Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fernando Is the Man, Yo

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 11/30/2011 No comments
If you live in Charlotte or the surrounding area, you likely heard the big news yesterday that Chiquita is relocating its headquarters from Cincinnati to Charlotte. The multibillion-dollar company that's most known for bananas will bring 400 jobs to the city next year, with its corporate office being housed in NASCAR Plaza in Uptown. The news of Chiquita's relocation was the talk of last evening's Charlotte Chamber Annual Meeting, and was the focal point of about a third of the formal program.

Chiquita CEO Fernando Aguirre took the stage and talked about why his company chose Charlotte over remaining in Cincinnati or moving to one of the other cities that were courting them--the two biggest reasons were the financial incentives package the city and state put together and the appeal of the high number of daily, direct, and international flights that operate out of Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Based on the 15 minutes or so that Fernando spoke, I believe he's going to do well in Charlotte and add to the city's long lineage of savvy, forward-thinking, civic-engaged corporate executives (think Hugh McColl, Leon Levine, Jerry Richardson). I like the guy.

Fernando Aguirre appeared on CBS's Undercover Boss last year.

My first impressions of Fernando is that he's sharp, witty, and an avid tweeter (@FdoAguirreCEO). And he was thoughtful enough to don a yellow bow tie he says was sent to him by Charlotte-based High Cotton Ties in what was one of the many ways people in the city came together to help lure them here (#bananas4CLT / #bananasforCLT). But out of all the things he stated at the event, to me, one of the most important announcements was that Chiquita will be donating 15 salad bars to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools so students will have more access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The salad bars will be donated through the Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools program.

Fernando is the man, yo.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I've worked in the magazine industry for the past decade, and there's one thing I know that many casual observers don't seem to comprehend: the magazine business is a business. I've seen entirely too many glossies launch and fail over the last few years, largely because the people behind them either have no publishing experience or don't fully understand all of the pieces that must be put in place for a magazine to have a chance to succeed. Furthermore, I feel that post-2008 has not been a good time to launch a new magazine. I'm sure you've seen some of your favorite titles fold or continue to publish at 50 to 75 percent of the size (number of pages) they once were. This is mostly attributed to the decline in advertising revenue that magazines--and most media outlets--have experienced since the recession. Companies aren't making the money they used to--retail stores, fashion brands, airlines, car companies, electronics, record labels, etc.--so they aren't advertising like they used to. Fewer ads mean fewer magazine pages for stories, and fewer ads mean less revenue for a business to operate.

So before I go too long on my soap box, please know that I love magazines, they're partly how I make my living, and I hope they thrive for another century (even if it is on iPads, Kindles, and tablet PCs). It's just that I was surprised to learn that the National Football League is launching a new magazine in December. But then again, I'm not.

The inaugural edition of NFL Magazine is scheduled to hit newsstands nationwide on December 13. Most magazines make most of their money off of subscriptions, newsstand sales, and paid advertisements, which is the largest chunk of revenue. NFL Magazine is coming into the game facing the same challenges as other more established mags and will be fighting for a share of the advertising dollars, but my guess is that the NFL believes that publishing a monthly magazine year-round centering on a five-month season will make good business sense.

The league launched the NFL Network eight years ago to give fans around-the-clock, year-round television coverage of professional football, and that's been going well, right? Not necessarily. Most fans who subscribe to NFL Network have satellite TV or one of a few major cable companies. But some of the nation's largest cable companies, like Time Warner Cable and Cablevision, don't offer the NFL Network to their customers. And documents that leaked over the summer while the league was locked out over a collective bargaining agreement with players showed that NFL Network is one of the few league products that loses money. The league operates NFL Ventures, which oversees its sponsorships, marketing, media properties, sales, and satellite rights, and I assume is where NFL Magazine will fall under. NFL Ventures' operating profit reportedly grew by 29 percent from 2009 to 2010 to $1.8 billion, which is a sizable chunk of the league's $8 billion in revenue.

