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252 posts categorized "Media news"

February 10, 2015

Ex-Stifel, Nicolaus building sells for $535,000

A commercial building in northeast Rochester recently sold for $535,000.

Stifel nicolausOn Jan. 30, Pensco Trust Co. of Denver bought the 4,680-square-foot former Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. building at 305 Alliance Place. The empty building is north of 37th Street Northeast and East River Road N.E.

The former tenant, Stifel, Nicolaus, now operates an office in downtown Rochester.

Pensco, a financial investment firm, purchased the 13-year-old building from Helen Properties Co. of Rochester. Helen Properties bought it for $715,000 in 2003.

It's unclear what Pensco plans to do with the Rochester building. Calls to the corporate office for comment were not returned.

Chatter in the Med City business community is that a media firm is seriously looking at the site. However, there's no firm answer either way to confirm or dispel that rumor, so stayed tuned to find out what happens next.

December 15, 2014

Longtime used book store sells to new owner

The cover and title will remain the same, but the "author" of a local used book shop is changing in the start of 2015.

Erik Olson is taking over the 34-year-old Paperback Book Palace from longtime owner Karen Meyer, who is retiring. The shop is in the Cedarwood Plaza, 4106 18th Ave. N.W.

Store"I see nothing but potential," said Olson, who has been a customer of the shop since it opened in 1980.

While he intends to expand the shop's online presence, Olson has no big changes planned for the business. The store exchanges used paperbacks for in-store credits of 21 percent of the book's original price. Credit slips are good for a year. Those books then go on the shelves priced at 53 percent of the original price.

"She has a very loyal customer base," he said. "This time of year, we're getting a lot of snowbirds coming in to stock up on books for the winter."

Olson says the Paperback Book Palace has about 25,000 books on its shelves in the 800-square-foot shop.

"It's a pretty cozy environment," he said.

Meyer's two part-time employees are staying on with the store. The main change for customers will be that Olson will replace Meyer as the primary face of the store.

He notes that though it has moved three times since opening, the Paperback Book Palace has long been a mainstay of the Rochester business scene.

"With all of the closings lately, I think it's nice to see something stick around," Olson said.

February 12, 2014

KTTC owner to add more stations

The owner of the Rochester's KTTC-TV station announced Tuesday that it's acquiring four more stations, including one in Duluth.

Ef06da64-f7c8-40c1-b090-c0d0cb609f18Quincy Newspapers Inc., which has owned KTTC since 1974, is buying KBJR-TV and its satellite, KRII-TV, in Duluth, Minn.; WEEK-TV in Peoria/Bloomington, Ill.; WPTA-TV in Fort Wayne, Ind. and WBNG-TV in Binghamton, N.Y. from New York City-based Granite Broadcasting Corp.

Financial terms of the purchase were not released.

The deal also includes Quincy providing operating services to four other stations in the same type of the relationship that KTTC has with Fox affiliate KXLT-TV in Rochester. Those stations include KDLH-TV in Duluth, WISE-TV in Fort Wayne as well as WHOI-TV and WAOE-TV in Peoria/Bloomington.

The sale will not be official until it's approved by the Federal Communications Commission. If approved, Quincy's portfolio will grow to 23 stations in 14 markets. QNI also owns and operates two radio stations plus a newspaper in Quincy, Ill., along with a newspaper in Newton, N.J.

6a00d83451cc8269e20120a6402558970c-250wiJerry Watson, KTTC's general manager and one of Quincy's two regional vice presidents, says the timing of the FCC decision is hard to anticipate, but it usually takes a few months. A lot of final details cannot be worked out until that approval. However, Watson says this is a positive step for Quincy and Rochester.

"The good news is that Quincy is one of the very few small broadcast groups who are looking to grow. Unlike the investment firms buying up stations, the Oakley family (who own Quincy Broadcasting) are truly owner-operators. That's why I've stayed with them for 25 years," he says. "Picking up new stations is fun and we get to ride in like white knights."

Quincy purchased stations in Wisconsin and Iowa in 2006 and 2009.

“We are thrilled to acquire these stations as well as the operating agreements for the others,” stated Ralph M. Oakley, president-CEO of Quincy, in an announcement Tuesday. “Our company is committed to the communities and regions it serves by providing the best in local news, community affairs and entertainment.”

New_Quincy_logoThese new stations will add more work for the already-busy Watson, who already is in charge of  six broadcast markets in four states. The plan is for him to take over the management of the Peoria/Bloomington market. He already is in charge of the Illinois stations in Quincy and Rockford. The other regional vice president will manage the other seven markets.

It's possible this acquisition also could add more duties in Rochester, if any of these stations are added to the broadcasting "hub" based at KTTC. Rochester already handles the master control broadcast services for Quincy's operations in Sioux City and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

"As the hub, we're the center of the spokes of the wheel. We could easily take on more," said Watson. "We're in a good position here in Rochester."

August 09, 2013

Rochester's 'Dirty little secret'

DeparturesarticleSince today is the first official meeting of the newly established Destination Medical Center Corp., I was looking at some travel articles on Rochester and Mayo Clinic.

