RANT: Billy Joel’s “Movin’ Out”

Today, I digress on the topic of music at large to discuss a large pet peeve I have with a very small detail. Come on, Billy. I expect more outta you.

So, has this lyric change ever crossed your mind? (Please tell me it has.) Do you just not care about the song that much? Do you care enough about my caring that you want to tell me about how you don’t care? I can let that slide – I like irony. Let me know!

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Pitch-Perfect

Okay, ladies and gentlemen, let’s make some percentage of other people’s money! Some ideas for advertising on our blog…

Spreading the Word

Everybody knows about Ticketmaster, but there are other concert ticket websites, like Stub Hub, that could probably use some visibility. Propose to them that we write an editorial expounding upon the plus-side to buying through them rather than someplace else, for a fee.

Befriend the Giant

Everyone uses Amazon, and if only we could get them to come to us first and THEN click over there, we could get a percentage of their sales. Let’s blog about music – whole albums or a band or even just one really awesome single, and provide a link to the corresponding product on Amazon. We could convince people to buy the music, or – if they are not convinced – they could end up buying something else and we would still get a piece of that.

Merry Christmas

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra puts on a KILLER concert every Christmas season. There are lasers, there’s fire, an orchestra, and of course screaming guitars. The point is that the spectacle is visually exciting as it is aurally, and we could use that for the blog. They might like to sponsor our blog for the upcoming event, just a month or two, with a special TSO-themed skin, and a banner, and side-ads. To the side, a roll-over ad that plays “Mad Russians’ Christmas.” The skin? The fire effect of the finale of their show, or some of the guitarists. There are a lot of possibilities.

Music Lovers DO Love Music

What about Apple? Sell them some ad space up top in which to advertise iPods. Or, if they’re too well-off, some other mp3 player provider might be interested in increasing their visibility. Radio listeners hardcore enough about their music to visit the station blog also probably have a HUGE collection of personal tunes that they do not like leaving at home. Ready-made customers for them, and some money our way, too.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Last, why not sell ad space for upcoming classic rock concerts? It’s an interesting phenomenon that there is still an audience for the old rockers, but it is kind of hard to reach them. The frontmen of these bands do not make the paper much anymore, you know? So maybe there is a need to get the word out about a Rush concert, and radio ads aren’t enough. That’s where we come in.

Some of these are stronger than others, but I think at least one or two of them could be extremely lucrative.

Our Most Heartfelt Apologies

Bri McG here again, this time with less-than-awesome news. Yesterday our master of music here at WCUS – Tara Horan – gave an interview on her career in the industry, during which she made an off-handed but negative comment about Dutch people. Her statement follows:

“I am deeply sorry for what I said, knowing that I probably offended some of our fans. My job is to serve our listeners, to make them happy, and I know that in this case I have failed. Most unfortunate of all is the reality that, when I speak for myself, I speak for WCUS. I should have known better than to make such a comment, and I only hope that – if you must take offense – you take offense with me as an individual and not the station, not these people who love music and love sharing it with you.”

All we can say is that we are sorry, folks, and it is true. We have agreed as a team to undergo some sensitivity training here at WCUS, and we hope that you’ll bear with us as we grow. As our visibility grows, it gets harder and harder not to step on the toes of others, but we will do our best. You deserve it.

 

Top Five Classic Rock Songs

Let’s get this straight right off the bat: I love way more than five classic rock songs. Not “oh yeah, that’s a good track” love, either. So before you all get offended that Song X should have been on this list, consider the idea that I agree with you. Five is a cruel, cruel number.

1. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

Many Freddies

You know Freddie Mercury had something of a hard time getting this one past the band, right? And I don’t really blame them. ‘Rhapsody’ is operatic as much as it is rock n’ roll, mixing soprano warbling in with Brian May’s no-nonsense guitar. It was a risk, and it was either going to get buried amid great shame or take off like a rocket. We know which outcome prevailed. It’s a wonder such a long song got airplay at all, let alone after all these years. But get played it does, and I – for one – always turn it up. (Want to hear other versions of “Bohemian Rhapsody?)

