Saturday, June 19, 2010

I'm sure glad none of OUR government officials have been partying or playing golf during all this...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Something New, Something Mobile

We're pretty excited here at the ol' Radio Ranch over recognition from our peers on the work we do both on-air and online, and excited over a new addition to our "platform" of bringing you Akron's news.

You've likely read on these pages already how the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters earlier this month awarded the Rubber City Radio Group news team Outstanding Operation Awards both in the news and sports categories, also recognizing the great work individually from Best Reporter Lindsay McCoy and the continued excellent teamwork in covering Akron's political soap-opera in 2009 with the recall and a year the Mayor would likely prefer to forget.

The News and Sports Operation Awards are particularly gratifying, especially in continuing our drive to bring you the most up-to-date and balanced coverage. We've been honored over most of the past six years with these "team" awards, but we've also been blessed to have the individual accomplishments of Lindsay, Larry States (Best Anchor), Joe Jastrzemski (Best Sports Anchor), Tina Kaufmann (Best Reporter) and Pat Kennard (Best Anchor) recognized as well.

Just today, the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) announced the winners of the 2010 National Edward R. Murrow Awards, and for the third consecutive year AkronNewsNow has been honored as one of the nation's best websites for electronic journalism. Since rolling out ANN in 2007, we've been working hard to make our site easier to navigate, more topical and a source for your news and information you can count on for fair, original and fresh reporting using not only the audio tools our radio journalists are comfortable with but also video and interactive databases to help Akron citizens better understand what's going on in this local world around us.

This week, AkronNewsNow's Apple app for iPhone and iTouch was approved; you'll find it on iTunes under WAKRNews or AkronNewsNow, giving you greater access to listen and read the news on your Apple-powered mobile devices. We're working to extend the app experience to our radio stations, and even the live program and news streams so you can listen anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

The website is truly our greatest team effort, with the content team producing the stories and features you'll read, hear and see here everyday; Ryan Haidet is our web editor in the morning, Tina Kaufmann takes over at midday and Lindsay McCoy brings her considerable talents and video awareness to play so you won't have to depend on editorial decisions made 40 miles up north to determine if you'll get the value of video here at home. Our news team of Marcy Pappafava, Chris Keppler, Larry States, Christi Nichols, Mike Ward and Aaron Coleman complete the hands-on team who work so hard to get it right and get it to you when you need it.

But there are plenty of folks behind the curtain who also work very hard to make our community service to Akron award-winning; our web team of Bryan Siegfried, Andrew Seese and Lyndse Rae Faba put great effort and creative juice behind the look, feel and function of all our websites. None of this would work if it weren't for the folks who engineer how we get there in the first place: Michelle Thomasson, Dave MacKenzie and Al Hruska making up the IT and engineering effort.

Without the wonderful production team of Chuck Collins, James Smith, Chuck Matthews, Teri Jones, Art Greenberg and Terri Kapper -- as well as the sales staff of WAKR-WONE-WQMX -- we would not be able to bring to life Akron's three-time award winning news website. Contributors such as Scott Wynn, Sandra Miller and Sue Wilson also bring a perspective important to making what we do more than just the news.

All of this also comes with the considerable vision of Nick Anthony, our publisher and Senior VP and of course the continued strong support and forward-thinking of our owner and President, Thom Mandel. Their vision in asking "what's the right thing to do?" and keeping us on track and focused on the mission to the Akron market is critical in keeping the "Akron" in AkronNewsNow.

Akron is a community rich in heritage with a wide range of sometimes very passionate and colorful viewpoints. As one who's had the opportunity to work in a variety of cities and towns and the fortune to see how others approach our business, I can think of few places -- including that city to the north -- offering a greater opportunity to help make a difference.

We are in a market in many ways left to the devices of out-of-towners in determining the flow of information to our neighbors and fellow citizens. Cleveland-based television will always, by necessity, focus on Cleveland issues; our radio stations, WKSU and WNIR fully embrace the "local" part of our mission, but being critically honest most of what passes for local across the board on the dial comes at low cost, low investment and a performance marked more by talk than action. The business decision is understandable; the community service suffers when news and information is relegated to a line item. The troubles faced by newspapers as a whole create great challenges for the Akron Beacon Journal, a community institution that must prosper at the risk of Akron losing it's very identity as more than just another suburb of what regionalism proponents would prefer to think of as simply "northeast Ohio."

That's why this recognition means so much to us; we're local by design and desire and the choices you make in supporting organizations showing a clear commitment to your neighborhoods and hometown does make a difference in keeping those places alive and vibrant. Thanks for your support of what you hear, read and see on your local media -- including us!
Kudo's to RTDNA's president-emeritus Barbara Cochran on the recognition, Jim Bohannon too!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Big weekend in Akron as AA comes home for 75th anniversary; video of where it started in Lindsay McCoy cast.