Category: Business in New Hampshire

Change Is The Only Constant (but it still sucks)

I enjoy virtually all genres of music but Country is my go-to. When I moved here in 2002, I was still loyal to Country 99.5 WKLB out of Boston. If I held the radio the right way I could get a staticy signal. Alas, my arms got tired and eventually I started listening to WOKQ 97.5 out of Dover. I found Mark and Danielle and The Morning Waking Crew. They became my constant. I’m a creature of habit. I crave routine especially in the morning. With a routine, my internal operating system can boot slowly while I function on autopilot. OKQ and the Morning Waking Crew have become embedded in my morning routine. Looking at a clock means processing information and I’m not ready for that until I’ve eaten and had my tea, but, I can tell roughly what time it is by what’s happening on the radio. If Mike Geary is doing the weather live it is either 20 after or 10 of the hour. If discussion is about Birthdays is it 7:20 am and if breakfast better be on the table or we’re running late.

Mark Ericson is the brains behind the show. He’s the experienced radio guy who makes sure sponsors get their due and things stay relatively on track. I say relatively because Danielle had a way of derailing things. She rarely meant to, but she had strong opinions and an infectious laugh that could break me out of my stupor even on my worst mornings.

I speak of Danielle in the past because today Mark Ericson announced that Danielle would not be returning to the airwaves. It’s been change long in coming. The fact that I feel like I’ve lost a friend is a testament to how well Danielle did her job.

At the end of August Mark and Danielle went on their annual vacations. Mark returned Danielle did not. She was slated to return mid-September. The day came and went. Danielle did not return and no mention of her was made. The Morning Waking Crew’s Facebook page exploded with demands for information about Danielle. Eventually an announcement was made that Danielle had taken a leave of absence and that WOKQ was unsure when, or if, Danielle would be returning. This mollified most but conspiracy theories abounded. In the meantime former producer Megan “Bunch” Brady came back for a brief stint in the cohost chair. Eventually traffic reporter Karen Kiley (a.k.a. 2K) took over those duties.

Ericson’s announcement this morning was emotional and leads me to believe there is more to the story than they are able to share with the listening public. Situations like this put a radio station in an awkward position. In order to promote listener loyalty stations encourage personalities to connect with their audience. On-air talent promote products and appear at events and if they are good at what they do a bond is formed with the audience. The trick for the individual behind the on-air personality is to maintain whatever level of privacy he or she deems to be appropriate. When situations like Danielle’s arise where there is a medical issue, all sorts of legal protections are invoked on behalf of the employee limiting what the employer can say. Then what do they do? The radio station looks like the villain for not telling the audience about someone they view as a friend when in fact the station’s hands are tied. It’s a hard row to hoe and I think given the circumstances WOKQ did the best they could with the information they were able to share publicly. Something else that came through in this morning’s announcement was that Danielle’s absence has been hard on the staff too.

Mark and 2K will stay on the air through the holidays and although Kiley appears to be the heir apparent to the co-host throne Ericson clearly stated that was not a done deal by any stretch. They will be interviewing to fill the position.

This morning they played an example of one of Danielle’s more humorous rants. Hearing her laugh reminded me of how much I’ve missed her. Karen Kiley has made the best of a difficult circumstance and if she were to stay on I would not be disappointed but I will miss Danielle.

I hope the new cohost is a woman. Although Mark complains about living in a vat of estrogen I think the show needs a female touch. I also hope that when hiring, they seek out a vibrant personality who can handle Mark’s macho persona. Radio operation skills can be taught, but a personality is something you are born with and a successful morning show co-host requires a certain type of personality.

So to Danielle Carrier, Adios and vaya con Dios. I hope our paths cross again.

To Mark and 2K, I look forward to hearing your voices on Friday morning.

Hey, Have You Heard From Frank Lately?

So, have you heard from Frank Lately?

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I usually hear from Frank, at least once a day especially when I’m in the car. My husband though Frank was the best. I have friends who couldn’t wait to visit New Hampshire to hear Frank.  Yesterday I found out something is wrong with Frank.  He just kept saying the same things over and over.  It made me sad.

