Thursday, April 22, 2010

Adirondack Attic radio show debuts April 23

I just learned that North Country Public Radio will begin airing my monthly Adirondack Attic radio show during the 8 O'Clock Hour, hosted by Todd Moe, on Friday, April 23. Listen to the whole hour, even though the show will most likely run between 8:30 and 9 a.m. Listen to my 60-second promo.

In this first program, I talk with Adirondack Museum Chief Curator Laura Rice about a new artifact in the museum's collection, a sketchbook that shows detailed illustrations from Blue Mountain Lake in 1875. Several photos of the sketchbook will be posted on the NCPR web site. Here is one of the Blue Mountain House as it looked in 1875. This is the site of the modern-day Adirondack Museum.

Here's another treat: Listen to the "Adirondack Attic" song, written and performed by Adirondack folksinger Dan Berggren, of Ballston Spa. Dan will be performing this song at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 24 at Tannery Pond Community Center, just after my Adirondack Artifact Night program (starts @ 7 p.m.) and just before his concert with Jamcrackers (Dan, Peggy Lynn and Dan Duggan), starting @ 8:30 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public. Hope to see you then.

The Adirondack Attic radio show is sponsored by Hungry Bear Publishing, Dan Berggren and the Adirondack Museum.

Friday, April 16, 2010

'Adirondack Attic' resurrected on NCPR

A year ago, I sadly had to discontinue writing my self-syndicated weekly column, "Adirondack Attic," which had been running in several northern New York newspapers since 2003. The economic downturn had forced some newspapers to cut back, and that included local content such as my modestly priced column. Let me say, it was a bargain! Still, the Press-Republican dropped me in the fall of 2008, and the Lake Placid News and Adirondack Daily Enterprise dropped me from weekly to every other week in March 2009. Soon it was costing me money to write, and that's not a good business model. So I stopped writing the column altogether in May 2009.

Looking around at other media outlets, I noticed that public radio seemed to make a better transition to the modern era of electronic gadgetry: computers, smart phones, etc. While newspapers were struggling to transition to a hybrid print/online platform and still make money, it seemed to me that radio was doing just fine. Radio stations could simply stream their signal on the Internet, add a lot of rich content to their Web sites, and gain listenership from around the world. They are now building bigger audiences.

So, as my writing for newspapers was doomed, I looked toward public radio for a new chapter in the life of the "Adirondack Attic." It's time now for the "Adirondack Attic" radio show.

I've been developing the "Adirondack Attic" radio show with North Country Public Radio for almost a year, and now the first program is set to air sometime during the week of April 19, 2010. I'm not sure which time slot, maybe the 8 O'Clock Hour in the morning with Todd Moe. This show is 5 minutes long, and I will produce 13 programs in 2010.

The radio show format will be similar to my newspaper column, which featured stories about artifacts in the collection the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake. I worked with curators to find one interesting artifact a week. The radio show will also feature one artifact from museum collections. And while I will be using the Adirondack Museum as my base of operation for history exploration, I will also be visiting other collections throughout the Adirondack North Country region for the radio show.

This radio program would not be possible without the support of North Country Public Radio, the Adirondack Museum and singer/songwriter Dan Berggren, who penned the "Adirondack Attic" song and provided music for the radio series. Hungry Bear Publishing (that's my company) is also underwriting the program. I produce the series out of my home office and email the files to NCPR HQ in Canton.

Photos of the "Adirondack Attic" artifacts will be posted on the NCPR web site along with all the programs. So, if you missed it on the air, you can always listen to the "Adirondack Attic" on the Web.

By the way, I'm not new to radio. In fact, this is a homecoming of sorts. I earned a communications degree at SUNY Fredonia in 1991, studying radio production and English. My goal was to become a radio documentary producer. I eventually landed a part-time reporter's job at NCPR in October 1992 and stayed until August 1993 when I became homesick and moved back to the Adirondacks. I produced public radio documentaries into 1994 and soon made a transition to newspapers, then government public relations, then self employment. Now, I'm back on the radio and I couldn't be happier. The folks at NCPR and the Adirondack Museum are like family to me. Oh, and who was my radio professor at SUNY Fredonia? Dan Berggren. He's the best!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Adirondack Artifact Night and PR101 Workshop

As the snow melts, the busy lecture and workshop season gets underway for Hungry Bear Publishing. I'm trying to keep my public appearances light in the spring because I'm not sure when I'm going to California to see my father. In any case, I already have two programs lined up, a history workshop and a public relations workshop.

