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February 2016 newsletter

road ahead


Despite record auto sales a great malaise of "ho-hum" has overtaken the nation's auto industry. Even the blogger born with the most auto DNA, Auto Extremist Peter De Lorenzo, in his January 25 Rant, "The End of Cardolatry" sees the industry on the "edge of a cliff" facing a "monumental shift" that he attributes to the commoditization of transportation, autonomous connected cars and "the last remaining auto-fueled generation slowly but surely shuffling off of this mortal coil."

Very possibly De Lorenzo's jeremiad was prompted by a series of General Motors moves as reported by Joann Muller, Forbes Detroit Bureau Chief  "It (GM) invested $500 million in Lyft and said it will work with the ride-sharing company to develop a fleet of on-demand autonomous vehicles. It also announced a technology partnership with MobileEye to crowd-source advanced mapping data for self-driving cars. And it introduced the Chevrolet Bolt, the first long-range, electric car real people can afford to buy – which also happens to be the perfect car for the sharing economy."

Or it might have been triggered by the $500 a ticket Motor City car show for the "1 Percent" prior to the North American International Auto Show. It featured cars from the high-end of the market which De Lorenzo derided "because it has been devoid of rhyme or reason for well over a decade now." De Lorenzo's appraisal is a far more inclusive and pervasive indictment than Wally Wyss' nostalgic lament in the December Newsletter about the death of performance. That brought a few dissents and some concurrence.

De Lorenzo's rant is buttressed by the lackluster media response so far to this year's auto shows. Even the Consumer Electronics Show where car companies have been making news that did not stay in Las Vegas in recent years was a bust. As blogger Otto Blopnik noted in his spoof news report, "There was chaos, calamity and confusion at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas when it was discovered among the more than 2,000 actual exhibits that a useful gadget had 'inadvertently' been put on display." The mammoth show established bigger is not necessarily better.

The much anticipated Faraday Future reveal at CES was what Motor Trend writer Scott Evans deemed mostly an assembly of various existing technologies encased, in what another writer deemed a "schoolboy's dream design." According to Autoweek's Mark Vaughan the showpiece will never be built and while what Faraday says it will build in a new billion-dollar plant outside of Las Vegas sounds good, it also sounds like a faraway dream. Possibly enough smoke and mirrors however to cajole more dollars from Faraday's backer, reportedly one of China's richest men. Meanwhile the numbers are up for auto show attendance but the excitement is down and very possibly cars are no longer the "heart beat of America."


new roads

Winding Road has opened a Winding Road Race Store. It is the publication's second retail race gear store and is located at: 18437 Mt. Langley, Suite N, Fountain Valley, CA 92708. Telephone: 512-942-9443 . . .Erik Sass reports in Publisher's Daily, Spanish-language broadcast channel Univision has acquired a controlling interest in The Onion, a satirical news publisher. He says, "Univision is buying The Onion, in part, because of its substantial millennial following. Its own broadcast TV audience ages." . . . . Sass also reports, CBS Interactive and its tech publishing property CNET have joined forces to launch a new online automotive destination called "Roadshow." It focuses on the growing convergence of cars and digital technology, as carmakers integrate new capabilities for everything from navigation to diagnostics, security, communication, entertainment, and even self-driving vehicles. There's a "Shootout" segment pitting cars against each other he says, and it is backed by an email newsletter and millions of car listings. More from Sass includes word that Hearst has consolidated all of its automotive publications under one roof: Hearst Auto.

2016 National Automotive PR Survey
Professional Journalists: The 2016 Automotive PR Survey in progress now. Your feedback is appreciated and needed. Click here to participate. For more information please contact John Rettie.

2025 AD is a new web site devoted to automated driving:  . . . Shelby Knick says her original TV series, Racer Girl, is scheduled to air on Discovery's branded network, VELOCITY this spring and two other digital networks. The series producers are looking for partnerships to develop fun and interesting segments for the show. (No contact provided) . . . The award-winning Kelley BlueBook TV streaming videos of car reviews are now available on Roku.

