Just like you go to the doctor for an annual physical, it’s time to do the same for your event or business. As 2017 marketing planning begins, it is important to look back and review last year’s activity. Put it all under the microscope. This includes all aspects - advertising, promotion, sponsorship, public relations, media partnerships and of course the important newcomer to the mix - social media management. Each are important elements of your marketing plan and require thorough analysis - what worked, what didn’t, ways to improve etc. Every area needs to examined because they are all important contributors to overall success of your company or event brand.

What kinds of questions need to be asked? Many of the same questions apply to each part of the marketing plan. For example what is the return on investment? Are there benchmarks in place to properly evaluate the effectiveness of advertising, promotion, sponsorship, social media etc.

An essential part of the physical is determining if the marketing plan is properly funded. Does the budget allow for incremental increases each year based on customer/patrons & revenue details. A guideline for funding is basing your marketing budget on 5-!5% of gross revenues.

The media landscape is constantly changing as the way your customers/patrons use and consume its various forms. The days of running newspaper, radio & television ads through a well used method of placing and forgetting about it are gone. The flip side is you now have a more reliable way to track results with social media. It requires lots of research & writing to make sure the messaging is reaching your target market. This is also something requires much time & effort with dedicated staff or event volunteers needed.

Marketing goals will vary if you produce an annual event (fair or rodeo) or operate a related business (truck dealership, tack & western wear etc.). However, there is sharing of a common connection to the western lifestyle and a similar customer base which means the ideas and themes discussed are very much applicable. 

A Marketing Plan when throughly reached and written can act as a blueprint for success. By giving your business or event an annual physical it ensures meeting opportunities and challenges head on with a roadmap that determines the best route to your destination.

Rational Media is The Marketing Doctor with services tailored for the rodeo & western lifestyle industries. For the better health of your business or event, product or service, please contact Terry Middleditch - or Phone: (403) 560-0632

Alberta author David A. Poulsen explores dark historical terrain with new YA novel

Author David A. Poulsen.  Photo from DUNDURN PRESS

More from Eric Volmers, Calgary Herald

Published on: December 3, 2016 



A school gymnasium in the small Saskatchewan town of Ponteix is not the likeliest of spots for splashy national book launch.

But given the author and book in question — Calgary native David A. Poulsen’s young adult novel And Then the Sky Exploded (Dundurn Press, 207 pages, $12.99) — the locale for the late October event actually seems quite appropriate.

Organized by the school principal as part of a larger tour of Saskatchewan schools, the launch became a major social event in town. In fact, nearly 150 people showed up. Not bad for a community of 600.

But, as is often the case, the veteran author found that among the most engaged and curious when it came to discussing his newest title were the students.

“They are really very interested and very astute and I especially enjoy the question-and-answer period,” he says. ” A lot of times the kids ask really, really interesting, quite penetrating questions and I love that give and take with them.”

And Then the Sky Explodes certainly provides fodder for deep questions, offering a story that delves into the prickly notion of inherited guilt while probing one of history’s darkest moments.

Poulsen is a prolific and versatile author whose body of work includes everything from cook books, to crime thrillers, to comedic novels and children’s tales about vampires. But he has also carved a niche writing young adult fiction. And Then The Sky Explodes falls into a subset of those books, where Poulsen uses the horrors of history as a backdrop for contemporary stories with teen protagonists. The Old Man, released in 2013, dealt with lingering ramifications of the Vietnam War, while 2011’s Numbers was about the Holocaust and anti-Semitism.

The new book offers an intriguing double narrative that follows the journey of a modern teen named Christian, who is horrified to find that his beloved great grandfather’s funeral that the man he adored was a member of the Manhattan Project and helped design the A-bombs that destroyed Nagasaki and Hiroshima during the Second World War.

Devastated by the discovery, Christian is naively determined to make amends during a school trip to Japan. That’s where he meets Yuko, an 81-year-old survivor of Hiroshima, whose story as an 11-year-old in 1945 Hiroshima is told through flashbacks.

“I like to try to put my characters in difficult circumstances and see how they can work themselves out of it,” Poulsen says. “Often those circumstances seem to involve major global things that have gone on in history. I’ve written about Vietnam and the Holocaust and now this. I wanted to examine the whole thing from a kid’s perspective.”