So basically, folks, the NFL is being greedy. It is making so much money that it can afford to launch another media property--this time a magazine--that I'm betting will never become profitable. It loses money on NFL Network, but continues to operate it because it wants its own network, despite the fact that ABC, ESPN, FOX, and NBC pay it billions to broadcast games. Now it wants a magazine, to compete with the likes of ESPN The Magazine (owned by ESPN obviously) and Sports Illustrated (owned by Time Warner). NFL Magazine might draw a decent number of subscribers early on because it has so many vehicles in which to market it, but I'm curious to see how great of an editorial product it will be. ESPN The Magazine and Sports Illustrated are both lauded for their fan appeal as well as their thorough reporting and journalism. While each of them cover several of the major sports and not just the NFL, they're not afraid to criticize the sports leagues. Will NFL Magazine offer criticisms of the league? Roger Goodell isn't always right, you know.

But I digress. You might want to pick up a copy of the first issue of NFL Magazine next month. It features our guy Cam Newton on the cover. That's a big deal for Cam and it's great national exposure for the Carolina Panthers. You might want to read it since leading-rookie-of-the-year-candidate and rookie-records-breaker Cam hasn't done much press this season--access is something the magazine is touting: "Go where no other magazine can," one of its taglines reads. And you might want to own this copy because it could one day become a collector's item when NFL Magazine no longer exists.

UPDATE: April 2012

NFL Magazine has folded after only four issues. Below is the statement posted on
Information Regarding NFL Magazine Subscriptions
Thank you for your interest in NFL Magazine. We regret to inform you that at this time NFL Magazine is not accepting any new or renewal orders for this product and will not be publishing additional issues after the Special 2012 Draft Issue, dated April 2012.

If you are a current subscriber with a fully-paid account and have a balance of unserved issues after the Special 2012 Draft Issue, you will be refunded for all unserved issues.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Production for ABC's acclaimed Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is returning to the Charlotte area in December, with local builder Bellamy Homes selected to oversee the construction. The builder and the show are currently organizing the local efforts and you can get involved.

To get the community excited about this opportunity to build a new home for a family in need, there will be a pep rally on December 1, 7 p.m. at Belmont Abbey College in Belmont (only 20 minutes from Uptown Charlotte). The event will be hosted by KISS 95.1's Otis and Brittney of The O Show, and you'll meet the builders and members of the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition team. The Carolina Panthers' TopCats will also be on hand and there will be ticket and prize giveaways. Admission to the pep rally is free but seating is limited. Get more details at

The actual location of the build will be announced on December 11. You can get involved as a volunteer--the project needs more than 3,000 volunteers for general labor, food servers, and clean-up workers, as well as skilled trade professionals. The reason so many people are needed is because the entire build will be completed in one week, and all products and labor will be donated by partnering trades and suppliers. The episode will air next year in a two-hour broadcast on ABC. Get more details at

The most recent time I recall Extreme Makeover being in Charlotte is 2008, when the show built a new home for the King family in the Windsor Park neighborhood. As you can see in the before-and-after photo below, and as is usually the case, the new home was a drastic improvement.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

On Friday I kicked off a contest to give away a new Windows Phone to a Grown People Talking reader, courtesy of Microsoft, allowing you four days to enter to win by interacting with me via social media (and then posting your entries in the comments section). I originally said I would announce the winner on Wednesday, which was yesterday, and I'd planned to do it once I returned from the Windows Phone Party at Mez last night. But I ended up having too much fun and bounced around to a couple of places in Uptown after and was in no condition to do any blogging when I returned (you too can keep up with fun things to do in Charlotte nightlife on my Dusk Till Dawn blog).

So, without further ado, the winner of my Windows Phone giveaway is...Andrew Buchanan! Congratulations Andrew! Email me your mailing address and contact phone number and I'll let you know the process for receiving the phone:

Just so you guys can have faith that the contest was legit, I recorded how I selected the winner. It's a riveting five minutes of footage of me undergoing the process of putting slits of paper in a bag and pulling one out.

As for the Windows Phone Party last night at Mez, it was filled with mingling, free food and drinks, music, and prize giveaways--my favorite recipe for social events--all courtesy of Microsoft. I only knew a few people there, but met a few interesting people as well that I conversed with throughout the night. There were several tech geeks there also, which, from my understanding, was an important demographic, since we were, after all, there to try out and experience a new line of smart phones.

