EM Weekly turns 100

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This week we talk to, ourselves, yep this is an overview of the last 99 episodes and the direction of EM Weekly. Todd takes a break from hosting and allows Brian Colburn to take the helm. This is a fun and entertaining show. Now on to the interview.

Brian Colburn:    Definitely that and the top books that an EM should have on the shelf that that episode was all you, our audience, and you guys took the time to recommend the books and then to vote books up and down this list and that episode has done really, really well, which lets us know you guys want more content like that, so we want to thank you for, for engaging with us on that poll as well.

Todd DeVoe :     Hi and welcome to the 100th episode of EM Weekly. First, I want to thank all of you for making this show such a success. We do this for you. This week is a conversation with my friend and co-conspirator . Brian Colburn. Brian is the reason that the website looks so good and all the functions of it also work. He’s also the guy that I bounce my ideas off of and we were just talking about what we should be doing here at EM Weekly. So really without him we wouldn’t have too much of a show. In fact, if you come to the emergency management leaders conferences may on the 29th or 30th in Phoenix, Arizona. You’ll see Brian and action in the EM Weekly mobile studio. By the way, there’s early bird registration on sale right now at emlc.us, so don’t wait and if you’re a student you get a full $200 off the complete conference. I hope to see you there. Also joined the EM Weekly for our upcoming Webinar on March 28 when we discussed the emerging technologies for emergency management. Now onto the interview

Brian Colburn:    on this week’s episode of EM Weekly, we will be talking to Todd DeVoe, the host of EM Weekly. Todd, welcome to your show.

Todd DeVoe :     Great. Thanks. I appreciate it. I guess

Brian Colburn:    so. This is Brian. For those of you who’ve never heard my voice, which is the majority of you on the guy pushing buttons in the back end usually. And on this our hundredth episode, we kind of wanted to take a step back and talk about the last 99 episodes of producing EM Weekly and just take it from there. We’ve accomplished quite a bit. I don’t think we’ve fallen short on a single goal… Todd?

Todd DeVoe :     No, no, not at all. Not at all. And the cool part about it is we’ve gone, we’ve got a 100 episodes without being late, although we’ve had a couple that went a tad early.

Brian Colburn:    Yes, we have a one was you and one was me, you know, we, we push a button that says schedule and it just decides to post and we say, ah, let it roll, let it roll. So Todd, why don’t you give us a brief overview of what some of the goals are that we wanted accomplish and then we can discuss them individually.

Todd DeVoe :     Yes, sure. So let me go back a little bit. You know, some of you might not have heard the story of how we got here and it really started off with me having a challenge at bringing guests into my classroom. And I recorded a few recordings here and there and they just were terrible. And, and then, uh, you and I are having a conversation because in December of 16 and you said, well, why don’t you try just recording podcasts? Here’s a way you could just link them to your, for your class to listen to. And everyone. I really first started thinking about doing this podcast thing. I wasn’t thinking about it as being the EM Weekly show. I was just thinking about it being Todd DeVoe, talking to some cool people in emergency management and have our students listen to it. And it grew. It grew fast.

Todd DeVoe :     And EM Weekly, realistically it was something that a few of us were talking about doing was, I think it was 2007 wasn’t Brian?,

Brian Colburn:    Yes it was that long ago.

Todd DeVoe :     So. But the original concept between it was just pretty much an aggregator of news sources that revolved around emergency management, kind of like a news magazine if you will. And we, we ended up there for a little bit trying to play with it and it just never got to work in. And then some of the organizations started stuff and it was just. We were just sending me to, if you will, when I came to EM stuff and I didn’t want to be a me to so we kind of put it, put it to bed, but I own the url and it’s kind of part of the reason why we are the. And weekly show is because they already owned that url and that’s not a fit because we were doing a weekly podcast, so I think all came together at that point, you know, that’s where we started doing and using EM Weekly as our title for the show.

Todd DeVoe :     And like I said, I think a fit. And so our goal was to bring guests on the show and then we kind of move forward a little bit to try and to bring quality webinars to our audience. And so far we’ve had three really good webinars that we put out and we have scheduled six for this year total. So that was one of our goals and we hit that and then audience recognition and, and also working with IAEM and the uh, emergency management leadership conference. I want to work with both of those organizations and we’ve got that as well. So I think those are kind of the big ones that we sort of put out there and were able to obtain.