It was Japanese appreciation of Numbers, his 2011 book about a teenager who realizes his favourite teacher is a Holocaust denier, that directly set the new novel into motion. In 2012, Poulsen received a mysterious letter from Japan.

“Because I don’t know anybody in Japan, I thought it was probably a scam — you know, the Emperor of Japan wants to give me 300 million yen and all I have to do is sent my banking information,” he says. “But it wasn’t that. Inside the envelope was a really cool medal called the Sakura, which is given to the author who is voted on by the high-school students in Japan for having written their favourite novel of the previous year.”

As a result, Poulsen was able to expand his school tours to Japan and South Korea that year. While in the former, he decided to immerse himself in local history and culture. Soon, the beginnings of a young adult novel began forming in his head.

And Then the Sky Exploded has its fair share of humour and includes typical teen subplots involving bullies and football games. But Poulsen clearly subscribes to that theory in YA literature that young readers need not be coddled. Not only are they capable of handling dark material that pose big questions, they also have an innate ability to immediately detect when an author is being condescending or inauthentic, Poulsen says.

“I spend a lot of time, not just the time I spend formally in schools, but informally talking to kids and just listening to kids,” he says. “It’s really important that I am aware, that I know what it is they are talking about, what they are thinking about, the interactions they have with their friends and non-friends and teachers in schools. I spend a tremendous amount of time with kids and most of that time I try to listen. That’s what I think is the most important thing. I’ve read an awful lot of literature for young people and I think when it fails, it most often fails because the writer has not been able to capture the voice.”

It’s not surprising that Poulsen feels at home at schools. He trained to become an elementary school teacher, although after a few months teaching French quickly switched to teaching English to adults. He has also been a rodeo announcer, high school football coach and actor. But since the early 1980s, he has been a published author who now has an impressive 17 books under his belt. His next will be the second in his new Cullen and Cobb series, thrillers set in Calgary about an ex-cop and former crime reporter for the Calgary Herald.

It follows 2015’s Serpents Rising, which was the first in the series. Dundurn has ordered at least three more adventures from Cullen and Cobb.

“When I’m working on a project I try to set a word count of 1,000 words a day and I’m able to do that most of the time,” he says. “I feel like, if that’s my job I better do that job. One of the things I do is travel around and talk to groups as an author. So often I have people come up to me and say ‘I have this great book in my head, I have to tell you about it.’ I say ‘Yeah, it’s great, you need to write that.’ Then I’ll see that person again two years later and ask how the book is coming. They’ll say ‘Well, Aunt Martha moved in, we had to renovate the upstairs and the dog died … ‘ Well, you know what? That stuff all happens to writers, too, and somehow we manage to get those books out of our heads and onto paper.”

David A. Poulsen will hold a Calgary book launch for And then The Sky Exploded on Jan. 10 at the Calgary Japanese Community Association, 2236 29 St. SW, at 7 p.m.

Doo Doo the Clown entertains crowd at Western Fair

Doc Doo the Clown, aka Shane Faberman, performs at the Western Fair in London Ontario on Sunday September 11, 2016. Faberman made headlines last year after rescuing two women being accosted by a man in Toronto.

Editors Note: Our buddy Doo Doo The Clown  gets some great press in London


Doo Doo the Clown made national headlines after rescuing two women who were being attacked my a man on a Toronto street.

He became a pop culture reference after his memorable role in the cult classic Adam Sandler movie Billy Madison.

But the fame and acclaim haven’t stopped the longtime entertainer, who real name is Shane Farberman, from returning to the Western Fair every year to keep his family’s tradition alive.

Farberman is back at the east-end attraction, where he’s performing his magic and comedy shows, strolling the midway to interact with fairgoers and manning his family’s Candy Land booth.

“I only get to be a carny for thee-and-a-half weeks a year, that’s it,” said Farberman, who only brings his candy business to the Western Fair and the Canadian National Exhibit in Toronto.

For more than 60 years, three generations of the Farberman family have been hocking candy apples, caramel corn, cotton candy and their famous peach juice at the Western Fair.

Farberman’s parents, Shirley and David, both of whom have died, got their start at the fall fair in the late 1940s operating a dart booth. In 1953, they opened their Candy Land Trailer.