You can get a recap of the night's events on Twitter by searching the hashtag #WPCHR (Windows Phone Charlotte). Microsoft gave away several phones and other prizes last night (my friend Jameka won a customized skateboard) and one of the ways people were eligible to win was by tweeting about the event with that hashtag. The phone party tour is in Dallas, Nashville, and Phoenix tonight.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

If you have teenage children, relatives, or encounter them in youth groups or activities, you should encourage them to attend the Youth Expressions Summit (Y.E.S.) taking place this Saturday, November 19. It's a free event for students ages 12 to 19 that will allow them to discuss and engage in many of the issues they face as young people growing up in this crazy, fast-paced world today.

Here's an excerpt of the official description of the event:

Levine Museum of the New South, as part of its New COURAGE project, invites students ages 12 to 19 to come show your courage at the Youth Expressions Summit (Y.E.S.). Join hundreds of fellow students as you explore the issues today and the guts to face them—the things that matter to you as individuals, in your schools, in your communities, and in your world. Designed by teens, the summit focuses on a host of hot topics, from cliques to bullying, dating-violence to sexting, immigration to re-segregation, peer pressure to personal advocacy, and much more.

Levine Museum is partnering with ASPIRE Youth Leadership and Development Program, Girl Talk Foundation, Inc., Planned Parenthood of Charlotte/Teens Taking Action, and UNC Charlotte's Department of Public Health Sciences to present the Y.E.S. Summit.

Youth Expressions Summit (Y.E.S.)
Saturday, November 19, 2011
9 a.m.-2 p.m.
UNC Charlotte, College of Health and Human Services Building, 9601 University City Blvd.
Free; registration required at or the morning of the event.

Monday, November 14, 2011

'The Hunger Games' Movie Trailer Debuts

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 11/14/2011 2 comments
The official movie trailer for The Hunger Games debuted today on Good Morning America, and apparently has fans--who've been waiting for the best-selling science fiction novel to be adapted to a movie--going nuts. This is latest snippet of what we've received from the otherwise tightly guarded production; the last time was the exclusive sneak peek that aired in August during the MTV Video Music Awards.

I've never read the book and am not usually a fan of these kinds of stories, but I've been keeping up with the developments in The Hunger Games movie because a large portion of it was filmed throughout North Carolina, including Charlotte and Concord. And it's the reason stars Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz, and others were spotted around the city all summer. I don't recognize Charlotte in the trailer, which could be because the clip only shows limited footage from scenes in the first half of the movie, according to Lionsgate. Charlotte was rumored to be the setting for the Capitol scenes, a city in the fictional country of Panem in the story.

You can watch the trailer for The Hunger Games below or on iTunes. The promo includes the hashtag #HeadForTheSquare.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

GoodWorks Youth Awards November 17

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 11/13/2011 No comments
A great, annual event takes place this week and you should come out to show your support. The GoodWorks Youth Awards honors exemplary young people who are doing good works in the areas of diversity, education, and the environment. The ceremony is this Thursday, November 17, 6-9 p.m. at the Mint Museum Uptown (500 S. Tryon St.).

Scene at the 2010 GoodWorks Youth Awards. Photo by Jon Strayhorn/Media Arts Collective.

The GoodWorks Youth Awards is hosted by my friend and colleague, Rahman Khan, president of GoodWorks Media Group, who also hosts the local PBS show of the same name. Rahman is passionate about showcasing the positive aspects in our community to help balance out the negative news coverage we're so often inundated with. The keynote speaker Thursday is Molly Barker, founder of Girls on the Run. Molly is an inspiring speaker, who wowed audiences at TEDxCharlotte last year. The GoodWorks Youth Awards also features special guests NBA Hall of Famer James Worthy and Revolution Racing NASCAR driver Ryan Gifford.

Click here to purchase tickets to the GoodWorks Youth Awards, which are $30 for adults and $20 for youth.

Friday, November 11, 2011

How would you like to win a new Windows Phone? Well, I'm giving one away, thanks to the folks at Microsoft. But before I tell you how you can win one from me, let me give you the details on a cool event Microsoft is bringing to Charlotte.

