Monday, February 24, 2014

Chicago White Sox Radio Broadcasts in Greenville

In the 1950's and 60's I remember listening to Chicago White Sox games on radio regularly with my grandfather. He had an old tube style radio cabinet in the living room, and also owned a small transistor radio that he would use when sitting in the front yard. Listening to White Sox games isn't particularly unique except that I was living in Greenville, South Carolina at the time. 
The games were hosted on a small hometown radio station, WMRB-1490AM, located in downtown Greenville. As I grew older I sometimes wondered why would Chicago games broadcast into the Deep South? My interest was rekindled in 2006 when an investor purchased and relocated the Shoeless Joe Jackson house located at 119 East Wilburn Street. Unbeknownst to me, Jackson's house was located just two blocks from where I attended Crestone Elementary School in 1958-60. Moreover, my grandpa and I lived less than one mile from East Wilburn Street. Jackson's house eventually became the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum now located in downtown Greenville. It was placed adjacent to the stadium that hosts a Single-A Boston Red Sox affiliate, the Greenville Drive. Again, I asked myself as to why were White Sox games broadcast in my hometown. Was Shoeless Joe Jackson's legacy connected to the broadcasts? Were the broadcasts the result of a fan base that had developed around Shoeless Joe? The idea was both interesting and intriguing. I begin my search by contacting the new owner of WMRB 1490AM radio. WMRB was purchased by Randy Mathena in 1987 and renamed WPCI. Randy was friendly and responsive to my queries but was unable to substantiate the White Sox broadcasts. I wrote a letter to the widow of the founder of WMRB, Frank Cope, but didn't receive an answer. I found a research paper on the history of WPCI Radio written by some Furman University students. The paper was helpful in providing a general history of the station, but it did not mention the Chicago White Sox broadcasts. I also contacted Arlene Marcley, the curator of the new Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum. She allowed me to place a poster in the museum soliciting information but still no leads. It was in early 2010 that I found a hint on Facebook. I had made a random posting to the Greenville, SC Facebook page and received a comment from a Greenville native. He believed that during the Textile Mill baseball league days, some mills adopted Major League teams. My contact theorized that Brandon Mills, where Shoeless Joe got his start, may have adopted the Chicago White Sox. Were Chicago White Sox broadcasts the result of Shoeless Joe Jackson's affiliation with the White Sox and his playing time with Brandon Mills of the Textile Baseball League? I was sure that I struck pay dirt. A quick Google search steered me toward the book, "Textile League Baseball: South Carolina's Mill Teams, 1880-1955" by Thomas K. Perry. I wrote Mr. Perry a letter about the theory and he responded with an email. Perry wrote, "After we moved away from Greenville, Dad would take me on fishing trips to Lake Hartwell. The cabin, owned by my great aunt and uncle, was wonderfully rustic, and had no television. During those spring evenings, we would listen to the White Sox games, and I was intrigued with the performances of Tommy John and his teammates. I remember asking Dad why a Greenville station would carry the Chicago games, and he said it was because Shoeless Joe played there years ago. Not an official explanation, I know, but Dad was raised on a mill village in Anderson, SC, so he knew the history of textile sports (he played basketball). I believe his explanation to be true, though I have no official documentation." Alas! Finally, I had confirmation that someone else had heard the broadcasts; but what of the purpose and their origin? I thought Mr. Perry had just written a historical narrative on Textile Mill Leagues. Surely, during all that research, if mill teams had adopted Major League teams, he would have found evidence of it. I went back to Randy Mathena of WPCI and shared with him Perry's comments. This reignited Randy's interest and he gave me the telephone numbers for Jim Cope, son of former owner Frank Cope, and retired WMRB disk jockey, Bill Krieger. The hunt was on. I first telephoned Mr. Bill Krieger who was now in his mid 80's. We had a delightful conversation discussing the history of WMRB and the city of Greenville. He said Frank Cope purchased the 1490 AM radio station with the financial backing of the Simpson partner of Belk-Simpson Department Stores of Greenville. Cope named the station WMRB taking the call letters from the phrase, "We Make Radio Better". Regarding sports broadcasts on the station, Krieger said WMRB was the host to South Carolina Gamecocks football. Frank Cope had also purchased the rights to broadcast "The Masters Golf Tournament" originating in Augusta, Georgia. He confirmed that WMRB became host to Chicago White Sox baseball broadcasts. Krieger said that Frank Cope and a local business associate from Household Finance brokered an arrangement with the Chicago White Sox organization. The corporate headquarters for Household Finance was located in Chicago and they were key sponsors on the White Sox Radio Network. When I asked Krieger if he thought the White Sox broadcasts had anything to do with Shoeless Joe Jackson's fame, he stated he had no recollection that Shoeless Joe's popularity had anything to do with the broadcasts. He believed it to be purely a business decision. He also went on to say that the Chicago White Sox broadcasts ended in the late 60's and were eventually replaced with the Atlanta Braves in the early 1970's. I then called Jim Cope, the son of Frank Cope. Jim Cope told me was about 10 years old when his dad purchased the radio station. He remembered the Chicago White Sox and Atlanta Braves radio broadcasts. Without telling him the details of my previous interview with Bill Krieger, I asked Jim to give me the reasons why his father would broadcast Chicago White Sox games in Greenville. Jim stated he had no details or knowledge of the conversations surrounding the reasons why the broadcasts got started. Cope did state that his dad would have based the decision solely on business and how it would benefit the station. I asked Jim if it was possible that with Greenville being the home of Shoeless Joe Jackson, and given Shoeless Joe's popularity, could that have been a factor in the decision? He stated he did not recall any discussions or an atmosphere of popularity of Shoeless Joe during that time. Jim Cope did not believe Shoeless Joe had anything to do with his dad's decision to bring the Sox to WMRB. Fully armed with this new information, I began a web search to find a connection between Household Finance and Chicago White Sox. I quickly found a blog entry by a Lee Abrams regarding play-by-play baseball and other chatter. Abrams stated, "I remember the transistor under the covers. Bob Elson and Don Wells calling a Chicago White Sox night Game...every ad was for "Friendly Bob Adams" with Household Finance. They took you right indescribable magic that combined tension, joy and a sense of security and warmth that said all is OK with life...especially since we have Hoyt Wilhelm warming up in the bullpen." The Household Finance connection collaborated Bill Krieger's 85 year old memory and the puzzle was now complete. Shoeless Joe Jackson and the Chicago White Sox broadcasts in Greenville appeared to be nothing more than an amazing coincidence. Feeling comfortable that I had run my investigation to the finish line, I sought to document the results of my research. I produced a PowerPoint graphic depicting the history of radio frequency 1490AM WMRB, now WPCI. After combining the graphic with the interviews and other source files, I sent them off to the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum and the Greenville Historical Society. Both agreed to catalog my research for posterity's sake. I also created a poster that now hangs on the wall of the Shoeless Joe