Fixed Ops Journal, a new quarterly magazine from Automotive News focused exclusively on the management of the parts, service and collision departments of franchised new-car dealerships. . . . . TU-Automotive has been purchased by Penton, owner of Ward's Auto. Tu-Automotive is a persistent provider of myriad events and digital information for the fast growing automotive technology industry. And, an indefatigable source of news releases about those events. . . . . While Al Jazeera America is closing down its Cable TV and digital operations in the U.S, as of April 30, it will also expand its worldwide digital network in the U.S. market.


passing scene

Marketing in an ad-free future was given major space in Advertising Age's January 11 issue. Pleasing as that sounds to the average consumer, Jack Neff's piece details the many other ways being tested, developed or used to overcome ad-blocking and get ad messages to us. Following his report, Lindsay Stein details how Public Relations may demand the center stage in this new marketing environment. Passing Scene: Ford Automotive Wearbles

Ford has created an Automotive Wearables Experience lab in Dearborn, Michigan to test and develop wearable technology connecting to cars . . . Tesla used the Internet to deliver "self-parking" and "fetch features" to its cars on the road and restrictions limiting divers' unsafe driver practices while the car is in auto-pilot . . . . Tesla is at the top of the Brett Berk's list in The Drive of the "Eleven Best Electric Cars You Can Buy In America." It is followed by Chevy Volt and the little-heralded Mitsubishi i-MiEV. . . .Another list: "Ten Modern Car 'Inventions' You Thought Were New but Are Not" is provided by Hannah Elliott of Bloomberg News. Among them: High Beams (1915), Radar for Crash Avoidance (1950) and Push Button Ignition (1914).

The plea for funds to help racer Tony Adamowicz, who is stricken with brain cancer, was not very clear in our last edition. If you want to contribute go to:

Cars of Cuba With Brenda Piddy

Auto writer, photographer Brenda Priddy is inviting auto enthusiasts to join her on a trip to Cuba to enjoy what she calls, "the world's largest classic car show." American cars have not been imported to Cuba since 1959. The guided tour begins in Miami May 13 and returns May 21. More information and to sign-up click here. Contact Brenda directly at or by phone at: 480-861-3456. The deadline for reservations is Feb. 15.

Forty million cars on the road will be connected to the Internet this year for one or more services, according to Chuck Martin in Media Post. . . . If you are in the cold belt you may want to check out Lauren Fix's "Busting Cold Car Myths interview on The Weather Channel.


plugs Plugs: Car Art: Michael Brooks

Peter Aylett has gathered 80 international artists to offer some of the world's finest automotive art. He has started the year by introducing Michael Brooks, a fresh talent from the island of Jamaica —the19th nation to be represented in his gallery. See more at out Car Art. Plugs: The Pininfarina BookDavid Bull may be out of his 2016 Ferrari Myth calendars but he'll be glad to sell you autographed copies of Günter Raupp's The Pininfarina Book, prefaced by Paolo Pininfarina. Check or call 1-800-831-1758.

Brett Berk offers a review in The Drive of Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans that makes this documentary about making a racing movie seem worth seeing. Plugs: The Digital Transformation Playbook David RogersIn the same vein, Media Post editor-at- large Bob Garfield's review of "The Digital Transformation Playbook" by Dave Rogers, makes it sound worth plowing through. Garfield's most fascinating section of the book is: "documents the rise of platforms, businesses built on creating marketplaces for two or more independent parties, all of whom get value from the process. Airbnb, Uber, Facebook, eBay, PayPal, LinkedIn, PlayStation and so on." All make money using content supplied by others.


pit notes

Karl Greenberg reports for Media Daily that recent research among teens 13 and older, word of mouth has actually increased for everything but cars, which, as a percentage of daily talk, is way down. He says Keller Fay Group Consumer Research firm found that teens ages 13-17 were the only age segment to see a decline -- 27% -- in the number of people who are talking about cars daily. By contrast, among people 18-29, car buzz is up 23% to 27% of the cohort, and up 17% among people 30-39 years of age, and 10% among consumers 40 to 49. Greenberg notes the research also suggests that American car brands have suffered the largest declines in word of mouth among the demographic, on average. Pit Notes: Autonomous Kia Soul EV
Autonomous Kia Soul EV

The increased demand for content or native ad writers and imaginative PR also brings a challenge: the FTC warns that digital native ads that appear in news feeds of publishers' sites, social media posts, search results and email potentially can be deceptive, unless advertisers clearly disclose that the ads are, in fact, ads. Write something that is clearly labeled an ad but reads and looks like it isn't. . . . Greenberg also reports Kia will invest $2 billion to "fast-track a program called Drive Wise, which it says is the future Advanced Driver Assistance Systems." And, that Ford is tripling its fleet of fully autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid test vehicles.

