Friday, November 28, 2008

Freeze Frame with Gracie LaRose (Loyalist PR 07/08)


Today’s Freeze Frame features Gracie LaRose (Loyalist PR 07/08) who is now working as Promotions Director for CHUM Radio Brockville.

Prior to enrolling in the Post-Grad Public Relations Program, Gracie earned a diploma in Broadcast Journalism from Loyalist College.

Freeze Frame:
What are you up to these days, Gracie?

Gracie LaRose: As Promotions Director for CHUM Radio Brockville, I handle all of the promotions for 103.7 BOB FM and 104.9 JRfm. I also handle some of the promotions for CHUM Radio Kingston, which includes 98.9 The Drive and 98.3 FLY FM.

My current duties include: maintaining the BOB FM and the JRfm websites, coordinating on-air giveaways and promotions with music and movie reps, working with local not-for-profits and charities to help promote their events, promoting and maintaining the stations' brand, and doing budget stuff. I also do a daily on-air shift on JRfm, Brockville's Soft Rock, 7-10 pm weekdays, and Saturday Mornings!

FF: How did Loyalist PR prepare you for your current job?

GL: Without the Loyalist PR program I would not have been nearly as outgoing as I am today, and this is not the type of business that introverts thrive in. It also taught me a lot about keeping up a company's brand, which is a HUGE part of what I have to consider every time I prepare for a promotion or event. If it doesn't fit with the brand image we are trying to maintain - no matter how cool the promotion/prizing may be - we just can't do it.

FF: What are three key skills you use every day on your job?

GL: First, creating effective messages. In radio, you have VERY limited time in which to get your message out, and to make sure the important info was heard. A lot of what I do gets summed up in 15-30 second spots, or commercials. But, the length of the spot won't matter if you can't grab and hold the listener's attention.

Next, delivering persuasive presentations. Most of the in-office aspect of my job is writing proposals and creating PowerPoint presentations. The fun side to this, is that I have to make things very self-explanatory, because often the people I'm working with aren't anywhere near the metropolitan-hub that is Brockville. So I almost never get to be there when my presentations and proposals are being viewed. Most of the music and movie reps I work with are in the GTA or in the United States.

And finally, special event planning. This is key to my job. While everyone loves the free stuff I score through my links with music and movie reps, I can't give it away if I can't make a successful event. In radio, we do remote broadcasts all the time - often to help promote local businesses and charities. I have to make sure there is an announcer to go to the event, that there is someone in studio to make sure the cut-ins from the event get on-air, and I have to make sure that the commercial scheduling during the event has no conflicts. (It wouldn't be very good to have a commercial for Jimbo's Sports World running during a remote broadcast from Athlete's World.) The radio stations have a couple of major charity events that get sponsored every year, and we organize these events from the ground up. All the charity has to do is show up and take the cheque at the end of the day.

FF: What’s the best part of your job?

GL: The best thing about my job is the free stuff! Ha! In truth, I really like that I can work with the local charities to help them achieve their goals. I also get to meet a lot of really great people who I work with to create promotions, and who come through the station for interviews… Sam Roberts and the gents from Great Big Sea, and last week we had Steve Smith a.k.a. Red Green come by.

There are some things in my job that don't change from week to week, I'll always have paper work to fill out, and I'll always have to worry about ratings... but what I do for promotions, and contesting is never the same.

FF: Final question: what’s playing on your ipod as we speak?

GL: Powerline - The National Parcs Check 'em out! Totally awesome band!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

All We Want for Christmas...

Today's interactive Mall Crawl capped off a week of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) for Loyalist PR students.

The highlight? Getting to meet St. Nick himself, and reminding ourselves of the child-like magic of the season...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Freeze Frame with Chris Thompson (Loyalist PR 07/08)

Today’s Freeze Frame features Chris Thompson (Loyalist PR 07/08) who is now working as the Assistant Sports Information Officer at Queen's University.

Prior to enrolling in the Loyalist PR program, Chris completed a diploma in New Media & Animation from Loyalist College.


Freeze Frame: What's the best thing about your job these days, Chris?

Chris Thompson: I get to use all of my skills and combine them with sports and bring athletics to the entire country. It's neat to see my work out there in the public.

FF: What's the singlemost important ingredient to landing the job of your dreams?

CT: A strong work ethic. You have to know what you want and put the time in to get there. I still believe that your dream job can change even if you think you're at your dream job right now. Times change and you have to continually challenge yourself.

FF: What are the top two lessons Loyalist PR taught you in preparation for your job today?

