Breaking News: The Media and You

Would the Real Obamacare Please Stand Up? Starts Today

By Alex Greenwood 

Years ago, I hosted a weekly, three-hour call-in radio show on an AM station in Oklahoma City. I’ve missed that job, so it makes me very I’m excited to get back in the host’s chair for a new weekly radio show that promises to help business owners and individuals separate fact from fiction about Obamacare.

Leading Kansas City insurance broker Greg Howard and I will host the weekly show, Would The Real Obamacare Please Stand Up?” on the Smart Companies Thinking Bigger Radio Network starting today and airing every Friday at 1 p.m. CDT.

“People are virtually bombarded with information and misinformation, which is why we call the show Would The Real Obamacare Please Stand Up?,” said Howard, a federally certified Affordable Care Specialist with USA Benefits Group and USA Benefits Exchange in Lenexa, Kan. “Radio is a fantastic way to reach people and explain the good, the bad and the ugly of ObamacaStand 3c. (1)re in a way that helps businesses make smart, strategic decisions about healthcare.”

Each hour-long episode features Howard and I discussing facts and fiction of Obamacare, often with guest experts. The show streams live at www.obamacarepleasestandup.com/ and is also available on demand (or by podcast) at www.ithinkbigger.com and on #iTunes.

All episodes are recorded and archived on the Smart Companies Thinking Bigger Radio Network website and are also available for free download as a podcast on iTunes, so listeners may check out the show on demand to suit their schedule.

As a business owner, I value Greg Howard’s gift for explaining this complicated subject. The information Greg and our guests share will be a tremendous boon to business owners and individuals with questions about Obamacare.

Known to many of his clients as “The Great Explainer,” Howard answers questions in simple terms to clear up myths and confusing misinformation. He also peppers his show with editorial comments about the Affordable Care Act.

“I pull no punches about the troubled rollout of Obamacare, along with the subsequent issues that continually crop up in the news,” he said. “But when you put that and politics aside, you have a tax law that really helps people by giving them access to quality healthcare.”

Information in the show includes discussions of how the ACA can benefit individuals, families and employers. Howard will also discuss general insurance questions, identity theft protection and other vital issues.

“I’m here to help, and if this program can aid just one business or family in understanding the positive potential of the ACA, then it’s worth it. I hope people will pop in their earbuds and listen or play it on their desktop computers every week.”

For more information, visit www.ithinkbigger.com/radio/ or www.ACAMadeEasy.com. Contact Greg Howard at 888.427.3270 or email info@ACAMadeEasy.com.

The Pollution of Flacking

 

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When I started my career, I worked a few years as a professional journalist. On balance I enjoyed it, except for days like the one when I was ordered by an editor to call the fiancée of a well-known local suicide victim and ask “do you have a comment?” Short answer: yes, yes she did. And I deserved every outraged syllable of it.

Most of my career I’ve been a public relations counselor and practitioner. It’s hilarious when you see PR pros portrayed on TV as vacuous, slightly evil sycophants. Perhaps that’s why “Seth,” the vice president’s press secretary on the delightfully devious House of Cards so freely owned his moral bankruptcy, stating to CNN’s Candy Crowley “I don’t know anything about professional photography, I’m just a flack.”

It’s considered clever, I suppose, for some members of the journalism profession to refer to PR pros as “flacks.” A cursory Google search reveals no clear etymology for the word, though a fellow PR practitioner I know reveals his take by proudly referring to himself as a “flack catcher.” Meh. Like him, I suppose some think the term is acceptable and not meant derisively, but I disagree.

I frankly chafe at this word being used about a profession that does, on balance, help people, companies, organizations and causes effectively tell their story. It stings a bit when we’re written off as disingenuous toadies. Yes, there are bad apples in the profession–in any profession, but to tar us all with that same tired brush? No. I mean, if you were to call a journalist a hack, she might try to bean you on the head with her rotary phone.

