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Montco Candidates On WNPV

wnpv_politicsThe two Democrats and two Republicans competing for three seats on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners faced off Thursday on the WNPV talk program Comment Please by Univest.

State Representative Josh Shapiro is on the Democratic ticket along with Whitemarsh Township Supervisor Leslie Richards.  He said there is no need to raise taxes, but there is a real need for reform, and the centerpiece of their plan is Zero-Based Budgeting.

“The problem with county government is that over the years it’s like they have wallpaper on the walls, and instead of stripping it off and starting fresh they just keep putting more wallpaper on top of more wallpaper on top of more.  We need to start fresh.  Zero-Based Budgeting allows us to do that.  It says to every expenditure, every program, ‘Let’s begin at zero.  Let’s ask the tough questions that need to be asked about whether or not a program works and whether it ought to be funded,’ and at the same time do aggressive auditing and aggressive efficiency reviews to make sure that we’re not wasting funds.”

Shapiro said there are many ways to make county government more efficient.  Incumbent Commissioner Bruce Castor is on the Republican ticket along with Lower Merion Township Commissioner Jenny Brown.  He said Zero-Based Budgeting is just a slogan, and the county needs more than that to close its $42 million budget gap.

“The cause of this disastrous condition is multifold, but the primary one is this borrow, borrow, borrow, which then has changed the county operating budget so the largest line item is debt service, which has gone up astronomically, so we’re talking about a very severe situation.  Now, I like to say Rome didn’t burn down in a day, and it’s going to take more than a day to straighten it out, and it’s going to take more than slogans.  It’s going to take a good, hard look at programs the county doesn’t need.”

Castor said the first thing he will do if elected is get rid of all the programs he voted against over the last four years.  Brown said she has never advocated or voted for higher taxes.  “I worked for six years in Lower Merion.  I have always found ways to reduce spending, and I have never supported a tax increase, and I spent about 30 hours a week, especially during budget time, finding ways to reduce the spending, so I think we should look at actions and understand that people who addressed situations with taxes and increased spending and increased debt are most likely to address problems in their next office in the same manner.”

Brown said their Democratic opponents have both voted for tax increases in their current jobs, but Richards said their pledge not to raise taxes is firm, and she has a proven record of giving residents what they want without raising taxes.