Surge pricing raised the cost of a five-kilometer Uber ride on New Year's Eve in Windsor, Ontario to $84.00, the Windsor Star reported. The city is working on ways to fine Uber drivers until and if, some agreement can be reached . . . . .Tech World News reports Starship Technologies in 2016 will launch two pilot projects -- one in the UK and one in the United States -- to test a driverless vehicle designed to make short-distance deliveries. The unit is equipped with GPS so customers can track the progress of their deliveries in real time. When the vehicle arrives at the doorstep, a customer can unlock it using a smart phone. Human operators monitoring them can take manual control of the vehicles in a pinch and speak to people through speakers built into them. . . . However, Pit Notes: Terrafugia Martin's IoT Daily report of GI Gadgets' tabulation of 200 million points of interactive social data to see what's hot and what's viewed negatively, put Starship's delivery robot in the negative category because it is a "stupid idea" and "too easy to steal." A flying car, the TF-X from Terrafugia, led the hot list.

The world television premiere of the one-hour special SEMA: BATTLE OF THE BUILDERS 2015 is on Velocity Monday, February 1 at 10 PM ET/PT. It chronicles the best automotive designers and builders in the world as they prepare to debut their newest creations for thousands of car super fans at the 2015 SEMA Show in Las Vegas . . . . .BMW and Nissan have partnered to build 120 quick-charge locations in 19 states, Karl Greenberg writes in Marketing Daily. It is "one network among several that BMW has helped develop with automakers like VW, leading to a footprint that covers 100% of the automaker's market for its electric vehicles," per Robert Healey, electric vehicle infrastructure manager at BMW of North America. The stations can complete an 80% charge in about 20 minutes . . . . Facebook is adding Uber messaging and plans to add other ride-hailing apps in the future, the New York Times reports.


awards and events

Green Car of the Year: Honda HR-V
2016 Honda HR-V named one of three "Green Cars of The Year"

A jury of 53 North American auto journalists named the Honda Civic. And Volvo XC90 as "Car and Truck of the Year," respectively. The awards were announced at the NAIAS. . . . Tara Mello reported on Cars Blog that Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal, announced the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, the Honda HR-V and the Volvo XC90 as the magazine's "Green Cars of The Year."

SEMA is asking for nominations to its Hall of Fame that honor outstanding persons in the industry who have enhanced the stature of, or significantly contributed to, the industry and/or association's growth. To submit a nomination, visit before the deadline on Friday, March 11, 2016. . . . Jeff Gordon is the first recipient of AutoWeek's Denise McCluggage Lifetime Achievement Award . . . The 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road won Petersen's 4-Wheel and Off Road's 4x4 of the Year Competition while the Ram 1500 Rebel won the magazine's pickup truck honors.

Bobby Akin, Judy Stropus, Archie Urciuoli. Brian Cleary photo.
 Bobby Akin, Judy Stropus, Archie Urciuoli. Brian Cleary photo.

Judy Stropus, former professional timer/scorer, race-car driver, and award-winning publicist, was honored by the Road Racing Driver Club's with the 2015 Bob Akin Award, considered the top award in motorsports for amateur, vintage/historic or semi-professional drivers. The annual award winner is selected by Bobby Akin (left in photo ) Archie Urciuoli (r) and Brian Redmand and approved by RRDC president Bobby Rahal.. . . . . . Scott Pruett was presented the 2016 Phil Hill Award by the RRDC for his outstanding service to road racing.

