Author Archive

List of 50 US Made Toys

December 6, 2017 Comments off

Finding American made toys and holiday gifts can be a challenge. Please share the following list of 50 toys that are proudly made in the USA. You will have the satisfaction of knowing you’re supporting the U.S. economy.  The toys are more likely to meet and exceed product safety standards. Additions to this list are welcome.

  1. Patriot Tricycle by Dirt King.
  2. Stuffed Bear by Stuffington Bear Factory. 
  3. Stacking Toy Ring by Holgate Toys.
  4. Wooden Blocks by Uncle Goose.
  5. Dish Set by Green Toys.
  6. Play Kitchen by Little Colorado.
  7. Tic Tac Truck by Montgomery Schoolhouse.
  8. NameTrain Set by Maple Landmark.
  9. Log Cabin by Roy Toy.
  10. Foam Balls by Poof-Slinky.
  11. The Original Slinky by Poof-Slinky  More than 300 million Slinkys have been sold worldwide since the 1940s.
  12. Dollhouse Kit by Greenleaf Dollhouses 
  13. 888Toys – solid wood toys and furniture
  14. American Toy Boutique – educational toys
  15. Aurelia’s Little Lovelies – rag dogs and creatures
  16. Bath Boats
  17. Beka – wood toys & products
  18. College Hill Games
  19. Deck Crafters- All Things related to skateboarding
  20. Duarte Paper Art
  21. Eco-Kids  (& Mighty Nest) – eco-friendly kid’s art supplies
  22. Eraselet-Eraselet® is a FUNctional, fashionable Wearable Eraser
  23. Howells Natural Wood Products
  24. Green Leaf Doll Houses
  25. Green Toys
  26. Hank the Cow Dog
  27. Heirloom Wooden Toys – handcrafted wooden toys
  28. Hearth Song – toys and gifts
  29. I See Me – personalized children’s books
  30. K’Nex – construction set toys
  31. Lionel – model trains and accessories
  32. Little Tikes– play sets for children
  33. Magic Cabin – toys and gifts for kids
  34. Maple Landmark – natural wooden toys, gifts and games
  35. Mason Corporation – waterslides
  36. My Grandpa’s Wooden Toys
  37. Original Tree Swing
  38. Pajaggle
  39. Promise Monsters – stuffed monster that inspire acts of kindness
  40. Pure Play Kids– natural wooden and cloth toys
  41. Puzzles for Kids
  42. Skull Duggery
  43. Seven Acre Toys – natural wooden toys
  44. Silly Creatures – educational and therapeutic plush toys
  45. Springbok Puzzles – jigsaw puzzles
  46. Step2 – toddler and preschool toys
  47. Tiger Candy Arts – handmade sock puppets
  48. Trouble the Dog – plush stuffed toy
  49. Turner Toys – classic wooden toy
  50. Vermont Teddy Bear – hand stitched in VT
  51. Wee Can Too – edible art supplies
  52. Whittle Shortline Railroad
  53. Wikki Stix – educational waxed yarn toys

Will Cell Phones Kill Earth Day?

April 19, 2016 Comments off

New Plants Earth Day

Friday, April 22nd is Earth Day! There are more than 341.6 million mobile connections in the U.S. and our population stands at about 322.9 million people. There are now more cell phones than people. And, it’s growing! We must ask ourselves some really tough questions about what to do with all of the electronic trash created.

This Earth Day, I encourage you to e-cycle your old cell phones and used electronics on Earth Day. Attend a local e-cycling event. Take Action to communicate the need to protect Mother Earth.

What will you do for the Earth on Earth Day? I encourage you to paste the following message on your social media pages in support of Earth Day:

Will 7.7 Billion Cell Phones Kill Earth Day? Read more @ Recycle locally @ #EarthDay

Investigate Nursing Home Neglect

April 11, 2016 Comments off

nursing_homesI’ve written this blog intermittently for some years now about communications, public relations, social media and communication trends.

But of late, I’ve felt the real need to use this space to communicate about some obvious needs about poor senior care, which needs further investigation. Therefore, this post is a personal communique about elder care issues.

I fear I may be shunned for speaking out, in shedding light for those who need a voice. Recently, I was contacted by an anonymous source about elder neglect taking place in a nursing home. The information worries me enough personally, that I feel compelled to share some shocking behind the scene “stuff” taking place.

I implore any reader of this blog to share it, do something and demand national, state and localized investigations without warning. Perform investigations after 5 p.m. If it is happening in one town within one state, it is likely occurring in many states and towns all across the country.

