Renewing the Voice

Saturday, March 27, 2010

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Hatboro station now streaming LIVE @Monty

It's true! We are now streaming 89.3 WRDV-FM live from our Web site. We spoke with the guys at WRDV earlier this month about the idea and they were happy to get on board.

WRDV broadcasts Jazz Age classics, big band era, early blues, rock and country during the weekdays. On weekends, the station moves toward "roots of rocks and rhythm, doo wop and rare oldies tunes.

What really caught my ear were the local business advertisements. Around 4:52 p.m. Friday, I heard about a local pancake eating event in Warminster.

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New community blogs launch

Montgomery Media, parent company of the Souderton Independent has launched two new local blogs this week.

The first, the Tents for Haiti Project blog, documents the 30-year relationship between volunteer groups in the Souderton area and the village of Côtes-de-Fer in Haiti along with ongoing efforts to provide relief and support to that village.

The second blog, Second String Thoughts, is for sports fanatics in the local area and features writings from Kevin McGuire, a Souderton resident who will blog on local sports issues in the Souderton and Pennridge area, as well as hot topics for Philadelphia’s major sports teams and Penn State sports.

The Souderton Independent and Montgomery Media are aiming to expand local opinion coverage on the web through its blog center. If you have a blog idea you’d like us to consider, e-mail Souderton Independent editor Emily Morris at or our Video and Web editor Andy Stettler at

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Overshare, under-square

I guess Monday wasn't the best day to push Foursquare's mobile app to the limits but I did happen to stumble upon some interesting finds.

SquarePik, an iPhone app that allows Foursquare players to add photos and videos to their check-ins is a great way for local businesses to use social networking to promote themselves. This is kind of a break through for Foursquare but the network itself hasn't seemed to understand SquarePik's advantages.

The point of Foursquare is to talk about the places users have checked-into, to provide tips about what's good, what's bad and if the place is even worth the visit. If Foursquare were to incorporate visual forms of media, going beyond text, the app would enter a whole new world of usefulness.

Imagine having to make a decision between the Broad Axe Tavern and Phil's Tavern with only Foursquare as a reference. The two are so similar at a glance that the decision could really go either way. But if Foursquare used photos and video, users could compare the Broad Axe's upgraded, visually appealing sports bar area to Phil's classic pub style bar and make a much more informed decision about the two Blue Bell taverns.

I would imagine this could cause competition between businesses via Foursquare which would then bring more businesses into the network's business deal program.

On a completely different note, I received the "Overshare" badge last night after making "10+ check-ins in 12 hours."

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Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Mobile Test: Can Foursquare's mobile app meet other networks' standards?

Last November, Mashable creator Pete Cashmore anticipated the rise of FourSquare in 2010. He said, "you may wonder which social-media service will become tech's poster boy in 2010. Among the Web’s early adopter set, the answer is nearly unanimous: Foursquare."

Well, it's 2010 and Foursquare is my latest digital obsession. Cashmore was right when he said that Foursquare, like Twitter has an addictive nature, but I would like to see if Foursquare can keep up with social networks giants like Facebook and Twitter.

This week, I'm going to experiment with Foursquare to update my Facebook and Twitter via mobile device rather than Tweetie or Facebook Mobile. I want to see what Foursquare is missing and what it is capable of. Then, I will post another blog entry, here, at the end of the week about what I found and whether or not I think I could completely replace other social media mobile apps with the FourSquare app.

Why Foursquare could be the next big network

Unlike Twitter, Foursquare is a game. Users check in to restaurants, theaters, gas stations and even workplaces to earn points which are then added to a weekly score board measuring the user’s points against those of their Foursquare friends.

The game aspect of Foursquare is key to drawing both Twitter users and Facebook users who haven’t fallen for the Twitter phenomenon. This network doesn't force users to gain a following or get out. Instead, users can simply check-in, win the mayor's crown and earn badges among a small network of friends.

