• Dusty Weis

Lead Balloon Ep. 35 - Post-Cold War Trip to Uzbekistan Boosts Fundraising for UJA's Operation Exodus

With Dick Grove and Ron Friedman: Fundraising was a challenge in the wake of the iconic Rabin-Arafat handshake at the White House in 1993.

In 1993, the world watched as two bitter rivals shook hands on the South Lawn of the White House, presenting the best hope for peace in the Middle East seen in centuries of bloodshed.


Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization Chair Yasser Arafat’s signing of the Oslo Accords—and the handshake that followed, cajoled by U.S. President Bill Clinton—comprised an iconic snapshot in history.

In the moment, the world was awash in optimism, and Jewish Americans in particular were riveted by what was happening in the Middle East.


But in Eastern Europe, Jewish people living in former Soviet states faced a growing threat of persecution, and the problems went largely unreported.


And Operation Exodus, an effort by the United Jewish Appeal to repatriate one million Jewish refugees from failing states like Uzbekistan to Israel, would need a brilliant publicity campaign to motivate donors to support its ambitious goals.

So the UJA hired Dick Grove, the founder of Ink PR, for the job. And, together with a handpicked team of PR professionals and documentarians, he traveled into the Lion’s Den itself, documenting destitution firsthand in a failed Soviet State and building a massive fundraising publicity campaign for UJA.



In this episode, he's joined by Operation Exodus director Ron Friedman to rehash the tale of this extraordinary undertaking.

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Transcript:


Dusty Weis:

In 1993, the world watched as two bitter rivals shook hands on the South Lawn of the White House, presenting the best hope for peace in the Middle East seen in centuries of bloodshed.


Yitzhak Rabin:

We are today giving peace a chance.


Dusty Weis:

Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization chair Yasser Arafat's signing of the Oslo Accords, and the handshake that followed, cajoled by US president Bill Clinton, comprised an iconic snapshot of history.


Bill Clinton:

Now, the efforts of all who have labored before us bring us to this moment.


Dusty Weis:

Both Rabin and Arafat were honored with the Nobel Peace Prize, though, of course, the full potential for reconciliation is largely yet to be realized even now. But in the moment, the world was awash in optimism, Jewish Americans' attention was riveted by the Middle East, and in Eastern Europe, a dire threat to Jewish people living in former Soviet states went largely unreported.


Dick Grove:

The wall had fallen a few years before, and these were Jews that were being persecuted by the Russians.


Dusty Weis:

Dick Grove is the founder of INK, PR, and in 1993, he was charged with a seemingly impossible task. In an era of hopeful optimism about peace in the Middle East, he would need to drum up fundraising for efforts by the United Jewish Appeal to repatriate more than a million Jews who were facing persecution in the former Soviet Union. And to do so, he would have to go personally into the lion's den, documenting the destitution first hand in a failed Soviet state.


Dusty Weis:

I'm Dusty Weis from Podcamp Media. This is Lead Balloon, a podcast about high-stakes tales from the worlds of PR, marketing and branding, told by the well-meaning communications professionals who live them.


Dusty Weis:

Thanks for tuning in. This is where I would normally tell you about what we're about here, but instead, this time, I'm just going to read you this review that Mag 22 left us on Apple Podcasts. "Dusty and team have done a great job setting up some of the best behind-the-scenes conversations around events that we all know about. From marketing nightmares to general public misconception, Dusty has no fear in tackling both the good and bad."


Dusty Weis:

Thank you for that, Mag 22. Your words mean everything, and what's more, every review gets me a little bit closer to cracking the big time and landing on the Apple Podcasts main page, which would be a huge W. So please, go to our Lead Balloon show page in whatever podcast app you use and tell me what you like or don't like about the show.


Dusty Weis:

Our first guest today is Dick Grove, CEO and founder of the Kansas City-based INK, Incorporated public relations agency. Dick's been in the field for more than 50 years and founded his company about 30 years ago. Prior to that, he served in the marketing C-suite at companies like Itel Corporation and GE Capital, and his new book, It's The Media, Stupid! PR without the BS, hit shelves earlier this year.