The public is invited to attend my first-ever Adirondack Artifact Night, which will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 24 at the Tannery Pond Community Center, North Creek, N.Y. It will be sponsored by the North Creek Depot Museum, NYSCA and the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council. It is free and open to the public. Registration is not required.

Adirondack Artifact Night will start with a brief Community History Writing Workshop and end with a show-and-tell session featuring Adirondack artifacts. People are asked to bring historical artifacts from their homes or businesses and participate in this part of the program by telling stories about their objects.

I will also be presenting a public relations workshop for small businesses from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 12 at the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce offices on River Street. The program is called "PR101: Think Big on a Small Budget."

During the workshop, I will cover a wide variety of public relations topics and give small business owners a primer on getting their messages out to customers. Topics will include press releases, media kits, promotional items, publications, web sites, special events and media relations. The workshop is free to Meet the Town advertisers and Chamber members and $10 for people who are non-members and non-advertisers. Preregistration is required by May 11 by calling the Chamber at (518) 891-1990.

I am also making book tour plans for "Adirondack Attic 6," which will be released in June. For more information on my public appearances, check out the calendar on the Hungry Bear Publishing web site.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Genealogy, gout and the California Zephyr

The past several days have been filled with thoughts of health and family. All the while, I have't got much work done, but I did manage to finish my book proposal and I'm currently researching how to send queries to literary agents.

The biggest Easter bunny I ever saw came to my house on Sunday. My mom came over to have dinner. It was her birthday, so it was a double celebration, with prime rib, potatoes with kielbasa, mashed potatoes, asparagus, cake and ice cream. My wife and mom had wine; I couldn't have alcohol because I was having an acute attack of gout in my left foot. After dinner, my mom and I spent a couple of hours going through her new account, which we gave to her for her birthday. She wants to learn more about her grandparents of Polish and Canadian descent. Since it's technically my family tree in the account (she doesn't have a computer, and I'm doing the legwork), I've been having fun learning about all sides of my family.

I found out Friday night that my father, who lives in Sacramento, Calif., had a heart attack and underwent triple bypass surgery. It took my two days to locate the hospital he was in, and I finally got a chance to speak with him Easter evening. He's doing better and will probably be out of work for a couple of months. He's 68 and a nurse. We're not that close and only speak a few times a year, but I wanted to make sure he was okay. I've been thinking more about him lately since I've been tracking his Irish and German roots. I plan on visiting him soon, traveling by train on the Lakeshore Limited from Albany to Chicago and then by the California Zephyr from Chicago to Sacramento. I've never been to California, so this will be quite an adventure for a mountain boy.

The gout has kept me on the couch and in bed for a few days. If all goes well, I should be able to leave the house in a day or so. Right now I can't even put my sneakers on because it is so painful. The best thing for me right now is to keep my leg up and drink lots of water. TV, reading and writing are keeping me busy. Oh, and the dogs are grateful to have the constant company.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Time to send a book proposal

For more than six years I’ve been self publishing, mainly because I have the skills and tools to do so and because my books are only about the Adirondack North Country region. There is no mass appeal for Adirondack history across the United States. Now, however, I am writing a timely nonfiction book that has mass appeal, and I am preparing to send book proposals out.

With no formal training, I taught myself how to self publish. It’s an experience I wouldn’t trade and a practice I plan to continue. But there is so much more I want to learn about the writing and publishing business. It’s time to experience the world of book proposals and queries and all the things writers do to get “traditionally” published.

I’d love to write a bestseller, but I’d settle for cult classic rather than a one-shot wonder. And, yes, I dream big, but I’m also realistic. How would a backwoods author like me ever get on the New York Times bestseller list? Come on. I’ll do my best and hope for the best, that’s all.