The iHeartRADIO App is the BEST (use the All Access version FREE this weekend)

all access weekend

No. This isn’t me “drinking the Kool-Aid.” This is me, Don, the music and App lover.

This is me saying, “iHeartRADIO All Access is the best music App, followed by Spotify, followed by Pandora.”

Don’t believe me? Dude. Try the All Access version FREE this weekend. Here’s why it’s the best.

  • Listen to all your local radio stations, or any station in any city in the U.S.
  • Listen to a custom station that you curate with the classic ‘thumbs up’ and ‘thumbs down’ option.
  • Listen to niche stations that are built by true Program Directors who love music and the playlist isn’t left to chance. It’s like a radio station. I like Smells Like the ’90’s, The Vinyl Experience, and Gen X Radio.
  • Podcasts!!! Like everyone, I’m addicted to Podcasts but kinda hate the iTunes version (especially the latest update) and that sometimes they download as a file to my phone, sometimes they don’t, but when they do, they take up storage space. Not on iHeart. They have 99% of all the Podcasts you want and it’s streaming. Most of the time, I’m on WiFi, and even when streaming via my cell phone data, it’s just audio and doesn’t use that much.
  • Save and play Albums – any album. Save your favorite artists. Make a playlist. I made a playlist called “Music from my College Years” and add to it all the time as random songs jump into my head.

Here’s an old sizzle reel, but you’ll get the idea. I didn’t dream up this FREE All Access weekend, but I endorse it. Try it.

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I’m Good at (and I like) What I Do!

radio

If you have a business and thought about using audio (radio) to build your company, you should call me. For the third time in the past 6 months, a new client has called to say, “Don, we need to trim back on our radio a little bit because we can’t keep up.”

One medical practice is booked through the end of July and last week, even tho they weren’t on-air and nothing was running, people called, and when asked, “where did you hear about us,” they said, “on the radio.”

That’s the power of radio/audio branding.

Another client called me Thursday, an HVAC company that put their faith in me and launched a rather large, 4-station branding campaign (with a modest and understated call-to-action) combined with some well executed digital, and he, too, wondered if we could “back off” because he needs to hire another seller and a few installers because they, “are having a hard time keeping up and the phone is ringing off the hook.”

I keep reading articles about how advertisers are returning to the “mass media” becuase as we’ve walked down the road of one-to-one digital marketing, we’re missing the “spill” and the unintended target. Just because you say, “I’m after a Male between the ages of 35 and 54” (which is me), what about my wife who has a say in every purchase I make? Wouldn’t you want to be whispering in her ear, too? Even if quite by accident?

Sorry. Was drifting into another topic. For now, let’s focus on these two things:

  1. I love what I do (sell advertising).
  2. I’m good at what I do.

If you’ve even thought about “trying radio” or doing something different and big with your advertising, we should talk. Leave a comment. Find me on any social media and let’s start a conversation.

The Best Podcast I’ve Heard in a While

I believe in Divine Inspiration. I believe that sometimes, when I pray (and I believe in prayer because, well, at the risk for making my readers uncomfortable, I believe in Jesus and God and I believe there is some good in praying to them), someone is listening and sometimes, whomever that is listening – Jesus, God, Angels, spirits – guide me. Trust me, I don’t have the whole theology thing figured out …not even close …but I believe I’ve been guided at times.

divine inspiration

I feel like Divine Inspiration was in play when, after recently skipping a few of Tim’s podcasts, I noticed Tim Ferriss, of 4 Hour Work Week fame, had Seth Godin on his podcast. If you don’t know Seth Godin … you should. OK, let me put it this way …if you don’t know Seth Godin, and you’d like to take my advice, listen to Seth on Tim’s podcast. You can get it on iTunes, stream it by clicking here, or just go to this blog. You’ll learn who Seth is, how he’s been successful, you’ll hear two successful dudes riffing back and forth, and I think you’ll want to start being a better version of yourself.