Carl Goodwin was recognized by his local newspaper, The Chagrin Valley Times, for his books extolling the early days of vintage racing, quoting him from one: "The cars were those driven by the racers for daily transportation, often to work and they loved those cars. They were not professional racers, but car salesmen, stockbrokers, engineers and others with regular jobs. There were no sponsors or prize money in those days, just a love of fast cars."


regional news


WAPA offered a presentation of the MyCarDoesWhat Education Campaign intended to inform drivers about the potentially life-saving technologies available. MyCarDoesWhat is a joint effort between the University of Iowa and the National Safety Council. . . .A recent cocktail bash christened Global Automakers' new collaborative space at 1050 K Street, NW, Suite 650, Washington, DC. . . . The Boyertown (PA) Museum of Historic Vehicles held its first ever-special event recently: a Cars, Cocktails and Candy (!) soirée. Possibly a first of its kind anywhere.


The seven-foot-plus, sterling silver Wheeler-Schebler Trophy, created by Tiffany's along with the Harley Earl Trophy awarded at Daytona.

The lengthy and informative history of the Shelby-DeTomaso P70 Can Am racer recently distributed under the Amelia Island Concours d' Eegance aegis prompts the conclusion something like it will be on display at the March 10- 13 event. The seven-foot-plus, sterling silver Wheeler-Schebler Trophy, created by Tiffany's for the Indianapolis 500 will be on display as well as its successor, the Borg-Warner Trophy along with the Harley Earl Trophy awarded at Daytona and a number of other trophies saluting some of the most famous events or achievements in motorsports.


Ford is offering $120,000 grants for startups in Detroit focused on transportation innovation. It is part of a program called Techstars Mobility, Driven by Detroit. Up to 12 startup companies will get $120,000 in funding and three months of training for development of ideas "aligned with Ford Smart Mobility, the plan to take Ford to the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles and data and analytics.

The Center for Automotive Research has a number of events planned for 2016. Among them:

  • Michigan Connected and Automated Vehicle Working Group Meeting, Wednesday, January 27, 2016

  • Industry Briefing: Pathways to Engage K-12 Students with the Automotive Industry, Henry Ford College M-TEC, Thursday, February 25, 201

  • Powertrain Thought Leadership Roundtable
    Tuesday, March 1, 2016

  • Spring Industry Briefing and Affiliate Dinner
    Wednesday May 4, 2016

  • CAR Management Briefing Seminars
    August 1-4, 2016

A calendar of CAR events is available here.


The Blackhawk Museum in San Ramon Northern California will begin a lecture series on The Spirit of The Old West on Feb. 27. The museum is loaning a trio of Alfa Romeo BAT 5, 7 and 9 styling cars from the 1950's to the Frist Center for Visual Arts in Nashville, Tenn. For a special automotive exhibit there from May 27 to Oct. 9.


across the finish line

Julie Candler: "the first woman in the United States to write an automotive column for a major woman's magazine," as cited by the Congressional Record in 2002. From 1964 to 1982 she wrote for Women's Day and other outlets. Her fierce coverage about the tragic deaths of babies and toddlers dying in automobiles for lack of restraints led to laws for child seats and passive restraints. She also was a contributing editor to Nation's Business and was still writing at age 94.

Tyler Alexander: A founding member of McLaren Racing in the 1960s (with Bruce McLaren and Teddy Mayer), and over the next 40 years he was a mechanic, engineer and team manager, at a time when few Americans were involved in European racing.


lane changes Lane Changes: Seth MiersmaSeyth Miersma former editor at Winding Road, is now Executive Editor for, a global motoring website, based in Miami, Fl. Email  No indication he has moved from his Ypsilanti digs. . . . Bruce Hotchkiss now writes his auto column for the Tracy (California) Press, a weekly newspaper. He can be reached at: 650-678-0352, Lane Changes: Bruce SmithBruce Smith advises, "I've come full circle in my 30-plus-year editorial career: Back in Eugene, Oregon where I began, and back to full-time free-lancing for magazines such as Dirt Sports & Off-Road, Jp, Diesel Power, Pickuptrucks.Com, Trailer Life and BoatUS, among others. He can be reached at:  or 228-669-1591(c) . . . . Jim Rutenberg, formerly chief political correspondent for the NYTimes Sunday magazine, has filled the late David Carr's role as the newspaper's media columnist. . . . Tom Torbjorsen advises he is now working in a new career as an Internet Broadcaster "downloading my 30-plus years of experience & creativity in the automotive repair & aftermarket industry info." Catch him at: TuneIn.Com Lane Changes: Shirley JinkinsBlogTalkRadio.Com or reach him at . . . . Shirley Jinkins no longer is full time a Fort Worth Star Telegram but freelances for them Email:

Please let us know if you change jobs, email or other contact information you would like other professionals to have.


