Thursday, December 18, 2008

Repairing the World

I’m a Meals on Wheels volunteer in Durham. I take an early lunch on Fridays and take dinner (the southerner’s idiom) to ten homes. It’s a sixty to ninety minute commitment each week. My route is comprised of elderly or convalescing folks. They get a hot meal and have someone to check on them each day. It’s a wonderful service for over 200 people in the Bull City. And as the saying goes, “you get more than you give.” There’s more on that topic below, but my main point is about Christmas...or maybe it’s Chanukah.

Meals on Wheels is closed on major holidays; that includes Christmas. In Durham, while the staff and volunteer core get a break, a Jewish congregation has stepped up to cover the holiday meal. Judea Reform Congregation on West Cornwallis Road has volunteered to prepare and deliver meals on Christmas Day.

That seems profoundly ecumenical to me.

And their motivation is instructive and inspiring. From JRC’s web site:

At the heart of our social action work is a commitment to bring into practice the core social justice values of Judaism and to pursue tikkun olam - repairing the world - through individual and group action.

Indeed, the world needs considerable repair. Our shared Holy Scripture speaks to that in Psalm 82:

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless;
maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
Rescue the weak and needy…

Let’s commit to some repair work in 2009. You don't have to take on an entire continent. Start small. Take a meal to someone each week in your own community.

Meals on Wheels is just a click away.

Best wishes for Christmas,
Chanukah and 2009.
(December 21st - 29th)

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Click here to view WRAL TV5's Christmas Day story on Judea Reform Congregation.

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I wrote this about Meals on Wheels for Triangle United Way a few years ago:

I do an MOW route every week in Durham. It takes a little over an hour. I typically deliver to ten homes. It has helped me learn about every corner of Durham, and it takes me out of my “corporate comfort zone.” I think that’s a good thing.

It’s so much more than just delivering a meal. I see the problems “old folks” face who are determined to remain in their homes. I get to practice “patience” waiting at the door for people using walkers or trying to converse with someone who has pretty much lost their hearing. I’ve watched families deal with Alzheimer’s. I get a snapshot of urban poverty. And I’ve been inspired by the faith of several seniors in their struggles with terminal cancer.

I may not have painted a pretty picture, but I assure you I get much more than I give from that simple act of delivering a meal. I’ve thought about making it mandatory for my managers. Everyone could spare a lunch hour for this experience. More business folks could squeeze this into their weekly routine!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dissertation: The Psychography of FANatics

In my last post I wrote about our sports-talk radio station (99.9 fm - The Fan) and sports website ( In this dispatch I want to explain why sports is so important to Capitol Broadcasting Co., and it goes beyond my personal fandom. The Triangle is sports crazy! A professor of marketing might say this represents a significant psychographic of our community.

This fall Sporting News magazine ranked Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill as the 24th best sports market in America. That’s pretty remarkable considering we have only one major league team, the NHL Carolina Hurricanes. (And I’m obliged to plug our own Durham Bulls - the most famous and among the best attended minor league teams in the nation.) But the truly remarkable feature of our community is the three universities affiliated with the Atlantic Coast Conference. Three major institutions. Three major NCAA Division I sports programs - in one market.

The University of NC, Duke and NC State University enroll thousands of students, maintain strong alumni associations and are among North Carolina’s largest employers.

72,000 students are enrolled in the three universities that employ more than 80,000 people. Fold in the local membership of booster clubs and alumni associations and more than a quarter of a million people maintain strong associations with one of the three schools.

More than 1.7 million people will attend a college sporting event in the Triangle this year. That’s like relocating a mid-tier NFL, NBA and MLS franchise to the Raleigh-Durham market.

I repeat: The Triangle is sports crazy - a great sports market!

More evidence: We engaged the Raleigh-based communications firm French West Vaughan to measure ACC fanaticism. Like a sports anthropologist, FWV combed through myriad cultural relics, ie, the firm reviewed television viewership across ACC markets in the Southeast. The Triangle shows clear dominance in terms of household ratings. According to Nielsen research data, the year-over-year household ratings for ACC sports in the Triangle market outpace the ratings in Charlotte, Atlanta and Washington DC combined.

The affinity for college basketball in the Triangle is well known nationwide, but how does the fanaticism of RDU rivalries compare to local competition in other parts of the country? French West Vaughan examined Nielsen data for four big rivalry games in different regions, Raleigh-Durham, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Cincinnati. The Duke vs. UNC game pulled a 23.1 household rating in Raleigh-Durham. The next highest game measured was Cincinnati vs. Xavier with a 10.1 rating in Cincinnati. UCLA vs. USC carried a 2.2 rating in Los Angeles. In Atlanta, the GA Tech vs. UGA rivalry only received a 0.3 household rating.

Did I fail to mention: The Triangle is sports crazy!?! And Capitol has it covered: Radio - TV - Web - Mobile...with marketing opportunities across the entire platform. Shoot me an e-mail. I've got more info for you on our Sportsfan Marketing Group. 

Thursday, December 4, 2008

ESPN Radio Teams Up with 99.9 fm/The Fan

We’ve teamed up with the sports juggernaut, ESPN, “the Worldwide Leader in Sports.” On Monday, December 1st at 6am, our sports-talk station, 99.9 FM The Fan, became ESPN Radio’s Triangle affiliate.

ESPN’s top talent, high profile guests, analysis, reporting and play-by-play will compliment our afternoon local shows and Carolina Hurricanes coverage. The affiliation gives The Fan access to ESPN’s college hoops luminaries like Jay Bilas, Hubert Davis and Dickie V - fuel for the hardwood fire that gets us through the winter in these parts.

With ESPN we add MLB and NBA play-by-play to The Fan’s line-up. With our existing Westwood One affiliation we have the NFL and college football and basketball. What a package!

On the web we have redesigned and renamed our sports web site –

Breaking sports news. Radio interviews from The Fan. Video from the WRAL TV5 Sports Department. This is THE website for your on-demand sports fix. Listen to a compelling radio interview while you check your e-mail, read an insider’s blog or view an endless menu of video clips from coaches and players.

Have you bookmarked

99.9 fm. Is it one of your presets?

Thanks. We appreciate your patronage.