Dusty Weis:

So Mr. Dick Grove, thank you for joining us here on the Lead Balloon podcast.


Dick Grove:

Thank you. It's a pleasure.


Dusty Weis:

Dick, we're here to discuss a story that is tied to an indelible photo op moment in 20th century history, but I'd be remiss if I failed to ask you a little bit about your own personal history. Because 50 years in the PR business, it's an incredible milestone and a whole lot of institutional knowledge to boot. So briefly, how did you get into this field and what course led you to found INK, Inc.?


Dick Grove:

Well, actually, I started out coming out of graduate school with a degree in public relations from Kansas University. I was the first-ever graduate student to take that particular title. I left school with the idea that I wanted to go into public relations or advertising, certainly into mass communications if I could. And I was very lucky that I pounded the pavement in New York City, without any real offers with my degree, landed a job at one of the two or three largest PR firms in the world, Burson-Marsteller.


Dick Grove:

I went up there with my ill-fitting suit and was sitting there and asked the receptionist if anybody there would be interested in talking to me about a job. Naivete reigned in those days. Just at that time, this gentleman came out, kind of a distinguished-looking gentleman came out and checked the old bell tower ticker tape machine, checking on stock prices that was in the lobby. While he was there, she said, "Mr. Buchwald, is there anybody here that could talk to this gentleman about a job?" He looked at his watch. He said, "Ah, I got a few minutes, come on in."


Dick Grove:

So I went in and serendipity struck. Within 20 minutes, this gentleman, who happened to be the vice chairman of the board of Burson-Marsteller, who I had no idea, simply said, "I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to offer you a job because I like you from your Kansas. I want that viewpoint in our New York office." He said, "But under one condition. If you turn into a New Yorker in six months, and believe me, I will check, I'm going to fire your ass."


Dusty Weis:

Dick Grove did not turn into a New Yorker, though Burson-Marsteller turned out to be an excellent proving ground for him. Then his career took him to Michigan, Illinois and eventually, California. After spending time in the agency world, he took a couple of jobs for companies in the newly established technology sector before founding his own firm 30 years ago.


Dusty Weis:

That is where we arrive at the iconic photo op on the White House lawn. It was 1993 and that handshake between Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO chair Yasser Arafat was as close as the world has ever come to ending centuries of war between Jews and Muslims, who stake their religious and cultural heritage in that little piece of contested ground.


Dusty Weis:

The Oslo Accords marked the first time that the PLO had acknowledged Israel's right to exist as a nation and created the framework for the Palestinian National Authority, which established some right to Palestinian self-governance. It represented a step forward and a compromise by both sides, and it created a venue for direct peace talks, which is to say that there were extremists on either side who absolutely hated it.


Dusty Weis:

But to most people, then iconic photograph opened the door for just a sliver of hope, and Dick Grove says it also commanded the entire narrative about the state of Jewish affairs in the world. Now, mind you, I remember reading about this moment in my fourth-grade Weekly Reader publication from Scholastic, but what do you personally remember about this photo op?


Dick Grove:

I remember seeing it on the front page of the national media, and I remember thinking, "Boy, that's pretty cool." That Clinton, who I happened to be a fan of at the time, had managed to get both of them together and shake their hands. Hopefully, it was going to mean that something was going to come out of it.


Dick Grove:

What I didn't realize was what that photograph had done in terms of affecting a fundraising effort by a client that was soon to become a client of mine. I remember it was less than a month after that, that I was sitting having lunch in Los Angeles and I got a phone call from the chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, and a gentleman by the name of Marty Stein at the time who has since passed on. Marty sat on the board of a couple of my clients in the Milwaukee area.