2. Imagine – John Lennon

A dreamer.

That the Beatles (or one of its members, as is the case) would be on this list is a no-brainer; it’s the song that’s a little harder to pin down. I chose “Imagine” because it takes serious moxie to say “Imagine there’s no heaven” and be singing about the world being a better place, rather than a worse one, if there really were none: “Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion, too.” Not that religion is wrong, inherently, but history has shown that people – not all, but some – have used it to justify awful, awful things. Every song has a message, but John Lennon’s here needs hearing, really hearing, more than most.

3. Faithfully – Journey

I get the joy of rediscovering you.

Yes, I know, “Don’t Stop Believin'” is a great song. But I think “Faithfully” is better. There’s just something about a song specifically about a rock star that promises faith and loyalty to his lover in his absence. After all, we are – when it comes to music – surrounded otherwise by rock songs that glorify one-night stands and infidelity. And come on, just listen to that guitar after “forever yours – faithfully.”

4. Bat Out of Hell – Meat Loaf

This was really hard, because I appreciate “I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” a whole lot. But in the end, the fast-paced drama of piano and electric guitar in “Bat Out of Hell” won me over. Here is another song that, by the three-minute rule, should not be on the radio. Yet, there it is. Meat Loaf has a background in theatre (Don’t get me started on my fierce love of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, in which he played Eddie on both stage and screen.), and his expressiveness contends with the melodrama of the instrumentation so, so well.

Meat Loaf – it’s what’s for dinner.

5. Carry On Wayward Son – Kansas

I am a sucker for a cappella singing at the beginning and end of tracks. Either the song opens with nothing but a chorus, or at the end all of the instruments drop out with no warning, leaving the singers to trudge on full-force in the silence. “Wayward Son” opens this way, and add to that the thread that runs through the entire song linking ship-on-stormy-sea metaphors together seamlessly until the song might have been penned by an atypically regretful Jack Sparrow.

Oh no you didn’t!

Sorry – Captain Jack Sparrow.

Undoubtedly, you have a bone or five to pick with my list. Bring on the replacements – I’m ready for you.

For Those About to Rock

I feel like I should have a microphone. And be standing. In reality, I’m sitting and I have a sandwich. But let’s do this anyway:

WHAT’S UP, SYRACUSE?!

Bri McG and the Pillsbury Dough Boy

My name is Bri McG, and I will be your guide in all things blog for Syracuse’s new radio station, WCUS – where we play the classic rock you love as well as the new gems that took the best of the oldies into the present. We’re talking everything from Queen to The Ark, from Jethro Tull to Modest Mouse, from The Beatles to… to… Okay, nobody sounds like The Beatles anymore. Drop your weapons.

All Hail the Queen

And don’t be fooled by my youth, folks. My iPod is full of Freddie Mercury, and Justin Bieber is conspicuously absent. I respect rock n’ roll – the really good stuff – and you can expect that discerning and focused taste from me as readily as you can from WCUS.

We’ll play you a song off this album OTHER THAN “Float On.” (Not that “Float On” is a bad tune – but you’ve heard it enough.)

But you already know what the radio’s for, so I guess you’re wondering why we have a blog?

It’s More than the Music

The music is great, but what about those things we do in between? Don’t you like it when a DJ interviews your favorite band, or talks about something fun and asks listeners to call in an opinion? Unfortunately, those interviews can’t go on too long, and of course not everyone gets through to speak their minds. That’s one thing the blog will be for: extended audio or video clips of interviews, Q&A’s, and continued banter from you folks in the form of comments on a post that mentions whatever silliness went on in the studio that day.

Battle of the Bands

In March, we’re getting in on the madness on the blog. We’ll put the bands in the brackets, and you vote on each round through polls to determine the BEST classic rock band, or best new rock band, or best rock band, period.

Helping the Home-Grown (Jukebox) Hero

Finally, we want to use this blog to further expose local talent, beyond just letting them play a track or two late on a Wednesday night. We can do better than that for our own. We want to link you to their blogs, their music, post their album art, and let you stream or download their work.