Returning to the Western Fair every September feels like coming home, said Farberman, adding customers constantly come by the trailer to share stories about his parents with him.

A father of three who has been clowning professionally for 32 years, Farberman was hailed as a national hero last November after his dashcam captured him rescuing two terrified women who were being attacked by a man in Toronto.

Sporting his clown costume, he was driving with an entourage of fellow clowns when he saw a shoeless man go after the pair. The quick-thinking clown got the women into his vehicle and called police.

Media outlets from around the world, including The Washington Post, picked up the story.

“It’s been a life changer,” Farberman said of the experience.


What: 141st Western Fair

Where: Western Fair District with access off Dundas, King, Florence and Rectory streets.

When: Until Sept. 18 (closed Monday and Tuesday for school tours, agricultural programming). Opens weekdays at 3 p.m., 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Buildings close at 10 p.m., but midway continues until crowds thin.

Information: Visit

The Power of Pop Up Radio

Rodeo Country Editor's Note:

This is an excellent story on using digital media to share branded content experiences with a 'pop up' radio station.  Rodeo Country Radio is the first company in North America to provide events (rodeo, bull riding, equine shows, music festivals, businesses) the opportunity to 'Broadcast Your Brand' as part of an event marketing plan.  If you like more info. our contact details are listed at the end of the story.


The Power of Pop Up Radio

 Mike Cunsolo Posted on October 28, 2015 

With so much content online it can be difficult to get cut through without having strong messaging, this is where “Pop Up Radio” can help out.

The internet has made it easier than ever to quickly create a radio station without much fuss – Pop up radio takes advantage of this by offering unique branded content and experiences for one off special events to really grab people’s attention.

What is Pop Up Radio?

Pop up radio stations are usually created for a single purpose to showcase an event or topic and tend to have a short shelf life, for example they can be used as part of a marketing campaign to show off a particular product.

Most notably these types of stations are becoming more frequent and in demand as sponsors are looking to get their message across as clear as possible, and what better way than an entire radio station devoted to their cause?

How Can it be Used?

One off or yearly events like festivals are perfect for pop up radio as they can quickly be created to boost awareness and target a particular audience.

BBC Music for example are partnering with Jazz FM to create a pop up radio for the EFG London Jazz Festival, covering specially programmed content, inviting popular artists, and performing live events that you can’t hear anywhere else, which will build traction for both brands and reach a large targeted audience.

It’s not just festivals that take advantage of pop up radio, but any event or stand alone project that has clear messaging and a defined audience in mind, for example charity organisations can boost awareness for their cause and have live speakers, shows, and other events on their station to raise funds and get people talking.

Ultimately pop up radio increases brand engagement, whether that’s music festivals, charity events, product launches, or an annual event, it’s a good way to push clear targeted messaging.


Although pop up radios have short lives, they pack quite a punch, offering enough incentive to try it for yourself:

  • Increase Revenue: Attract clients to sponsor your pop up station, whether that’s a new product, brand, or something else that relates to the station.
  • Experiment: Pop up radio stations are campaigns that allow you to try news things and see what works to better engage with your audience.
  • Brand Awareness: Build your brand through a pop up radio to target a specific audience and drive awareness via viral content.

When pop up radio is done right it can generate enormous buzz and increase further demand for more content, like Pedigree’s K9FM.

Pedigree’s K9FM

Have you ever heard of a station dedicated to dogs? Well this is what Pedigree wanted to achieve when launching K9FM, a station devoted to playing music to soothe dogs whilst their owners are away.

K9FM is original, fresh, and has a clear message that corresponds with their product, everything that a pop up radio should be to get people talking and wanting more.

Radio Everyone

The Global Goals charity, created by Richard Curtis, is aimed at tackling big issues like ending extreme poverty, fighting inequality, and fixing climate change – One of their campaigns is Radio Everyone which is linked to their goals.

Powered by, the campaign has been a success and reached 200+ million listeners, even getting on board celebrities like Bono from U2 to create content specifically for Radio Everyone. 

One of their challenges was to take a lot of content and put it on 10 different streams each within a different language. helped create multiple streams and disperse it around the world in over 100 different countries, resulting in a phenomenal result for The Global Goals charity.