Dick Grove:

Marty called me and said, "Would you be interested in helping us with a PR effort that we think is going to be necessary to increase the fundraising on the United Jewish Appeal?" which I'd never actually heard of. So he said, "If you could, we have a Jewish PR firm, but we'd very much like to have you because I know you've proved to me on your other clients, that you've been able to do things." So with that, I flew to New York and I met with Marty and I met with a gentleman by the name of Ron Friedman, who was running this operation. It turns out it was called Operation Exodus.


Ron Friedman:

Operation Exodus was an initiative by the then-called United Jewish Appeal, and its a hundred or so local Jewish federations to save the Jews from the former Soviet Union and relocate them to Israel. In Hebrew, they call that Aliyah, which means immigration and Klita, which means absorption or resettlement into the Israeli community.


Dusty Weis:

Ron Friedman had recently been appointed to lead a reboot of Operation Exodus as its director. The initial Exodus campaign had just wound down a couple years prior after evacuating hundreds of thousands of Jews from Eastern Europe. But Ron says there were many more still stranded in Post-Soviet states, so he was charged with an even more ambitious goal for Operation Exodus 2… reaching the mark of 1 million Jewish people repatriated to Israel. And he knew that public awareness was going to be critically important in driving the necessary fundraising.


Ron Friedman:

I remember the first meeting on Exodus, where I had to get up to speed on what was going on in the former Soviet Union. I said we need to create a case for Operation Exodus II to inspire communities in the United States and Canada and around the world to help in fundraising and to generate interest and importance and support. That case that we created was not simply antisemitism because there was antisemitism. There was also lack of economic opportunity, lack of educational opportunity, lack of food and essential resources, lack of freedom.


Dusty Weis:

So with that introduction from Marty Stein, Ron met Dick Grove for the first time, and immediately came to appreciate Dick's approach to the PR process.


Ron Friedman:

His compensation was predicated on performance. Traditionally, public relations firms go on either an annual or a monthly retainer, but he had a reputation for success. He was paid almost exclusively for performance. He understood the world of public relations and media relations. He was very articulate.


Dusty Weis:

Together, Ron, Dick and the rest of the team started to work on a unique plan to overcome the inertia of the good vibes in the wake of that Rabin-Arafat handshake.


Dick Grove:

Too many people out there that were expected to contribute money, saw that photograph and thought, "Well, peace has broken out. You don't need my money after all. Everything's going to be fine." The fundraising had dropped dramatically, I guess, from what they said so they asked if we could help in that. I said, of course, we're not a fundraising outfit. What we are is we're good at publicity. We're good at landing stories in the national media. Marty said, "That's exactly what we need in this case."


Dick Grove:

So we talked about how best to do that and what I suggested was they told me they were having various groups going over there. I said what I'd like to do is have my people become, in effect, journalists and embed ourselves, so to speak, in those groups and look for the stories that we could then bring back to the States. Because I said the media here in the States, they're going to want credible stories and not just something that you guys have put out in a press release. So we thought, okay, we'll go over. We'll photograph, we'll video, and we'll look for those unusual news hooks that will, in fact, excite the national media and be able to tell the story of the plight of the Jews and what was going on.


Dick Grove:

They agreed to it. It was great. They said, "Okay, if that's what you need," and they assembled a team that we were going to be working with. We wanted to get over there quick so we were over there certainly by the end of October, first part of November.


Dusty Weis:

Particularly with a short turnaround window to plan the trip, but also given that you were going into some pretty poverty-stricken areas in a collapsed state, essentially, did you have any personal concerns about your personal safety and wellbeing or that of the team around you or the ability of the mission to succeed?


Dick Grove:

Not really. I was frankly more excited over the adventure and the challenge than I was worried about the danger. I like to pride myself on the fact that I like living a little bit on the edge, but no, I saw it as a truly an adventure that we were going to partake in.


Dusty Weis:

But as with many adventures, this one would not be without its challenges or its uncertainties. So coming up after the break-


Dick Grove:

If there was ever any sense of danger, it wasn't being on the ground. It was in that plane.


