Tag Archive | "History"

This Week in Radio History: 8/18 – 8/24

8/20 – On this day in 1920 the first commercial radio station, 8MK, later WWJ in Detroit, began broadcasting daily. More from this day… (Screenshots: bbg.gov)

8/21 – On this day in 1968 Russia once again began jamming broadcasts of the Voice of America radio after a five year cessation. More from this day…

8/24 – On this day in 1946, The Pacifica Foundation was incorporated in the State of California. Pacifica operates several “listener supported” Radio stations across the U.S. More from this day…

More: Radio History for Any Day

Source: About.com

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Hall of Famer gets a rare shot to be a manager

It’s interesting that immensely successful big-league baseball players don’t become managers more often. People have surmised it’s because they were so naturally gifted, they didn’t have to “grind” as much as some other players.

Before last week, there were 13 managers who were voted into the Hall of Fame as players — not including those who were first player-managers during their career. Only four of them — Walter Johnson, Red Schoendienst, Yogi Berra and Bob Lemon — had winning records as managers, and few of them had long careers. And there hasn’t been a Hall of Famer managing a team since Frank Robinson was managing the Washington Nationals in 2006.

That changed Friday when the Philadelphia Phillies fired Charlie Manuel — perhaps the greatest manager in team history — and replaced him, at least temporarily, with Ryne Sandberg, who broke into the majors as a Phillie and had all but 13 games of his Hall of Fame career with the Chicago Cubs (a trade that has to be one of the worst trades in MLB history — the Phillies got Ivan DeJesus and the Cubs got Larry Bowa and Sandberg).

Sandberg picked up his first win on Sunday against the Los Angeles Dodgers after the Phillies were shut out by Zack Grienke and Clayton Kershaw on Friday and Saturday. That underscores the challenge in Philadelphia, where it’s obviously time to rebuild after a long run of success under Manuel, who had a .550 winning percentage in nine years and won two pennants and a World Series.

The Phillies’ batting average since July 19 is less than .220 and the pitching staff’s ERA is above 5. But if he gives the Phillies any sign of life, he’ll likely get his shot at the gig full-time in 2014.

And try to show that Hall of Famers can indeed be good managers.

Source: About.com

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Facebook Tweaks its News Feed

Once again Facebook is changing the news feed seen by more than a billion users worldwide.

The network announced two changes this month. The first gives older stories a second chance at being viewed in someone’s news feed if they missed it the first time it was shown because they didn’t scroll down far enough. The second gives greater weight to each user’s 50 most recent interations on Facebook when deciding what to show in their stream of updates.

The changes may seem contradictory because one emphasizes recency while the other de-emphasizes it, but they are designed to work together, and both highlight the growing complexity of the algorithm Facebook uses to decide what to show people.

Perhaps most interesting were the statistics Facebook released profiling a typical news feed:

  • At any given time a user visits Facebook, they typically have 1,500 items from friends– posts, photos, actions taken and so forth — eligible to be shown in their feed.

  • Facebook typically selects only 300 of those items to include in the feed; the rest get hidden.
  • Before the latest two changes, people, on average, only read 57 percent of the stories/posts they were shown, and missed 43 percent of them.

The changes are designed to increase the number of stories people read, Facebook said. You can read the official announcement in the company’s blog for business, or check out this history of the Facebook news feed for perspective on how it’s evolved.

Source: About.com

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Adrian Peterson

NFC North: Packers To Rule Again

Adrian Peterson

The four teams of the NFC North, the oldest division in the NFL, have been beating on each other for a long time, ever since the Vikings joined the league in 1961.

This is the famed “black-and-blue” division with some of the oldest and most tradition-soaked teams in the league and, not coincidentally, the winningest.

Then, there are the Lions. the only team in NFL history to go winless in a 16-game season. That was in 2008 . Remember quarterbacks Jon Kitna and Dan Orlovsky?

History won’t quite repeat itself this year, as the Lions will again be bad, but not that bad.

The NFC North has some of the best players in the league, in Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson, the league’s MVP last year, just to name a couple.

Still, I think only the Packers have a legitimate shot at making it to the Super Bowl this year. Here is my preview of the division and predictions. Who do you think will win the division this year?

- Getty Images


Source: About.com

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Can Cabrera repeat Triple Crown? No player has ever come close

The fact that Miguel Cabrera has made it a conversation point is quite an accomplishment in itself.

