There is a fine line between being balanced and poking your advertisers in the eye. Given that Intrawest and Vail Resorts have both announced significant revenue declines and employee layoffs, I’m guessing they think this is the latter. Money quote:
“I started coming to Deer Valley in 1998,” says David Adamson. “I used to go to Colorado every year, but the snow in Utah is the best in the world, and the travel to and from L.A. is so easy.”
A tremendous behind-the-scenes look at how Scripps’ decision to close the Rocky Mountain News played out in the newsroom.
Among those offering their thoughts on the demise of the Rocky Mountain News are Metzger’s Lisa Greim (a former Rocky business reporter who offers a touching eulogy for the paper), Webb PR’s Pete Webb, GBSM’s Steve Silvers, GroundFloor’s Ramonna Tooley and Pure’s Larry Holdren.
Part of the fallout of Scripps’ decision to shutter the Rocky Mountain News is that MediaNews will take full ownership of several Colorado newspapers, including the Boulder Daily Camera, the Colorado Daily and the Broomfield Enterprise. Alicia Wallace and Ryan Huff at the Boulder Daily Camera have the details.
The Council of PR Firms released its annual “State of Public Relations Survey,” and the data is what you might expect:
- Average 2008 agency growth was 4 percent, compared to 10 percent in 2007
- 67 percent of agencies expect 2009 revenues to be down or flat
- Social media and digital content creation are the areas agencies expect to grow the most
But, as PR Newswer points out, there is some surprising news as well:
- 30 percent of agencies report they are currently hiring
- 69 percent think the Obama administration will be good for the PR industry
9News anchor/reporter Ward Lucas has decided to leave the station, and will anchor his last broadcast this weekend. Also, CBS4 is outsourcing its helicopter operations and, as a result, pilot/personality Mike Silva is being let go. Joanne Ostrow at the Denver Post has the details on both.
Apparently The Denver Egotist’s recent recruitment drive has netted it a bunch of softies, because the advertising-focused site that helps Denver suck less, daily, is going all public servicey by trying to find jobs for PR/advertising/marketing/creative types who have found themselves unemployed. The details are here. And if you know someone who has lost their job, pass the word.
The Denver Post wasted no time announcing which Rocky staff members it would hire (and, yes, Penny Parker is on the list, but not as a gossip columnist.)
Congratulations to Linhart and Volume for being finalists in PR Week’s annual public relations awards. Volume is a finalist in the B2B Campaign of the Year category, and Linhart is a finalist in the Cause-related Campaign of the Year and Boutique PR Agency of the Year categories. Winners will be announced March 5.
“Boston Celtics players boarding their bus Monday at The Ritz-Carlton Denver on their way to face (and beat) the Nuggets.”
David Milstead at the Rocky Mountain News reports that unions representing employees at the Denver Newspaper Agency have reached a tentative agreement on wage and benefit cuts that average 11.7 percent. According to Milstead, “Today’s tentative agreement includes salary reductions averaging 7 percent, 10 unpaid days off for most workers, the suspension of the 401(k) match, cuts in sick days and mileage reimbursements, and increases in health and dental premiums.” Layoffs are still a possibility if the agreement doesn’t yield the $18 million in concessions the DNA was seeking.
… who should be preparing right now to make the same kind of move.
The Heart-owned San Francisco Chronicle is the latest newspaper to be threatened with being sold or shutdown. Hearst has also threatened the Seattle Post-Intelligencer with the same fate.
After 37 years of building JohnstonWells into one of Denver’s largest and most successful public relations agencies, Gwin Johnson is stepping down from her role as CEO. Her successor will be her daughter, GG Johnston, who has been serving as the agency’s president and COO. Although Gwin will no longer be involved in the the day-to-day details of the agency, she “will continue to be active in the company as owner and Chairman of the Board.” The official JohnstonWells announcement is here.
Congratulations to the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp., whose $100,000 “Colorado Loves California” campaign to recruit West Coast companies to Denver has generated more than $2 million in advertising equivalency. If you see an influx of tan people driving Porsches, feel free to blame Annie Boeckman.