Dusty Weis:

... Dick Grove and the team barnstorm Moscow, Tashkent and Tel Aviv, and then built a public relations campaign to save lives in Eastern Europe. That's coming up in a minute here on Lead Balloon.


Dusty Weis:

This is Lead Balloon and I'm Dusty Weis. It was 1993 and in the power vacuum left by the fall of the Soviet Union, it was once again a dangerous time to be a Jewish person living in Eastern Europe. United Jewish Appeal had a bold plan to help 1 million Jews emigrate from the post-Soviet states to the nation of Israel, but the world's attention was focused elsewhere and fundraising needed a massive boost.


Dusty Weis:

So the UJA hired public relations agency founder Dick Grove and his team to travel to the other side of the world and document the dire need for help starting in the belly of the beast itself, Moscow.


Dick Grove:

I flew over by myself. The rest of the crew, and there was probably maybe four or five of us, we had one videographer with us who actually worked at one point in time for NFL films. I thought that was interesting because he wore a jacket that said NFL Films on the back. He was one of the videographers we had with us, but mainly it was just four or five of us. Then we picked up freelancers along the way. We actually found a really good guy while we were in Moscow. There was nobody, obviously, in Uzbekistan so that's where we brought our own people.

Dick Grove:

But the way it worked was we met up in Moscow. We spent about three or four days in Moscow. At that time, we also interviewed Natan Sharansky, who was one of the lead dissidents from Russia. We met with him and talked to him about the problem and he gave us some tips on the stories and so forth.


Dick Grove:

So from there, we headed down to Uzbekistan and, oh my God, the trip to Uzbekistan was truly adventuresome because we were on a Aeroflot jet, which I wouldn't consider fly-worthy in the States at all. I still remember that. Some of the seats were broken. Some didn't have seat belts and Ray and I, who was, like I said, the guy that came with me and the lead guy and my partner, so to speak, that was the videographer on it. But we both laughed nervously, let's put it that way. So if there was ever any sense of danger, it wasn't being on the ground. It was in that plane.


Dick Grove:

Uzbekistan was truly a fascinating place because very poor. Just the people were wonderful. The people we met and what was, I guess you'd call the restaurants, that were certainly... I've got photographs I found that of going into a couple what would be called grocery stores, if you want to call it that, were practically bare shelves with a few things on it. It was a dramatic awakening for somebody coming from abundance to seeing how people were living. And, gosh, they were wonderful people. I'm serious. They were just definitely wonderful people.


Dick Grove:

I had been to Vietnam a few years before that in the late '80s, '88, '89 on trips and it reminded me of the same thing, that the people have nothing to do with the government. It's the government that are full of crap, if you pardon my French, but the people were wonderful. And the more we got to know them, the more we really appreciated what they were going through.

Dusty Weis:

From Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan, Dick's team took a van out into the countryside and embedded with some townspeople, who were fleeing the country, the idea being that they would actually take the flight with them from Uzbekistan to Tel Aviv in Israel and learn their stories along the way.



Dick Grove:

It was a Chinese 747 that had been chartered and it was to leave at midnight for Tel Aviv. That scene will be embedded in my head forever probably, the long lines of the diaspora of the Jewish people lined up. They were only allowed to take one or two duffle bags per family, and in many cases, families were split up because some people wanted to go, some people didn't. There was a limited amount of people that could go and that scene was truly emotional. You can imagine at midnight as they're loading gear and getting onto that, and most of them, of course, have never flown on a plane ever and getting in and loading into that big plane.



Dick Grove:

Then the flight, we didn't sleep at all, obviously. The ones that were awake, we went up and down the aisles, interviewing, photographing, getting their stories. I mentioned previously, there was one old soldier that I particularly enjoyed because he still had some medals.

Dick Grove:

He was wearing his medals, but inside of his forearm was a tattoo. So he had, obviously, been in a concentration camp and he didn't speak any English whatsoever. But it was just so moving to see that guy with those medals, that tattoo and realizing, my God, what this guy has gone through in his life.


