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Marketing is one of the fastest growing professions in the country. Colleges and universities now offer degrees in marketing. Every successful business has a marketing department or at least a marketing officer. I want to tell you about one of the top leaders in marketing in the country and he’s from central Illinois. His name is Ty Shay. He’s the son of Sue Shay, R.N., and the late Dr. Sujuint Shay.

Dr. Shay, a cardiologist, founded the Cardiology Department at Methodist Medical Center before succumbing to cancer. Ty attended Metamora High School and graduated from the University of Illinois with Highest Honors. He received an MBA from Stanford University ‘s School of Business. Shay has an impressive resume of success as a marketing officer at Esurance, Proctor & Gamble, Clorox, and Hotwire. He joined Hotwire prior to its launch and as its Chief Marketing Officer grew it into a top five travel site, culminating in the sale to IAC Corporation for more than $660 million. Before Hotwire, Shay oversaw the launch of Esurance’s first branding and marketing efforts. A staunch sports fan and a big supporter of the Illini, Ty founded FanIQ, a sports social games site. The site had over 12 million users when he sold it.

In February, SquareTrade, a relatively new company specializing in product warranties, announced the appointment of Shay as Chief Marketing Officer. According to Steve

Abernathy, founder and CEO of SquareTrade, Shay “will oversee the growth and strategic direction of SquareTrade’s marketing efforts.” In praising the former central Illinois resident, Abernathy said, “Ty’s expertise and leadership in building industry-transforming brands like Hotwire and Esurance makes him an ideal fit (for SquareTrade).” Shay and his wife live in San Francisco with their six year old daughter.

SICK MEDIA

The media in this country is sick. It’s as sick as the media was in pre-World War II Germany. The disease is: “censorshipitis.” And virtually every media outlet, electronic and print, national and local, is suffering from it.  But, unlike any other disease, those who have it, love and embrace it. My thoughts aren’t original. Former liberal CBS reporter Bernard Goldberg has written about it along with Ann Coulter and many others including Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. The bigotry in the media is astounding as are the examples. One of the most flagrant took place with the debate in the Senate over extending the Social Security payroll tax cut. Get this. Several Democrat Senators, led by Iowa ‘s Tom Harkin, blistered President Obama for supporting and endorsing the extension. Harkin unleashed a scathing attack on Obama and emphatically stated passage would doom Social Security in the future. Did you see this on CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC? Did you see it on Channels 25, 31 or 19? Did you read it in the Peoria Journal? Hell no. I saw it on Fox News where you get “fair and balanced news.” I listened to the passionate appeal from Democrat Harkin to vote against the measure. Obviously, his speech fell on deaf ears. I read the Associated Press account in the Peoria paper by Andrew Taylor. Taylor, of course, failed to mention Harkin or any other Democrat opposing the bill. He also failed to mention how taxpayers will pay for the $300.00 a week payments for the 160 million unemployed. He did mention the bill will add another $141 billion to the largest deficit in the country’s history. If a Republican had opposed President George Bush the same way Harkin did with Obama, the media would’ve had a field day with it for days if not weeks.

MORE MEDIA BIGOTRY

ABC’s Ann Compton claimed on a newscast that “President Obama was not to blame for the rise in gas and oil prices.” The popular WLS morning hosts Don and wife Roma blistered Compton for her political bigotry listing all of Obama’s decisions leading to the increases from the ban on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico to reversing the Bush administration’s release of drilling moratoriums in Alaska and other states as well as the halting of the Keystone pipeline into the country from Canada.

COUNTY UPDATE

New Peoria County administrator Lori Luther was a guest on “Breakfast with Royce and Roger” recently and discussed a variety of  subjects. One was progress on construction of the new Bel-Wood Nursing Home onHeading Avenue in West Peoria. Unfortunately, too many people want to drop the Bel-Wood name. I respectfully disagree. It’s a great name and has withstood decades of good and bad times. However, the board has indicated a new name would be of marketing benefit. Board member Phil Salzer, with some degree of humor, has suggested naming the county facility, “Heading Home.” Most scoffed.  I like it with one slight addition.  Call it “The Heading Home.” It will be interesting to see what name the Florida marketing agency, the board mistakenly hired, suggests.

MORE COUNTY NEWS

Pardon the pun, bur former media farm reporter Brad Harding has stepped in it again.  Sheriff Mike McCoy revoked his key card privileges for violating security rules. Seems that Harding brought in some alcohol as a holiday gift for fellow board member Jr. Watkins. Brad carried the gift through a key pass only back door and then let in an attorney. The attorney did not have clearance to bypass the usual security screening entrance. To Harding’s credit, he took full responsibility for the blunders.

As a former 22 year County Board member, I have two thoughts to share. First, when in the world did the board decide to give or ask for special entry privileges and why? All are part-time people. Frankly speaking, there were times when I thought at least one member of the board needed to take a saliva test. To allow18 people free screening access to the Courthouse because they were elected is wrong. To believe they should have privileges others don’t have is wrong.