The early entry deadline for the 2009 Colorado PRSA Gold Pick Awards is this Friday, February 27. Details are here.
It looks like Vladimir Jones (formerly PRACO) is back on the public relations offensive. The agency scored some credibility points by naming former Frontier and Consumer Capital Partners spokesman Joe Hodas as senior vice president of public relations. Hodas is leading the agency’s integrated communications efforts and is based in its Denver office.
Carmichael Lynch Spong has landed Prestige Wine Group as a new client. The account will be led from the agency’s Denver office, and CLS will help PWG raise awareness of its line of affordable wines.
Among those hiring this week are Arrow Electronics, Bikes Belong, Commerce City, NREL, Pikes Peak Behavioral Health Group, Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine and SwissLog.
The Sterling-Rice Group is using the recent Crispin Porter + Bogusky layoffs as a chance to pick up some talent. The brand strategy and marketing communications firm announced that it has hired Ken Slater as senior art director and Kate McQuail as senior copy writer. Both Slater and McQuail formerly were at CP+B.
CORRECTION: From SRG Executive Creative Director Steve Witt:
“While we certainly appreciate the mention, it needs to be noted that Ken and Kate came to SRG directly from CP+B, not as a result of any layoff. They were valued members of CP+B and are valued members of our team at SRG. They are two of the most dedicated, smart and creative talents out there and Sterling-Rice is thrilled to have them on board.
In this economic climate, we are certainly saddened to hear of any layoffs in our industry. A healthy advertising climate helps all of us as individuals and as a greater collective of agencies in the area.”
Boulder-based Metzger Associates has officially announced their relocation from the Historic Highland Building to a high-tech, modern office building in Flatiron Park. The move keeps the agency in Boulder and gives it “a lot more space to work with, plus lots of room for conferences and networking events.”
Voca PR has picked up Metro Brokers Inc., Equity Estates and the Davis Phinney Foundation as clients.
Denver Restaurant Week 2009 begins tomorrow and runs through February 27 (or maybe March 6, depending on the Restaurant). Nearly 200 restaurants – ranging from ESPN Zone to Palace Arms – are offering multi-course dinners for the fixed price of $52.80 for two, or $26.40 for one (not including tax or gratuity). Click the link below to see participating restaurants and their menus.
Happy sixth anniversary to Ryan May and his Minnesota Public Relations Blog, the site that gave me the inspiration for the equally cleverly named Denver Public Relations Blog.
The University of Colorado–Denver student newspaper’s choice for the cover of its annual “sex issue” has the university’s student body president demanding an apology. Fox (of course) has the details.
Michael Roberts at Westword has multiple sources telling him that the Denver Post has begun the process of cherry-picking Rocky Mountain News talent.
E.W. Scripps CEO Rich Boehne popped out of his hole this morning and saw his shadow, which means six more weeks of excruciating limbo for Rocky Mountain News employees. If I were Boehne, the first thing I would do, aside from using my bonus money to short Scripps stock, would be to hire David Milstead to calculate how much it would cost to shut down the Rocky, since apparently even 10 weeks after stating his intention to sell or shutter the paper he still has no idea how much it would cost to actually close it down. Ten weeks. Seriously. Oh, and Scripps employees nationwide will see pay cuts of 3-5 percent.
Just a quick “Damn you!” to JohnstonWells, who for six months has been the only site sitting above me in the Google rankings for the term “Denver Public Relations.” It’s hard enough to fend off Absolutely PR’s Maggie Holben and her vast network of self-referring Web sites without JW just sitting there mocking me month after month. I can’t be certain, but I think Efrem is to blame. If you are keeping score, the rankings look like this:
2. Denver PR Blog
3. Ogilvy PR
4. Absolutely PR
5. Pushkin PR
6. GroundFloor Media
7. Kruzic Communications
8. LeGrand Hart
9. Absolutely PR
10. Denver Business Journal
Citing budget cuts that forced his hand, Denver Post Editor Greg Moore announced the layoffs of six non-union employees: managing editor Gary Clark, political Web site editor Stephen Keating, assistant city editor Cynthia Pasquale, assistant design director Ingrid Muller, online director Mark Cardwell and systems editor Eric Strom. Michael Roberts at Westword has the details.