Dick Grove:

We arrived at, I don't know what it was, six or seven in the morning, I'm not sure, dawn, and unloaded the plane with the people and, from there, hopefully, we got a little sleep. But then, we spent another week traveling around Israel, finding people that had already come and what they were doing now and interviewed them and what their lives were like and adjusting to living in Israel.


Dick Grove:

In that case, it was fascinating because some of those people we interviewed were quite well-educated, but at that time, there were too many. They were coming in too fast. There was something like 200,000 of them brought in within a year, and there just weren't jobs. There weren't positions or anything. So many of them, you could find a doctor or a lawyer who was a street sweeper. That's all they could get. Many musicians, which we thought was fascinating, and in one town up in Haifa, they had organized an orchestra of Soviet diaspora that had come and were now playing in an orchestra. We photographed that and we did a piece on NBC on that performance. It was very moving.


Dusty Weis:

Ron Friedman, who was the director of Operation Exodus, calls the video footage that Dick Grove and Ray Fox sent back, tremendous and says that there are still moments that stick out in his memory even today.


Ron Friedman:

And that video showed, for example, a prominent opera singer in the former Soviet Union, who initially, when he came to Israel because he had to learn about society how to work as a street cleaner. Then we followed him and it turned out [inaudible 00:19:54]. He then went on to greater things in Israel. Nothing wrong with being a street cleaner, but he needed to do something while he was able to move forward.


Ron Friedman:

Then that happened with engineers and scientists and they actually changed, given their education and their professional skills, the face, if you will, of Israeli society. They doubled, actually the GDP, the gross domestic product, of Israel, and they are now integrated into Israeli society.



Dusty Weis:

But even with hours of compelling footage and moving stories, Dick Grove knew that the job was only half-done because having a worthy cause, that's a nonprofit's role. Making people care about that worthy cause, that is the role of the public relations maven. So they stowed their gear and flew back to the States where the next phase in Operation Exodus' PR campaign could begin.


Dick Grove:

I had just arrived in Kansas and had set up my headquarters. The way my company works and the way I set it up was kind of at those days, revolutionary, because we were the pioneers of remote working.


Dusty Weis:

Nobody had heard of it back then.


Dick Grove:

My idea was let's find senior level ex-media types that not only had the contacts, but more importantly, had the news instincts who were tired of commuting from White Plains in Manhattan and from other places. I said, "Look, you can work from home with me."


Dick Grove:

Now there was no internet then, understand, but we managed to make do with phones and fax machines and we got it up and going that way. So those were the people I wanted out there and that's what we did when we got back. We started crafting pitches to the national media and started moving quickly to get those done.


Dusty Weis:

Well, it sounds like the national media saw that this was a worthy story and really grabbed it and ran with it. I mean, you got good coverage on this, right?


Dick Grove:

We got very good coverage and yeah, I'd like to think that it was certainly a newsworthy story. It was a good human interest story and it was a timely story, all of the things which make the national media care. You never hit a thousand. You hit, if you're lucky, 350 batting average when you're going after stories with the media. But we were probably batting 400, I'd bet.


Ron Friedman:

This is a case study, I think, that could be utilized for future initiatives.


Dusty Weis:

Ron Friedman, the director of UJA's Operation Exodus, says the organization was indeed pleased with the results. They saw their stories on the news and they took that polished fundraising video that Ray and Dick produced and showed it at fundraising events and the giving increased.


Ron Friedman:

What we accomplished as a team is, no doubt, the most important and fulfilling accomplishment of my professional career across the private sector and the philanthropical sector.


Dusty Weis:

All tallied, Operation Exodus raised a B, billion dollars and helped to relocate a million Jewish people out of harm's way in the former Soviet Union. Dick Grove says his clients at the United Jewish Appeal were blown away by the results of the publicity campaign.