However, the network provides a fix for the Twitter-feins too. Users can sync their Facebook status and a Twitter account so that they can "shout" (the Foursquare equivalent of a tweet) from Foursquare while updating the other two networks.

These two aspects are what I would like to test in the coming week.

You can find me on Foursquare and Twitter @AndyStettler. Follow me and send me a comment.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Equipment Shed, Issue 2: The MinoHD Flip Cam

As Journal Register Company newsrooms across the country move forward with new CEO John Paton’s initiative to cover more stories using multimedia, Montgomery Media wants to be ahead of the curve.

In fact, we began using video coverage as an added aspect of our news coverage back in May 2009, however, now the entire Monty newsroom is pushing to cover stories with video more frequently and preferably in HD.

That’s where the
MinoHD Flip Cam came in.

The MinoHD Flip Cam shoots in 1280 x 720 pixels and holds 8GB of video, thats nearly 120 minutes of footage. Below is a list of this Flip’s pros and cons.


During the snow storms earlier this month, I was able to walk the neighborhoods of
Plymouth Meeting shooting HD footage even as the snow continued to fall. No other camera (at least that I own) would be able to withstand the wet and icy cold climate of this month’s snow storm without suffering some kind of defect due to moisture.

Compact Size-
Since the size of this Flip is no larger than an iPod, I can carry it in my pocket as if it were a cell phone. So whereas my
Canon SX20 IS would be a hassle to carry around all day (often times, my camera bag is mistaken for a purse...), I barely even notice that I have the Flip with me.

Easy to Use and Dummy Proof-
Flips are the definition of a "point-and-shoot" camera. Any writer, editor, even the receptionist can learn to use a Flip. You simply press the red "record" button and action! I've also heard of some users who are a little worried about deleting their footage since the trashcan button is right there on the touch-sensitive device. Actually, users have to press the trash button a number of times to actually get the camera to delete your footage and therefore the MinoHD Flip Cam is practically dummy proof.


The Zoom-
The zoom on this Flip is very weak. The Flip’s creators say it has a “smooth multi-step 2x digital” zoom but the last thing I would call this zoom is smooth. Users will never get that cool zoom-action shot they get from any other video camera. Instead, they will have to suffer from the camera’s spastic pulse zoom which looks incredibly unprofessional, especially in a news video.

In addition, do not expect to go to an event and cover a speaker from your seat. Try to catch as many one-on-one interviews as you can before the speaker takes the podium so that you do not have to rely on the bad quality zoom and it’s pixelated recording.

White Balance and Light Sensitivity-
During the recent snow storms, I enjoyed taking walks at night when the snow reduced to flurries. What I found was that I could capture almost everything in the dark landscape without having to find a streetlight for help.

However, go to any concert venue with stage lighting and forget it. The white balance and light sensitivity is completely automatic. I once had a friend tape a concert I played at World Cafe Live and the entire recording went in my trash bin because even with color correction, my skin was so bright that the definition was lost and so came the distorted pixelation.

Lack of Image Stabilization-
My intern showed me his method of holding the Flip so that users don’t get the “Blair Witch” effect but even with his method, the Flip’s shaky nature can get kind of ridiculous. Be sure to tell newsroom Flip users about the lack of image stabilization so they can prepare themselves to stay as stable as possible.

The Flip does have a a standard thread for tripod use but the whole point of the camera is that it is a hand-held device for users who are not interested in carrying a heavy camera bag or in this case, a bulky tripod.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

"The Fort" on FourSquare

Just some quick news to our readers whom follow our social networks; you can now check-in to “The Fort” on

Okay, so maybe it isn’t the most revolutionary news but for now on, if you happen to stop by our Fort Washington offices, be sure to check in. We love to know who is in the office or who has stopped by.

Montgomery Media Social Networks:

Twitter- @MontgomeryMedia

Facebook- Montgomery Media

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