Chris’s Clickbait: August 2018 – by Chris Zaccaro

SLPR Public Relations Associate Chris Zaccaro, our social/digital media Pro from Dover, pours through blogs and articles each week so he can stay up-to-date on the latest trends, tips, and innovations in digital and social media for our clients. Here’s a collection of recent third-party articles he’s found useful or at least worth a read…

 

📄 Social Media Today:
YouTube Adds Vertical Video
Support on its Web App,
Underlining Vertical Trend

As Story features from Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat continue to dominate the social media landscape, the vertical video push has forced video-sharing giant YouTube to adapt to the times by enabling users to view these videos as they are, without those annoying black or blurry lines on the side.

If you’re one of the few that are unfamiliar with Stories – a Story is a collection of videos or photos that will “expire” after a 24 hour period. You may have noticed the circular profile pictures at the top of your Facebook and Instagram News Feeds. Click on one and see for yourself what these Stories are. Just be aware that the other person will see you viewed it. CNN Tech’s 2017 article How to use Facebook Stories provides a solid overview. Also, I only refer to you as “one of the few” because Facebook has stated that Stories will overtake the News Feed as the primary way users view content by the end of this year.

For those that are familiar with Stories, you may well know that shooting your photos and videos vertically (not sideways, aka landscape) is definitely the way to go. That’s because Stories are primarily viewed full screen on smartphones. Many social media users will download the Story they created on one app and use them again on another app – or just send the file directly to friends via text or other means (there’s way too many options to list and I haven’t had my third afternoon coffee yet).

For this reason, and possibly because social media users are becoming conditioned to automatically start shooting their photos and videos vertically, it made sense for YouTube to make this move.

And yes, while I, and probably many of you, prefer to watch videos in the traditional landscape, 16:9 format (how old school of us) – this trend appears to be sticking around.

📄 Hubspot:
The 15 Best Video
Editing Apps for 2018

This article from Hubspot kicks off with “If you’re reading this blog post, chances are you already know you should incorporate more video content in your marketing.”

Don’t we know it? And if you don’t, here are some stats from WordStream blogger Mary Lister:

  • 51% of marketing pros worldwide name video as the type of content with the best return on investment
  • 61% of consumers make a purchase after watching branded social videos
  • Views on branded video content have increased 258% on Facebook and 99% on YouTube as of June 2017
  • By 2019, internet video traffic will count for 80% of all consumer internet traffic

The beauty of today’s technology is that the current slate of smartphones and tablets allow you to shoot and edit pretty decent video content without having to burn through your budget. As you could probably deduce from the title, this helpful post from Hubspot blogger Sophia Bernazzani provides a list and quick overview, including the “catches” that come with using free versions and trials, of the 15 best video editing apps for 2018.

📄  Social Media Today:
Twitter Chooses
Two Academic Projects
to Help Improve Platform Discourse

Twitter has turned to the academic community as the major social media companies continue their “fight” against the rise of fake news, increasing division within society, and data breaches – all of which they have been hammered for (and deservedly so) the past few years. As you’ll read in this article from Social Media Today’s Andrew Hutchinson, Twitter has chosen two academic projects to help improve discourse on its platform. The two individual studies will examine the echo chamber effect, which happens when social media users only follow and read views that they agree with, and whether exposure to a variety of perspectives can decrease prejudice and discrimination and increase more worldly views.

It remains to be seen if the studies will highlight the Twitter “snark” epidemic, which unfortunately (but amusingly) targeted both a Black Eyed Pea and pancake (and burger!) restaurant chain just this year. You’ll learn more about that below…

📄 Ragan’s PR Daily:
Twitter Erupts in Snark
Over ‘IHOb’s’ Name Change

And finally, the last article I wanted to share is not social or digital media specific – but the story certainly did make waves in the Twitterverse.

Back in early June the International House of Pancakes, you may know it as IHOP, kicked off SnarkFest 2018.2 when the folks at corporate decided to change the restaurant’s name to IHOb.

This phenomenon is not to be confused with Snarkfest 2018.1, which occurred back in February after Fergie’s legendary National Anthem performance at the NBA All Star Game. Not sure if John C. Reilly of Step Brothers fame chimed in on this one.

Back to the point.

It was fairly obvious from the get-go, and the chain eventually came clean once the waves finished crashing down, that the whole thing was a publicity stunt intended to create buzz about the restaurant’s new line of burgers.