Dick Grove:

All I knew is they were pleased and a bit surprised at the amount of coverage. But, again, I tell people all the time, what we do is not rocket science. We're not curing cancer, okay. We're convincing the media to run good stories that are newsworthy. And if you work hard and you come up with the right thing that a reporter's going to like, a producer's going to like and something that's going to please their boss, which is very important when you pitch, you're going to have some success.


Dick Grove:

We knew that when we looked at it, when I first looked at the thing, saying there's some great human interest stories, just from the tales they had told me when I'd first met with them. I said, "But you know, what we got to do is we got to get in front of the media. We've got to show them real footage. We've got to show them real stories reported firsthand." People saw there was a real need so open up your pocketbook and help these folks get out of that terrible situation.


Dusty Weis:

Many people will go, in fact, I'd say most people will go their entire careers without undergoing a professional experience like that. As you look back at it now, all these years later and look at the trajectory that your career has taken in the time since then, what would you say are some of the lessons that you took away from this experience?


Dick Grove:

Well, first of all, to appreciate what you've got, okay. You don't spend time in the underdeveloped kind of countries without having appreciative of what you have back here. I know that sounds funny, but all you have to do is when you come back, walk into a supermarket in Kansas City or Walnut Creek, California, you pick it, and just look at the options you have. We're talking about people that what their whole day is consumed is surviving until the next day. That's a whole different kind of attitude.


Dick Grove:

So what did I learn from this? I had already picked a bit of that up from being in some of the other places I'd been, but seeing those people board that plane with all what they could own in a duffel bag and going to a completely foreign country and having to start over, you just can imagine. So even today, you can't help, but look at the refugees from Ukraine and other countries and, of course, the Ukraine, particularly because the Russians are such asses. I would like to say I knew a lot of Russians that were none of the military and none of the officials, but I just find it so terrible that the leadership feels like it's necessary to put other people down because they're small people themselves so I don't know.


Dick Grove:

It's a great experience. It will never leave me. Obviously, it's been 29 years now and I'm still can remember a lot of the details.


Dick Grove:

But crassly, what I also got out of it was once more a conviction that a good story will run. From a pure PR standpoint, you've got to have something newsworthy and the media will care about it. That's what built my company and my career on more than anything and that's understanding where the news is in a story. That's probably more than anything. What I got out of it was a personal sense of, one, satisfaction, a personal sense of humility and a personal sense of understanding that you can make a difference and, believe me, that's not easy sometimes in public relations. We sell corn flakes. We spin politicians after a speech. We try and get stories out there on a new app.


Dick Grove:

All of that's necessary in today's world and economy and so forth and then PR plays an integral role in all of that. But it's certainly satisfying once in a while to do something where you're actually feel like you've changed the human condition a little bit.


Dusty Weis:

I know from my experience as a former news reporter as well, that when you're embedded on a story like that, and particularly one when you're surrounded by people that are enduring terrible hardship, people that are going through the worst days and weeks of their lives, and you're there to document that, A, it's necessary to go about that job with a certain degree of sensitivity and empathy and compassion, but that can be tremendously exhausting for a professional storyteller in that capacity.


Dusty Weis:

But I also know that there's a certain degree of feeling that you're doing something right that almost provides you with an energy to get by in that circumstance. Was that your experience as well? That even though you were personally exhausted, running on no sleep and working around the clock, that you felt energized and present in the moment?


Dick Grove:

Oh, yeah. I still remember being dead tired, okay, and I can remember leaning against a post now and then, or catching a quick nap on a bench in between shoots or something. But yeah, you do feel energized, obviously, because, one, you have a job to do and that sounds so kind of phony, but you also know that it's all going to come to an end and you get to go home.


Dusty Weis:

Lastly, this story is among the tales that you chronicle in your book, It's The Media, Stupid! pr without the bs, which, A, great title, topnotch. It was published earlier this year and if someone wants to learn more about you and/or pick up that book, what else can they expect to find in there, Dick?