Microsoft is taking its Windows Phone Inner Circle Tour to about 20 cities around the country and is hosting parties. The Charlotte Windows Phone party takes place Wednesday, November 16, 6-9 p.m. at Mez (210 E. Trade St., inside EpiCentre). At the event, a Microsoft team will show you the latest Windows Phones--its features, apps, games, etc. There'll also be music, mixing and mingling, and appetizers and drinks served, plus phones and other prizes will be given away. Click here to register to attend.

Partiers playing Angry Birds on a Windows Phone at a recent Windows party in New York.

Now, here's how you can enter to win a Windows Phone as a faithful reader of Grown People Talking. Microsoft is providing a phone for me to give away, such as the HTC Radar 4G, HTC Titan, Samsung Focus S, or Samsung Focus Flash (click here to read about the new Windows Phones). I'm kicking off the contest on Friday, November 11 at 5 p.m. through Tuesday, November 15 at 11:59 p.m. And I'll announce the winner here on Grown People Talking on Wednesday, November 16.

You'll be entered to win the phone by submitting your entry in the comments section of this post. You'll get one entry for each of the following ways you interact with me via social media:

So that's a total of seven entries you can earn. After you've done some or all of those things, post one comment in the comments section below with your first and last name, the number indicating how many entries you've earned, followed by a description of which social media tasks you completed. Here's how your comment should look:

John Smith - 5 - liked you on Facebook, followed you on Twitter, subscribed to YouTube, shared Dusk Till Dawn on Facebook, shared DNC on Facebook.
Jane Adams - 2 - liked you on Facebook, followed you on Twitter.

If you're already a fan on Facebook, follower on Twitter, or subscriber on YouTube, you don't have to undo and redo it. Just list it in the comments section of this post as the tasks you've completed.

I don't need any contact information from you yet. I'll only need it from the person selected as the winner. So when I announce the winner on Wednesday, I'll ask the winner to email me his/her mailing address to receive the phone.

If you have any questions about how this contest works, feel free to email me at Good luck!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I went on a media tour of Mummies of the World this morning and it's far more intricate than the King Tut exhibit I remember going to see when I was a kid. Mummies of the World officially opens to the public at Discovery Place tomorrow, November 11 (11-11-11, how fitting for this tomb-esque exhibit) and runs through April 8, 2012. It's the Southern U.S. premiere for MOTW, which is the largest exhibition of real human and animal mummies ever assembled, with more than 150 specimens.

Discovery Place is a science museum, of course, and that's what's really at the heart of this traveling exhibit (Charlotte is one of only seven cities that will show it). It's fascinating to see how these mummies have been preserved for centuries and how scientists study them to learn about cultures, the environment, historical eras, and even diseases.

"The Tattooed Woman" is from Chile, believed to have lived before 1400. She's noted for her unusual tattoos--an oval with a dot inside on both breasts and her mouth.

Walking through the exhibit, you'll experience a range of emotions. One of the first pieces you'll encounter is the "Monkey Mummy." This howler monkey is from Argentina and is believed to have been naturally preserved in the warm, dry environment of the area. But what makes it stand out is that it's displayed with a feather skirt and feather wreath around its head and neck--a fancy monkey it is, that'll have you going "awwww." But as you proceed through MOTW, you'll encounter other pieces such as a South American mummy of a woman and her two children that'll leave you a little sad. These are, after all, the remains of people who once lived.

MOTW is a 12,000-square-foot exhibition so you'll journey through many sections, several of which are defined by the region where the mummies were discovered. I captured a short video, which you can see below, of a display in the European Mummies section. In the video is the Orlovits family, also known as the Vac Mummies, a husband, wife, and son group of mummies from the 18th century who were found in a long-forgotten church crypt in Vac, Hungary.

Admission to Mummies of the World is $24 for adults; $18 for children ages 2-13 (you might want to think carefully about letting small children see it); and, $20 for students with ID and seniors ages 60 and older. All tickets include full-day admission to Discovery Place. For more details, visit or

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Carolina Panthers star player Jon Beason has been on the sidelines since September with a torn left Achilles tendon, but that's not going to stop him from doing a little lifting for the holiday season. The All-Pro linebacker is partnering with Harris Teeter to assemble 2,000 Harvest Feast Thanksgiving bags to benefit local families in need.

