I should probably quit while I’m ahead

My first graduate school course is complete and my GPA is 4.0. Feeling pretty good about that right now. I had planned to post an update here after I was accepted into the M.B.A. program at Forbes School of Business in January, but it turns out when you have to balance work, school, and family, there’s not a lot of time left for website updates. But I am pleased about the decision to go back to school, and it turns out this is exactly the right time in my life to do it.

Something I learned almost immediately is that when you’re an adult learner, you’re able to apply so much of your career experience to the conversation and your assignments. It just wouldn’t have been the same had I chosen to get a Master’s degree after graduating from Oswego all those years back. My only experience at that point was stocking shelves at Wegmans (No. 4 on Fortune’s “Best Companies to Work For” list!) and working the video game section of Sears.

I loved both of those jobs.

Some time back I posted an update to LinkedIn after earning my social media strategy certification. Since then I’ve also finished the Digital Marketing certification program that was offered by Mediabistro, and I’ve started taking Hootsuite’s Podium courses, which is another social media program. I feel like I’m getting pretty good at this.

Gold star for me.

Gold star for me.

New Year, New Now Playing Podcast Schedule

I wrote this piece for the Venganza Media website previewing the Now Playing Podcast schedule from January through March. The new shows begin Tuesday, Jan. 5 with a review of Robert Rodriguez’s Machete, which is part of our Grindhouse retrospective.

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Also on tap in the first quarter is a Masters of the Universe review, which comes at the request of a fan who backed Now Playing’s “Underrated Movies We Recommend” book on Kickstarter.

The year’s first weekend of release review will be Deadpool in February. As I mention in the article, the calendar is always in flux, but you can bet Now Playing will return to some of our ongoing retrospectives. That means Marvel, DC, and Star Wars!

This is a quick story about learning something new

Last week I completed my Advanced Social Media Strategy Certification, a program developed by the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and Hootsuite. I don’t think someone can ever be an “expert” at social media – it just grows too fast – but credentials like this one are extremely valuable to professionals looking to understand the complexity of social business and their strategic approach to social media.

For me, this is a career and personal growth achievement. The ASMS certification is the first of two certifications I started working on this year, and I’m already looking around for my next learning experience. You have to find ways to update your personal playbook, and that goes for anyone in any business. So, if you’re plotting out your 2016 resolutions, I strongly encourage you to seek out these kinds of opportunities – training, certifications, degree programs, etc. It doesn’t even have to be work related, just resolve to learn something new.

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The ASMS credential.

Why I love the ‘Star Trek’ streaming announcement

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 9.12.39 PMWill Star Trek do for CBS what House of Cards did for Netflix?

While I am curious to see what kind of Trek show eventually debuts on CBS in 2017, I’m more interested in seeing its impact on the network’s budding digital platform. Following this morning’s announcement that the new series was being developed for the streaming service, I tweeted that other networks should take notice. I’m sure they have, and local affiliates are taking notice too, because the day will come when all of the best network programming is only available through streaming.

Despite this whiny New York Post article’s claim that Trek is being relegated to a “second tier” platform, CBS knows exactly what it’s doing. This is just the next step in the company’s plan since launching All Access last year with a $5.99 per month subscription, which includes its own shows and content from local affiliates. The network is putting itself in a position in which it will no longer need the affiliates or cable companies to carry its programming. I’ve previously written that to combat this, affiliate companies need to keep developing their own original programming, or at least invest in digital media (Scripps acquiring podcaster Midroll is a great example of the latter).

That day may be far off into the future, but you can bet it’s on the mind of CEO Les Moonves, who hinted last year that the company was planning to produce digital-only programming. There’s even been talk of putting the NFL on All Access, which, pardon the expression, would be the ultimate game-changer. Star Trek is one thing, but you know how people go crazy for the football.

For now, Star Trek is the killer app that CBS hopes will get more people to sign up for All Access, just as House of Cards gave people a reason to subscribe to Netflix streaming (like the DVD business, the broadcast model isn’t what it used to be). Targeting the Trek audience is also a smart move; they are online, they are technophiles and early adopters, and they are dedicated to the franchise – they’ll pay the $6 to see a new series.

Even if you could care less about CBS programming, you have to salute the company for embracing the present – I’m not even going to say the future, digital is the now. All Access is not a second-tier platform, it’s the kind of service that every media company should have, especially the local affiliates, who risk someday losing out on quality programming that is streamed from someone else’s app.

Halloween comes early!

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This has been an outstanding year for Now Playing Podcast, and it just keeps getting better. Today we announced that Halloween director John Carpenter will pen the foreword to Now Playing’s Kickstarter-funded book, “Underrated Movies We Recommend.”

The Kickstarter project was a massive success earlier this year, and for months the hosts of the show have been watching movies and writing nonstop. Right now the book is on target to ship in the second quarter of 2016, and fans can pre-order their copies at the Now Playing website.

Here’s a link to the news release announcing Carpenter’s involvement with the project.

You’ve got a job offer, now what?

This is the fourth article I’ve written in a loosely connected series about taking a new career path, the questions you should ask yourself, and how to avoid making mistakes along the way. This latest article is about what to do after you’ve received a job offer. Employers will anticipate that you’ll need 24-48 hours to discuss the offer with your family, and in that time there are some items you’ll want to check off your list.

Obviously, this doesn’t apply to everyone. If you’re offered the job you want at the salary you want and everything seems lined up perfectly, maybe you don’t need 24-48 hours. But sometimes you don’t want to take a job just for the money, or you might end up turning down the offer.

I got some advice from an expert on Ashford University’s Career and Alumni Services team, and you can read it on Forward Thinking.

The Final Countdown

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I screened Halloween III: Season of the Witch for the first time (this month) last night, and I’m gearing up for the home stretch of horror movies all the way to Halloween. Also last night, I had a great chat with some Now Playing Podcast fans as we ran down the list of movies we’re trying to fit in before the end of the month. I was reminded that I still need to squeeze in showings of Night of the Creeps and Christine.

Another thing that I need to squeeze in (and you should too) is Now Playing Podcast’s Halloween Retrospective Series. This is the series that introduced me to the show in 2011, and four years later I’m so thrilled to be a supporter and contributor. If you’re a fan, this is the day to cue up that retrospective – nine movies, nine shows – if you want to hear one a day, ending on All Hallows Eve.

It’s the final countdown! (I just like saying that)