Dick Grove:

Well, one, it's 50 years of anecdotes, so to speak, of various companies that I've worked with. What the book really is, is it's kind of a how-to manual on how to discover what the news hook is in order to get the media to care. I named it, obviously, after the famous sign that was on the War Room wall of the Clinton campaign, which said It's the economy, Stupid, and I believe it was James Carville that made the point that every bit of communication, everything you do for this campaign has got to be centered on that. That's what's important in this campaign. Don't get distracted.


Dick Grove:

So I played on that because my whole contention of my history is that, and I've had some other PR firms that wanted to disagree with me on this, but we're media-centric. I've always been media-centric, which means that everything has to be based within what the media is looking for, interested in, so forth. They're looking for news and everything has to be centered on the media. Otherwise, if you try and write a puff piece or you try and force something down somebody, it's not going to work and the media's not going to care.


Dick Grove:

So that's basically the premise of the book is how do you find those news hooks? So I've come up with about nine or 10 ways to get the media to care about your story. I tell anecdotes of clients and companies that I've worked with and so on along those 50 years to hopefully prove my point. I've tried to do it with a little bit of humor because one of the things I always say in this business is that you got to have a sense of humor. You got to have a sense of humor to live, let alone work in PR.


Dusty Weis:

In this business, it's the only way to stay sane.


Dick Grove:

I remember years ago hearing, and I don't know it was attributed to probably Spencer Tracy, who probably you don't even know, but he told a young actor one time, "How can I be successful?" And he said, "Take your job very seriously, but never yourself." That's something we've, and certainly I've tried to live with, is that what we do is going to come and go. Every once in a while you get a good one, like the UJA experience, but overall, you're going to be experiencing a lot of things and take it with a grain of salt. Enjoy it, enjoy the ride and never take yourself too seriously, for God's sake.


Dick Grove:

I get weak on big PR firms and, of course, I was with several at one point in time in my life, that becomes so serious about what their job is in the world and how they're changing the world and they're consultants to governments and all of that, you want to say, "Oh, stop. You're basically trying to get your clients in the press or you're trying not to get your client in the press."


Dusty Weis:

All right. Let's not turn this into black magic. It's a job, it's an important job, but it's not rocket science, either.


Dick Grove:

Nope. It's just good common sense and caring about people and being a news junkie. That's kind of what that book is all about is learning how to be a news junkie. And if you do so, you'll probably be pretty successful in this business.


Dusty Weis:

Well, I think that they're simple lessons, but they're good lessons, and there're certainly lessons that seem to get lost a little too often for my taste in the field of public relations and so glad to hear someone like yourself out there telling those stories. But It's The Media, Stupid! pr without the bs is Dick Grove's book. It's available now. Dick Grove, the CEO and founder of INK public relations agency. Thank you for joining us on the Lead Balloon podcast.


Dusty Weis:

Thanks once again to Dick Grove, as well as Ron Friedman, for sharing their recollections here. We're also sending our best out to Ray Fox on the East Coast. Ray is the documentarian that Dick partnered with on the project. While Ray and I were in touch, he and his wife have a lot on their plate right now and we weren't able to schedule a time to talk at any length. But we wish then both better health ahead.


Dusty Weis:

If you're interested in learning more, by the way, Ray's footage is cataloged at the Harriman Institute at Columbia University in New York. Heartbreakingly, it is not yet digitized and so we were unable to use it in this podcast episode. But if you have an old beta tape player and the inclination to go to Manhattan, it is there and waiting for you. Thanks to Robert Davison and Ella Rocha at the Harriman Institute for helping me track those tapes down.


Dusty Weis:

If you enjoyed this podcast, tell your friends and follow Podcamp Media on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or TikTok. Got to tell you, I have been having a lot of fun recently repackaging snippets of this show as TikTok videos so don't miss that. Lead Balloon is produced by Podcamp Media, where we provide branded podcast production services for businesses. Our podcast studios are located in the heart of beautiful downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but we work with brands all over North America. Check out our website, podcampmedia.com. Larry Kilgore III helped out with dialogue editing for this episode. Until the next time folks, I am Dusty Weis.



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