Boy did it ever.

 

For what seemed like an entire week, I could not scroll through a Twitter feed without seeing some sort of IHOP/B mention. To be clear, I am not advocating for temporary name changes or publicity stunts, but throughout SnarkFest 2018.2 all I kept saying to myself was, “Until this week, I can’t remember the last time I thought about IHOP.” And this is coming from a big pancake fan. Huge.

Sure IHOP received a lot of snark that fateful week in June. Ragan.com even listed the move as one of its Top 10 Blunders of the Year – so far. But I don’t know if I can agree that it was a bad move or didn’t work. Here we are almost two months later and I’m STILL talking about IHOP!

A Career Begins, A Career Continues – Dan Tapper Remembers:

SLPR’s Public Relations Manager Dan Tapper takes a look back at the start of his career 28 years ago this July

I don’t recall the date, but it was exactly this time of year in 1990 – late July, during political season in a major statewide election year – that my full-time career in media began. It was 28 years ago almost to the day that I began my first-ever full-time job as a staff writer for the Journal Inquirer, which at the time was, I believe, the 5th-largest daily newspaper in Connecticut as well as the largest afternoon daily newspaper. I had previously worked for two months as a “stringer” for the Hartford Courant out of its Enfield bureau, but this was what I had been hoping for when I graduated from the University of Connecticut two months earlier with a degree in English – a full-time job as a news reporter. I was thrilled; a little scared as any 21-year-old might be, but without question ready to get going.

A few things stand out from Day 1; oddly enough, I didn’t do any writing that day. I more watched and learned the basics and logistics. Like how to use the “computer terminals” we all shared and, frankly (and anyone who was in the newsroom with me in that era can surely agree) looked like they were at least a decade past their prime. Like the schedule of morning deadlines and the groupings of reporters (we did our most intensive deadline-based work between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. in this pre-Internet era). Like where the bathrooms and the snack machines were, and what time the morning coffee truck came. Not to mention meeting our team of 25+ news reporters and 10 or so editors, all of whom were polite but had little time to get to know me in those first few hectic hours of my first day. So I watched, I observed, I read that day’s newspaper from cover to cover at least a few times, and I waited.

Oh, also? I met my wife that day; she was the reporter/editor assigned to show me around and, I think, make sure I didn’t break anything. She continues in that role today 28 years later, but that’s a story for another time 😊

It was later that night I was given my first assignment – to accompany a reporter to a local Town Council meeting (Vernon, I think) and assist her in covering the news that came out of it. I would report on…whatever it was I was covering…and file my first-ever story the next morning. Then we journeyed across town to cover a local nominating convention for a State Representative – interestingly enough, that State Rep. was none other than Connecticut’s current Congressman in the 2nd District, Joe Courtney. I met the then-State Rep., enjoyed his very pleasant and easy-to-quote demeanor, and headed home with my head spinning around 9 p.m., my brand new reporter’s notebook filled with my first day of notes and quotes and sitting next to me sitting on the passenger seat of my old Oldsmobile Cutlass. I was off and running.

The next morning I filed those stories, then the next day a couple more, and a pattern was born that is familiar to surely any daily journalist who ever covered a beat. I remember a particularly colorful exchange with a local official in that first week, who for some reason wasn’t willing to give me public information which I requested. I remember calmly telling him I was entitled to this information and, if he wasn’t going to cooperate, I would have to say so in my story. Nonetheless he agreed, and I scored my first (albeit very minor) victory for the public’s right to know.

Over time I would earn my first full-time beat (a combination of the town of Somers and the Enfield Board of Education, and a couple years later I shifted to the town of Windsor) and go through enough of those reporter’s notebooks to fill the trunk of my old clunker of a car. I covered the good and the bad, wrote features and in-depth reports, occasionally tussled with headstrong local officials and made some solid relationships with the people I covered. In the newsroom I made friendships that have lasted to this very day, friendships rooted initially in our common professional roles but which would soon grow deeper and more meaningful. Oh, and did I mention I met my wife there? We were married June 6, 1992 and just celebrated our 26th anniversary last month. I spent 6 ½ years at that newspaper before leaving for a career in public relations at the end of 1996, and while I can’t say I loved every moment (who can?), I can say without question that that crusty, dusty old newsroom played a huge role in shaping who I was and who I would become.