Brian Colburn:    So some of the goals I had for the show were more based on the quality of product, that consistency of product. And Todd and I have gone back and forth. Sometimes he might lag a little bit and I have to apply pressure to him and sometimes I lag a little bit and he’s applying pressure to me and, and we hope that that internal struggle isn’t being broadcasted across our show. That’s one thing we really wanted to ensure that we were putting together a consistent quality show for the viewers and our numbers have climbed. Thank you to all of you who are listening to this show and subscribe. And if you’re not subscribed, if you’re listening on either www.emweekly.com or sithcradio.com, please grab your phone, find your native podcast player, search for EM Weekly and subscribe. That way you know you’re not going to miss an episode. You’re not going to have to hunt and peck. But Todd, do you want to talk to the audience about some of that back and forth that we’ve struggled with over the last year?

Todd DeVoe :     Sure. Yeah. So just like any other relationship when it comes to things, there’s sometimes there’s a, Oh, say conflict is not the word I’m looking for, but good conflict could good positive arguments about what the show sounds like and, and, and the direction of where it’s going. And, and I think it’s definitely a creative and I didn’t think of myself as be a creative person to be honest with you when I started this. I’m technical not when it comes to technology, trust me, ask Brian about that, but technical when it comes to rules, regulations, things that need to be done, you know, emergency management work, that type of stuff. And uh, to, to be honest with you, the creative side of me, it wasn’t really something that I ever thought about. And then putting the show together, I definitely realized I have a flair for, for some things and a specific idea of what it should sound like and that those conversations are had on a regular basis between Brian and I and what the look of it is. And like our biggest thing is trying to get good quality. Um, banners put up. And Brian does a really wonderful job on, on that, um, and some of the struggle is trying to get some of our guests to get their photographs up and you know, sometimes you’ll see some really cool banners with a really cool photograph and then other times you just see that’s such a cool banner because Brian doesn’t have anything to work with. And that really, I think that’s his biggest sticking point with me. I don’t know. What do you think by.

Brian Colburn:    Oh, I still hammered Todd episode after episode about quality pictures, you know, our cell phones nowadays you can turn that camera on yourself and take a really cool picture get in some decent light. And I’ve got plenty to work with and you know, some of the images that get sent to us to utilize for the banner for the episode of the Instagram posts or whatnot are, are lacking. Typically. They’re usually too small to even build with, you know in Instagram they want a 1440 pixels. So that’s 1,440 pixels by 1000, 440 pixels at minimum. And we’ve gotten images that are like 120 pixels, so 10 percent like I can’t work with this. And you know, when I say Todd, and I struggle, we’ve, we’ve actually had a lot of great conversation. And first and foremost I think, and I’ll speak for you Todd, and correct me if I’m wrong, we have learned so much in the last 100 episodes and putting this show together and one of the cool things that came about was asking the EM community is so giving and so caring and they truly have a compassion for their work and making the community at a whole stronger.

Brian Colburn:    And I remember telling Todd, I want to top 10 lists, who are the top 10 dream guests you want on the show? And the next week would pass. And I still don’t have it and I am like Todd, top 10, top 10. And he finally gets this list. I’m like, great. We put together some caned emails or email framework and I remember Todd sending the first note out to Craig Fugate. And what was that replied Todd? And how fast did it come?

Todd DeVoe :     Oh, it was, it was. Yes, and it came quickly, there was no equivocation on an answer and it was. I was going to take you down a little bit about all the holy crap, here’s this guy who is a local. EM, you know, yeah. I’m involved with some of the organizations, but real clearly the day it’s a small organization that I’m part of it, a smallest county in California. And he said, yeah, I’ll come on, you know, I was like, wow, this is kind of cool. And then I was like, okay, let’s start getting other people. So then when I started asking authors to come on, it was cool to have them come on the show as well. And again, you know, they obviously didn’t have a reason they’re pitching their book, but I’m not taking a book that doesn’t make sense to the EM community. So, it’s not like I’m getting an old, you know, I don’t know, like a self-help book or something like that come in on a show, I am getting leadership books and stuff like this and getting those guys on the show and for them to say yes. So, it’s really kind of cool. And then of course Administrator Long coming on the show, those are sort of the kind of the big, the big fish that I was able to, for lack of a better term to bring on the show, I was excited about that.