KMGH/Channel 7 General Manager Byron “I’m not related to Fred” Grandy says the Colorado Association of Black Journalists was a little quick to pull the trigger on its letter to members accusing the station of trying to dump veteran anchor Bertha Lynn. Grandy told the Rocky’s Penny Parker, “A phone call to me would have settled it quickly. (Bertha’s) under contract at KMGH. I’ve never talked about (specific terms of) a contract, and I’m not going to talk about specifics ever.”
Late February is rapidly approaching, and still no word on the fate of the Rocky Mountain News. Your best next chance to hear any updates will be on Scripps’ Q4 2008 earnings call tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. MST. You can listen in by dialing 1-800-230-1074, but if you want to ask a question you will need to pretend to be someone such as Stephanie Clifford of the New York Times. If you miss the live call, you can listen to a replay starting at 9 a.m. MST at 1-800-475-6701.
Calphalon, the professional-quality cookware company, has selected Carmichael Lynch Spong as its public relations and advertising agency of record. The account will be led out of CLS’s Denver office.
Linhart PR’s February “Inside Scoop” information session for those considering careers in PR will take place Wednesday, Feb.18, at 4 p.m. Reserve a space by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dovetail Solutions has landed EnviroTech Services as a client and added Lisa Hogan of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck to its board of directors.
The folks at JohnstonWells – and many of the community leaders and members of non-profit organizations they work with – are feeling optimistic this Valentines Day.
KMGH/Channel 7 anchor Bertha Lynn may be the next high-profile Denver television anchor to get the boot. Colorado Association of Black Journalists President (and 850 KOA executive producer) Amani Ali sent an urgent – and passionate – letter to members yesterday asking members to contact KMGH management because the station “is making a concerted effort to terminate the employment of Bertha Lynn” who “has excelled in spite of being taken off of the prime time anchor desk, moved around, and disrespected while being subjected to intolerable working conditions.” You can read the full letter here.
GroundFloor Media’s inaugural “Get Connected” panel discussion takes place on Wednesday, Feb. 18, and will focus on communicating difficult news to key audiences during challenging times. Panelists will include Gil Rudawsky, deputy metro business editor of the Rocky Mountain News; Lynn Kimbrough, communications director, Denver District Attorney’s Office; Ken Keymer, former president and CEO of VICORP Restaurants Inc. and former president of Noodles & Company; and Jim D. Leonard of Faegre & Benson. Email GetConnected@groundfloormedia.com to get the details. Space is limited.
We have a new candidate for this week’s “Most in Need of PR Help” award. Joining the list that includes Michael Phelps, Wells Fargo, Alex Rodriguez and Chris Brown is Joaquin Phoenix, who “appeared” on David Letterman’s show last night.
The most interesting predictions often are the ones that have a 2 percent chance of coming true. So in that spirit, let me offer this prediction: Scripps has analyzed the numbers and realized that it can outlast MediaNews Group if it is willing to suffer another tough six months. MediaNews Group will be forced to fold the Denver Post by summer, and the Rocky Mountain News will survive as the only major daily in Denver.
Will that prediction come true? Probably not. But if the economics of being the only newspaper in town work for MediaNews Group, they should also work for Scripps. And Scripps seems much better positioned financially to ride out a tough six months than MediaNews Group. We are just two days away from mid-February, which is a full month after Scripps initially implied a decision would be made about shutting down the Rocky, and there still has been no word on its fate.
It is hard to figure out which is in worse financial shape: the Denver Post, the Rocky Mountain News or the Denver Newspaper Agency. Post publisher MediaNews Group often seems to be teetering on the brink of missing its debt payments, the Rocky is almost certain to be shut down, and now Jeff Smith at the Rocky reports that the DNA needs to cut about $35 million through union concessions, roughly double what had been reported previously.
