Tuesday, May 19, 2015


The ACC Baseball Championship is underway in downtown Durham - the event's home for the next four years. We gladly share our southern hospitality (in return for $16 million in economic impact) as we welcome college baseball fans from Louisville, Miami, Notre Dame, Florida State, Clemson, NC State, UVA and UNC. (Va Tech and Ga Tech bowed out today in the play-in round.)

We confess to shameless home-town bias, but Durham and the DBAP seem to be natural homes for the tournament. 
Read today's Herald-Sun editorial and story.

Here's an indispensable link to the tournament bracket. And you don't have to be a baseball fan to join us for "free stuff" - Wednesday's WRAL hot air balloon exhibition in Diamond View Park and the Friday-Saturday FanFest on Blackwell Street.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Take Your Grandchild to Work Day

He wasn't intimidated by the crowd and commotion. He seemed to notice the crack of the bat. He preferred section 200 to the VIP club. He was enthralled by the cup holder on his seat. The fountain on our entry plaza was most enticing. 

That's the summary of my grandson's Saturday outing to his first Durham Bulls game. It was a big day for our family!

The grand finale for 9.5 month old Miles was an encounter with Wool E. Bull. There were no signs of the dreaded childhood scourge known as mascot anxiety. Wool E. cordially extended his hoof; Miles confidently reached for his muzzle. A friendship was born. Hopefully, Miles will develop an affection for the National Pastime. That may take a few more years, but at least we're off to a good start with Wool E. Bull!

Friday, May 15, 2015

New ballpark dress code: Cap & Gown

We hosted Duke University's Commencement last Sunday. Traditionally, it's held in Duke's football stadium, but extensive renovations are underway there. So, we welcomed over 15,000 grads, family and faculty on a misty Mother's Day morning. I'm thankful that we dodged a downpour. Heavy rain would have wreaked havoc on the turf. (Always worrying about the grass!)

Befitting Duke's world class reputation, this event is meticulously planned and organized. Of course, they've had considerable practice. This was #163. I hope some of their attention to detail rubbed off on us. And I've dropped the hint that our head groundskeeper, Scott Strickland, should be considered for an honorary degree in logistics.

...but they ignored my suggestion that we hawk hot dogs, beer and peanuts. I struggle with the concept of pomp and circumstance.

Seriously, it was the Durham Bulls great privilege to have Duke University in our house...en masse.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Big Heart. Big Goal.

Fifteen Triangle professionals are in a pitched battle. It's a fight against blood cancer and a competition to see who can raise the most money for LLS in ten weeks. The male and female winners will be crowned Man and Woman of the Year next month.

We have adopted one of the big hearted combatants. Jennifer Cox, who works for Durham-based Endurance Magazine, is aiming to raise $100,000. Most non-profits request comp tickets or an autographed baseball. Jen thinks big...and outside the box! 

Her Team Believe will be at Friday night's game, entertaining contributors in our suite and promoting her cause throughout the ballpark. From sumo wrestling to the postgame fireworks, it's a DBAP takeover for LLS. Jen's web page.

There's another, equally important facet to all of this. We will recognize the LLS Boy and Girl of the Year for 2015, Mason Brantley and Kaelyn Smith. Both youngsters are in remission from leukemia. Click here to read their stories...and you will understand why we're on board. Join us Friday night at the DBAP!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Two Decades at the DBAP

In 2015 we are celebrating the Durham Bulls Athletic Park's 20th birthday. After two decades it is still known as "the new ballpark" to distinguish this facility from the vintage 1926 Durham Athletic Park. And the DBAP is newer still after a 2014 $25 million make-over.

Indeed, twenty years is a milestone, and it's a very good excuse for a season-long party. The DBAP has been a catalyst for the revival of downtown Durham. The pace of change continues to accelerate. Hence the cliché time flies. Was 1995 really two decades ago?!? I wasn't directly involved with the ball club then, but my assignment for Capitol Broadcasting Co. was to move WDNC radio into the new ballpark. My current office was once the station's studio. The space has been recycled. Me, too!

These before & after photos, posted on our Facebook page last week, tell the #DBAP20 story in a powerful way.

A good read on the DBAP's past and present from Michael Shelton at wralSPORTSfan.com.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Burgers & Bombers

We have created a new company to manage food and beverage services at the DBAP. Bull City Hospitality, a subsidiary of Capitol Broadcasting Co., will run the concessions operation within the ballpark. (Read more about it.)

For the past year we have been working with an industry consultant, Chapel Hill-based Jim Wulforst. It wasn't until last month that I realized what a global perspective he brings to our project.

Jim left us for the entire month of February to visit Air Force bases on behalf of the Society for Hospitality and Foodservice Management. It's called the Hennessy/Military Traveler ProgramJim's a former president of the trade group, and this is his second Hennessy tour.

That's Jim on the far right, handing out
Bulls caps at Ramstein AFB in Germany.

The care and feeding of B-2 bomber pilots
at Whiteman AFB in Missouri.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Best MIX of the 80's, 90's & Today

That would be my coworker, Ardie Gregory, who retired last month as VP/GM of MIX 101.5 - after 30 years in the RDU and BWI radio wars. 

She has received woman extraordinaire accolades during her career, but gender is immaterial. Ardie is one of the best in the business. A fierce competitor and a demanding leader, yet her radio stations always had a family feel. 

Ardie trained all divisions of CBC in strategic selling 25 years ago setting a high standard for professional sales that has endured. She is known as a mentor.

In  the community, MIX's Radiothon for Duke Children's Hospital consistently raises $1mm annually, and Ardie has chaired the Inter-faith Food Shuttle board.

Ardie and I were both with companies acquired by CBC in the 1980's. She was in Baltimore; I was in Richmond. I believe we have a unique appreciation for Capitol Broadcasting Co. owing to that foreign service.

Adios and Godspeed in your well deserved retirement, Ardie!

Ardie gets a hug from WRAL TV's David Crabtree
at her retirement luncheon in February.