- 30-

Glenn Campbell, Owner, Publisher

Glenn F. Campbell

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February 2016
3 APA| Luncheon | Detroit Athletic Club, Cyber Security
11 MAMA| Chicago Auto Show Breakfast | Chicago, IL
11-12 Chicago Auto Show| Media Preview | Chicago, IL
12 Chicago Auto Show| First Look for Charity I Chicago, IL
13-21 Chicago Auto Show| Public Show | Chicago, IL
28 Breakfast Club Cruise-In| Petersen Automotive Museum | Los Angeles, CA
March 2016
3-4 Geneva Motor Show | Press Days | Geneva, Switzerland
5-15 Geneva Motor Show | Public Days | Geneva, Switzerland
11-13 Amelia Island Concours| Amelia Island, FL
23-24 NY Int'l Auto Show| Press Preview | New York, NY
24 NY Int'l Auto Show| Dealer Preview Reception | New York, NY
24 Annual Kelley Blue Book Event | NY Int'l Auto Show| New York, NY
25-April 3 NY Int'l Auto Show| Public Days | New York, NY
May 2016
15-21 "Car guys and gals" trip to Cuba (Havana, Cojimar, Las Terrazas, Varadero, Cardenas, Coliseo & Matanzas)


RetroFocals: We've Got Your Style!


talk back


Thanks for such thorough coverage, Glenn!


A very thought-provoking edition of your newsletter.

Scott Black
TimePiece PR & Marketing

The Death of Performance

Hi Glenn,
Another great newsletter as always. Just wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hate to say it, but I think Wally Wyss has hit it right on the head. Most of my friends in the business are saying autonomous vehicles are still 10 to 15 years in the issues you know. Lawyers and insurance companies can look down the road as well. I am sure they are working together to see that they continue to get their share of the transportation pie....even after cars stop crashing into one another.

Perhaps they will just select a state like Montana and declare it a "human driver" state. Then all the car lovers can move there with their obsolete cars and drive them to their heart's content! Of course this will ultimately crash the collector car bubble....because 30 years from now, no one will even know how to drive a non-autonomous car, never mind having any desire to in the first place.

It is a thought that breaks my heart, but as Wally has pointed is coming. There are still horses. And a fair number of people are still interested in riding them and know how to ride them. But in my 40 year working career, I have never seen anyone ride on to work. They are only used on essentially closed courses with professional riders.....

Well Glenn, rather than leave this on a low note. Let me suggest we all get out there and drive the cars we love while we still can. Again, have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Bob Austin

I've just finished reading the Dec. newsletter from cover to cover . . . okay, okay . . . from screen to screen. I don't agree with Walleyeds pessimism re autonomous cars. If I can squeeze out some time in the next couple of weeks, I'll share a few counter thoughts. And because these thoughts run counter, look for them on the shelf or under the table.

You don't often hear an auto guy calling a lawyer a friend, but Frank Quinn is the exception. Frank in an expert on the car biz. He's a straight shooter and not afraid to give you his opinion. I thought you might be able to pass along some info about him to your other readers. I've extracted a few lines from the attachment to provide some insight into Frank and his firm:

These attorneys in the firm have handled every conceivable type of automobile claim. These include post-collision fuel fed fire, rollover, crashworthiness, seatbelt, air bag, handling, glazing, unintended acceleration, braking, etc. At the present time attorneys in the firm represent a very significant portion of the automobile manufacturing industry. These include domestic and foreign manufacturers throughout Europe and Asia. Attorneys have or have had national and regional responsibilities for major manufacturers.