CT: First, time management. I thought I was good, but Loyalist PR prepared me for my job right now and the work load and hours I put in now. I don't know where I would be without it. And second, organization. This is key. We had a lot of projects due at different times, and it really is like the real world. Loyalist PR was amazing for getting your affairs in order.

FF: How can this year's students better prepare themselves for the job market?

CT: Have open ears and open minds. Do not settle for a safe job because I believe you will never be challenged and become a successful PR person. Go for it all and keep on your toes. Widen your search; you sometimes don't always know where a PR job lies.

FF: Finally, you're a sports guy, so who do you think is the greatest coach of all time and why?

CT: Being a part of so many teams, I have a huge pool to select from. But I would have to go with not only my hockey coach, but my life coach: my father. He coached me for almost my entire hockey career, and while he was teaching me hockey, he also taught me about life. He taught me respect and loyalty, as well as a drive to compete and be successful. His advice to me: never settle for safe and always push towards the unknown; be smart and use your head.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Marketwire's Lisa Davis discusses PR 2.0

Senior Marketing Manager Lisa Davis of Marketwire dropped by Loyalist PR today to talk about the implications of PR 2.0 in the modern workplace.

Students were able to learn more about the evolution of the news release and how online tools like MediaHub allow PR practitioners to target their media relations campaigns to reach a more specific audience of journalists.

Thanks for the visit, Lisa! It's always great to have you on campus.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Author John Cooper visits Loyalist PR to discuss crisis communications in Canada

Loyalist PR students enjoyed a visit this afternoon from John Cooper, author of Crisis Communications in Canada (2006).

John's presentation focused in on the 2004 Royal Bank of Canada ATM crisis. He walked students through each step of the case, from identifying the problem to key messaging and post-crisis evaluation.

"The crisis isn't necessarily over when you think it's over," he pointed out. "You need to rely on your publics and the media to let you know when the crisis has passed."

Loyalist PR students discussed the effectiveness of the RBC approach to crisis communications, along with other recent cases ranging from Maple Leaf Foods Canada to the 2007 taser case in western Canada.

John's visit followed a morning spent focused on a mock disaster where students had the opportunity to work through a crisis using their own strategic skills and communication abilities. Great work, everyone!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Retired Captain Ian Stock kicks off Loyalist PR's Crisis Communications Week

Loyalist PR's "Crisis Communications Week" got off the ground with a visit from Retired Captain Ian Stock of the Canadian Armed Forces (now with RBC Dominion Securities).

As a friend of the Post-Grad Public Relations Program , Ian shared his experiences as a spokesperson and media coach for the Canadian military.

His key messages to students included the importance of creating (and test-driving) effective organizational crisis plans, as well as how to build professional credibility with the media.

Thanks for spending the morning with us, Ian!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Loyalist PR students take part in Hockey Canada media relations efforts

This week, several Loyalist PR students got hands-on media writing experience while working in partnership with Hockey Canada at the National Women’s Under-18 Championship in Napanee, Ontario.

“I think the most important lesson I learned from this event was that we are learning skills in class that we will be able to use in the real world,” says Loyalist PR student Rachel Fehr, who attended the Hockey Canada event.

“We can go into the workforce with confidence knowing we can do our jobs well once we leave the program," Rachel adds. "This was a great experience for me personally, because it is something I never would have gotten to do in university.”

Loyalist PR student articles can now be found on the Hockey Canada web site.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Aaron Bell of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) speaks with Post-Grad PR students

Today Aaron Bell, Director of Information, Media and Publications for the Ontario Hockey League (OHL)/Canadian Hockey League (CHL) spoke with Loyalist PR students about his career and how to break into today's job market.

Aaron shared with us a number of his own valuable life experiences, as well as providing tips on cultivating relationships with the media and building a strong organizational brand.

"As the OHL/CHL, our main purpose with the media is to get the message out there, whether it's about educational opportunities or the quality of our hockey program," he observed.

Aaron left us all with this great quote by Jack Canfield: "If you're willing to do more than you're paid to do, eventually you'll be paid to do more than you do."

Food for thought. Thanks for a great afternoon, Aaron!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Fundraising expert discusses philanthropy with Loyalist PR students

Certified Fund Raising Executive Rhonda Cunningham of the Northumberland Hills Hospital led an engaging and thought-provoking discussion with Loyalist PR students this afternoon.

Rhonda's presentation in our Fundraising Fundamentals class covered everything from the five I's of fundraising and donor pyramids to how to approach major donors for significant campaign gifts.

Thank you for your time, Rhonda. Your passionate views on philanthropy have given us all something to think about.