Ads could help arena

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I wish to thank the Chronicle, other media and the people of Augusta for your interest and support of the ideas we on the Coliseum Authority are proposing, and for the kind words you've had to say about me.

Most of the talk has centered around my idea of spending about $35,000 on two full-page ads in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Nashville Tennessean to get the attention of artists such as Sir Elton John, Alan Jackson, Usher, Faith Hill, Brad Paisley, Ludacris, Sugarland, Widespread Panic and many others.

All live in or work out of the Atlanta or Nashville area.

Another $4,000 is for a follow-up campaign to have mailers with the full-size ads hand-delivered directly to the managers and agents for each artist.

IT'S BEEN UNDERSTANDABLE that some folks, including one or two of the Authority members, are only looking at "$39,000 for two newspaper ads." Allow me to place it in better perspective.

The James Brown Arena and Bell Auditorium lose approximately $39,000 every 12 days . None of the money is invested directly to generate additional shows, faster, in our buildings.

Over the years, the relic that I am, I've produced shows for the likes of Tina Turner, Kris Kristofferson, Otis Redding, Sly and the Family Stone, Rare Earth, Jim Croce, Barabara Mandrell and Family, Jackie Wilson, the Charlie Daniels Band and scores of others.

I think I have a grasp of how artists think and I know it takes some different and unusual things to get their attention. Just calling their managers or agents -- or running an ad in the trade magazines -- is done hundreds of times a day. Nothing different about that (although we'll part of that, as well, after the ads run).

There are no fewer than 49 Grammy-quality show business types who live in the Atlanta area alone. They all have friends, family, and business associates who all have access to these artists every day -- just as James Brown did in the Augusta area.

There is no doubt in my mind that should this full-page ad run, it will have an impact.

AND WHO KNOWS? With a little luck, we may get some recognition in the Atlanta and Nashville press and maybe even some by the wire services nationally, for the very unorthodox idea -- which would certainly give us more bang for our bucks invested.

Everyone wants to know "will it work?" It's never, to the best of my information, been done -- so no one can say for sure. But what always is nothing is doing nothing. It the grand overview, it seems to me a small investment for a great potential of return. It will only take one or two of the artists to respond to make it all worthwhile. Once we get a couple of "majors" in for successful events, the others will surely follow.

I would appreciate your prayers and support for all our efforts on your Coliseum Authority. Please encourage members to vote yes at our meeting on Tuesday and help put Augusta back on the fast track of the concert circuit.

(The writer is a member of the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority.)

Comments (14) Add comment
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Cheech1
0
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Cheech1 01/25/09 - 04:15 am
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Hey Johnny, why don't you

Hey Johnny, why don't you just write a "Guest Opinion Column" or LTE to the AJC for all the acts to read?

justus4
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justus4 01/25/09 - 06:43 am
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The ad may work or it may
Unpublished

The ad may work or it may not. But what is success? What will determine a successful ad campaign? A Elton John or a T.I.? Will success be determined by amount of sales or revenue? If moderate expectations are the standards, some will find room to fault while others will call it a success. Either way, the Authority should invest in the ads. They already lose that much every two weeks. So vote yes, but don't over-promise. It can work.

blues550
349
Points
blues550 01/25/09 - 11:16 am
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The Civic Center Authority
Unpublished

The Civic Center Authority has turned over management to a respected company, quite trying to micromanage and let them do their job.

fighterzack
4
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fighterzack 01/25/09 - 11:47 am
0
0
Why not host these performers

Why not host these performers during Masters Week?
Even if they aren't able to come it will accomplish what you are trying to achieve which is "Augusta loves you and wants you to perform here".

SandyK2005
1
Points
SandyK2005 01/25/09 - 12:41 pm
0
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"Most of the talk has

"Most of the talk has centered around my idea of spending about $35,000 on two full-page ads in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Nashville Tennessean to get the attention of artists such as Sir Elton John, Alan Jackson, Usher, Faith Hill, Brad Paisley, Ludacris, Sugarland, Widespread Panic and many others." ----- It's ify, as big name artists want large stadiums for ticket sales. If the area can't seat 100,000 fans, they usually bypass the venue (why area fans goto Atlanta or Columbia for big name concerts). Concerts are how musicians get their real money, as records are to pay the "industry" for the studio and publicity. Maybe it'll be easier to make some phone calls to scope the scene if there's any interest. But without a cart (arena/amphitheater/stadium) to dangle the carrot (ad) it's hard to see if any big name acts will come. Older acts in their golden years, yes, but nothing like Justin Timberlake or whoever music star around these days. Closest I can see it happening, is if a big name has a concert going in Atlanta and Charlotte, and asking them to "stop by" on their way. That would take political and/or insider clout to pull off.

SandyK2005
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SandyK2005 01/25/09 - 12:49 pm
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BTW, Tears For Fears held

BTW, Tears For Fears held their Atlanta concert during it's heyday (the "Big Chair" tour after their '85 hit album) at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, came back to Lakewood Amphitheater for their "Elemental" album release. So some big name acts will perform at smaller venues, But really think they did so due to location, with enough population interested. Here, you say Tears For Fears, and the may look at you like you are crazy (despite having heard their songs on radio, in movies and TV). :rolleyes:

gcap
270
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gcap 01/25/09 - 01:02 pm
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Take a look at the history of

Take a look at the history of the Colisuem and recent history of the Bell. Led by incompetent, greedy commissions, they fired highly qualified managers (e.g. Wendy Oglesby), angered industry leaders, and have never managed a profit. Therefore, give Mr. Hensley's plan a try. The worst that could happen is that the "Authority" will lose a few bucks, which they would do anyway. They just wouldn't have the "loss" in THEIR pockets.

