Expert Columns

Would you dare to try something different? Y'know, shake things up a bit. What would it be? How would people respond if you did something just a bit out of the ordinary?
Stop and think about it for a bit. When was the last time you watched a TV show that wasn't a spin on some overused theme? It seems that everyone on TV is doing a talk show, a reality show with ghosts, castaways, or a “let's take this apart and see what works” theme.
What about radio? What's different? Who's doing that one thing that really stands out and makes people want to stop and listen? Would you dare to try something...something small...that's different?
New things are being done, sure. But they're scary. They're not the normal things. Sometimes they're a new twist on an idea that's clothed in a “familiar” package. Maybe they're a funny twist on a well-used theme...like Will Ferrel's “Ron Burgundy” character turning a car commercial on its head by pitching not the size of the truck bed, but the size of the vehicle's glove box. People thought they were watching just another car commercial, what they got was a comedy routine that was used to sell a car. It was just different enough that people took notice.
Maybe “different” means that you try a new summer promotion this year. Maybe you crowdsource new content from local listeners. Maybe instead of giving out pre-printed station logo t-shirts to listeners, you give blank ones and invite your listeners to come out to a promotion and create their own station logo t-shirts.
Maybe some of your ideas won't work. But does that mean you've failed? Or does it mean that you're finding new ways to connect listeners to your station?
People want to know that they're connected with something fresh and alive. Sometimes that means that we take chances on a new idea. Sometimes it means we dare to do something outside of the ordinary. Something a little unexpected. What would you dare to do?

Why is a Hollywood actress suing a drug store chain...and what does it mean for you?
This past week Katherine Heigl announced a $6 million dollar lawsuit against the Duane Reade drugstore chain because it posted her photo on its Twitter page along with the caption, “Love a quick #DuaneReade run? Even @KatieHeigl can't resist shopping #NYC's most convenient drug store.”
Sounds innocent enough, right? A simple observation about a celebrity's shopping trip? The actress doesn't think so. She claims the claim is using her image and name for advertising purposes – without her permission. (CNN.com has the full story)
So what is it? Is the actress over-reacting? Was the drug store's post just a harmless social media comment? And why is this important to you and your social media team?
For starters, she's right to protest the unauthorized use of her image when it's construed as an endorsement or advertisement. Had the image/text simply stated that “Guess who we saw at our store today!”, then there might not be as much controversy. But the copy turned a paparazzi moment into a full-blown ad.
And here's why this lawsuit matters to your social media team: It's easy to make this kind of mistake. Chances are that you won't have a high-profile Hollywood run-in this week, but it is wise to set up safeguards for your social media content so that your team doesn't get caught up in a similar situation. Make sure your posters know the difference between reporting and unintentional advertising/endorsements. One simply states the facts, the other implies that the personality you just profiled wholeheartedly endorses your activity.
Keep an eye on this case. It may amount to nothing but a celebrity spat...then again, it may change the way in which social media reporting is conducted.
What are your thoughts? Let me know on Twitter @arbuckwr.

Sympathy for the Devil author, Brian Mattson, reveals the truth about of Darren Aronofsky’s new movie, Noah: it is not at all a fanciful rendition of the Biblical story – it is a combination of Jewish mysticism (Kabbalah) and gnosticism. We’re starting out on the wrong foot if we think its about the story in Genesis.

What does the average Christian know about Kabbalah? Considerably less than he knows about gnosticism – and he knows precious little about that. So it is exceedingly unlikely that most Christians who see this movie will notice this consistent theme, the glue that holds the story together. It will just appear to be a jumble of weird misinterpretations of the Bible that will disconcert, and will either be brushed aside in honor of that redblooded American desire to turn off our reasoning and just enjoy a Hollywood special-effects blockbuster, or to simply walk away, thinking it's a bad movie.

His article is called Sympathy for the Devil because in Kabbalah, Satan is the good guy, and God is the bad guy – and, although deceptively, that's pretty much what the movie says. One theme running through the story, for instance, is the use of the preserved skin of the Serpent from the Garden of Eden as a talisman to confer Enlightenment – that is, to liberate someone from their default bondage to a bad God, Yahweh, entering freedom of the good god, Lucifer.

Mattson is disturbed that pastors and prominent Christian leaders can’t see it:

This was a thoroughly pagan retelling of the Noah story direct from Kabbalist and Gnostic sources. To my mind, there is simply no doubt about this.

So let me tell you what the real scandal in all of this is:

It isn’t that he made a film that departed from the biblical story. It isn’t that disappointed and overheated Christian critics had expectations set too high.

The scandal is this: of all the Christian leaders who went to great lengths to endorse this movie (for whatever reasons: 'it’s a conversation starter,' 'at least Hollywood is doing something on the Bible,' etc.), and all of the Christian leaders who panned it for 'not following the Bible’…

Not one of them could identify a blatantly Gnostic subversion of the biblical story when it was right in front of their faces.

I believe Aronofsky did it as an experiment to make fools of us: ‘You are so ignorant that I can put Noah (granted, it's Russell Crowe!) up on the big screen and portray him literally as the ‘seed of the Serpent’ and you all will watch my studio’s screening and endorse it.’