We must ask ourselves to dig deeper, to see what is really happening behind closed doors, after the health inspectors leave or just before they arrive to make everything seem “OK” and smooth sailing.

Clearly things are not well, based on an eyewitness account shared with me personally. It’s sad that people have to fear for their jobs by communicating about internal abuses. But, that is another story in and of itself.  We must look beyond Elderly woman sits in her room at a nursing homethe superficial “front end” of elder care health inspections.

I am just one person sharing information provided with no other agenda but for better care for our beloved seniors, especially our low-income seniors.

I’ve done my best to perform some limited research with numbers. But I preface, that I am by no means an expert in this industry. Therefore, take the bigger numbers with an ounce of patience and understanding. Please see the bigger picture here, the need for better accountable care.

There should be enough information here to cause readers, leaders, and families to give great pause, and to think twice about what is really is happening behind the closed doors of nursing homes.

How do we do more as advocates for our mothers, fathers and sisters, great aunts, grandparents and great grandparents? Here is just

Here is just one video had their 96-year-old mother in a nursing home.

Be proactive. Please investigate deeper. My dear readers, please, please, please be more informed about your parents or grandparents and their long-term care needs before sending them off into nursing homes. And, know that they may not be as well cared, as you might think.

Think ahead, when choosing a senior nursing home. Install a camera, secretly. And, for those who don’t have any family to help seniors make the best choices for themselves, the due diligence is all of our responsibility because many are all alone.

This article will first touch upon some national numbers, and drill down to one state for some observations and real serious senior care risks and concerns.

Nationally, there are currently more than 25 million Americans aged 60 plus who are economically insecure, and living at or 250% below the federal poverty level ($29,425 per year) for a single person.

The numbers will undoubtedly skyrocket in the next ten to fifteen years as the aging boomer demographic explodes. More than 47% of all our single elderly population depend entirely on their social security benefits.

In other words, 90% of their entire net income comes from Social Security. These older adults struggle with rising housing costs, nursing facility costs, lack of transportation and rising health care bills, not to mention medications and the need to eat. One major adverse life event can change their entire world in an eye blink.

The myriad scope of concerns and risks are national in scope. The changes needed must happen at the state and local level. The question begs, whose eyes are really watching out for the essential “care” being given to our very deserving elders when backs are turned the other direction? The following are some broader risk-related concerns. But, at the end of the day, the absolute best in class care is the responsibility of all nursing home and assisted living staff as a priority for each and every one of our elders.

We all must look very closely, and more deeply not at the numbers, or budgets but at our patients, as individuals.

We must be their voice when they no longer have a voice when curled up in a bed and left alone. They have paid their dues, lived long and productive lives, and we utterly owe it to them to look hard at the “care” they are or are not receiving and provide the oversight needed for the things risking their potential quality of life, at this late stage in their lives

Lack of Enough Skilled Workers.
Low Paying Senior Nursing Care Wages.

There are not enough qualified people to care for all our seniors in nursing homes. The pay is low. Low pay equals less adequate care or less than optimal care. Workers are leaving low-paying jobs to work at fast food restaurants and retail chains, for higher pay. See my news article further below about this issue in just one state.

Gender Risks.
Most people who are older than 65 have worked long and hard most of their adult lives. They paid into the system all of their lives, with their taxes. But, women of this age group were mothers who did not work outside of the home, but rather raised their families, while their husbands were the breadwinners. Since women statistically live longer than men on average, it is only likely that the largest number of patients in nursing homes will be and are elderly women. There have been large demographic discrepancies in the retirement community reporting.

As reported from 2006, retirement communities were comprised of 69% women and 31% men. The raw data supports the notion that women are most at risk of receiving the optimal elder care they need.

Full-time elder nursing home costs average more than $4,000 a month, and much more for more those suffering from dementia and/or Alzheimer’s. Most elderly people living on very limited social security benefits will not be able to afford the cost of a nursing home.

Most private insurance health insurance policies do not cover long-term care, and very few people have likely not purchased private long-term care.

Older women typically receive about $4,000 or less a year in social security than men due to lower lifetime earnings, time off to care for children, parents, and spouses, occupational segregation, and a lower wage work history. The same applies to those who’ve lost most of their retirement assets due to the recession, veteran widows and or farming widows.

There’s only about 15,700 nursing home facilities across the entire United States to serve one million seniors. That number is expected to double in 10-15 years. Remember there are currently 25 million living at poverty level or below. Every single state will have increasingly larger numbers of older residents who will need care.