So many of us who worked there are no longer journalists today, though a few still are. Others among us are now teachers, lawyers, social workers, technical writers and, yes, a few of us remain on “the dark side” in the world of public relations. My daily grind no longer features a set-in-stone deadline of 9:15 a.m., but deadlines sure do still exist. I still rush to get things done, still write as much as I ever have, still cram research and fact-checking and tracking people down quickly into my workaday routine. I have spent 28 years working on one side of the media or another, and I cannot possibly imagine having spent my career doing anything else.

And it all started pretty much 28 years ago today, on that hot July day where everything seemed to be in front of me. And the good news? It still is.

“You Took My Speech!” – by Gene Sheehan

That’s apparently what happened at UConn on Tuesday night, in an incident that immediately garnered national attention and, quite honestly, left no one looking good.

According to published reports, while alt-right commentator Lucian Wintrich was delivering a speech entitled “It’s OK to Be White” to a room of a few hundred people – amid loud protests from many in the audience – a State Community College Adviser took his speech from the lectern and made off with it. The speech itself was certainly meant to be provocative and probably intended to be disruptive, and I’m not defending its point of view.

But let’s remember something.

“Speech” itself is pretty much the only thing that separates us from the animals, and it is so important to us as Americans (and as humans) that our Founding Fathers ensured that the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution contained a provision guaranteeing its absolute freedom from government intervention.

And once the words are taken away from people, the only option that usually remains is getting physical. That seems to be what happened here – something of a brawl ensued and the event was cut short, with the physical violence resulting in police arrests.

So much for the state of civil discourse in our current academic environment.

I participated in some of the disruptive social protest in the 1960s, and I understand the communication value of political theater. I also understand that a certain amount of disruption can be good and support positive change. In the end, however, we must depend on words and reason in order to live together.

After all, when you take away people’s speech, often times all they have left are their fists.

 

 

How Filler Words Can Erode Your Credibility – by Gene Sheehan

First, let me confess, I am not the most eloquent speaker. Because I speak like I write – composing each word – I am prone to pauses as I struggle to frame a thought or come up with just the right word. But better the occasional silence than the prolonged ums or ahs or, far worse, the annoying repetition of filler words that add nothing of substance while distracting from our message.

One of the worst examples of this has come from those who feel they need to begin every response with the word “so.” I’m not certain how this started or who started it, but I suspect the academic community. It mimics a professor’s knowing response to a student’s question and perhaps lends an air of authority to the speaker. “So we looked at the Land Rover and the Ford Explorer, but there was really no comparison between the two.” So this. So that.  So what? Or more to the point – why “so?” Another ubiquitous filler word is “look”—again at the beginning of a sentence. “Look, my position on this has been totally consistent.” You “look.” I’ll listen.

The bottom line is that the consistent use of nonessential filler words is viewed as a crutch by the discerning listener, causing them to focus on how you’re saying things rather than what you’re trying to say.

Best to opt for the thoughtful pause.

Protecting Your Good Name When the News Is Bad

  1. Be prepared to tell your side of the storyTake the time to develop your key messages on one page or less.
  2. First things firstBefore you talk, your first responsibility is to get the situation under control and gather the facts.
  3. Speak with one voiceAs much as possible all information should flow through one spokesperson.
  4. Talk to the mediaIf you don’t talk to the media don’t blame them if they treat you like you’ve got something to hide.
  5. Insist on balanceGood journalists are obligated to report both sides of the story and you shouldn’t settle for less.
  6. Respond to all negativesAs in any political campaign, each and every attack on your credibility must be responded to in some way.
  7. Be quick on your feetIn this digital era of instant access to breaking news, you must be prepared to mount a rapid response.
  8. Demonstrate responsibilityA too-legalistic approach to addressing the results of an accident can send a message to your neighbors that you don’t care.
  9. It ain’t over ‘til it’s overContinually monitor the media and reevaluate your communication strategy.
  10. Learn from your mistakesDon’t expect to do everything right but plan on doing it better the next time.

The Day I Met Glen Campbell – Gene Sheehan Remembers

It was at Charlie Kaman’s house in Farmington at a small fundraiser for the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation. Glen had a major role in the success of the Kaman-designed Ovation guitar, which he had prominently played on his national television show, and he and Charlie became friends for life.

