This is a good way to spend time while at the airport!

Saturday, September 20th 2008

Ken Double’s Blog – or – This is a good way to spend time while at the airport!

I am winging my way back to Florida after an 11-day trip into Indiana and New York State. This trip accomplished several things. First, I performed at the Grande Barton organ at the Warren Performing Arts Center in Indianapolis, and then had the chance to play the Forum Theatre 4m Robert Morton organ in Binghamton, NY. I always enjoy playing the Barton – a truly great sound in that hall; and thoroughly enjoyed my first opportunity to play the Morton.

Congrats to Paul Stapel, one of the real “worker bees” of the Binghamton Theatre Organ Society, and we sure could all learn from his efforts. I was on all three local TV stations’ newscasts, did two live radio interviews, and Paul’s publicity efforts helped to draw a sizeable crowd. There is no magic secret here. He works hard to establish relationships with station management; he buys some advertising blocks on three stations; and pounds the pavement to get the news directors to respond to his request for interviews. He has an advantage in being in a smaller market – this is tougher to do in big cities like Los Angeles and Chicago. But it comes down to relationships and elbow grease. And for Paul, it pays off big time.

On a personal note, my trip generated solid response in our efforts to raise funds to repair the Long Center Wurlitzer in Lafayette, IN. Water damage has rendered the Main Chamber unplayable, and our independent organization, the LCTOS, has started its campaign to raise $50,000. Meanwhile, we are working on two programming ideas outside of Long Center to keep our concert series alive at other venues while we work on the Wurlitzer. One potential avenue is fantastically exciting in terms of exposure and marketing, and could provide a major shot-in-the-arm to an organization that needs it. More on this when our plans are solidified, because these ideas could be pursued by ATOS chapters elsewhere.

I will also have more to report very soon on my first efforts at major corporate sponsorship for ATOS. The trip to Indianapolis provided an opportunity to meet with Ray Compton of Compton Associates, who is working with ATOS as an unpaid consultant. (Many at the convention heard Ray speak at a seminar.) We met to discuss a new logo and new look for ATOS. And he arranged a meeting with two banking officials which could lead to a first corporate sponsorship/partnership arrangement for ATOS. The first, I might add, of hopefully many. I will report on these details as we finalize the deal.

So, some concerts, some business, some fund-raising, GREAT weather, particularly in New York where it was Chamber-of-Commerce sunny and 70 degrees everyday, all made for a great trip.

One final note, and an important one. As President/CEO, and now in a paid staff position, I find myself at times conflicted about the opportunity to perform concerts at certain times. In this position, I have a distinct advantage in terms of marketing myself as a performing artist. This advantage could clearly and understandably be interpreted by some as a “conflict of interest.” To that end, two different opportunities were presented to me recently, and I reacted in two distinctly different ways, for two reasons.

The Alabama Chapter is hosting a Regional convention in the Fall of 2009 in Birmingham. They asked me to perform one of the concerts, and I respectfully declined. This is an ATOS co-sponsored event, and I feel that in the position I hold, it would be easy for me to accept every concert offer out there. When the organization is directly involved in the events, i.e. annual and regional conventions, and our new touring show production, I feel it is in the best interests of the organization and the other performing artists, that I decline invitations to play.

Meanwhile, I was invited to perform at the Desert Winds event at Thanksgiving time in Phoenix. I accepted this invitation. First and foremost, this is NOT an ATOS-sponsored event, thus the conflict of interest is not so apparent. Second, I was going to be at the event anyway to represent ATOS. Third, this particular performance on Saturday night was only recently added to the schedule due to the completion of the work on the organ to be presented. Thus, the last-minute nature of the request demanded a quick answer.

It is important for the membership and the Board of Directors to know that I am cognizant of the position I am in as President and CEO, and attempting to work in the best interests of ATOS, and not in my own personal interests.

Stay tuned, as there is more to come. Bring new members to ATOS. It vital to the growth of the organization, and, it adds to the FUN!!!

Will check back here soon.

Your blogging correspondent, Ken Double

(September 20, 2008) Ken Double