The official blog of Nancy Marshall Communications
offering tips, techniques, and thoughts from Maine's PR Maven, Nancy Marshall

 

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Massachusetts

A Nightfly With A Rock ‘N Roll Soul

Frank FM Assistant Program Director and On-Air Personality, Leif Erickson

If you’re a fan of classic hits and live practically anywhere in the state of Maine, then you are probably familiar with 107.5 Frank FM.  As a member of Frank Nation, then you are also familiar with Assistant Program Director/Music Director/Afternoon Drive Host Leif Erickson.

Yes, he really does wear that many hats on a weekly basis—and that doesn’t even include the additional work he does for Snocountry Mountain Reports, and his recent official announcement of Leif Erickson Voiceover Services.

As a native of Massachusetts and Boston University graduate, Erickson was hired as a radio ski reporter for Snocountry Mountain Reports in Lebanon, New Hampshire after graduating with a degree in broadcast journalism. He soon made his way onto the air with Classic Rock station Q106 in Claremont, and after a few years he was recruited by a start-up station called Frank FM.

After eight years, Erickson says he can’t imagine living anywhere else. He credits the broad audience as the best and most challenging part of his job saying, “We’re a local station to not only Portland, but to Lewiston, Augusta, Bridgton, Sanford, South Paris, Farmington and well into New Hampshire! I enjoy bringing people together under that umbrella—Frank Nation—one big community, even if they do know I’m physically in the ‘big city’ of Portland.”

Social media has made Leif’s job a little easier, and he frequently uses it to test new material with listeners. He adds, “If I have some wise-crack on a relevant topic, I may test it out on my own Facebook page to see what kind of reaction I get. If the feedback is positive then I’ll repurpose it for my show later.”

Leif Erickson hits the slopes at Sunday River last winter.

Facebook is an incredible tool when it comes to connecting with listeners for Erickson. Even though he has a radio-specific fan page, listeners frequently find his personal Facebook page as well, and he always accepts their friend requests. He jokes, “I do have a brief disclaimer on my personal page that says:  Hey, this is me off the clock, don’t complain to my boss! I’m not above sharing a slice of life behind the scenes if I think my listeners might find it interesting.”

For Erickson, Facebook is also a way to learn more about his listeners, and he often uses it as a way to learn what they like, where they hang out, and what they want to hear—“This is a business that is all about connecting with the listener, is it not,” he asks.

That question is answered by the way he delivers content. Leif says, “Our listeners would rather I paint a picture of an odd individual’s antics on Monument Square that I’m witnessing from the studio window than whatever Lindsay Lohan’s in court for this week.”

When Leif isn’t juggling his work, he can frequently be found on the Portland Peninsula. He says, “I enjoy a bite and a brew at the Thirsty Pig, or Shay’s for dinner and drinks, but my favorite haunt is Slainte. It’s always full of interesting people, good brews on tap and kick- (enter expletive here)-bartending staff, and a diverse slate of music and culture just about every night of the week.”

To listen to Leif Erickson’s show, be sure to tune in to 107.5 Frank FM Monday through Friday 2pm to 7pm, or on Sundays 6am to noon. You can also check out his Facebook Fan Page at www.facebook.com/leifericksonontheradio.

We asked Leif to share five songs that describe him—click on the links below to find out what he picked! Did any of your favorite songs make the list?

Donald Fagen “The Nightfly”

Grand Funk Railroad “Rock and Roll Soul”

James Taylor “Country Road”

Todd Rundgren “There Are No Words”

Yes “Yours Is No Disgrace”

United We Tweet

NMC Account Assistant, Erika Bush

“Maine Olympian Joan Benoit Samuelson is running in today’s Boston Marathon, marking the 30th anniversary of her record-breaking win in 1983…” plays on the local radio station on my drive into work.

Marathon Monday!

I joked with my Mom on the ride in about Maine and Massachusetts having their own holiday, and later in the office explained why Patriot’s Day is a big deal—reminiscing on the reenactments of the Battles of Lexington and Concord that I attended as a kid each April vacation.

Being the huge fan of social media that I am, I kept dibs on the marathon via Twitter most of the day and I was happy to hear that Samuelson had finished the marathon within 30 minutes of her original pace—newsworthy, I thought. However, we all know how the day ended.

The marathon bombings in Boston on Monday marked the first incident of their kind in the new age of social media and exemplified the crucial role social media plays in a time of crisis.

Breaking news and support were expressed using the #BostonMarathon and #PrayForBoston hash-tags.

Twitter stole the show, breaking the news to me when a single Tweet, “Explosion at the finish line rocks the Boston Marathon,” appeared in my stream. Then on Facebook, our local news affiliate posted a similar status update as a developing story.

