Monthly Archives: March 2014

BARRY’S BLOG: TUESDAY MARCH 25th, 2014

Water, the most precious element we have on earth, when scarce, makes us all nervous as our officials must make hard decisions on which of us get it or not. Water also is the only element on earth that can be all three states, liquid, solid (Ice) and gas (steam). In this country, our water companies have built infrastructures that brings adequate and safe water into our homes, and we all assume that when we turn the knob safe drinkable water gushes out of the faucet every time. We are very fortunate since many countries on the earth do not have safe water and many people, particularly children die everyday because of it. This is not an issue in the USA.

Now, when the source starts to dry up, then we are asked to conserve, there is always two reactions. Those of us who understand, and those who get angry because they must conserve and suffer some inconvenience. I have overheard some talk lately: “I pay good money for that water, and I expect it to be there whenever I want it”. The other emotional focus on this matter is aimed at the politicians who have first helped provide storage of water with damns and reservoirs and now seem stalled at providing the storage systems needed to satisfy the needs of people growth and growing food supplies, our main economy driver in California. They blame environmental laws for the stall, but the political system approved these laws. Maybe a reassessment of these laws would be in order.

In the meantime, cutting 20% of water usage is really easy to do. Cutting lawn watering, less home driveway car washes, better use of dish washers and general turning off the running water when washing hands are all simple adjustments that can really make a difference. Dropping usage also cuts your expense for the short term.

By the way, there are some local governments that need to examine their systems and policies. There has been some interesting reports lately on how some cities are wasting major water resources.

Have a great day, be kind to yourself and be happy!

Retire….what does that mean?

BARRY’S BLOG: TUESDAY 3-18-14

KAHI Radio and I announced yesterday my retirement from the AM NEWS HOST position. Eight years ago, I started at 6:00 AM as the morning host, returning to an old career and love, talking on radio. KAHI was a perfect match for me because management philosophy is to serve the local market, and make the microphone available to anyone with something to say. Over the 8 years, we have brought on local political officials, community leaders, activists trying to change things, to Boy and Girl Scouts visiting the station.

I fell in love with radio as a kid back in Pennsylvania. I spent my Sunday’s listening to the old radio shows, usually on CBS, that covered Tom Mix, Mr. Keen, tracer of lost persons, Roy Rogers, The FBI, Jack Benny, Arthur Godfrey, and many others. As my interest in Radio grew, I was soon building my own radio station and broadcasting on the local radio set with voice, then with turntables, became a DJ in my own home.

One day, a Radio Station from another town came to my home town and I was there every day helping with stringing wire, lifting stuff, and opening boxes as they built our local home town station. I spent more time at the station than at home, and finally got on the air through the high school NEWS program as one of four NEWS anchors selected by the English teacher. I was then hired as a weekend announcer and then full time announcer the week after high school graduation. I was very fortunate to be given such a great break right after high school graduation.

I moved into management and was fortunate to work for some great creative people that gave me freedom to be creative also, and I became a pioneer in talk radio and local supportive radio. I moved on to Cable TV where again was invited to be creative in local television programming on cable. These were fun years, and I was on the front edge of having local cameras at high school football games, musicals and fundraisers in local home town communities.

I moved on in the Cable TV world as homes across america were connected to local CATV systems, and watched and participated in the creation of channels like HBO, Showtime, CNN and others. Today we have many more successful CABLE channels than Network channels. It only took 40 years or so to make FOX NEWS having more viewers than CBS NEWS.

Having the great fortune of being a participant in this communications revolution was a God’s gift. I wish all young people could get the same gateway to their career that I have enjoyed. I look forward to moving on to other things yet will still do special reporting for KAHI radio. How lucky can one be.

Have a great day, be kind to yourself and be happy!

DISASTERS

BARRY’S BLOG: TUESDAY 11,2014

Major Air Disasters like the missing 777 Malaysia Flight 370 last saturday bring us all to realize how most of us are afraid to fly. As a young person I had two conflicting emotions when it came to flying.

First I wanted to be a pilot from the first time I saw a John Wayne WWII movie. I was fascinated with model airplanes made out of paper or balsa wood. I took my first ride in a Cessna 82 private aircraft, scared out of my brains but so excited when the pilot let me handle the controls, and received my first “Bitten by the Bug” that all pilots experience. I then started a dream quest to fly anything that had engines.

Second, I was always surprised at the emotional stress I suffered when booked on a commercial flight. I didn’t sleep the night before a flight, and was nervous like a cat until I got inside the plane, and buckled up, The first few years of flying commercial, I always had nervous moments that the plane would suffer a mechanical failure of some kind and crash. As years went by, I became a lot more relaxed and found the hassle of airport parking, security, baggage handling and general mean people a lot more stressful than the actual flight.

I also started flying my own plane for business, and found the convenience for short trips was wonderful. In and out of airports on my own schedule was thrilling, and also made my business pressures so much easier as I relaxed and enjoying the flight from point to point. It became much more pleasurable to move around the Eastern corridor by plane than driving on the crowded and dangerous interstate highways that connected the major cities that I needed to go to. Don’t fly much anymore but had a lot of pleasure during those years I did.

Now back to the most recent disaster, Flight 370. I always think what a horrific way several hundred people confined in a plane helpless and often alone from friends and family must suffer in the last few minuets of their time here on earth. There can’t be many other ways that suffering is more with this complete loss of power over your destiny and realization of possible instant death. Man has created worse over past centuries but an air disaster is pure chance. I always feel sad for the victims and their loved ones that must deal with the loss. May their religious belief’s help them cope. Lets hope terrorism is ruled out since that would make it worse for the innocent.