BBC Radio 2 Country

BBC created a station to cover the Country2Country 2015 festival that lasted 4 days – It covered specifically commissioned programmes and had guest presenters from around the world focusing solely on country music from new, old, and live broadcasts from the festival itself.

The pop up station was a huge success, attracting thousands of likes on Facebook and thousands of followers on Twitter, which was enough to continue further development in the future for the idea.

How to Create Pop Up Radio

When The Global Goal’s campaign Radio Everyone needed to create numerous pop up radio stations, they turned to whom made it easy to get setup even with a small team. is an online platform that allows you to quickly setup a pop up station, so it’s instantly on and always on-air until you switch it off.

Getting setup takes a few simple steps: 

  1. Upload Media: Drag files directly into the browser, either pre-recorded full length content or individual tracks.
  2. Build Playlists: Specify tracks or dynamically create clock based playlists with tags (Top40 / Jingle / Advert / Top40 / Jingle).
  3. Schedule Playlists: Specify the day and time you want your tracks to broadcast, with remove for guest DJs to come on-air and stream live to your audience.
  4. Design Players: Brand players to your pop up radio and embed them on your website, blog, or allow users to embed them in other places online.
  5. Share Your Station: Over social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, or on directories like TuneIn.
  6. Check Stats: View real-time or historical statistics from listeners that have tuned into your station, like what country they are from and device used to listen.

For an in-depth look at how to create a pop up radio station then watch our short presentation on Creating a Pop Up Radio.


To find out you can provide an unique experience for your event, please contact Rodeo Country Radio's Terry Middleditch for all the details.....Email: rational & Cell: (403) 560-0632

Tim Hortons' co-founder serves up $2 million treat for Fort Mac


When the Calgarian who helped found the Tim Hortons delivered a gift to the suffering denizens of Fort McMurray, it wasn’t snack-sized.

On Friday, Ron Joyce and his family delivered $2 million to the Red Cross to keep a river of generosity flowing to about 90,000 people forced to flee wildfires and their city.

The residents of the oilsands city simply deserve a break, said Joyce.

“With the economic downturn of the last two years and now this, the residents have had a tough time,” he said.

Joyce said he hopes the “significant gift” will inspire others of considerable means to do the same.

But, he said he’s already impressed with the deep sense of giving shown by Canadians for Fort McMurray.

“I think it’s great that people have stepped up to the plate,” he said, adding he enjoyed his time visiting Tim Hortons restaurants in Fort McMurray.

Damage from the wildfires is seen in the Beacon Hill neighbourhood in Fort McMurray. RYAN REMIORZ / THE CANADIAN PRESS

“They have a lot of rebuilding to do…it’s going to cost a lot of money in the next few years.”

He said the money was transferred on Friday, soon after his family discussed the move and concluded “we could afford it.”

It’s the biggest single donation made to the Canadian Red Cross to mitigate impacts of the Northern Alberta wildfires and a much-needed one, said agency president Conrad Sauve.

“The needs are great and this very generous donation from the Joyce family will help support individuals, families and communities as they work to rebuild their lives,” he said.

On Friday, the Red Cross said it had transferred $30 million of an initial $50 million in immediate cash help to wildfire evacuees.

The money has so far reached 64,000 people, said the organization that’s mobilized 700 of its personnel in the effort.

Ottawa has vowed to match all funds raised by the Red Cross for the crisis, with the Alberta government saying it’ll do the same with funds collected in the province.

Introducing The Rodeo Country Business ‘Tell Me’

These days, there are many ways & places to spend advertising & marketing dollars for your business, product or service.  From traditional media (Print, TV, Radio) to digital media (Web, Facebook,Twitter) the options are endless. The days of effective mass media advertising are gone.  The good news is with targeted online marketing you can reach customers wherever they live unlikegeographical limitations of traditional media.

Online Marketing helps take the guesswork out of advertising decision making matching your company’s brand, products & services with shared interests & values.

Rodeo Country Radio is proud to introduce the Business ‘Tell Me’ as part of our three step process to creating major awareness of your company brand, products and services.

The Rodeo Country Business ‘Tell Me’  profiles your business, its history, uniqueness, products and services. We invite you to tell your business story to our loyal listeners & web visitors who live & love the western lifestyle everyday.  The Rodeo Country Business ‘Tell Me’ will be approximately 250 words in length with company photos and showcased on the ‘Sale Ring’ our Online Shopping Page. With our annual marketing Business ‘Tell Me’ campaign, your profile will be updated on a quarterly basis.