The philanthropic deed takes place Tuesday, November 15 at Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina (500B Spratt Street), beginning with a press conference at 1 p.m., followed by the bag assembly at 1:30 p.m. Harris Teeter is donating enough food for the Panthers player and Harris Teeter associates to assemble 2,000 Thanksgiving dinner bags.

Follow him on Twitter @jonbeason. Photo via

After filling the bags, Jon and company will then make a stop at the Boys & Girls Club Marsh Road to personally distribute some of them to children and their families. Each Thanksgiving bag will feed a family of four, containing cranberry sauce, corn, green beans, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, a two-liter Coca-Cola, pie, rolls, and ham.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina will identify and distribute the Thanksgiving bags to emergency pantries throughout its 19-county region before the holiday. Emergency pantries and soup kitchens are reporting 30 to 40 percent increases in requests for assistance over this time last year. Click here for more details on the November 15 event.

You can help families in need by contributing to Harris Teeter's Harvest Feast Food Drive and Donation Card Campaign, through November 29. Click here for more details on this drive.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Grammy Award-winning, platinum-selling recording artist Anthony Hamilton is releasing his next album, Back To Love, on December 13. It'll be the Charlotte singer's fourth studio album and he's putting it out exactly three years after his last album, 2008's The Point of It All.

The first single from Back To Love is "Woo", which finds Anthony in awe of a woman he meets, singing in his usual soulful tone. "Ooh girl, you're so bad. [Woo woo ooh ooh.] But it feels so good," he croons on the chorus. He shot the video for "Woo" on Friday and posted a couple of camera phone photos to his Facebook page.

Anthony Hamilton on the set Friday for his new music video, "Woo".

Back To Love features songwriting and production by industry legends Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Salaam Remi, Dre & Vidal, and Anthony himself. You can pre-order the new album by clicking here, which includes an instant MP3 download of “Woo”.

And you can see him in concert when he brings The Woo Tour home to The Fillmore Charlotte on November 30. Tickets are $45 to $55. His website,, is currently raffling off tickets to select concert dates. Click here to see photos, by my friend and colleague Jon Strayhorn, from when Anthony last performed at The Fillmore in March.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I saw a cool new TV commercial tonight in which Charlotte, specifically its Uptown buildings, is the star. Verizon has rolled out a national campaign to promote how its "network of technology, people, and ideas" is benefiting businesses and communities. In the commercial featuring Charlotte, it highlights how the city is using "Verizon technology to inspire businesses to conserve energy and monitor costs, making communities greener."

The creative premise of the commercial shows a series of Uptown buildings being honored as employee of the month inside their respective offices. Those include the new UNC Charlotte Center City Building and NASCAR Hall of Fame, among others. Watch the video below.

If you visit the Verizon website dedicated to this campaign,, and click on the "Energy" tab, it takes you to several resources, including white papers and case studies on smart grid and cloud technology. There's also a link to Envision Charlotte, an initiative led by Duke Energy's Smart Energy Now program that uses digital grid technologies to display real-time energy data throughout Uptown, to create awareness and encourage behavioral change. The goal of this initiative is to cut energy use in Uptown by up to 20 percent by 2016. Several major corporations and organizations have partnered with Duke Energy on this, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Cisco, Verizon, Mecklenburg County, the City of Charlotte, and others.

Plans for Envision Charlotte have been in the works for the past year, and the campaign officially kicked off last Friday (click here to read The Charlotte Observer article). Below is a video from last year, in which former President Bill Clinton announces Envision Charlotte at the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting. He's joined on stage by Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers, Cisco CEO John Chambers, Mayor Anthony Foxx, and Charlotte Center City Partners President Michael Smith.

All of this strengthens the momentum Charlotte has been building over the last few years to grow its energy sector. Several local leaders want the city to be known as an energy hub as much as it is known for banking, and the motivation behind energy is propelled by the possibility of job creation, in addition to environmental sustainability.
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