A devoted Beach Boys fan, I was pumping Campbell for details on his early session work with the group when he was part of the “Wrecking Crew” and his experience of going on the road with the Beach Boys to replace an ailing Brian Wilson (they needed someone who could sing the high notes on their hit record at the time, “Caroline No”).

He was gracious, thoughtful and funny in his responses. Thank you, Glen Campbell, for giving this fan a magical afternoon all those years ago in Charlie Kaman’s living room.

This clip will give you an indication of the magic he could make with an Ovation guitar.

A Lesson in Holding Your Ground

 

By Dan Tapper

We frequently remind clients of the need to stand your ground when being interviewed by a journalist, particularly when the interview is at least a bit contentious. “Don’t let them dictate what you are going to say,” we say over and over. “Don’t let them speak for you or put words in your mouth. Their job is to ask the tough questions. Your job is to hold your ground and speak for yourself.”

It’s advice that never gets old and never gets any less important. Everything you say to a reporter, on or off the record, has to be the truth. But you get to deliver it on your own terms, not anybody else’s. And if you have messages that you believe in, that you are willing and able to not just stand by but to stand up and tout, chances are you will come out ahead.

Recently I saw a rather perfect example of the value of holding your ground, from an article written by a sportswriter in 2012 commemorating the death of Marvin Miller (pictured at left), the man who formed the first ever Baseball Players Association in the 1960s and, in the eyes of the majority of baseball fans, changed the game forever, and largely for the better. No less a baseball authority than legendary broadcaster Red Barber once said, “Marvin Miller, along with Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson, is one of the two or three most important men in baseball history.”

This sportswriter, Joe Posnanski – now a senior columnist for Sports Illustrated – recalled at Miller’s death an interview he did with him 10 years earlier in 2002 about the then-current labor situation in baseball, when a strike was being threatened and the growing sentiment seemed to be many in the public had turned against the players in favor of the owners.

And it’s here where Posnanski pointed out perhaps Miller’s greatest strength—he always held his ground and never once budged from delivering his message. He was able to do this, it seems, because he so fervently believed in his message

As Posnanski wrote 10 years later, looking back on that interview: “For every question, there was an emphatic answer. For every proposition there was suspicion. For every search for middle ground, there was a powerful push back. But, through it all, I don’t think he raised his voice once. Through it all, I don’t believe he ever said one word that hinted at arrogance or dismissiveness. He was just explaining things, patiently, with some humor, without doubt.”

Read for yourself. Here are some excerpts from that 2002 story Posnanski wrote about his interview with Marvin Miller. And take special note at how hard Posnanski pushes him, and how hard Miller pushes right back. His refusal to accept what he saw as flawed premises, his refusal to accept a reporter’s questions as facts – this is, as the saying goes, how it’s done.

“It’s a different world,” I suggested. (Than it had been in the 1960s when the union was born)

“No,” he said bluntly. “It’s the same fight.”

“There are people who blame the players for not cleaning up the game by submitting to steroid testing,” I challenged.

“Do you want someone searching your car without proper cause?” he asked back. “Your house? No. Of course not. But you think it’s fair for people to search your bloodstream or bladder? That’s absurd.”

Some players — current and former — seem to feel like the union has already won so many battles, it should be willing to meet the owners more in the middle.

“I remember when we were trying to do away with the reserve clause (NOTE: This is the clause that essentially tied a player to one team for life; when Miller appealed to an arbitrator that it was illegal, he won his case, the clause was abolished and this directly led to free agency). I marveled at the fact that something like that could be in players’ contracts. … But even more, I marveled at the fact that, when I brought it up to the players, they gave me a response which, in effect, said baseball couldn’t survive without it. They had been brainwashed to believe the reserve clause was good for baseball.”

Yes, maybe, but what about fans? They cannot even relate to the money these players make. How can you expect them to relate to the players’ plight?

“I don’t expect that. Fans never have related. Here’s what I would say to that. Fans don’t seem to understand that the largest pocketbook issue that faces them is the tax money being used for essentially free stadiums for wealthy owners. That’s hundreds of millions of dollars in cities where schools are crumbling and highways and bridges need repair.