That’s just a little taste, and there will be more as we hit a rhythm. Oh boy – music joke was completely unintentional.

Time May Change Me

Studying to be a librarian has made me more aware of the Internet, not less. To say the least, it is in a state of flux. As changes come, the success of my library blog will depend on my ability to adapt. Let’s discuss the punches time will pull, and how I’m going to roll with them.

No More Spiders. 

It seems that Google is no longer content to use mindless crawlers to determine site relevance to search queries, which means that actual content will matter more than keyword counts or links. It means the date on which I posted something will affect its ranking in a search, too. I cannot just write one post on ideas to turn reluctant readers into lifetime learners (What IS it with me and alliteration lately?) one time and leave it at that.

So what’s the plan?

Well, to everything there is a season, and I’ll have to find a time to annually discuss such issues. Why not address this at the beginning of kids’ summer vacation, when parents are staring down a list of summer reading lists? That will be more than current; it’ll be timely.

Motion Picture > 1000 Words.

Maybe video posts seem contrary to a library’s goals, but there’s no denying the impact of video clips online. Cling as we do to the great written word, others don’t.

The plan:

Let’s kill two birds with one stone, simultaneously jumping into the world of video blogging and dispelling that awful stereotype of the unapproachable librarian.

This one. Right here.

I suggest booktalking (that is, describing book plots in an appealing way in order to pique the interest of patrons) on the blog, by video. Not only that; we could post tutorials on how to search a library OPAC, or effectively use a database.

Public Servant with a Cause

Blogs are becoming platforms for activism, where bloggers who are popular have some power to spread the word about important issues.

My Suggestion:

Use this blog to fight censorship! Feature banned books during banned book week, of course, but that’s just beginning. I should be blogging about every issue of censorship as it comes up in current news, starting a discussion with library patrons online and giving my two cents. A library’s blog should advocate for free speech, and loudly so, online just as it does within its walls.

Going by the Numbers

As a blog for a library, I think the sort of statistics that will matter most in making it more palatable to users will be those on new vs. returning visitors, linking traffic, and most popular posts. 

Come Again?

The problem with a library having a blog is that, unless the blog can stand on its own, the library may make it superfluous or unnecessary. The blog needs to be built up in such a way that it provides content the library does not, and content that goes beyond library information. We don’t want people coming to the blog just once and never returning because the blog is insubstantial, so new vs. returning visitors is a statistic to watch.

Link Me

First, all surrounding school websites should have links to our library blog. But how many people – that is, students at those schools – really go their school’s website? It sounds like a good idea, but we need to watch it: it could be that, even though there are links there, they don’t get us anywhere. And if they don’t, we need to be linked from other places – like other reading blogs, or bookstores – and see if that ups the stats.

Beelines

When we have developed a core visitor-ship, it matters where they’re clicking to consistently and often. My guess would be that the posts for Top Ten Tuesday lists would be much more visited than most of the other ones, simply because the idea is quick, opinionated, and very interactive. Once that is proven, it opens the door to starting other such gimmicky, repeating posts that mix individualization with reading or books in general

Bouncing Back 

As I said in the beginning, the trouble will come in making a library blog stand on its own even as it supports, and is a part of, the library. The greatest fear is that people find the blog only to check when the library opens and then leave, or that they think the blog is underdeveloped or unattended and don’t bother to click through it.

This is the dreaded ‘bouncing,’ and at first this stat could be high. But I would try not to be discouraged by it. If we can just provide content that is interesting and independent of the library in a regular way, it will go down. The blog can definitely be more than an information double-checker for the library.

Keeping Tabs

Google Analytics allows you to monitor the numbers of visitors who ‘bounce,’ so that is handy. It’s also good for statistics on specific page views and figuring out whence your traffic comes. With that, we’ve got monitoring everything under control. 

As for improvement, I am a firm believer in user-guided content. Why not use Survey Monkey to ask library patrons – and nearby students – what it is they like to read about, or do, or see, that has to do with books, reading, etcetera? Blog content and focus can follow from there. Also, as I said above, a strict monitoring of how much traffic comes from linking will guide as to whether or not we need to find better referrals than schools (We probably do.).