He’s having quite the laugh. And shame on everyone who bought it.”

I advise everyone to prepare their minds, by reading Mattson’s article, before watching this profoundly wicked movie. It is an evil thing to "bait and switch" the Christian community, setting them up to debate a Hollywoodized version of a Bible story, when in fact it has nothing to do with the Bible.

Of course, Aronofsky makes no bones about his being an atheist, and his movies have all been saturated with Kabbalistic and gnostic themes, so he can't be said to have been hiding anything. It is the Laodicean nature of the Church in our time that we can’t see the blatantly obvious.
In the Biblical account, the “Sons of God” "left their own domain," "abandoned their proper abode”– that is, they decided to set up shop here on Earth, to subvert God's plan for newly created mankind. They were the cause of the conditions that necessitated the Flood. So God put them in Tartarus, the deepest part of Hell, where they remain today, awaiting God's final judgement (Jude 6, 2 Peter 2).

In the movie, they came to help Adam, which made "the creator" mad (He’s never once called “God”), so he encased them in frozen lava – they look like huge, walking piles of rock, with light shining between the chinks. Their spirits have been trapped in crude, material bounds by a vindictive, unsympathetic “creator." Far from being malevolent, the watchers build the Ark for Noah, and protect his camp like a praetorian guard. Towards the end, when Noah's enemies try to steal the Ark, they manage to kill the "Watchers," who, liberated from their material prisons, burst into heaven, returning to their rightful place. No confinement to Hell, but instead, liberation. This is pure, unadulterated, gnosticism, and it is painful to watch – if you know what you're looking at.

"The creator" never speaks in the movie, even though God is quite chatty with Noah in the Biblical account, giving him advice and instruction all along the way, and then making a permanent covenant with humanity in the end, sealed with the sign of the rainbow. The Flood was a rescue mission for humanity, to give it a fresh start, freed from the corruption the Watchers inflicted on a "very good" creation. In the movie, Noah can only infer what he must do, by interpreting his dreams, and also by an induced dream his witch doctor grandfather, Methuselah, gave him via a drugged cup of tea. He thinks his job is to ensure that the world, after he rescues the animals, will be free from the cancer of humanity. His family cannot be allowed to procreate, because human beings are evil.

In the Bible, Noah has a wife, and all three sons have wives. Eight people. Not here. Noah only allows a girl on board because he knows she can't bear children, so that’s OK. But Noah’s wife secretly seeks out Methuselah, who heals the girl. When she gets pregnant – with twin girls – Noah knows he has to murder the babies: “the creator" chose him not because he’s good, but because he needed someone to get the job done. But he can’t go through with it, and he regrets bitterly his letting “the creator” down – until the end of the movie, when he is reunited with the skin of the serpent from the Garden of Eden (the good guy, remember?), and gets to confer satanic "enlightenment" on the twin girls. So all turns out for the best, after all! A new human race, all worshiping the serpent. Take that, "creator"!

And the covenant God made with the real Noah, in the Bible? The one where God talks to Noah, and confirms it with a rainbow? Well, you better be paying attention, because while "the creator" does not speak, we do see a point of light in the sky that starts to blow rainbow-colored rings. Rings. Like a snake eating its tail, perhaps? Not one, lest you miss the point. One after another. The end.

There’s lots more to be horrified about, but that’s enough for now. Food for thought.

Michael Patrick Murphy is an author from Indianapolis. His latest book THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN: The Beatitudes and God's Plan For Your Life! Looking at Matthew 5 With Fresh Eyes is available at Barnes & Noble online.

No, it's not yet Easter, but yes, Mother's Day is just a few weeks away.
Have you started planning? As you begin, ask yourself this question: What can my station offer that no one else can?
Some moms still spend hours in the car driving the kids back and forth between school and soccer practice. Can you award one mom with a month's worth of gas money?
Some moms are looking for quick and easy dinner ideas. Can you offer a downloadable cook book with healthy recipes?
Moms worry about paying the bills. Maybe this Mother's Day your station pays her bills for the entire month.
All moms need encouragement. Can you remind her that she's special? Can you encourage her kids to say thanks? Can you be there for her when she's fighting traffic?
Mom is your target. Your P-1. She's the reason you play the songs you do. So let her know she's special. It doesn't take much, but it's worth your while to remind her that she's #1.
You've got the time, so start planning!

Twitter has released a brand-new feature that may prove handy for your next promotion.
The new Photo Collage feature allows you to combine up to four photos at once, plus the usual 140 characters.
Want to see some ideas in action? AdAge.com posts examples of brands that are using the collage to share recipes, ideas and usages with Twitter users. Why not follow their example and use the collage feature to send invites to your next concert, updates from remotes, or photos of artists and guests in the studio? You can now tag people in the photos as well.
As you design collages, keep in mind that this is something that can be used across all of your online media outlets. Save yourself some work by doing some smart design up front so that you can use the same images - just resized - for other postings.
Twitter's collage isn't a be-all, end-all, but it is a useful promotional tool. Have fun!
Speaking of Twitter, you can connect with me @arbuckwr.

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