“Players make what they deserve to make on the open market. That’s all. And let me say this again: Fans have their rights. But they should have nothing to say on what a player earns. I liken it to an automobile company. Somebody might buy six or seven Chevrolets in his life. Automobile companies ought to listen to the things he has to say about how a car looks, how it runs, how it stands up. All important things. But I don’t think a car buyer has any right to have any input whatsoever on the wages and benefits of automobile employees.”

Here is the full interview for those who wish to read it. It’s a great lesson, from a person who knew as much as any the value of a strong, immovable message.

The Power of Converting Data into a Visual Asset

If there’s one thing journalists love, it is solid numbers that tell a story.

For example:

“Our new office building was made with 95% recycled material”

…is tangible proof of this statement:

“Our commitment to the environment starts at the very literal foundation of our building and is a part of our core values as we do business”

Figures such as these provide vital endorsements to your overall message, and become succinct, powerful tools to help tell your story. By creating a visual asset with those numbers (an infographic, video or a poignant picture) the message becomes more powerful and shareable across multiple channels, grabbing the attention of your key audience on platforms such as social media.

Here’s one powerful example. We were working with a client at a university to promote the incredible research she was doing in the field of heart disease.

The data was complex, but the imperative to act was clear: she and her team had surfaced new information on why people were being re-hospitalized, and raising awareness on the topic could save lives.

We took key facts and figures from her research and presented them in an infographic. It broke apart the information using graphics, and gave key takeaways on how to improve out-patients’ quality of life. It made some incredibly intricate details much more accessible to a wide audience.

A white paper or research study is a great asset to distribute to your shareholders and other people who will want to spend a lot of time with that material. However, simplifying the data allows you to share it with other audiences—particularly those who may be interested in the underlying message but lack the personal knowledge of the topic to understand the white paper or read it at all.

If you tease out the most meaningful data and turn them into something like an infographic, you can then distribute snippets of that data to the public via social media, or perhaps accompanying a press release, so it explains complex concepts in an easily-understandable way. In this case, Simpler really is better. The visual component will grab a reader’s attention, and the snippet of data will get them thinking about your brand, and likely even make them want to learn more.

A picture literally can be worth a thousand words when used correctly. Visual assets should serve a functional use and be clear. As an example, the design platform Canva created a great checklist that we have internalized:

  • Does this asset enhance my message in some way?
  • Is this asset clear and easily read/understood?
  • Is this the best possible type of asset for this context?
  • How will my audience react to this asset?

Quickly run over these in your head before you include your asset to make sure you’re getting the absolute most out of this device. If your answers to these questions are respectively ‘yes’, ‘yes’ ‘yes’, and ‘with great positivity’, you’re ready to go.
https://designschool.canva.com/blog/visual-content-marketing/

 

Think you may have something that could use a visual asset? Contact us for more information.

Thank you, Captain

For showing us all how to act in the public eye.

We talk about it all the time in the world of public relations – your public image is a direct extension of yourself, so you really need to treat it right. You only have one public face, one opportunity to define yourself to your audience(s). And you better do it right, lest you wind up being defined by them.

Sunday night was Derek Jeter Night at Yankee Stadium, a night where his iconic Number 2 was retired and he was honored by adoring Yankee fans for a great career. And on that night we saw once more what made him so special.

Derek Jeter played shortstop for the New York Yankees from 1995 through 2014. He was 20 years old when he started, someone barely out of his teens playing in the withering spotlight of New York City professional sports. There really is no tougher audience in this country for a young athlete looking to make himself a success.

When Jeter first came onto the scene he was a skinny kid with world given talent, an effervescent smile that made it seem like every second he was on the baseball field was fun, and a future that held enormous promise if he was able to handle it and live up to the considerable hype.

When he retired in 2014, the skinny kid was long gone. He was a 40-year-old man who, while his world-class skills had slipped, could now do something that his 20-year-old self could have only dreamed of – he was able to look back on a legendary career that had made him one of the greatest, most likable and most popular players in the esteemed New York Yankee history.

And that smile that lit up the city? It was still there. Bright and fresh as ever.

How did Jeter do it? His baseball talents took care of themselves, as did his penchant for coming through in the clutch, right up through his final Yankee Stadium at bat. His personal records and the team records speak overwhelmingly to that – five World Series titles, seven trips to the Fall Classic, 17 trips to the postseason, 14 All-Star Games and more hits, stolen bases and games played than any Yankee in history. His entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame when eligible for the first time in 2020 is a certainty.