Barry!

WATER—DROUGHT—

BARRY’S BLOG: THURSDAY 3-6-14

The recent rains have a lot of folks expecting the drought to be minimal, and with every storm wave, they feel better. Officials however say the drought is still serious and so far the storms have only helped some. We are still in a serious water shortage condition, and conservation is urged to help keep the impact down as much as possible.

One of the impressive stories coming out of this drought is our own Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) actions, plans and execution of these plans by Board, Management and Engineering staff. THe PCWA water network is very complicated being able to get water from various sources, and distributing that water to several thousand agricultural, commercial and residential customers. I picture the network looking like large tree laying on the ground with roots of the tree in various water supplies like the American and Yuba Rivers, different reservoirs and wells bringing the water to the trunk, then distributing the water to various limbs which then feed customers represented as leaves. Very complicated and needs lots of management and engineering to make it all work efficiently and balanced based on need. Droughts then are represented as a lack of supply at the root level which then affects the entire system. Our PCWA has engineered additional supplies to feed the roots which could save us some drought affect.

This further pinpoints the professionalism of our local agencies. Placer County has been a great growth county for several years, particularly in South County. Communities like Roseville and Rocklin have grown from 5 thousand residents to over 50,000 over the last 20 years. We have seen major communities like Del Web’s Sun Cities in Roseville and Lincoln. In addition, several thousand homes have been added adjacent to these Sun Cities, all demanding services like electricity, water, gas, and water treatment. With this growth, our agencies have keep up with demand. This doesn’t happen by accident. It takes prudent management, engineering, planning and execution. It appears we have that here. How lucky. Think of the disaster if we had the alternative.

Have a great day, be kind to yourself and be happy!

COUNCILMAN TO CHAMBER CEO…WOW!

BARRY’S BLOG: WEDNESDAY MARCH 5, 2014

The announcement by the Auburn Chamber of Commerce in selecting Councilman Kevin Hanley as the new CEO was exciting and somewhat a surprise. Kevin has been joining me on the KAHI Morning News the morning after the City Council meets in Auburn for several years, and I feel a personal friendship has been built between us. I have admired all the people that run for council, win, and dedicate their personal time and talent to running our city as well as it is. Kevin has passion and dedication to his service and the results show it. Now moving over to the chamber will be a challenge for him which he obviously has embraced. Chambers are representative organizations serving the local business community which is also funded by the members, and chartered to promote the community and help grow the local economy. Not an easy task. Kevin will do a great job because he has focus on what is good for the community.

Speaking of service, studies over long periods of time has proved that people that give of their talent and time live happier than those that do not. We are a nation that has been built by people that donate their talents and time through their churches and service clubs like ROTARY, Kiwanis, and others that do community projects, donate money and time for the community’s well being and future. A famous reporter said one time: All good work in the USA is done by service organizations”! I like the ROTARY statement credo: “Service above self”!

Have a great day, be kind to yourself and be happy.

IS CUSTOMER SERVICE DEAD?

BARRY’S BLOG MONDAY MARCH 3, 2014

The old saying about March: “In like a lion and out like a lamb” certainly held true this weekend.

I had a great experience this weekend, a friend’s Hybrid vehicle had a battery die, and also one bulb in the driver’s side light blew. After several days of discussions at the dealer, SEARS, Walmart, and others, most did not carry the battery and the prices varied, some which included installation costs. A visit to Battery and Bulbs however proved to be a great experience. A young man that had more energy that the energizer bunny offered to test the battery and pronounced it almost dead. Then running inside from the parking lot in front of the store came back with a battery, tools, and a packet with the headlight bulb. At the same speed he had demonstrated all along, he whipped out the dead battery, which is no easy task in these hybrids, put in the new one, and tested it…..worked great. He then attacked the light problem. Another friend with a light bulb problem, the dealer took off the entire headlight casing to change the bulb with a cost of several hundred dollars. Not this guy…he reached down to the side of the light casing, pulled out a plug, and reached inside, pulled out the bulb and then put the new one in, tested it, and then put the plug back into the light casing, problem solved. Cost of bulb was under ten dollars, installation free. At pay time, my friend ask about the specials being advertised, and the young man took 10% off the bill. My estimate of savings was about 200 to 300 dollars over having the dealer do the same job. Total time, 45 minutes. What an experience. If the company does not promote this young man they will lose one of the best customer services people I have met in years.

Customer Service in the last few years has become more and more frustrating. I recently had an issue with one of the Satellite TV services. They charged me for a football package which I never ordered, and could get reversed. We wrestled with this issue for three months, and after hours of working through various management layers at the company, I finally refused to pay them and they shut off the service. I was contacted by their AR people, and then I started up through the management chain again and finally got high enough to get the charges reversed and ended with a credit of 22 dollars. I sent all their equipment back, and terminated a relationship with this company that lasted over 15 years. They lost a long time happy customer, and I got back several hundred dollars of credit. They dinged my credit of course, but I can fix that facing another day long telephone battle with some incompetent boob probably in Barbados or Argentina.

In the meantime, I have connected to WAVE Cable TV and the experience so far has been delightful. I spent 25 years in the Cable Industry and am amazed at the new technologies available to us customers. Phone, TV and Wi-Fi all bundled together. Neat stuff. I also like all the channels available to me for Basic service.

Speaking of Customer Service….I am headed to my favorite breakfast place where they clear my favorite table, pour the coffee as they see me park the car out front. Love living in a small town.

Have a great day, be kind to yourself, and be happy.