“In Whitemarsh Township we have never raised property taxes for our residents while preserving open space, while funding and constructing millions of dollars in stormwater improvement projects, while expanding our libraries.  We’ve been able to look to creative and innovative funding solutions, public-private partnerships, which the commissioners are going to have to do in the next four years.” Richards said she’s a project manager at a civil engineering firm, and she believes the county can save a lot of money on managing the hundreds of contracts it puts out every year.
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WNPV AM 1440 The “Disconnected Car” April 13, 2015 By Fred Jacobs inShare57 Chances are good you saw that story from Forbes last week, strongly showing consumer demand for and usage of the AM/FM radio platform in cars and trucks. Broadcast radio, a platform? AM/FM radio is a legitimate platform, and according to Forbes contributor Christopher Versace, a new IPSOS survey shows that it’s the dominant choice in cars. Overall, their study reveals that AM/FM radio is the preferred in-car preference with 91%, compared to only 9% opting for an app-based system. Respondents were given an either/or choice, and they overwhelmingly went with old school radio. In their survey of more than 1,000 Americans 18+, IPSOS also learned than more than 8 in 10 (84%) survey takers listen to AM/FM radio in their cars, while Siriius/XM (22%), Pandora (18%), and Spotify (7%) distantly trail. Versace’s money quote: “More Americans use AM/FM radio each week than use Facebook.” And from the research side, Thomas Spinelli, VP with Ipsos MediaCT, noted. “Our studies show that despite all the technological advances we’ve made when it comes to digital listening, the vast majority of Americans still prefer AM/FM radio overall and especially expect it to be a part of their cars – in fact, virtually all said they wouldn’t buy a car without a radio.” But it’s not just the IPSOS research saying this. Our soon-to-be-released Techsurvey11 echoes this research, reinforcing the ongoing appeal of AM/FM radio in cars. In our survey of more than 41,000 North Americans, we isolated prospective car buyers and asked them to tell us which in-car media features are most important in their new vehicles: And there it is at the top – nearly nine in ten of those in the market for a new vehicle in their driveways report that AM/FM radio is of greatest importance. While connectivity (smartphone jack, Bluetooth, WiFI, etc.) are becoming more attractive over time, nothing is more desirable and necessary to consumers than broadcast radio. So how do we explain the disconnect in article after article, and story after story about “connected cars?” If AM/FM radio is in such high demand and celebrates nearly ubiquitous usage, why is there so much noise suggesting that that broadcast radio is an endangered medium in cars? And why are we bothering to put together a third DASH Conference in partnership with Radio Ink this November in Detroit if everything is so copacetic? It’s simply counter intuitive. Everyone wants broadcast radio in the car and consumers use it regularly. Yet, many talk about how radio’s days are numbered in the car. The paradoxical issue revolves around the notion that while AM/FM radio is considered to be “standard equipment” in new cars, it isn’t what’s bringing people into showrooms. No one walks into a new car dealership and asks about that new Mustang with the AM/FM radio. In fact, most are hungry for newer features they’ve seen advertised or experienced with other people or in rental cars. The sense of anticipation for new in-car media emanates from the fact that the average vehicle on the road is more than 11 years old. When consumers decide it’s time for a new ride, they have a strong desire for something that is truly NEW. And that’s where all the talk about smartphone connectivity, Sirius/XM, Pandora, and apps come into play. A new car buyer assumes AM/FM radio will be there. But what they really are revved about is the availability of new media choices, and that’s where these digital options and new media features sweeten the deal. But even if consumers look forward to a new car with lots of media options, AM/FM is still right there in the “center stack,” right? Well, when that buyer takes delivery on their new car, the chances are becoming much better than they’ll need instruction. Even the most basic in-vehicle media systems have a lot of moving parts and features that require some explanation and instruction. Enter the trainer (often the salesperson) who is tasked with quickly orienting an anxious consumer who simply wants to get in that new car and go. And because so many new car buyers are focused on the “what’s new,” the time and attention given to AM/FM radio in these orientation sessions is diminishing. In some cases, it may be difficult for consumers to even find the AM/FM radio, much tune in and preset their favorite stations. For the radio industry, this is a fork in the road, and a critical inflection point that could very well shape the future of in-car listening levels and preferences for years to come. We have some amazing data in Techsurvey 11 to show the industry about the “connected car” training process and what it means to radio. And at DASH, we’ll be focusing on the dealership level, and looking for opportunities for local radio stations to become proactive and succeed both on the listening and the sales fronts. The IPSOS and Techsurvey11 data indicate that all is well for radio and the car. But a deeper look shows that this storied relationship is fragile and very much in flux. The “center stack” is redefining the in-car media experience and that has big-time implications on broadcasters. In the “connected car” space, too many people are disconnecting the dots.
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WNPV AM 1440 Attention Small Business Owners! Here is some good advice from Stephen Reily of MediaPost's "Engage: Boomers." Are You Ready To Be Dumped? When marketers are asked how they keep Boomers engaged, those who don’t ignore them usually admit they take them for granted. If you are one of these marketers, you should get ready to be dumped. Recent research from global PR/communications firm Ketchum reminds us that consumers 50+ (and especially women) are suddenly ready for change in all aspects of their lives. And that does mean all aspects. As Ketchum neatly summarizes: “For spouses who haven't been pulling their weight, friends who are high on drama, and brands that are just force-of-habit, it could mean getting left behind.” Change Means Change I’ve written here before about targeting consumers at the moments when their lives change most, and Ketchum confirms that somewhere around age 50, women feel their lives changing more than ever before. Says Karen Strauss, Ketchum’s chief strategy and creative officer, many “women coming out of their 40s, the so-called ‘rush hour’ decade ... have a breakthrough moment around age 50.” When we go through most big life changes (going to college, getting married, having children) we change lots of things about our lives, from friends to shopping patterns to brands. Yet marketers (like old friends and spouses) have too often thought that the breakthrough changes around 50 would not be accompanied by other big changes in the lives of midlife consumers. It’s time for them to think again. Ketchum’s “ReMovement” Study confirms that midlife represents a time to shed the old and try the new: • 53% of Ketchum’s respondents (all U.S. women 50+) said they are in relationships that have run their course or lost relevance • 89% are open to trying new brands • Only 45% belong to a brand loyalty program today and almost one-third are “always” on the lookout for new brands to try This is consistent with what I’ve seen in our work. The physical and psychological changes of midlife lead women to look for new consumer relationships of all kinds, from moisturizers to blue jeans to cars. At the same time they are asking how to remake their personal connections too: how to dump a toxic peer, how to find friends who share their current interests, and whether to remain in longstanding but loveless marriages. Change Can Make Us Happy Readiness for change does not mean that a Boomer is dissatisfied or lonely. Ketchum’s research also confirms that consumers at age 50 may be happier than ever. Respondents said that each passing decade after 50 is better than the one before — even if their lives are quieter: 92% are satisfied with the time they spend alone. No longer dependent on relationships or brands that don’t meet their needs, these consumers are looking for partners who will join and support them in the next stage of life. Ketchum itself takes this risk — and opportunity — seriously enough that it has launched its own Ketchum 50+ division. Based on its research, here’s what Ketchum advises: • Reintroduce yourself — explain why you’re the right brand for her now. • Acknowledge that she’s changing relationships — you might get to be her new best friend. • Honor (and ask to join her on) the "U-curve" of happiness — these might be the best years of her life. Are you following this advice for the Boomers your brand depends on? Or are you assuming she doesn’t have the guts to break up? You might be surprised.
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