There you go. Someone simple, today. You can knock this out on your commute (seriously …turn off Sports Talk or News Talk for a round-trip back and forth to work …trust me …Trump will still be crazy, tomorrow, and nothing all that exciting is happening in NFL free-agency).

More about the Tim Ferriss podcasts in my next post.

A Reflection on the Life of My Uncle Jerry

 

jerry at torch

Uncle Jerry was like a second father to me. I didn’t necessarily need a second father, because I have a great Dad, but it’s a blessing when a guy (me) has many guiding hands and influences. I was blessed.

My Uncle Jerry had a massive stroke on Wednesday, January 27th, and six days later, on February 2nd, he was called to Heaven. Over the years, I’ve been asked to deliver a few eulogies, a few wedding toasts, and to speak at some other events. Each time I’m asked, I’m completely flattered and humbled. And each time I’m asked, I’m anxious, afraid, and intimidated because it’s never easy. When asked, especially when it’s someone close to me and special to me, the pressure comes in finding the right words and the right story that will reflect well on that person’s legacy, personality, and memory.

It’s luck, really. I’m lucky that I’ve had amazing people in my life, so when I write from the heart, their lives, when put into words, make me look good. I just tell it like I see it.

So here I sit on the eve of Lent, and I can’t help but think of my Uncle Jerry and what a proud and good Catholic he was. As I talk about in my reflection, he wasn’t the type who made a point to tell you how Christian and Catholic he was. Instead, he spoke to his faith through actions and in the way he lived.

Jerry didn’t quote scripture. Jerry lived scripture. Being Catholic and going to church was something Jerry always did. Period. He had faith. Great, unwavering faith. Not like a show-off and in-your-face (Matthew 6:1-6:18) type of evangelizing with hints of hypocrisy.  Instead, the kind  of faith and devotion where you go to church every week. You listen. You think. You reflect. And then you live according to the lessons Jesus taught us. Jerry lived a good, honest life.

I share this because my Uncle Jerry was goodness and honesty personified. He could’ve been Lutheran, Baptist, Protestant, or, heck, he could’ve been Buddhist. He happened to be Catholic and he listened. He reflected. And then he lived.

It’s not hyperbole or exaggeration when I say he really was a better person than I may ever be. It wasn’t just me who thought that. His friend (also named Jerry) agreed and his reflection was much the same as mine. And his brother Roger skipped much of the reflection he’d written, because Jerry and I had already covered the basics.

If you’re thinking about Lent, and how you’ll use these next 40 days to repent, reflect, and look inward, I invite you to meet my Uncle Jerry. Read about how he made a difference with his life and watch an incredible video shot only a few weeks before he was called to Heaven.

Read the reflection and watch the video here.

Then …have a wonderful Lent.

Oh, Great, I Like Another Band That Typically Appeals to Teen Girls

Why!?!?! Why did I happen in A.K.’s office on Friday and why did the conversation get hijacked and turn towards my juvenile taste in music? Why, when I talked about Weezer and their upcoming tour, did it somehow take a detour and I found myself saying, “Weezer is touring with Panic At the Disco, and I’m a big fan of them, too?” At that confession, I should’ve been laughed at, but instead, A.K. says, “oh, Panic’s good. I forgot …you’re into those emo bands.”

Well, yes and no. I like Weezer. I like Panic. I like Fall Out Boy. With that list, A.K. says, “oh, then you have to check out The 1975 (learn about them here), a poppy, emo, band blowing up on the U.K.” In the article I linked, here’s two quotes . . .

But you don’t have to be a kid to like them: the 1975 were a band I expected to hate when I first heard that album.

If this is the album (their second album being released next monty) that determines whether the 1975 become U2 or Big Country, they’ve staked everything on the former outcome.

We took a road trip over the weekend and, well, I fell in love. To me, The 1975 is a little bit FOB, a little bit Duran Duran, and emo and glam and fun and brooding. Oh. They’re perfect. When they come the U.S., eventually, Taylor Swift is going to make sure you know about them and that you’ll like them, and I’ll greet them at the airport while holding a hand-painted sign.