The Knave
24
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The Knave 01/25/09 - 01:33 pm
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Why not simply write letters

Why not simply write letters directly to the artists and their agents? The letters could be signed by city officials, if that would somehow add to their sincerity and gravitas. This would be much more effective and direct. Maybe those targeted folks don't even read the newspapers. Has anyone thought of that, in this age of greatly reduced newspaper readership? The idea of spending $39K on these ads is idiotic, and is an insult to those who are paying the freight -- that would be you taxpayers. Hey, why spend a few bucks on stationary and postage, when you can spend $39K on paper that will be tomorrow's fish wrapper?

gcap
270
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gcap 01/25/09 - 02:30 pm
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TK, your idea isn't

TK, your idea isn't completely bad. But to show serious interest in attracting acts, the Coliseum crowd needs to communicate using all its tools. Why not do both? And hit the trade publications and internet and recording companies and any other organization that might influence acts? Currently, we are on the bad list ever since the senseless firing of Wendy O. Getting beyond that in the entertainment industry is no small challenge. Perhaps the time is now to hit ALL media and put that episode behind us. Count on it though, that's what's been holding us back. (Along with the indescribable incompetence of the Authority.)

The Knave
24
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The Knave 01/25/09 - 03:29 pm
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Sure, gcap, what the heck,

Sure, gcap, what the heck, spend it all, it's only rapidly-being- debased paper dollars. This Wendy O person that you are fawning over, may have been the greatest venue manager ever, I don't know. But I do doubt that the likes of Elton John know or care a whit about her or her dismissal. And, your saying "that's what's been holding us back" is nonsense. What's been holding "us" back is the demonstrable and severe incompetence and hubris displayed by the all the parties -- state and local politicians and the board members they appointed. Spending tens of thousands of dollars on newspaper ads will not get "us" off the, as you say, "bad list." Getting off the bad list requires competency on the part of the oversight board and Augusta politicians. Good luck with that one. The only result from "papering" over that problem. will be the expenditure of paper money on news-papers that fewer and fewer people care anything about -- particularly busy entertainers. Johnny Hensley says "Everyone wants to know "will it work?" It's never, to the best of my information, been done..." Well, of course, it's never been done because it is such a ridiculous idea, from the Augusta backwater.

SandyK2005
1
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SandyK2005 01/25/09 - 03:34 pm
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"Currently, we are on the bad

"Currently, we are on the bad list ever since the senseless firing of Wendy O. Getting" ---- We've been on the bad list ever since that thug, threw a bottle at a drummer of a big name band cutting his hand here (can't recall if it was Van Halen, but it was a rock band) all the way back to the early 80s. Since then, we haven't had a current big name act come here. Perhaps because of the rep of that, and our police turning a concert into an riot control operation. If Lakewood could manage a rock concert without even people rushing the stage (great set up putting tables up front, and upping the quality of alcohol served to attract mature fans -- folks were eating out of fondue pots, and I remember eating a 3 course Italian meal that I brought in), we can do it here. But Augusta has to improve it's image with attracting performing artists here from the ground up. No more "redneck" style concerts, up the quality, and cops won't be needed to be the bouncers.

gcap
270
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gcap 01/25/09 - 07:43 pm
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TK, again I will agree with

TK, again I will agree with much of what you say. Elton John, incidentally, has played here before, six or eight years ago or so. Never mind that -- it's the crazy industry that NEVER forgets. These folks will turn on you so fast and never look back. And your point about incompetency is more than partially true. Now, however, Mr. Hensley is showing some creativity and, I believe, honesty (something very strange to that group). Incidentlly, Wendy Oglesby was a fine manager who lasted but a month or two. She questioned tickets being used by certain members of the Coliseum Authority. Then she questioned accounting records. Then she got fired. Then she sued and won. Then she retired. Then she told all her friends (rightfully so) NOT to do business with the Augusta Civic Center. They listened.

gcap
270
Points
gcap 01/25/09 - 07:51 pm
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Sandy, for heaven's sake

Sandy, for heaven's sake (and, yes, there is a heaven), quit trying to make Augusta eat fondue, three course meals, and drink wine. Maybe some concert goers will enjoy such, but the concerts that must come to Augusta need to be for everyone -- country music, hip-hop, rock, jazz, you name it. Believe me, all the concerts at Lakewood aren't for the high and mighty. Believe me also, that wasn't the first beer bottle hurled at Van Halen. Hell, they love that sort of stuff. The reason we haven't had a big name act in years is the Wendy Oglesby situation perpetrated by the Civic Center authority. Just ask them. Or better yet her.

SandyK2005
1
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SandyK2005 01/26/09 - 12:58 am
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We already have the other

We already have the other fare, we need something more classy... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lx7uguvFzM . As for that beer bottle, the band was pretty upset and said, "never again", and the prophecy has proven true in over 20 years. No one person caused the problem, it's been 20+ years of indifference.

fighterzack
4
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fighterzack 01/26/09 - 08:34 am
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Focus on courting PROMOTERS

Focus on courting PROMOTERS (AEG,etc) who do not have a major interest in competing venues. Doing "one offs" is a great example of catching a big name act between major cities.

SandyK2005
1
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SandyK2005 01/26/09 - 04:18 pm
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Sounds more doable to grab

Sounds more doable to grab them between cities, as they're passing through anyway on their tour buses. Augusta lets the fish get away, despite them swimming right in front of them. Time for a bait bucket.

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