Monday, February 17, 2014

Twitter and Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing has definitely left its mark (and continues to) on the Internet. Whether searching for something specific, opening up your web-based email account, or simply surfing, you have undoubtedly encountered a multitude of banner advertisements, pop under advertisements, and pop up advertisements in all shapes, sizes, and varieties. Truthfully, the effectiveness of affiliate marketing programs is undeniable as it continues to benefit both the merchants and affiliates with increased views, sales, and profits. 

As affiliate webs grow more and more dense, they are taking over more and more territory, extending to new places such as social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and others. This should of course come to no surprise as the Web as a moneymaking resource is undeniable. The question is are these social site postings effective or are they just ruining the social networking experience for everyone by distracting from the true posters on these sites. 

Should posting advertisements and affiliate links be taboo on sites dedicated to social networking? These sites were initially created in order to provide online community for networking whether for business or personal/social. A quick look at Twitter or Facebook posts, and one finds that the content represented is often, if not mostly, trivial. 

Why then would there be any question of ethics involved with the posting of affiliate links or advertisements? If websites for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and any other major newspaper are fair game for acai berry, online degrees, online dating, and any other multitude of advertisements and links, why not Twitter, Facebook, and others? Perhaps the question should be how affiliates can effectively post to these social networking sites without being banned by moderators or flagging posters, and if it is worth the trouble. 

Anywhere online users might congregate is most likely worth the effort considering the magnitude and size of the prospective audience involved. Anywhere affiliate links can be seen and clicked on increases the chances for affiliate programs, merchants, and affiliates to make sales, convert customers, and generate profits. How to avoid being accused of spamming is key, and this can be skirted by simply not copying and pasting computer generated, non-descript form messages, as these are most definitely off putting.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Managing Your Social Media Profiles As a Job Seeker

As you continue to work hard to obtain computer certifications and the job of your choice, it is time to start paying attention to how employers perceive you. When Facebook recently announced that it had successfully crossed the 500 million membership milestone, both Internet gurus and users applauded the achievement with much online fanfare. However, there is a south side to the scenario-your prospective employers and recruiters can now learn as much about you as your friends and fans not all of which may exactly be flattering. Bottom line? Your online reputation is just as important as the professional image you happen to project in your resume. 

