began with a large start-up grant from these organizations.

As a result of my reading and the direction traditional media has taken (about 11,000 newspaper newsroom jobs were lost as a result of the economic recession), I want to tell you about a new native digital business. I am advising on their digital strategy, and writing for their projects.

Flatlands Ausanga Font medium size image

Enter Podcasting and Flatlands Avenue Productions, LLC.  Please subscribe to them via email, after learning more about their business, the team and their services.

In short, Rita Rich is a great podcast producer, who has partnered with a woman named Debra Grobman. Both used were in radio. Debra is in LA and Rita is in the DC metro area, like myself. And, she has a legal representative in Michigan.

Rita Final Bio She is, and well in fact all of us are shifting how we do news and media outreach to help others tell their story. More intimately, for sure. And, Rita is good at it. She is the voice of Patriot-Made Audio and Canadian Made Audio.

They are fun ladies and have told a lot of stories and experience to share. Does your business have a podcast? Do you need a story told? Consider trying a different medium with far greater reach. You should consider the Debra Final Bioinformation I’ve shared today and how much the media and public relations world has changed.

Here is Flatland’s Pitch Deck for any business, government agency, media entity, PR firm, schools, churches or non profits who might be interested in doing a podcast or audio story.

I believe in their venture because they are-we all are reinventing how business gets done and how to reach more people. with less cost.

If you have a few minutes, please listen to a few recent stories from Flatlands Avenue Productions and their newest client, Romy Gingras and her brand new podcast series,The Bonfires of Social Enterprise. And, of course, Flatland’s has other projects with podcasts as well.

What are your thoughts about social enterprises helping to fix complex social problems?

What do you know or not know about Podcasting?  Let’s keep the conversation going!  Oh, and when you contact Rita, be sure to ask where their business name came from, it’s a great little story as well.

Many thanks for the work done by PEW,  who is Associate Director at the Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project, and  Wired Magazine from which I pulled some of the content to help me write this blog.

Great stuff don’t ya think!? :)  And, if you have a favorite podcast you listen to share it and tell me why you like it? What makes a good podcast would be another great blog post in the near future!


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