You know Frank right? 99 and 104.9 Frank FM New Hampshire’s #1 Classic Rock. Well, it seems Frank has moved, headed South. He can now be found at 106.3 FM and according to his repeated mutterings at 99 on the FM dial, he’s now serving Southern New Hampshire and Northern Massachusetts.   Sigh.

I’m nosey, so I did a little digging and I found this press release from Nassau Broadcasting,  Frank’s former owner (note the word FORMER).  It seems that his home at 99 and 104.9 has been “acquired” by Great Eastern Radio, LLC.

Even more research shows that Frank gets around he’s in Vermont, Maine and Southeastern Massachusetts too. All of these Radio stations are owned by Nassau Broadcasting who provides the single format across multiple stations.  Typically, there are live personalities on in the morning and during afternoon drive (3-7pm).  Other times of day can be run “jockless”, remotely with the help of computers and satellites. All in the name of cost cutting I suppose.

I tried to contact Great Eastern Radio, LLC, to find out who (or what) would be replacing Frank at 99 and 104.9, but I can’t find a listing for the parent company only it’s local radio stations and I got stuck in voice mail jail when I tried to speak with a human.

So as the saying goes, stay tuned dear readers, stay tuned.

New Hampshire Apples Aren’t Only for Eating

Image Courtesy of Apple Computer © Apple Computer
The Apple Store front at The Mall At Rockingham Park ©Apple Computer

I’m a Mac user. Have been since the dark ages of the ‘80’s.  I spent about 15 years of my life, providing technical support as a professional and I learned a few things, computers break, sometimes due to user error and sometimes just because and, good customer service goes a long way.

I recently needed repairs to both my MacBook Pro and our family iMac.  The issues fell squarely into the “just because” category.  I have AppleCare (Apple’s extended warranty program) on both machines.  The initial call was great.  The tech was a native English speaker and he treated me like I had a brain in my head.  Both repairs required in person assistance.  I could either wait for boxes and mail the machines back or take them to the Apple Store at The Mall At Rockingham Park.  There was a third option of a local authorized repair shop and normally, I would go out of my way to support a local business, but I suspected that one of the issues was caused by them and I knew from experience that they were very busy and I didn’t want to be without either machine if I could avoid it.  By going to Salem, I ran the risk of having to make a return trip to pickup one of the machines, but that was a slim chance.

I opted for the drive.  If I’d wanted to, I could have had same day appointments, but my preference was the next day and it was easily accommodated.

Getting to Salem mid-day wasn’t too much of a challenge. Although if there is a recession going on, you would NEVER have known it by the parking lot at the mall!  The only downside is that the Apple Store is located on the first floor a fair distance from any outside entrance.  I have a backpack for the laptop and I hauled the iMac plodding along with the little boy who is easily distracted and at this time of year, there are MANY distractions at a shopping mall.

Upon reaching the Apple Store, I was immediately relieved of the iMac and shown to the Genius Bar.  They confirmed my appointments and I only waited 2 minutes before someone was available to help me.  He took the laptop first and succeeded in reinstalling my V key (I tried every which way and could not get that sucker to stay put). Job finished well with in the scheduled appointment time. Next up was the iMac.  I suspected this was a simple fix.  The built in camera wasn’t working and I suspected it had been disconnected during the previously mentioned repair.

I brought distraction for Mim, but he’s 5, so nothing lasts all that long.  Clearly, I’m not the only parent to bring a child with them to the Genius Bar, because there were a pair of iMacs loaded with kids software less than two feet away.  Crisis averted.

The tech returned confirming my suspicions and the second problem was also solved well within the appointment window.  Oh, and did I want to pick my iMac up at the back door or carry it back through the mall?  There’s a back door?  Sweet.

Mim, wanted a few more minutes at the computer and well, I wanted to ogle the new hardware, otherwise we would have been in and out in half an hour.

It is easy to complain when companies get it wrong, and believe me, Apple is no stranger to getting it wrong, but it is important to point out when companies get it right. The Apple Store at the Mall At Rockingham park got computer repair right for me.