Back to CNN’s Candy Crowley: what the heck is she doing appearing on House of Cards, anyway? Does she care about blurring the lines between entertainment and credible journalism? I was totally taken out of the moment on the aforementioned House of Cards episode when I saw a steady stream of journos (who I assume wish to at least project an air of credibility) appearing as fictionalized versions of themselves on a TV show.

Sure, I expect that from those in the punditocracy such as Rachel Maddow or Sean Hannity; but when a legend like Morley Safer eagerly deigned to feign lobbing hardballs at fictional modern day Machiavelli Frank Underwood, all I could do was sigh and shake my head.

Of course, take my gentle criticism with a grain of salt. It’s coming from a flack, after all.

Public Relations Professionals Declare October 22 “Snark Free Day”

 A group of public relations professionals aim to make a single day in October one that is free of harsh comments, rude social media posts or sinister sarcasm. Declaring October 22 as Snark Free Day, the nationwide affiliates of PR Consultants Group (PRCG) including Kansas City’s Alex Greenwood at AlexanderG Public Relations are committing to a kinder way of communication and encouraging others to participate. The group often coaches clients on communication styles for messaging, media releases, web content, blogs, social media and more. Through October 22, they share these same principles with anyone who communicates face-to-face, pen to paper or screen-to-screen.

“We know that alienating the audience is never a good thing. And, with all of the focus on cyber-bullying, we have noticed that people aren’t held as accountable as we should be for what we say online. We’re asking others to commit to taking just a moment before we speak, send or post to think about the effect our words have on those who receive them,” said Greenwood.

To promote participation in Snark Free Day, the group has developed a sketch video featuring a “World Class Jerk” named Jonathan Snark. More information about Snark Free Day can also be found on SnarkFreeDay.com. Follow the discussion at #snarkfreeday.

“We’re asking our friends, colleagues, family and others to share Snark Free Day on October 22 as one day in which we don’t say or write anything snide, sarcastic or mean,” said Greenwood, who tweets as @A_Greenwood.

With less snark in the world, PRCG and Greenwood hope many great things may happen. Snark-attacked victims won’t be grumpy or lash out at others, people feel better about themselves and their relationships with others, and that other adults – and children – may follow the lead and be kinder to their co-workers, customers, family and friends.

About PRConsultants Group

PRConsultants Group (PRCG) is a nationwide group of public relations consultants, each an expert in their respective geographic areas and media markets. Clients who access PRCG, get personalized and targeted service in each local market with the broad reach of a national agency. The group was founded in 1992 and has grown to include 48 affiliates across the U.S. with the ability to form global partnerships.

 

AlexanderG Public Relations Names New Associate

Noah Smith

AlexanderG Public Relations named Noah Smith as an associate.

Smith will serve as an associate account executive on numerous projects, including general public relations, video production, photography and social media marketing.

Smith is a recent graduate of the University of Nebraska Lincoln. He holds a Bachelors degree in Communication with a minor in Education. His senior project focused on quantitative research and presentation.

“We’re excited to have Noah join us at AlexanderG,” said Alex Greenwood, founder and principal. “He’s a talented, creative and energetic professional. We look forward to big things from Noah.”

Smith resides in the Kansas City metro area. His hobbies include writing, cooking and photography.

Kansas City, Missouri-based AlexanderG Public Relations holds a diverse portfolios of experience and success. Founded in 2010, the firm specializes in strategic public relations, social media, content marketing and independent publishing services. Clientele includes companies and individuals from the entertainment, healthcare, financial and manufacturing sectors locally, regionally and nationally.

The firm manages portions of Kansas and Missouri as a member of PRConsultants Group, a collaborative made up of senior-level PR experts in every major market in the United States.

For more information, call (800) 919-9659.

Trends in Crisis Communications

Check out my interview about trends in crisis communication in the August 2013 issue of KC Business Magazine. –Alex