What Now?

| January 3, 2016 | 0 Comments

Hey, I’m History!

Here’s how it started: around about the mid-70s, a friend of mine organized an Israeli Festival, to be held in Mission Valley’s Scottish Rite Auditorium. She corralled me: “You know how to write. You do the publicity!” Well, she was right; I was already a writer, a columnist in our local pubs (“pubs” being PR slang for “publications.”). I’d even been a copywriter for the only radio station in Bozeman, Montana (when we visited there recently, the list of radio stations occupied an entire newspaper column!).

But I’d no idea what “publicity” entailed.

Since she was insistent, I set off to figure it out. In the last days of the “S.D. Union” and, then, “Evening Tribune’s” residence downtown, off I went to find out how one “did” publicity. Here’s what you can’t do today: one can’t stroll the newsroom, hang at desks, make media friends. But then, that’s what I did: told Gus Stevens, the first guy I encountered, that I had to “do” the publicity – and would he kindly tell me how to do it?

Did I ever have a better time in my whole life? I got it! Right around then, the UT moved to Mission Valley, and at the elevator, I met two “suits” who were converting single-screen movie houses here into multi-plexes. I said, of course, that I was “handling” (!) the publicity for the Israeli Festival. “Would you, “they proposed, “handle the publicity for each theater as it’s ready to open – and (drum-roll, please!), we will pay you XXX.”

That did it. Fun and money? I never looked back. Civic leader Bea Evenson, struggling to save from demolition – at that time – Balboa Park’s “Electric Building” – asked ‘round about who was doing the work for the Festival, and hired me to help. Yes: she saved the building that today houses the Museum of Photographic Arts and other treasured organizations.

The Museum of Man was impressed. Then came my next client. Guy on the board there involved at KPBS. Then I got a new client. Homer Delawie, FAIA, chaired the station’s auction fund-raiser. I was soon joyfully embroiled in architecture. The lady handling PR for Diane Powers’ Bazaar del Mundo wanted out; she brought me in, and Ms. Powers said, “Okay!”

Ahh, you know, kind readers, you don’t have time for the rest.

It’s just that this month, Laura Walcher PR is having a reunion, and it’s going to be a good – no – a great – time to remind my staffers of umpteen years that it just wasn’t possible without them. And that the payback I got over the years to see the younger ones grow into serious, expert professionals, and the more experienced ones build their already impressive resumes into their own successful careers, has to this day been gratifying, to say the least. Many have continued to work in communications.

I’ve tried hard to identify and remember everyone I’d ever hired. Lost some altogether. Others have new names. Some might not want to be found. But, if it were possible, I’d find everyone – even the few I fired! Yet, not only were amazingly few fired, but amazingly few clients fired us – and we fired amazingly few of them!

Save high-tech and bio-tech, our clients were in nearly every profession and industry: retail, law, restaurants, non-profits, healthcare, cultural institutions, manufacturing, sports, media – and more. Every one a challenge, an educational experience, a source of pride in helping clients advance their own enterprises.

These days, daughter Jean (J. Walcher Communications) expertly manages her public relations agency, where I play a “been there, done that” role; now and then, clients of the past come back to find us; and, around here, we’re having a reunion, expecting a rollicking time of recall, good and bad, and don’t get me wrong: I’m expecting to take a lot of the credit – and all of the blame!


Category: Business, Local News

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