If, in your office pool, you had 23 straight quarters that Level 3 would post negative earnings, well, you are out of luck. After a mere 22 straight, Level 3 busted out of its slump to post a quarterly profit of $44 million. Telecom analysts think the gain came from spending cuts, but we think the CFO finally said screw it and just invested the entire marketing budget shorting financial stocks. Either way, Wall Street still wasn’t impressed. Level 3 shares dropped 15 percent on the profit news.
9News sports anchor Susie Wargin wins the public relations diplomacy award for her classy response to a rant that appeared in Westword media critic Michael Roberts’s blog that was written by Roberts’ 15-year-old daughter. Wargin has learned what too many CEOs have not yet – you are almost never sorry later on for having taken the high road.
Don’t expect to see Coca-Cola’s Vitaminwater replace Gatorade as the drink of choice among college athletes. The Brown (University) Daily Herald reports that six of its flavors – Power-C, Energy, B-relaxed, Rescue, Vital-T and Balance – contain banned substances or ingredients that trainers are not allowed to provide to collegiate athletes.
Remember the old days when a spat between a reporter and PR or marketing person took place on the phone and only their friends and colleagues found out about it? Well, no longer.
(Hat tip to Sydney Ayers’ Twitter account)
Meanwhile, Bob Kendrick, Steve Kelley, Ernie Bjorkman and Molly Hughes can’t find work as anchors.
Did CBS4 and the Denver Business Journal steal the idea for their series “Beating the Recession” from ColoradoBiz and KMGH/Channel 7? ColoradoBiz editor Mike Cote thinks that might be the case, and he’s not too happy.
Magazines saw their newsstand sales fall “at their fastest rate in decades during the second half of 2008,” according to the Wall Street Journal. The decline foreshadows “a likely downsizing of the industry as it braces for an extended advertising slump.”
The Denver dailies may get the lion’s share of attention, but the downwardly spiraling economics of publishing are affecting newspapers across the state. The latest is the Grand Junction Free Press, which announced it will convert from a daily paper to a Monday-Wednesday-Friday paper. The paper’s Web site will be updated daily, however.
(Hat tip to Michael Roberts at Westword)
Sterling-Rice Group hired Riley Gibson as a market analyst for its brand innovation group. Gibson formerly was a business analyst at Intel.
Only Andrew Hudson would attempt a combination career seminar, job fair and salsa dance, and I am sure his “Red Hot & Hired” event is one that you aren’t going to want to miss. Costs are $40 for the career seminar, job fair and networking party ($119.95 if you want to add a one-year subscription to the DBJ) or $25 for just the job fair and networking party ($104.95 if you want to add the DBJ). Details:
Seminar – 4 p.m.
Job Fair, Networking, Salsa Dancing – 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, February 12
99 West Ninth Ave.
Dovetail Solutions added Assurity Financial Services as a client and promoted Beverly Razon to director of Client Services.
In her first DBJ bylined article, PRSA Colorado President Gina Seamons makes the argument that investing in public relations during tough economic times can be a powerful competitive advantage:
“Businesses can’t afford to leave customers behind during the recession and then find new ones after the economy rebounds. The cost to acquire a new customer is five to 10 times greater than the cost of retaining an existing one, according to research by Bain & Co.”
Fox 31 sports anchor Eric Goodman is the latest Denver television personality to be let go. Dusty Saunders at the Rocky Mountain News reports that Fox 31 “executives did not renew the contract of Goodman, who joined the station in October 2004.”
Among those hiring this week are Business Wire, Bio-Logical Capital, University of Colorado’s School of Public Health, Molson Coors (two positions), Denver Scholarship Foundation, Examiner.com, FTI, Intrado, Physician Health Partners, CU Denver and Western State College.
Metzger Associates has hired Lisa Greim as senior account executive. Greim formerly was a technology reporter for the Rocky Mountain News and a public relations consultant for the Fresh Ideas Group.
Boulder- and Miami-based ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky announced plans to lay off about 60 employees, or nearly 7 percent of its workforce, due to “the current economic climate (and) advertising budgets (that) are being reduced in virtually every industry.” It is not clear how many of the firm’s 500 Boulder-based employees might be involved.