The second step in ouronline marketing plan for your company is harnessing our Social Media Resources sharing your Business ‘Tell Me’ on a weekly basis on Rodeo Country Accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ & Pinterest) to over 9,000 followers. The best buck for your social media buck comes with repetition and user likes and sharing of messages.

The final step is placement of banner advertising in the ‘Rodeo News’ Section of  Over twelve months ALL Rodeo News stories posted will include your ad banner effectively targeting our rodeo fans across North America.

 Are you bucking to take your company’s advertising to the next level?   Come inside the Rodeo Country Radio Advertising Arena and Get ‘More Buck for Your Buck’.  

 To Cinch Up with Rodeo Country Radio, please contact Terry Middleditch today for all the details….  email - or phone - (403) 560-0632

North Star Ford Group...Helping Fellow Albertans

Almost 100,000 Northern Albertans have been forced to leave their homes and businesses behind in the last week seeking shelter elsewhere. They are in urgent need of emergency funds, food, clothes and shelter.  Gerry Forbes Of CJAY 92  and Marty Giles of the NorthStar Ford Group  were quick to come to the rescue sending tractor trailers north to Fort McMurray will all the needed essentials.  A BIG Rodeo Country Cares THANK YOU to Gerry & Marty and the staff at CJAY & North Star for helping our fellow Albertans in need.  Here are the details on how you can help:  

Calgary firm helps Fort Mac fight back

C&B Advertising partners Phil Copithorne and Leigh Blakely have launched a fundraising T-shirt campaign for Fort McMurray. ANDY MAXWELL MAWJI / CALGARY HERALD

More from Steve Jenkinson, Calgary Herald

he Calgary advertising firm whose Hell or High Water T-shirts raised $2.1 million for flood relief in 2013 is rallying Albertans to wear their support for Fort McMurray.

The creative team at C&B Advertising has designed a new black tee, emblazoned with the slogan Fort Mac Will Fight Back, to support Canadian Red Cross relief efforts in the fire-ravaged region.

C&B partner Phil Copithorne said the T-shirts are an opportunity for Albertans to show their support for the community while assisting financially, as happened following the devastating 2013 floods in southern Alberta.

“We’ve all watched the images from Fort McMurray and the people leaving their communities and having their homes burned, and we really felt compelled to do something,” Copithorne said Friday. 

“I think Albertans will come together for any community, and we’re going to do it again this time.”

The shirts retail for $19.95 online, with $14 from each sale donated to the Canadian Red Cross.

C&B Advertising, with the Calgary Stampede, sold more than 150,000 Hell or High Water T-shirts in a campaign launched after organizers determined the 2013 Stampede would go on. 

“It shows you the power of a small idea to really make a difference for people, so we wanted to pitch in and do it,” said Copithorne. “It’s going to be different this time, but we wanted to do something that would help give back.”

It was his business partner, Leigh Blakely, who developed the Fort Mac slogan while viewing images of property destruction and personal loss across the northern communities.

“Sitting at home, and not being able to do anything, you feel helpless. We just wanted to get a message out there to help Fort McMurray,” Blakely said. 

“I don’t know anyone in this province that can say we don’t have a connection to Fort McMurray, given how much that city has given to us as Albertans.”

T-shirts can be ordered online at

Copithorne said his company will produce as many as demand warrants.

“We’ll produce as many as we can sell, and we want to keep producing shirts,” he said.

Other fundraising efforts announced Friday included:

  • Cactus Club will donate full proceeds from all Feenie burgers sold at its Alberta restaurants over the next week to the Canadian Red Cross relief effort; 
  • The Calgary Airport Authority announced an initial $25,000 donation to the Canadian Red Cross and said it will undertake additional fundraising efforts where airport employees and passengers can contribute; 
  • Hudson’s Bay Company donated $100,000 from its HBC Foundation to the Canadian Red Cross campaign and will allow Hudson’s Bay and Home Outfitters customers to donate their HBC Rewards Points online at; 
  • More than 1,000 Alberta realtors have joined the Facebook group Realtors Support Fort McMurray to connect displaced Fort McMurray residents with available housing options.