For example, let’s take a look at Texas.

  1. For most low-income Texans (or anyone else for that matter) needing long-term care, Medicaid is the only source of funding. Medicaid is funded by both federal and state funds.
  2. To qualify for Medicaid, a single person’s monthly income must be less than $2,199 a month. And for couples, it can not exceed $4,398. In other words, you must be really poor, with very few resources.
  3. Nursing homes are supposed to be credentialed residential facilities that offer  24-hour skilled nursing care. This is often services provided through a managed care system.

The state of Texas for example, can pay a nursing home facility funds for three months before any Medicaid approval kicks in. The nursing home then refunds any personal payments according to specific time limits.

Therefore, nursing homes depend heavily on getting paid for each patient, either by the state and or by the federal government or both. But, they get paid. It would seem that there would be no shortage of funds coming from both government sources, and funds to pay staff.

A key issue is that there not enough facilities, nor enough licensed professional staff to provide around the clock care, the way they should.

More specifically, in more rural areas like Texas, there are extreme staffing shortages for licensed professional nurses and licensed support nursing staff. Essentially there is not enough help.

Not Enough Facilities.

  • Texas is currently home to about 5.2 million baby boomers
  • By 2030 it is estimated more than 20% of Texas’s will be over 65
  • There are now three million Texans older than 65, and the number rise to 10 million by 2050
  • According to Kaiser Foundation, there are only about 1,211 Texas senior nursing care facilities in Texas
  • Texas has a substantial rural, low-income and minority populations
  • The average older single adult in Texas receives only $433 from social security
  • Texas is traditionally a “conservative low-service state with a general philosophy that residents take care of their own.” Do they?

Why the above-stated numbers? Well, the summary substantively implies:

  1. There are NOT enough nursing home facilities to care for the growing number of seniors with complex medical needs
  2. There are NOT enough qualified licensed staff to provide the level of care needed at facilities, especially in more rural facilities
  3. Assisted living is highly under-regulated and a term with many differing definitions and jargon
  4. The industry as a whole is full of problems due to inadequate standards, under-staffing and inappropriate or inadequate “care” provided for our elders.

The following information comes from an anonymous care provider who experienced first hand some serious concerns about the inadequate, unsafe and poorly managed care being provided to seniors at one facility. There is neglect. It needs further investigation.

Supposedly the facility is seriously understaffed. The certified care provider indicated there are many other facilities locally with similar situations.


For the purpose of this article, we shall call her “Betty.” Betty was left unattended for hours and hours in a wheelchair, just slouched over.Nobody notices nor has enough time for her. She is forgotten about. Betty fell out of her wheelchair and was unable to get up nor was she heard when asking for help. Most of the Betty’s are left alone for very long periods of time. No one saw her on the cold floor in her room.

Betty hasn’t had a shower nor been bathed for more than a week. Sometimes Betty will go 10 days without a bath or simply having her hair brushed. There are not enough certified staff to bathe everyone regularly. 

When Betty is bathed it is performed by a male who is not a registered licensed care provider.

Betty doesn’t want “Billy Bob” to be bathing and touching all of her private parts. She is easily startled, afraid, very frail and soft-spoken. She has “no voice”. Betty doesn’t want her hair only combed on “salon days, every two weeks or more”

Betty lays awake at night for hours and hours all alone and has no one to talk to, at all. Betty is very lonely and she can’t speak Spanish, nor does she understand Spanish.

There are many Betty’s in nursing homes who are not getting the level of care, healthy human interaction and help that they need.

Who is “Betty’s” voice?

There Are Multiple Risks Due to Inadequate Care.
Let’s Look at The Risks at Just One Texas Facility.

Sixty residents are currently living at the Hill Country Care Facility at 1505 W. Highway 290 in Dripping Springs, Texas.

The layout of the internal facility provides four hallways radiating out from a central nursing station. Below are the basic operations staffing facts:

  • Administrative staff work five days a week, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., they perform administration tasks in a separate office, off the main floor.
  • Each group of staff wears specific colored coded “uniforms”, for identification and visible professional skill classification and for easier identification by the patients. “This is a uniform and the uniform code should be followed and enforced.” Each staff member also must wear a name tag.
  • There are Registered Nurses (RNs), who wear dark blue tops
  • Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) wear dark blue tops
  • Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), wear maroon tops
  • Nursing Assistants [(NAs] finished academics, but are NOT state licensed, nor certified).
  • Hospitality Aides (enrolled in CNA courses, not certified, not licensed and can not put hands on any patients)
  • House Keeping, (cleaning crews, they can not legally put hands on ANY patient. They wear Blue Tops /Blue Scrubs. Housekeeping staff wear the same color scrubs as the RNs. Low vision seniors can’t tell the difference on who is a professional care provider or not. Housekeeping crew are handling patients.