I stumbled across a "Special Report" by Departures magazine, which is an American Express publication.

It was written by Aimee Lee Ball for this year's March/April quarterly issue, so it is pretty up-to-date. What makes this notable is how the article characterizes the community and Mayo Clinic.

It actually starts with a Mayo Clinic doctor talking about how many people try to smuggle monkeys onto an airplane. "Monkeys on a Plane" would probably be a better movie than "Snakes on A Plane." Heh.

Anyway, here are a few excerpts:

There’s no Ritz-Carlton in Rochester, Minnesota—no Four Seasons or Mandarin Oriental or Peninsula, either—and the city’s idea of an Italian restaurant is the Olive Garden. This is the dirty little secret behind any visit to the Mayo Clinic: You’ll get world-class medical care, but it’s the badlands for eating or sleeping.

When asked about where to eat, one Mayo physician advised, “My house,” and shared the name of a well-stocked market three miles away.


800px-Gonda_building,_closer_upMayo has been an iconic (and ironic) name in health care for more than a century—a place surrounded by cornfields but considered the gold standard or the last-chance saloon by royalty (both actual and media-ordained).


Everyone at Mayo seems to have drunk the Kool-Aid, including the electrician who frets about the most convenient placing of outlets and the cleaning woman who declares that she saves lives (if she’s keeping the room free from infection, she’s right). “We’re not known as the heart place or the cancer place or the knee place,” says Dacy. “We do all those things, but we’re known for comprehensive care, and people work together in this collegial way. The customer service philosophy is powerful. We have a dress and decorum committee—you won’t see unshaven doctors in scruffy scrubs like on the TV shows, and the reason is to respect patients.” Monkey bites and all.

June 29, 2012

IBM to give raises to India employees, but while holding back in U.S.

Here's a kind of interesting follow-up to the IBM news that Big Blue will not give raises to most its Global Technology Services (and possibly other units) employees.

A memo did go out about the lack of raises, though an IBM media person answered a question about it by saying raises would still be given to people with "High Demand Skills."
The Times of India (a very good newspaper that I often read) says that IBM will give its workers in India raises. That adds up to this equation - India = high demand skills.
Here's some from an article by Shilpa Phadnis & Sujit John:
IBM is likely to give a salary increment to its employees in India next month.

Ibm-india_mediumEarly on Thursday, international media reported about a mail that IBM had sent to employees, saying those in the Global Technology Services (GTS) division would not receive a salary increment this year. However, the mail also said people "who have high-demand skills" would receive an increment .

Sources within IBM India indicated that "high-demand skills" refers, among others, to employees in India . The sources said that the performance assessment exercise had been completed and increments were expected across the organization in India next month. IBM follows a July-June cycle. "For the best performers, the increment may be in double digits ," one source said.

IBM does not break up its headcount by geography, but it is estimated that the company employs over 1.3 lakh people (130,000) in India. The company has been an aggressive hirer in India for several years. With several Indian IT companies …  announcing salary increments  earlier this year, it may be difficult for IBM not to follow suit.

December 29, 2011

Kiger's back and the blog is breathing again

I apologize to you all for abandoning this blog for so long.

I took a vacation and was pretty tied up even before I left. The result was that Kiger's Notebook was left barren for the longest stretch, since I launched it in March, 2005.

I couldn't stay away completely, so I did pop back in to do the CostCo piece and a few columns here and there.

RedjeffMost of my time away was spent on the banks of The Wabash in Indiana. A place Verizon as well as the rest technological world evidently do not know exisits. While I did zip out a few Tweets and email responses when the moon was in the right place, I was mostly out of the loop.

I apologize to everyone who sent me emails, voice messages, Facebook notes and direct messages on Twitter. I'll try to catch up. More than a 1,000 unread emails have piled up.

Anyway, I'm back now and revved up for the new year.

Please keep letting me know what you are interested in and passing along any business tips you might hear.

Look for lots of action on here in as 2012 kicks into gear and thank you for reading.

September 15, 2011

Rochester tech exec featured in new biz success book

Irfqhk2trnzxes88201017122 Al Berning, known in Rochester as a former IBMer, a co-founder of Pemstar and current CEO of Hardcore Computers, is one of 45 entrepenuers featured in a new business book called "How They Did It."

The book, written by Robert Jordan, asked the 45 founders, "How do you start a How+They+Did+Itcompany from scratch and turn it into a hundred-million-dollar success story"

  To promote the book, Jordan is hosting Entrepreneurial Bashes with panel discussions featuring some of the people from the book.

Look for Berning to appear in one at the New York Stock Exchange on Oct. 3.

Here's some from a press release that surfaced in my email this morning:

Each leg of the Entrepreneurial Bash features a different group of founders who have agreed to go on record about what it takes to win in any economy. "It's their way of giving back to the business community," says Jordan. If their advice on raising seed capital, hiring the right team, bouncing back from setbacks, and becoming leaner, smarter, and meaner than competitors sparks new startups that generate jobs, that would be an ideal outcome, he adds.