Why can’t I just like Wilco and Death Cab like the rest of my fellow 40-somethings?

To my readers …meet The 1975.

Do You Want to be Happy for the Next Three Minutes?

It’s funny how a couple of nights ago I sat through a lecture about the meaning of Advent and how it relates to the four levels of happiness. No where during this hour-and-a-half-long presentation did the speaker address where on the heirarchy something like this Boyz II Men-Fall Out Boy collaboration fits in.

I’m pretty sure it’s at a higher level than is shown on the chart above.

Enjoy.

A Holiday Memory – The Correct Way To Hang Certain Ornaments

Anyone care for a Mary Lou story?

Something’s been nagging at me, lately. I have all these memories of stuff, and I like to write, and a few people (family members) have said on more than one occasion, “you should put all those stories together and write a book.” Let me give you my two main excuses for not doing it. (1) I don’t think anyone would read a book that’s filled with 4 wedding toasts, a speech I gave in college, 5 eulogies, and then 5 or 6 stories on top of that. (2) I tend to embellish things and I would regret if my memory of something has been distorted over time and my version of the stories turn out to be only 75% accurate (or less). Not like I’m saying I’d write a story about my “Uncle Stephen” and then everyone would be like, “Don, you don’t have an Uncle Stephen.” It’s more like I’d remember a single memory and try and fill in details, but the details of a specific Thanksgiving might blend together multiple Thanksgivings and possibly a Christmas and, well, what good is a story like that?

But here’s a story I know is completely accurate. My Mom (Mary Lou, for those of you new to my blog) loved Christmas. Our house was madness. Multiple tea kettles, a snowy old-time village of miniature light-up houses all over the place, a model train that drove through that miniature village, specific mugs that only came out between Thanksgiving and replaced the every day mugs, and candles and runners, and Christmas art that replaced the year-round art on the walls and a giant Santa head that hung over our fireplace. And much . . . much . . . more.

Even my Dad got in on the act and when we moved to West Michigan. We lived in a neighborhood that prided itself on elaborate light displays. It was the type of neighborhood where, on most evenings, cars would drive through the streets at 5 miles-per-hour gazing at hundreds of houses decorated to the max. Well, coming from Sterling Heights, I seem to recall we had lights outside, but nothing like what my Dad did in Kentwood. He rigged lights that were in the shape of a two-story Christmas tree in front of our house. It was like a May Pole, but with Christmas lights.

I suppose some wives would frown on an upstairs window being ajar an inch for more than a month, allowing heat to escape and for a crazy snowy-ice-dam to form on the soffit vent and in the gutter, but for the sake of a quality outdoor light display, Mom didn’t mind.

The Mary Lou story that I’ve taken with me into my marriage (and I realize this might not be my Mom’s sole invention or theory) and am passing along to my kids is this – any glass or crystal ornament should be hung directly in front of a light on the tree. It’s imperative. When we were younger, we’d all help hang ornaments and in typical childlike fashion, every ornament was hung at the bottom of the tree, no higher than 4 feet (as high as we could reach). Then, later that evening, once we were all in bed, Mom would go to work re-arranging the ornaments to perfection. A properly ornamentized tree should be equal parts novelty ornaments, religious ornaments, meaningful souvenir ornaments (likely from an exotic travel destination), mixed with a blend of standard, solid color ornaments (in our house, it was burgundy and gold) to match the color scheme of ones home. The burgundy and gold should be a pure 50/50 mix and no single color should dominate any quadrant, nor the top-half or bottom-half. And most importantly, as I’ve mentioned, glass or crystal ornaments must be hung in front of a twinkling light to highlight them and make them shine.

I can only imagine, now, if she came to my house and saw an ornament hung incorrectly, she’d probably move some ornaments around when we weren’t looking.

She loved Christmas. I think most everyone could agree on that. Only someone who loved Christmas and celebrated it as a season of giving would spend the better part of 200 hours shopping for the perfect gifts to wrap (perfectly wrapped, I might add) under a perfectly decorated tree.

Thansk, Mom, for loving Christmas and loving us.