Within minutes a hashtag had been created, #bostonmarathon, for people to track the latest updates, and reporters began using it as a way to rebuke false stories and to give the public news as it happened. Within 30 minutes, support began pouring in from around the country and world using #prayforboston.

In the midst of the chaos PR professionals and various CEOs suggested that any prescheduled Tweets be canceled, and that the focus should be on the victims and their families. No more business for the remainder of the day.

Former Bostonians and other influencers reached out with messages of support.

Meanwhile, Google simultaneously launched Google Person Finder for the Boston Marathon while the Red Cross promoted their Safe and Well site to help reunite and connect family members to marathon participants.

Newscasters everywhere began to ask people to not call each other, but rather to text, update a Facebook status or even Tweet their loved ones to let them know they were OK. Law enforcement also embraced social media, asking for people to send any and all images they had from the finish line via text, Facebook and Tweet as a way to gather evidence.

Within a few hours Twitter began to fill with nods to random acts of kindness. Bostonians were offering meals to runners and opening their homes to strangers, and humanity was shown through posts using the #bostonhelp hashtag. Restaurants offered free meals and hotels offered free stays—Brooklyn Academy of Music displayed their love for Boston, projecting a Martin Luther King quote, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that,” on the side of a campus building.

Looking for a place to crash? Hungry? #bostonhelp is a great resource.

This support continued well into Tuesday when the Chicago Tribune posted an advertisement bringing the two cities together; various states also showed their support by creating banners and images to convey a united front of love and support for the Boston community.

Even the longstanding rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees ceased to exist when the Yankees announced via Twitter that they had put up a sign on their stadium stating, “United We Stand,” with the Yankees and Red Sox emblem on either side. They continued to honor Boston on Tuesday night with a moment of silence, and by playing Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” at the end of the third, a treasured tradition at Fenway Park.

While the whole story is still unknown, and many of the details are still developing, the message is clear—social media connects us all. Twitter was a shining star in light of Monday’s horrific events, and three hashtags were able to provide information and support to a city and country in need.

Contributed by Erika Bush

 

 

All of us at Nancy Marshall Communications are profoundly saddened by tragedy that took place on Monday. Our hearts go out to the families of those whose lives were lost, as well as those whose bodies were maimed and injured. We are in awe of the way city officials, residents and visitors came together to support one another, especially emergency and medical personnel. As much as an event like this is unimaginably horrible, it also brings out the best of our collective humanity in its aftermath. May this kind of senseless violence and tragedy never happen again.

—Nancy Marshall, Principal, Nancy Marshall Communications

Connecting Growers One Seed at a Time

Ellen Schoenthaler, marketing liaison at Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

This time of year many of us seem to long for warmer weather, and to me, warmer weather means fresh produce and farmer’s markets. This week’s Monday Maine Maven, Ellen Schoenthaler, marketing liaison at Johnny’s Selected Seeds, only makes me miss summer more as we discuss their 200+ page catalog.

That’s right, 200 pages of their award-winning seeds for fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and so much more, including their new Salanova lettuce. Ellen says the online version is gaining popularity, but even though Johnny’s offers quick-references online regarding cut flowers and tools and supplies, she says, “Our customers really do rely on receiving a printed copy of the catalog to use in their growing operations and to reference throughout the season.”

Johnny’s is a unique company in Maine because it is 100% employee owned as of June 2012. The project began in 2006 when Johnny’s Selected Seeds founder, Rob Johnston and his wife, Janika Eckhart began selling shares to an Employee Stock Ownership Trust. This gives the business an advantage and a competitive edge.  As Ellen says, “It allows us to continue to work, today and into the future, a community with our customers.” This sort of valued relationship between business and consumer can be hard to find.

Schoenthaler and the rest of the marketing team understand the need for customer interaction and have adapted to an online model which gives them faster and easier access to their consumers. She says, “We make our sites as interactive and customer-centric as possible—we want our social media sites to be a place where our community of growers can connect with one another and our company.”

The process is complex, but Ellen says, “The open exchange of information is a really rich learning experience for us.”  Schoenthaler has worked on many different sides of the public relations and marketing industry, but she believes that the overall goal of any campaign or social media outlet is to connect with your audience.

Throughout all of her experience Ellen says the universal trait is “generating unique, informative and timely information for your customer.” The entire reason she got involved in public relations was because she wanted to work in a field that would not only allow her to connect with people, but as Ellen says, “to interact with the public and to be able to present an idea or campaign that I stand behind.”

Ellen has a strong interest in “locally grown” campaigns and after living in Tennessee, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine, she says Maine is by far her favorite. Her work at Johnny’s Selected Seeds and living in Maine are a perfect combination of these passions—“I think Maine has a great sense of the importance of buying local. Whether it’s products or food, the state truly supports local small businesses and that is really important.”

To connect with Ellen you may add her on LinkedIn or email her at eschoenthaler@johnnyseeds.com.