Brian Colburn:    And you know that that speaks again to the strength of the community, the emergency management community, you guys are really giving. And one place you can help us out is shoot us an email. It’s Brian, (B.R.I.A.N) or Todd (T.O.D.D) @emweekly.com. And let us know what you think is lacking. Let us know what you need help with, let us what doesn’t make sense to you in the world of EM and put that onus on us to go find you an answer. If Todd doesn’t have it off the bat, he loves to research and he’ll not only figure out a path for you to follow. Hopefully we can secure a guest to bring him on the show and explain it., I’ve always been a firm believer that if one person has that question, there’s 50 behind him with the same question and it just takes that one person to speak up and once they do that responsibility, we don’t take lightly and we want to give you the content you want. We want to feed you the content you feel you need to make EM Weekly better and to make that same community that much stronger.

Todd DeVoe :     What are the places where I have the most fun with EM Weekly it is on Facebook, on the group, and so we have the page like everybody has a page and then we have a group which was closed as close, closed on purpose so people have to say why they’re an emergency manager and they’d come on the group and it’s a huge group, but it’s a fun group and we do polls and conversations and sometimes a little bit of debate about emergency manager stuff and I do a live on the group and in the page to those. Those conversations are a little bit more loose, if you will, when we’re on the on the group. The other thing as well is that I put poles up there asking questions regarding what you guys want to hear, you know, what, what are your feelings on this that or another thing and because of the Poles we went out and sought Santa Clause’s emergency manager and we have a laundry list of questions all from our members as a group that came onto the asset ask Santa Clause’s emergency manager and I thought that was a fun episode. We had a good time making it too.

Brian Colburn:    Definitely that and the top books that an EM should have on the shelf that that episode was all you our audience and you guys took the time to recommend the books and then to vote books up and down this list and that episode has done really, really well which lets us know you guys want more content like that. So we want to thank you for, for engaging with us on that poll as well.

Todd DeVoe :     Speaking of Books. One of the questions, those or you that listen on a regular basis already know this, maybe this is somebody’s first episode. One of the questions I always ask and I did it more so for my own. I like to read and so I did this for my own, just curiosity of what people are reading and I also believe, and this comes back from the Marine Corps days, that reading number one is important, number two, having a good strong reading list for people that are involved in the field of emergency management and something that I could give to my students as well because I think is really important. So having that originally it was always important to me and so I would ask my guests or what they’re reading or what they recommend to read. And from that we also started the pole. But because of that question, a friend of mine who works for FEMA, he’s out. So he, uh, he called me and said, hey, I’m going to steal that. And then now FEMA has a reading list taken directly from the idea of asking people what they want to read.

Brian Colburn:    That’s awesome. And again, we’re strengthened hopefully strengthening the community. Obviously having a book list does no good if nobody’s looking at it and or reading it. But we had good engagement with that episode and that pole.

Todd DeVoe :     Yeah. And I’m going to do it again, so starting September ish on the group if you guys want to get involved, come over to the Facebook group and make it and I’m going to do it again. I want to put books. I’m thinking about. It’s the thing too. It wasn’t just my books I should throw out there that I was like, oh yeah, these are the 10 books I want to see. What’s the up there now, no I put a few books up there and then I left the poll open for our membership to, to go through and I put both books they wanted up there. And matter of fact there are some books I made, a top 10 list that I didn’t even think about putting on that list. And it was because of, of our group that they got on there and they made the top 10 list. So I was kind of exciting.

Brian Colburn:    You know what’s funny? I attempted to put a book up there and Facebook was just being glitchy that day and it would not allow me to add a book. And indirectly it has a lot to do with EM in my opinion, and Todd and I have had great conversation on this subject, but directly it has to do with sales and for those of you listening, the book is the Little Red Book of selling by an author named Jeffrey Gitomer. And the discussion and why it’s important to EMs and the discussions I’ve had with Todd over the last few years is that in my opinion, EM’s do a poor job at a being their biggest cheerleader and be thinking of their EM program in a business aspect to where you constantly need to chase funding raised funds, apply for grants to make your system bigger. And I think that book might open some eyes as to a self-promotion promoting their department and thinking long term for securing funding for your department.