No player has ever repeated a Triple Crown in the history of the game. Cabrera is leading in two of the categories in the AL in 2013 — RBI (114) and batting average. The Detroit Tigers star is hitting a career-best .360 after Wednesday’s victory over the Chicago White Sox. He hit his 38th home run, a three-shot. He’s 30 points ahead of Mike Trout in batting average, but six home runs behind the Orioles’ Chris Davis (44) in home runs.

Just leading in two categories is historic — no player coming off a Triple Crown has ever done it. A look back at the Triple Crown winners and how they fared a year later in history:

  • 1968: Carl Yastrzemski, led in batting average
  • 1967: Frank Robinson, did not lead in any category
  • 1948: Ted Williams, led in batting average
  • 1943: Ted Williams, did not play, World War II
  • 1958: Mickey Mantle, did not lead in any category
  • 1938: Joe Medwick, led in RBIs
  • 1935: Lou Gehrig, did not lead in any category
  • 1934: Jimmie Foxx, did not lead in any category
  • 1934: Chuck Klein, did not lead in any category
  • 1926: Rogers Hornsby, did not lead in any category
  • 1923: Rogers Hornsby, led in batting average
  • 1910: Ty Cobb, led in batting average
  • 1902: Napoleon Lajoie, led in batting average
  • 1888: Tip O’Neill, led in batting average
  • 1879: Paul Hines, led in batting average

It’s interesting that no player coming off a Triple Crown ever led the league in home runs a year later, and only Medwick led in RBIs.

If Chris Davis goes cold down the stretch, history is certainly within reach.

Source: About.com

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Colin Kaepernick

NFC West: Stacked With Talent, Loaded For Bear

Colin Kaepernick

The NFC West has had its ups and downs, for sure. This is a storied division that has produced eight Super Bowl trophies, between San Francisco and the St. Louis Rams.

Yet it was also the first division in NFL history to produce a champion with a losing record. That would be Seattle, who finished 7-9 in 2010. The Seahawks accepted the division trophy with their heads down and eyes averted.

That won’t happen this year. The division is stacked again. If you’re a gambling man, you probably know bookmakers from Las Vegas to Bangkok have made the 49ers co-favorites, along with the Broncos, to win the Super Bowl.

But, it’s a long season and training camp injuries are already taking a toll on a lot of teams. If Colin Kaepernick goes down, as he well could with all the dangerous scampering he does, could the Niners make it to the Big Tamale again?

What about Seattle? Is Russell Wilson for real, or just a one-year wonder? Can Sam Bradford lead the Rams to a contending spot, and will the new-look Cardinals amount to anything at all this year?

Dude, I got the answers to these questions and more right here. Comments are welcome and, incidentally, bring excellent karma.

- Getty Images


Source: About.com

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R.I.P. Faye Hunter – This Week’s Forgotten Gem of the ’80s – Let’s Active – “Waters Part”


First off, I apologize in advance if I tend to spotlight ’80s artists from North Carolina a bit more often than demographically appropriate. However, perhaps residents of other U.S. states and other nations who may be reading this will be willing to cut me a little slack given the relative dearth of things to be proud of lately coming out of my home state. Of course, I’m speaking chiefly in a social and political sense there, as North Carolina has always boasted and continues to boast some of the finest artists in the world across a variety of media. So that brings us back to the music quickly enough, I suppose.

This week I’m spotlighting some fine ’80s college rock with a bit of a heavy heart, as sometimes also happens on this site. Back on July 21, 2013, the music world and the state of North Carolina lost a major contributor to the early alternative music scene in former Let’s Active bassist Faye Hunter. Following some years of personal difficulty and physical decline, Hunter apparently took her own life – leaving this world just a few miles away from Winston-Salem, where she and Let’s Active leader Mitch Easter worked together 30 years ago bringing so much joy into it. Even though it’s becoming more common every year for ’80s music artists to join the ever-growing ranks of those departed too soon, it’s still always a blow to anyone even marginally inspired by the music they made.