But beyond his greatness on the field, there was an ease and grace with which Derek Jeter carried himself that made him more than just a great player, but someone to be admired. He became team captain, with leadership skills most players only dream about. He was there to talk to the media about every success and, yes, every failing, as stand-up a player as has ever worn the Yankee pinstripes. He hustled and played all-out every single time he took the field, whether he was hurting or not. He never gave up or begged out of a game. His on-field attitude evoked a famous line the Great DiMaggio once uttered when asked why he never eased up in the field: “There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first or last time. I owe him my best.”

Off the field, again in that intense glare of the New York City media, Jeter was guarded and almost religiously cautious about what he said and what he did. He was single, superstar athlete in the greatest city in the world, but it’s very difficult to recall one scandal or questionable issue that ever surrounded him. He knew the value of his public image and he protected it, in a way so many people in the public eye likely wished they could have done.

When Derek Jeter was in public, what you got was always the same. He was friendly and engaging. He was charitable (his Turn 2 Foundation he and his family run has become a major success). He asked for respect and received respect in turn, mostly because he carried himself as someone who respected others as much as he did himself.

Jeter became a giant in the sports world for reasons that exceeded his Hall of Fame abilities and performance. To put it simply, he knew how valued he was by the public, and made it a priority to value the world around him just as much. He played his career as a living, breathing lesson in good public  relations, and from what we saw Sunday night, he plans to continue to live his life that way.

Thank you, Captain. See you in Cooperstown.

Embrace the Mascot!

By Dan Tapper

Last night I was pleased to take in my first Hartford Yard Goats game with my son and my parents; it was clear upon touring Dunkin’ Donuts Park prior to the first pitch that despite the myriad issues that plagued the stadium during the construction phase, now that it’s open our capital city has a beautiful, vibrant place to watch baseball during the spring and summer months.

Not only that, but Hartford also finally has a place where mascots can roam free and happy, safe from the perils of the outside world. Because one thing I was reminded of last night is you can never have enough mascots!

One thing I love about minor league baseball is a commitment to entertaining the fans that goes far beyond the game being played on the field. Minor league allegiances, for obvious reasons, tend to run nowhere near as deep as those for the Red Sox or Yankees or Mets or any other major league team, so team management knows more needs to be done to keep people engaged.

This means special package deals for youth organizations, schools, sports leagues, professional associations and any other group you can think of. This means affordable amenities. This means a strong focus on the nearby population, where local heroes are honored and school choirs sing the National Anthem. It means offering dozens of “theme” nights to bring people of all ages to the ballpark where they don’t just get a game but perhaps plenty more to remember.

And yes, it means mascots. Lots and lots of mascots.

I think I counted at least a half-dozen iterations of the Yard Goats mascots “Chompers” and “Chew Chew” gallivanting around the stands and the concourses last night, high-fiving fans, posing for pictures and basically serving as goodwill ambassadors for the team. And those weren’t including the four team-oriented mascots on the field itself, having a grueling race in the middle innings. Or the three Dunkin’ Donuts-themed mascots (Hot Coffee, Iced Coffee and Donuts) who had their own race earlier in the game. (For the record, I had picked the Donut to win and am deeply suspicious that he didn’t. Inquiries will follow).

In a customer-oriented world such as minor league baseball, where a positive, happy public face puts people in the seats perhaps as much as the game itself does, the fun-loving and oversized visage of a dutiful mascot can go a long way towards keeping the people coming. It’s a simple and fun little public relations lesson—a friendly face is often the best way to spark people’s interests. Even if that face happens to be attached to a large and multi-colored goat-like figure.

And lastly, it reminded me of a lesson offered by our fearless leader here at SLPR, the “PR King” himself Gene Sheehan. Gene recalled back during his days as Program Director for WHCN-FM in Hartford in the 1970s, it was decided that the radio station would adopt a giant walrus as its own mascot. (This would prove to be a very popular decision, as rock fans of my generation clearly remember “The WHCN Walrus” as the veritable symbol of Hartford’s rock-n-roll scene during those years).

Gene was personally involved in finding just the right walrus costume to be worn and used as the station’s mascot, and still today he offers sage advice as to why he did that:

“I had one priority in picking out that walrus costume,” he recalls. “And that was to make sure it didn’t fit me!”