  • The facility’s Nursing staff work rotating shifts which run from;
    • 6 a.m.- 2p.m.,
    • 2 p.m.- 10 p.m.,
    • 10 p.m.– 6 a.m.

Situation Risks Observed.

  1. During normal business hours, an administrative staffer who is not in a meeting will usually investigate a patient call light for help. Often times a patient can’t reach something or dropped the remote control for their TV. But, if a patient needs “hands on” assistance the Administrative staff member will seek out a certified CNA to meet the patient’s need.
  2. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. there is usually only one RN and one LVN per shift, for 60 residents
  3. Frequently there are only two CNA’s covering four hallways of 60 residents from 2 p.m. To 10 p.m.
  4. Some patients require two-person transfers
  • If two only two CNA’s are on duty and working with one patient, the remaining 59 residents do not get the care they need and are not being safely monitored
  • Why are there not more CNA’s or Nurses to help for just safety reasons
  1. There is a substantive licensed nursing care staff shortage. Being short-staffed and lacking certified “hands on” nursing care means:
  • Inadequate or no showers for long periods of time
  • Inadequate or very little oral care
  • Inadequate or to no hair care
  • No skin care
  • At risk for increased pressure bed sores from not being rotated or moved every two hours
  • At risk increased urinary tract infections (December 2015 was really bad supposedly)
  • At risk for increased wounds from not being monitored and cared for  adequately
  • risk of urinary burns or feces due prolonged periods of unchanged briefs
  • Risk of humiliation, embarrassment and lack of dignity due to over saturated briefs
  • There are employees handling patients who are not in uniform. Uniforms are confusing. Housekeeping staff are wearing the same color as RNs. The outward appearance shows that literally anyone in street clothes in blue scrubs can enter the facility and handle a patient, without proper ID or in a “blue” uniform to show they are professional nursing staff.
  • Risk of inadequate or no conversation at all with patients. No ability to express care and compassion due to substantive low-paid non-English speaking night workers. The 10 p.m to 6 a.m shift is largely a Hispanic workforce who speak very little English. They often only speak only Spanish while working in proximity of an English-speaking patient in their room at the facility.

How do patients communicate their needs if there is a language barrier?
English speaking patients can not adequately convey what their needs are and do not understand the Hispanic speaking staff.

  • “The Hispanic staff carry on about their business speaking between themselves in front of awake silent patients, with no consideration for if they’d like a conversation”
  • I am told, the night staff “just assume residents are sleeping, so who needs conversational English spoken to the patients to help them pass the long, long nights while they are still awake”

elderabusenursinghome.jpg On a national level, is this representative of most facilities providing care to the exploding senior population where there are undoubtedly many, many low-income seniors? Especially, all the low-income women seniors. They deserve better.

Who is really looking out for the true well-being of all of our ladies, veterans, and men from the Greatest Generation? They, who should be our honored seniors.

Where is the oversight after the infrequent inspectors leave, or when it’s after 5 p.m., or when the lights go out when nobody really sees what is really going on?

Someone, please help our elders who are no longer seen nor have voices to change what is happening all around them. Will you help me take up the gauntlet and not only share this story but share it with those who can help make changes.

Our Greatest Generation should not have to be the Silent Generation.

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.

Creative professionals have many more exciting tool boxes these days with nearly as many advertising formats as 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:

  • Research & Planning

  • Messaging & Talking Points

  • Actual Interview

  • Recording, Production, Editing

  • Publishing/ Supporting Blog Content

  • Hosting, Listing, SEO/SEM/RSS

  • Distribution

  • 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:

  • Podcast Topic

  • Podcast Format

  • Choose a location to record podcasts

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:

  • What’s the topic of your podcast?

  • What’s the format of your podcast?

  • How long will each episode be?

  • How often are you going to release new shows?</p

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:

  • Will you be pproducing a solo podcast or include
    other hosts?

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

  • How long will your podcasts segments be?

  • How often will you release new podcast episodes?

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

  • 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 of a possible segment structure for a local podcast:

  • Intro & Welcome, Date

  • Announcements

  • Shout Out for the Top 10 in the Community

  • Mid Roll Ad Spot

  • Commentary

  • Quick Tips & Resources

  • 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 alicemfisher58 AT G mail dot com 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.
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