Secondly, it’s noted the person who entered the Courthouse with Harding was attorney Mat thew Hoppock. Hoppock is a candidate for 10th Circuit Court Judge. It’s unfortunate his primary opponent, fellow Republican Kate Gorman, tried to make political hay out of the incident. It would’ve been a touch of class if Ms. Gorman would’ve said to the inquiring newspaper reporter, “I have no comment.” Why is it Republicans have a habit of “eating their own?”

DISAPPOINTING

It was disappointing to learn of Gary Sandberg’s criticism of Mayor Jim Ardis for choosing Morton resident Sylvia Hasinger to the Peoria Civic Center Authority Board. I commend the Mayor for recognizing the value of using people living in the Peoria area who have special skills and credentials to serve in leadership positions. Councilman Sandberg’s objections are without merit. He complained that those who live outside the city don’t support theCivic Center. Gary needs to check on who enters the city for Bradley basketball, Broadway Theater League, special performances, auto and farm shows, conventions and other events including Rivermen hockey.

I lived in Peoria until four years ago. However, my family has ownership of a business, two apartment complexes, and a rental home. Gary might want to see what we pay annually in taxes. We still eat and shop in Peoria and attend numerous events at the Civic Center and in the community as do thousands of others who live outside the city thereby contributing thousands of dollars through HRA taxes. The Civic Center would not be successful without the financial support of both residents and non-residents. Gary should be thanking and encouraging non-residents for their support. If Gary truly believes that the Mayor should not be recruiting people who don’t live inPeoria, he should call for elimination of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, Metropolitan Airport Authority,

Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, Peoria County Health Department, and all the other commissions and boards utilizing the cooperative talents and skills of Peoria and area residents. On the other hand, Gary knows he misspoke on this subject.

MEDIA FEEDBACK

WIRL was once a giant in the local radio market. With the advent of all the FM stations the 1290 station went to the basement in ratings. Management tried a variety of program formats finally settling on country music. Despite hiring popular jock for country music, Dan Dermondy, the station stayed at or near the bottom of surveys. Dermondy, to the surprise of many, was dumped by Mike Wild. Ratings still are among the worst. I’m told they advertised on a local Internet job placement site for a part-time morning jock resulting in an application from another popular announcer who had been fired or laid-off. We hear the pay was poor, but he reportedly withdrew his interest when he was told he would have to make free public appearances on behalf of the station. Are things that bad at WIRL?  Where’s Robyn Weaver when you need him? By the way, WIRL and too many local radio stations engage in too much voice-tracking. That’s the practice of pre-recording introductions and station promos. In other words, the announcers you hear are not “live.” They’ve recorded the messages. There was a time when all stations and programs were “live.” Not anymore. Exceptions are the morning and afternoon “drive-time” shows like “Breakfast with Royce and Roger.” However, there are times when Royce and I wonder if we’re “live.”

For those seeking early morning farm news, there’s no better place than WOAM. From 5:30 to 6:00 a.m. the station airs “RFD Illinois” out of Bloomington. Without question it’s the most comprehensive agriculture news in Peoria and central Illinois and can be heard at 1350 on the AM dial.

According to a recent survey on Fox News, newspapers were rated as the last place people went for news. That’s not surprising given the many news sources there are today. Newspapers are struggling to survive today and that includes the Peoria Journal. But local TV and radio stations are praying the Peoria paper survives. After all, where would those news departments go for news if the newspaper would go out of business? Regardless of the station, the first thing the news director and/or reporters do on the job, is open the Peoria Journal for story ideas and to write their morning local news. If you read the paper first and then listen to an electronic newscast, you’ll sometimes swear the broadcaster is reading the paper to you. As an example, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a TV or radio newscaster use the term “North Valley”in describing a shooting or robber. There’s no such place as “North Valley .” The term originated in the Journal newsroom. I was born, raised and educated on Peoria’s northside. Prior to that it was known as the Village of Averyville, but was never known as the North Valley.

WE GET LETTERS

Among letters we received since last month’s column was one from Gerry Parker. She reacted to the item we wrote about Peoria County State ’s Attorney Jerry Brady. Brady, as a young man, saved the life of a small boy at the Proctor pool years ago. Parker wrote about her son, Drew Parker, also an attorney, who saved a woman’s life in 1998. The woman was caught in an ocean riptide off the coast of Longboat Key, Florida. She called for help. Parker, trained in Red Cross swimming and life-saving, successfully rescued the woman. We thank Gerry for the information.

Another reader sent me a clipping from the Journal classifieds listing all of the planned and expensive additional renovation work going on at Peoria High School. I’m still amazed how the District 150 board could vote to closeWoodruff High School to save an alleged $1 million and then turn around and spend 15-20 times that amount refurbishing Central. It’s been hidden from the public, but some former Woodruff students have been bullied and some are still suffering emotional problems from the closing of the school thanks to Laura Petelle, Linda Butler, Debbie Wolfmeyer and Dr. David Gorenz. It was a cruel decision for over 900 boys and girls and accomplished nothing financially.

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

“Each of us has some gift—a talent, a skill, a craft, a knack—that gives us pleasure and engages us, and the path to our happiness often lies within that gift.” – Nick Vujicic (born without legs or arms)