The founders featured in the New York Entrepreneurial Bash include Bonnie Baskin, AppTec Laboratory Services; Glenn Tullman, Allscripts and ECIN; Jim Dolan, The Dolan Company; Mark Tebbe, and Lante Corporation; and Al Berning, Hardcore Computer and Pemstar. The event runs from 4:30 to 7 p.m., at the NYSE building, 11 Wall Street, New York City.

August 31, 2011

Two growing area businesses make Inc. 5,000 list

Dramatic revenue growth has landed two area businesses — WaterFilters.Net and AffordableButtons.Com — on Inc. magazine's just-released annual list of financial rising stars.

Inc5000-logo A striking revenue climb of 566 percent from 2007 to 2010 scored WaterFilters.Net of Zumbrota its third appearance on Inc.'s fastest-growing list in the 576th spot.

AffordableButtons.Com of Rochester hit the list for the first time at the 3,620th spot. It tallied its own impressive three-year growth of 45 percent to hit $3.3 million in revenue for 2010.

Still growing in Zumbrota
For WaterFilters.Net which opened its 20,000-square-foot distribution center in Zumbrota in 2008, making the list again is "… a strong validation of our core values as a company," says Karl Rist, the online retailer's marketing specialist.

Waterfilters In 2008, the company, which sells water filters and filtration products online, had a staff of three. They have about 30 employees today, he says.

The company that was originally started by Jamin Arvig in his Twin Cities apartment collected $10.3 million in revenue for 2010.

Her dream made real
Seeing her business on Inc.'s list is simply a dream come true for AffordableButtons.Com's founder Linda Christopherson.

"I've always wanted to make the Inc. list. I think it makes a huge difference," says Christopherson, who runs the family-owned company with her husband, Tom.

Like WaterFilters.Net, AffordableButtons' name is pretty self-explanatory.

It makes custom buttons with messages and designs for about 40,000 customers, including presidential candidates, high school sports teams, Fortune 500 companies, kids' birthday parties, Hollywood movie studios and many others.

AffordableButtons_9374 "In our category of advertising and marketing, we're ranked at 327. That's a huge industry that includes a lot more than just button makers," Christopherson says.

Its 35 employees make and ship out tens of thousands of buttons a day from its facility on Rochester's 19th Street Northwest.

As candidates are starting to jockey for position in the 2012 presidential race, AffordableButtons is starting to see a surge in its political business.

About 50,000 Ron Paul buttons have already be made as well as about 6,000 ones for Rick Perry.

August 29, 2011

IBM's Watson and Jeopardy - the rerun

It seems unlikely that anyone in the Rochester area (who wanted to watch it) missed the TV showdown between Watson IBM's big brain computer and the top Jeopardy! quiz show contestants back in February.

Watson runs on Power 750 servers, which are manufactured as well as partially designed here.

However, if you did miss it or you just want to re-live the moment, "an encore presentation" (better known as a rerun) will air in mid-September.

Here are the details from a press release that rolled in today


IBM and America's Favorite Quiz show Jeopardy! today announced that Jeopardy! will broadcast an encore presentation of the first-ever man vs. machine Jeopardy! competition between IBM's "Watson" computing system and the show's two greatest contestants -- Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

Ibm-watson-jeopardy Millions of North American viewers will be able to again witness TV history as Watson successfully competes against two human champions in two matches played over three consecutive days. The episodes will air on September 12, 13 and 14, 2011.

"With the Jeopardy! challenge, we accomplished what was thought to be impossible - building a computer system that operates in the near limitless, ambiguous and highly contextual realm of human language and knowledge," said Dr. David Ferrucci, IBM Fellow and scientist leading the IBM Research team that created Watson. "Watching the match again reminds us of the great power and potential behind Watson to be able to make sense of the massive amounts of data around us and to solve problems in new ways."

Six months after the original competition, Watson's Deep Question Answering (QA) technology has already driven progress in new fields such as the healthcare industry. IBM is working with Nuance Communications, Inc. to explore and develop applications to help critical decision makers, such as physicians and nurses, process large volumes of health information in order to deliver quicker and more accurate patient diagnoses. Working with universities and clients, IBM is identifying many potential uses for Watson's underlying QA technology.

July 31, 2011

National Night Out and Kiger as a target

I have always attempted to make a splash in the Rochester business community and it looks like I'll literally get my chance
Nnoflyerduring Tuesday's National Night Out events.

 The Minnesota School of Business is hosting a community event from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at its campus at 2521 Pennington Dr. N.W. in honor of National Night.

This is being done in partnership with the Cimmaron Neighborhood Association.

Expect free food including hot hogs, nachos, sno-cones and more. A live DJ will be playing music. There will also be games, an inflatable bounce house and much more.

And to add to the fun, there will be a dunk tank featuring foolish folks, like newspaper columnists, as targets.

Do you hate the way I use the phrase "Med City"? I know that drives the Post-Bulletin copy editors crazy? Have I butchered the spelling of your name or overlooked your business?

This is your chance to take your best shot at me (I'm looking at you, Mr. Answer Man. Heh) and support a positive neighborhood event.

I won't be the only target. Dunken and Sam of the KROC-FM Morning Show will also take turns in the tank.