As a person looking for employment in the workforce, this holds even more true for you because companies in a variety of industries, but specifically the IT and IT-enabled services industries routinely investigate prospective employees not simply through background investigation firms but also directly on Almighty Google by Googling your name within quotation marks for an identical match within the organic search results. 

Here are a few potent reasons why you should not simply consider but also implement the strategies outlined below right away once you are ready for the job market upon completing your certifications. Prioritizing your Commitment to Online Reputation Management Your online reputation is no longer relevant only to banks, mortgage companies and credit card issuers. Your employer too is very interested in checking you out on the Internet and seeing what others are saying about you. On any platform in which you wish to participate such as blog comments, forum posts and contributions to groups and discussion lists, your "two cents worth" should really be worth a quarter. 

Your comments and observations should be intelligent, insightful and thought-provoking. Never ever slam, flame or defame a fellow-poster because negative data always tends to stick out like a sore thumb in the minds of those who are checking you out for employment purposes. If there are a hundred comments either by you or about you that happen to be in positive in nature and only one negative comment, your prospective employer is going to remember the latter. Leave it to the psychologists to figure this one out. 

Peruse your Facebook Profile with a Critical Eye Facebook is the primary social media forum that employers are checking out these days and given the recent controversies regarding privacy issues that continue to surround the website, no information about you is protected on Facebook. It is therefore time to become proactive. 

Replace both covertly and overtly personal photographs with neutral snapshots. Pictures of you hanging around bars and pubs in the company of like-minded creatures will need to go especially if they happen to be "action-oriented." A little whitewashing Tom Sawyer style just might be in the offing since you will also need to rid your Wall of all detrimental graffiti. Linking up with LinkedIn the Right Way If you happen to have a professional work profile on LinkedIn or any of the professional networking social media websites such as ZoomInfo, Tribe.Net, Spoke, Ryze, JigSaw, ecademy and others, take it for granted that your future employers will be paying you a courtesy visit. Like Facebook, these websites too can be accessed in one of two ways-either through a search conducted on the major search engines or through the search function each of the websites has to offer. 

Your profiles should be crisp, sharp and truly professional with no spelling or grammatical errors. Mention all your computer certifications clearly in reverse chronological order listing the most recent computer certification first. Most importantly, the data you are posting on these websites should remain fully consistent at all times with your resume. If you are a regular participant at LinkedIn Answers and LinkedIn Forums, your contributions should be meaningful and constructive. 

Many employers pay LinkedIn as a part of their premium service offerings to gain unqualified access to the website through vertical search. It is therefore a good idea to examine your LinkedIn Connections and their Connections just to make sure that you are indeed in the right company and are not perceived as hanging out with the wrong type of online crowd. Your LinkedIn online album and picture gallery should contain only snapshots that project you professionally-making presentations in front of a large audience, attending a meeting, dining with formally dressed colleagues, waiting at the airport reading the Wall Street Journal... you get the picture. You are your own brand and you need to manage it wisely.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Relationship Building - Why Do You Post Comments?

Posting comments should accomplish two things: Get more visibility for you Build a relationship with the owner of the material you comment on Now, unfortunately some people only post comments for the first reason and do not think about the second one. Let me give you a perfect example. I posted a video on my Facebook wall the other day. The subject of the video was the importance of doing your homework to find the best network marketing opportunity, instead of just jumping in and possibly wasting years in the wrong company. 

Nowhere in this video did I ask people to tell me what company they think is best. Nor did I mention my own company. I did mention the mentoring service I offer, but this service is not an MLM itself (in fact it is not even an affiliate program.) It is very important to realize that most people who offer training in MLM, even if it is an affiliate program you can make money on, have a primary MLM company and are building a team there. They offer training to build relationships with people, not to get pitched on other companies! And they certainly do NOT want other people trying to pitch an opportunity to their contacts. 

When you post a comment and mention your opportunity or add your link, you are pitching your deal to the owner of the content as well as to all of their followers. Do you think that is a good way to build a relationship? So, how do you think I felt when people started posting links to their opportunity as comments on this video I posted? I deleted their comments and placed my own comment that I did not welcome opportunity links being added. 

One lady got upset and decided to hide me from her news feed. Another guy said he thought this was on his wall, so he doesn't understand the difference between the news feed and the wall. For anyone else who might not understand this concept on Facebook, when you post something on your wall it goes to the newsfeed of all of your friends. If anyone posts a comment, all of the original poster's friends see it. You are never just posting a comment on your own wall for your own friends when you comment on something another person posted on their wall, that comes through on your news feed. Of course, the same is true when you post a comment on a blog; all readers see it.