 Odds are, the numbers will be harsh, to begin with. Accepting this, the course of action is to plow forward rather than give up. Perseverance, and resourceful redirection of resources (Holy alliteration, Batman.), is key. 

Blogging for Apples

This week, as suggested by the (groan-worthy?) title, I’m discussing the ways in which Apple might help my blog by allowing my blog to help them. I have more faith in some of these ideas than in the others, but I figure I’ll run through them in no particular order and then invite opinions as to the best idea(s).

  1. Sponsored Post – The library for which I blog just got new computers! Funnily enough, they’re Macs. Wouldn’t it be a great idea to have Apple sponsor a post I did about our newest acquisitions, detailing the great ways in which patrons can use them? It helps me to get the word out about the library, and it is positive publicity for Apple.
  2. Banner Ad – My library is beginning to offer e-books in addition to physical copies (It is, believe it or not, a growing trend that involves putting an expiration date on digital files.). It would be beneficial to Apple, then, to have a banner ad on the library blog that advertises the iPad as a capable e-reader. I bet a lot of library users who are sick of waiting for physical copies of high-demand books to be returned would put such a purchase on their wish lists.
  3. Sponsored Polls – Speaking of e-readers, there is no denying that they are picking up speed. Yet, so many books are still not available in digital form! I would love to post sponsored polls that ask library users what books, of a possible five (different every week), they would most like to see available electronically. The library provides Apple with a ready-made audience for such a poll, and could use this information to decide what publishers to push down this road. It is good for the library because it gives us librarians an inkling as to what works we need to make more available due to high interest – or maybe we could use the info to guide our programming, constructing book discussions around the highest results.
  4. Apple Affiliates – Our library computers have no speakers, you know. Audio would be disruptive for obvious reasons. But, we have nothing against patrons bringing headphones to the library, so that they can use the computers to listen to music. How about I link to the Apple website, suggesting that patrons purchase their earbuds from the Apple store? I could do this when writing about the iPad as an e-reader as well. Apple stands to profit from the increased traffic, and the library blog gets a little something for pointing the way.
  5. Donations – I know that donations are not to be counted on, and I know they don’t often work well. However, it is certainly an option for a blog that represents a very popular library. The loyal readership is there, and the blog is the e-figurehead of an organization that exists to support and educate its community. Its motives are pure, and people generally see this. It could be worth having a donate button, especially for a specific goal – such as raising money for a prize to be given to the best book review submitted to the blog, or something like that. And the prize? An iPad! This is yet another opportunity to send publicity Apple’s way, as well as get our readers into the swing of digital reading.

So, what do you think? What’s the best idea here?

Sunday Sweets: Toffee Cookie Recipe

We’ll bet you never thought to use your Keeley Krackerz in a dessert! Not only is this treat delicious, but the ingredient list is short and the directions are simple! So go get a box of Keeley and start baking!

You Will Need:

4 oz. Keeley Krackerz
1 cup butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate bits
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).               

2. Line cookie sheet with Keeley Krackerz in single layer.               

3. In a saucepan combine the sugar and the butter. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Immediately pour over Keeley Krackers and spread to cover crackers completely.               

4. Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top.  Let sit for 5 minutes. Spread melted chocolate and top with chopped nuts. Cool completely and break into pieces. 

              

Be on the Box – Around the Thanksgiving Table!

(For the purposes of this post, assume the date is December 1st.)

Well, the Thanksgiving holiday is behind us! But here at Keeley Krackerz, we didn’t want all those lovely decorations, delicious food, and family warmth to disappear! So, we invited our staff to take photos of their families around the dinner table!

Sue Potter, Marketing

John Smith, Administrative Office

Briana Ives

Briana Ives, Distribution

And now it’s your turn! Send your Thanksgiving dinner table photo – one picture per applicant – to some_sad_intern@somewhere.com, and yours might be the one we choose to put on our newly-designed boxes!

Happy holidays from Keeley Krackerz!