While automobile litigation has been a very significant part of the firm's business, the expertise exists for the range of industries including consumer products, drugs, medical devices and industrial machinery.

Frank doesn't do weddings or bar mitzvahs, but he will do motor press orgs if he is in the area.

Thanks. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year


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motoring press organizations

North American regional automotive press associations provide information and background not easily found elsewhere. If they are too distant for you to attend their meetings, belonging usually gives you access to transcripts or reports of these events and other benefits.

American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association, Inc.

Logo: AARWBA - Automotive Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association

Norma "Dusty" Brandel
President, Exec. Director

Automobile Journalists Association of Canada


Automotive Press Association
Detroit, MI

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Jeff Green, President

American Racing Press Association

Lo Association

Stan Clinton, President


Eastern Motorsports Press Association
Ballston Spa, NY

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Ron Hedger, President


Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association
Atlanta, GA

GAAMA: Greater Atlanta Automotive Association

Davis Adams, President

International Motor Press Association

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Scotty Reiss, President


Midwest Automotive Media Association
Chicago, IL

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Patrick Olsen, President

Motor Press Guild
Los Angeles, CA

Jason Fogelson, President

New England Motor Press Association
Boston, MA

NEMPA Logo: New England Motor Press Association

Craig Fitzgerald, President

Northwest Automotive Press Association
Portland, OR

NWAPA Logo: Northwest Automotive Press Association

Nik Miles, President

Phoenix Automotive Press Association
Phoenix, AZ

Logo: PAPA Phoenix Automotive Press Association

Cathy Droz, President

Rocky Mountain Automotive Press
Denver, CO

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Andre Smirnov, President

Southern Automotive Media Association
Miami FL

Log: Southern Automotive Media Association

Bill Adam, President  

Southeast Automotive Media Organization
Charlotte, NC

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Texas Auto Writers Association

Nicholas Phillips

Truck Writers of North America

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Tom Kelley, Executive Director

Western Automotive Journalists
San Francisco, CA

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Brian Douglas

Washington Automotive Press Association
Washington, D.C.


Les Jackson, President

quotes to note

"If you let the robot drive, it may take the most rational route. But more times than not, rationality is the opposite of humanity"

What happens when Detroit becomes Silicon Valley
Brett Berk, Vanity fair

"'s unwise to take nutrients out of the soil with no replenishment. One day, you will find there is nothing left to eat."

The Online Ad Ecosystem, Along With Others, Is Unwell

".... it is the fact as we click on links that align with our ideology, we are shown more links that align with our ideology, until eventually we live under the false belief that only links conforming to our ideology exist -- and that, therefore, the whole world must feel as we do, with only stupid, malevolent or insane people failing to toe the party line."

The Death of Media In The Age Of Trump
Kaila Colbn, Onine Spin

"But how can we be thoughtful when we are constantly distracted by information?"

We're Informed -- But Are We Thoughtful?
Gord Hotchkiss, Online Spin

"Now with ad blockers the captive audience can liberate itself from ad taxation, and with breathtaking speed and righteousness, it has."

It Feels So Good
Bob Garfield: Garfield At Large

"Here's some data that suggest journalism isn't such a bad career choice after all. ...between 1997 and 2014 wages grew at at an average rate of more than 4%, second only to the oil and gas industry." according to the report."

Forget the doomsayers: Media is a fine career choice thanks to the digital shift
Matt Rosoff, Business Insider


help wanted

Videographers Wanted

Wallace Wyss, normally a website writer and book author, reports he is doing 5 minute videos of his driving impressions. He has retained some videographers in SoCal but wants to hear from any reporters in the Midwest, East and South that have reliable videographers to help him report from the field from various events like Amelia Island concours or new car shows. The guest spots will be only 2-3 minutes long, introduced by the host from the studio. Reporters are invited to send sample URLs showing them reporting from an event, even if the event is long past. Those subjects interviewed out on the field will have to sign talent releases. Wyss can be reached at

Auto Writers Wanted
Urgently, a new roadside assistance startup is seeking autowriters to provide content for it blog and social media. No information regarding pay or other details. Contact: is a service of
Campbell Public Relations

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