As expected, Denver Post publisher MediaNews Group has expanded its employee furlough program, adding media properties in Texas, New Mexico, Minnesota, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The program requires employees to take week-long unpaid leaves in an effort to reduce payroll costs. While the company has not yet required Denver Post employees to take furloughs, it is currently negotiating with the paper’s union representatives in an attempt to cut pay and benefits to the tune of $2 million. And you can expect the furloughs to be part of any deal that is reached.
The battle over DIA’s Blue Mustang Sculpture has spilled over nationally. This morning’s Wall Street Journal offers a front-page feature on Rachel Hultin’s Facebook campaign to get the horse removed that includes a spirited defense from the artist’s widow.
The Integer Group has promoted Lisa Deatherage to the newly created position of chief marketing officer.
This morning, as I slipped my Bentley into reverse, pulled out of the driveway of my modest 14,000 square-foot Cherry Hills home and waved to my neighbor Phil Anschutz, I had only one thought: “Thank goodness the Pentagon spent an eight-figure budget with my PR firm last year. I don’t know how those agencies who don’t get a piece of that action stay open.”
Linhart PR has named account supervisor Kelly Janhunen as the firm’s fourth partner, joining founder Sharon Linhart, SVP Paul Raab and CFO Carri Clemens. Janhunen joined Linhart in 2003 and leads several consumer accounts, including Red Robin and Chipotle.
Adding insult to injury, the Denver Newspaper Agency appears to be among those who have written off any future for the Rocky Mountain News. David “Screw a Job with the Post. If I’m Going Down, I’m Going Down with Style” Milstead has the details on a letter to advertisers that has been prepared by the DNA.
It was a tough day for Wells Fargo. The banking giant got “caught” planning a luxurious 12-day employee-recognition event in Las Vegas just weeks after accepting a taxpayer-funded $25 billion bailout. Every PR person in town knew immediately how it would end, but it still took five hours (and a nearly infinite number of Internet/blog/twitter news cycles) to play out:
“Recognition events are still part of our culture. It’s really important that our team members are still valued and recognized.”
– Wells Fargo spokeswoman Melissa Murray, quoted in an AP article, 1:50 am MST
We are “reconsidering the event.”
– Wells Fargo spokesman Kevin Waetke, quoted in a Reuters article, 5:04 pm MST
“In light of the current environment, we have now decided to cancel this event.”
– Wells Fargo statement, 6:34 p.m. MST
I removed Schenkein from the “Denver Agencies” list and its Tracked Changes blog from the “Blogs Worth Reading” list today. Schenkein was a blue-chip name in Denver, and a lot of great public relations people passed through its doors over the years. Here’s hoping that those who were with it at the end find other positions quickly.
What do you do when the world thinks your product is obsolete and that the world has passed you by? You launch a public relations campaign, of course. And that is exactly what the newspaper industry is doing with a series of commentaries and a new Web site. Will it work? Who knows? At the very least, it will give newspaper folks some experience in PR before they are forced to make the leap.
Bellco Credit Union has selected GroundFloor Media as its agency of record for its community-relations program.
If you are a fan of KOA radio host Mike Rosen, you may get to hear his show a few years longer than he originally planned. Adding insult to injury – he touted the same investment firm who may have lost more than $1 million to his listeners.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but the fate of the Rocky Mountain News could be decided within the next week.
Among those hiring this week are the City of Denver, Accuvant, American Humane Association, American Income Life, University of Colorado at Boulder, Dovetail Solutions, Echostar, National Wildlife Federation, University of Phoenix and the San Francisco 49ers.
GBSM’s Steve Silvers compiles the list on his Scatterbox blog.
Carmichael Lynch Spong’s Matt Wagner joined CU-Boulder professor Susan Jung Grant and Sukle Advertising & Design’s Mike Sukle to analyze the Super Bowl commercials for the Denver Post. Elsewhere, the Denver Egotist has the details on which commercials scored highest with viewers.
Considering that most of the money professional swimmers make is through corporate endorsements, Michael might want to be a little more careful where he lights his bong.