As I’ve admitted on this site more than once, many of the great jangle pop bands of the ’80s would have remained unknown to me far longer than they were without the influence of a friend of mine from down the street where I grew up in semi-rural Buncombe County. I realized the other day when reading over some old material on this site that I’ve failed previously to mention him by name. I won’t drop any last names in an attempt to protect the innocent (and guilty), but Scott was one of a few friends of mine back in the day who had his finger on the pulse of indie rock of this ilk. Because of him (and generally only because of him), I developed a working knowledge of the array of North Carolina bands that emerged in the wake and vein of the developing legend known as R.E.M. So I probably first heard about Let’s Active during the late ’80s, which was after Hunter had made her impact on the band – an impact felt strongly on its first two records, 1983′s EP Afoot and 1984′s Cypress. Since then, of course, I’ve had plenty of years to enjoy the work of Easter’s seminal band, and even though he is far better known as R.E.M.’s early producer than as an accomplished musician in his own right, the output of Let’s Active plays a central role in ’80s music history. 1984′s “Waters Part” languidly spotlights the easygoing yet urgent nature of Easter as a songwriter and lead vocalist. The jangly guitars certainly make themselves prominently known but never seem to be merely gimmicks, which is an important distinction in the early years of R.E.M.’s massive impact on underground rock. Cypress was the last Let’s Active album to feature Hunter as a full-time member, but her keen sense of contrast and the significance of sonic shading leave an imprint all over this early alternative classic. For those who knew her over the years, Hunter will surely continue to maintain a presence – despite her untimely and now-permanent physical absence.

  • Sample or download “Waters Part” here.
  • Compare prices on Let’s Active CDs here.
  • Top R.E.M. Songs of the ’80s
  • Top U.S. Regional Music Scenes of the ’80s
Album Cover Image Courtesy of I.R.S. Records
Source: About.com

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LeBron James and Dwyane Wade

Miami Heat Preview for 2013-14 NBA Season

LeBron James and Dwyane WadeNow that the NBA has released the 2013-14 NBA schedule, it’s that time of year when I’ll start putting together detailed previews of each NBA team.

Although I could have started with any team, I felt like the defending two-time champions earned the right to go first.

Click here to read my detailed 2013-14 NBA preview for the Miami Heat.

The Heat will enter the season with one goal in mind – another NBA Championship. There have only been four teams in NBA history that have ever pulled off a three-peat, but that’s exactly what Miami is hoping to accomplish.

With LeBron James in the prime of his career to go along with a healthy Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the Heat certainly have all of the pieces in place to make a run at the a historical accomplishment. Then again, there should be quite a few great NBA teams this year that are going to give Miami everything it can handle. I look forward to previewing those teams soon.

What do you think of the Heat’s chances of three-peating?

Image source: Getty Images

Source: About.com

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This Week in Radio History (8/11 – 8/17)

Here are some highlights from this week in radio history:

On August 12, 1977 “Cousin Brucie” (Bruce Morrow) did his last show on WNBC-AM, New York City…more events (Right: Bruce Morrow at Sirius Radio, Photo Credit: © SIRIUS Satellite Radio)

On August 13, 1959 radio personality Danny Bonaduce was born…more events

On August 15, 1968 – Pirate “Radio Free London”, begins broadcasting…more events

More radio history from August.

Source: About.com

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Coca-Cola Homepage

7 Secret Coca-Cola Formulas to Successful Content Marketing

Here at Avaya, we’re focused on helping you be more successful today than you were yesterday. To that end, we’re constantly searching for insights to share with you about current business trends in communication, social media and the way technology is improving the bottom line.

This past week, Avaya’s social media team in Santa Clara spent the afternoon at BlogWell, a one-day conference for communication professionals sharing best practices and emerging trends. Speakers included executives at Coca-Cola, Whole Foods, Intel, Xerox, Citrix and others.

Coca-Cola, in particular, stood out as a company pushing the envelope on social media and branded editorial content. Coke recently revamped its corporate homepage, and is focusing its efforts on hiring journalists to help them produce a daily digital magazine. The effort is less than a year old, and is already yielding positive results.

Coca-Cola Homepage

The company’s stock chart and mission statement are buried elsewhere on the site, which instead offers up video on Tom Brokaw’s life tips for teenagers, a feature piece on a cold water surfing town in British Columbia and elevator etiquette. This content is wrapped in red and white, under the banner of Coca-Cola Journey, the company’s 9-month-old experiment in digital publishing.

So what’s driving Coke’s resurgent interest in editorial content?

The company is embracing its role as a storyteller, said Ashley Callahan, Coca-Cola’s manager of digital communications and social media.

