Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mud Slinging

The January Lighthouse Project suffered a lamentable lack of big-time media coverage in Tulsa in its early stages. While smaller newspapers ran stories based on press releases I’d written, we never had the break-through media moment we got in November. I arrived in Tulsa one day early hopeful, I suppose you’d call it, for an invitation to the Chris Medlock Show as in November. Maybe he’d read my blog and felt miffed that I referenced the fifty-five minute advance notice I’d received then because this time, in spite of repeated and impassioned pleas, I got no notice and wasn’t invited at all. The day of the kids’ arrival I sent releases to all local network news television stations inviting them to the airport. There was disappointment that night at the news cameras being no-shows, but disappointment transformed into full-blown despondency when I heard a camera had been there waiting in the wrong area for an hour, leaving without ever seeing us. The cameraman could not have been more apologetic; still I couldn’t help wondering if the missed coverage would cost a child a family. Pounding out press releases until the wee hours of morning, I puzzled over what to submit to the Tulsa World. My submission should have been written several days before, but absent fresh material the paper was unlikely to write another article after the two in November. Inspiration arrived fashionably late the day before the kids, so it was gratifying to learn the World would write a story on Saturday’s ball game based on the updated release. On Sunday a well-written article came out two paragraphs short: both evening program and contact information were omitted. I begged the World to correct the oversight in a short, without result.

While I believe God controls all things, that does not negate human responsibility, and the failure to deliver saddled me with a doom-ish discomfiture unusual for an eternal optimist. With a resourceful and persistent streak running through my core, I grab straws with abandon and subscribe wholeheartedly to the “throw enough mud at the wall and some of it will stick” theory. With viable options and time running out, I prayed a desperate prayer and my mud throwing metastasized to mudslinging in a frantic effort to get the word out about Tuesday’s program.

God heard my prayer and the tide rolled as decisively as it had ebbed prior. Sunday afternoon ORU’s Coach Finkbeiner, about whom the World article had been written, was booked to appear on a Monday state-wide sports show by a reporter touched by the truncated story. On Monday as the kids mixed with a local homeschool group, the station which had missed our airport festivities set up a camera and filmed a story for Monday’s evening news. Online that afternoon an invitation arrived to interview on the Pat Campbell morning show in Tulsa during Tuesday morning drive-time. Next day, having dragged myself out of bed almost two hours early, sleepiness briefly tied my tongue and Pat asked me about the two kids I knew least about, creating a few slightly awkward moments. Over all though, I was pleased enough with my second stab at radio that I summoned the fortitude to listen to a few archived minutes. I was immensely pleased by the multiple references to the evening program and our contact information; Pat also posted photos and thumbnail write-ups about the kids. (Hear hour 3, Pat Campbell Show Tuesday, January 13, 2009.) Country station KVOO was in the same building; on the way out Pat introduced me to another morning show host who had rebuffed my earlier requests for time, and we taped a four-minute interview clip to be played during the rest of the week. I arrived late for VBS, oversaw the evening program practice, and then tore out in the middle of a five vehicle caravan to our next gig, a singing and interview appearance on OklaTravelNet. A live, web-based program about events worth attending in Oklahoma, the connection was that Tuesday night’s evening program was the place to see and be seen in the Sooner state. Though this association was a bit tenuous, the five children who went sang preciously and enjoyed being on “television.”

This concentrated flurry of media attention after my lapse in faith and subsequent prayers reminded me that God does care for orphans, more than anyone could, and He will not allow their cries to go unheard. I believe that.

Now could somebody please clean these walls?