“We’re building a network of [Coca-Cola Journey] editors,” Callahan said. “We really think of Coca-Cola like an international news market with bureaus. We’re based in Atlanta, but we’re in 207 countries. We have a lot of public affairs and communications folks in all of those markets, so we’re meeting with them and relying on them to tell us what stories they have, what stories we should be sharing and telling, and in response, sharing our stories as well.”

She offered up 7 major strategies her team employs when creating original content:

#1: It’s not always an article

Corporate blogs can be a little dry, with an endless parade of articles touting new products and features. Coca-Cola’s products don’t change much, so their content team had to look beyond traditional articles: Adopting photo slideshows, videos, infographics, songs and other bite-sized content packages designed to be shared socially.

“Just as long as it’s interesting and tells a story and draws the viewer in,” Callahan said. “Many times, the content is there and the real challenge is to craft it and create something interesting. We like to say, ‘Take the ordinary and make it extraordinary.’”

#2: Apply the water cooler test

Ask yourself, does this story grip me on a personal level? Callahan asked the audience to consider whether the story was so compelling they’d tell their friends and family about it.

The water cooler test is a related idea: How would you tell a coworker the story over the water cooler? If the story makes you want to go to sleep, chances are, you won’t do a great job getting your readers excited about it, either.

“If you think you’d still share it with a friend or family member, you probably have a good piece of content and should keep pursuing it,” Callahan said.

#3: Surprise sells

“A lot of times, writing is boring,” Callahan said. “It’s very predictable. We kind of know what’s going to happen. So I always ask people in our company to try to react to things as a human being and not so much as an employee. Is there something surprising that caught you off guard?”

The best stories, Callahan said, teach us something new, or cause us to think about the world in a new way. Writing surprising truths is an ambitious goal for Coca-Cola’s writing team, and Callahan makes sure to capitalize on it whenever she sees those truths cross her desk.

#4: Make data-driven decisions

More than 1 million people per month visit Coca-Cola Journey, roughly one out of four doing so on a mobile device. In the 9 months since the new site launched, people have consumed 23.8 million pages of content, shared that content 54,000 times and left 8,500 comments.

The company tracks those metrics through the Brightspot content management system, Google Analytics, Gigya and other proprietary tools to deliver something it calls the Expression of Interest score–studying, essentially, the popularity of specific topics.


Callahan and her team watch their metrics like an online news organization, tweaking coverage to reflect their readers’ interests. When they began tracking metrics, they found the top inbound search term was “Coca-Cola cake,” linking to a recipe containing 6 tablespoons of Coca-Cola.

Inbound search terms also gives her marketing team information about what people are actually interested in, helping them make informed decisions about new campaigns.

#5: Own the medium

Coca-Cola is a massive company–it estimates it sells 1.8 billion servings of beverages every day worldwide–and it has a lot of stories to tell.

Before the advent of the Internet, the company relied on traditional news reporters to tell those stories.

With Coca-Cola Journey, the company instead controls the medium and the message, which goes out to more than a million people per month. Sustained, creative social media campaigns help Coca-Cola grow that audience on a daily basis.

The company’s internal goal is to triple its readership on Coca-Cola Journey by 2018.

#6: Use that medium to react in a crisis

In late January, the New York Times published a guest opinion article by American history professor Grace Elizabeth Hale entitled “When Jim Crow Drank Coke.” The article claimed Coca-Cola avoided marketing to black Americans in the early 20th century, and only did so after facing renewed competition from Pepsi.

Callahan said the company reacted quickly to this emerging brand crisis, asking their chief historian to respond on Coca-Cola Journey.

“The lengths taken by Dr. Grace Elizabeth Hale to try to link the history of America’s favorite and most inclusive drink–Coca-Cola–to racism are both absurd and appalling,” Coca-Cola Chief Historian Phil Mooney wrote the next day.

Mooney’s response garnered media attention, resulting in links back to the company’s website.

#7: Think like a newsroom

Roughly half of Callahan’s team has a journalism background, and they apply traditional editorial standards and ethics in their work. Callahan is a journalist herself, having worked as a television reporter in North Carolina, Salt Lake City and Atlanta before joining Coca-Cola in early 2012.

The traditional measures journalists use to weigh a story’s importance–chiefly, does it educate and delight–are directly applicable in the world of content marketing, she said.

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