Todd DeVoe :     Oh yeah, that’s a hundred percent it is kind of funny you say that, today. I was actually reading a paper that was written a couple of years ago actually, and one of the concepts that the author is talking about was that an emergency management, number one, we are political group just by nature because we have politicians, city council, county council, whatever, coming in and saying this is what they want, and so we had to be really reactive to some of that political understanding. Number two, take a look at Katrina, right? That’s a really obvious example where the failures in that response have political ramifications, not only for the President of the United States, but for the governor of Louisiana, the mayor of New Orleans, those people as well, we’re held accountable by their base, which they should be, and so number one, so there’s that. So understanding that our job as a political animal is really important too.

Todd DeVoe :     When you go forth and you’re doing what you’re doing. Number two, residence and even like the people, business owners and even the city council, they don’t really have a great understanding of what we do as emergency managers even today and they understand lights and sirens. They understand that and a lot of our money that should be coming to our efforts here as emergency managers is being spent and sent to the other public safety services such as fire police and ems, so we are kind of in a at a battle, if you will, with those agencies for funding number one and number two. Having them really understand what our mission is as emergency managers takes some salesmanship and I think we have to be our own cheer leading squad and that’s one of the things I struggled with for years is being my own cheerleader for that better, but we have to be our own cheer leading squad.

Todd DeVoe :     Going out there and telling the public what we are, what we do, and then we have to get really involved with other divisions. Departments in your city or county planning department’s land, use apartments, those type of departments, public works, things like this. We have to really be involved with them as well. Not just our counterparts at fire, ems and police and so understanding that book realistically tells you what You have to do to keep yourself visible and viable in the community because otherwise it’s going to be easy to cut that position which somebody doesn’t understand. And so you’re right Brian I think that’s a really good choice of the book.

Brian Colburn:    Todd Have you read it?

Todd DeVoe :     I have.

Brian Colburn:    You Better have said, Todd, what is your biggest joy? What’s the biggest joy that you take away from producing episode after episode of EM Weekly?

Todd DeVoe :     I guess I’m a teacher at heart and I like to. I like to really share what we do as a profession with others and it doesn’t necessarily mean like teaching. I mean I teach at college, but just sharing with others what we do and an opening others ideas. And then the cool part about it is I’ve made some really great connections and friends throughout the three years that we’ve been doing or to two years now. This is our third season throughout the two years that we’ve been doing this. Um, and being able to go to like the IAEM conference and meeting people who listen to the show kind of blows my mind a little bit and then also being invited to other shows and it’s still being in contact with those people who I met at IAEM or I’ve been on other shows or stuff like that. Or people just reached out to me and say, Hey, do you want to collaborate on something? We started talking and we have a regular connection. I think that part of its really cool and that’s, I think that’s my favorite part of doing the show.

Brian Colburn:    So thinking back over the 99 episodes, each episode, did you have the most fun recording?

Todd DeVoe :     Well, I mean that’s Kind of hard to say. Um, the fun part I think would be the Christmas one. That was just hilarious. I, we had to stop a couple times because we were laughing so hard and a pause, restart. That was just, that was fun because it was a silliness. It was just, it was a good time during the holidays. It’s just fun to do. I think my most interesting conversation was the Raven Rock conversation with Garrett Graff and he’s not an emergency manager, he’s just a, he’s a guy who just kind of found this id tag and then from there it just was like, what the heck is going on? And like just found like there’s a really cool facts about, you know, the history of emergency management. I thought that was kind of just the most fascinating or because he literally found an id tag on the ground and from there got all this information after being curious about it.

Todd DeVoe :     I think that’s favorite part. My most interesting interviews. Far as content.

Brian Colburn:    So Todd, what’s the future of EM weekly?

Todd DeVoe :     Well, you know, it’s really cool. We’ve been getting a lot of great interviews and so we have a bunch coming up so if you could listen to this recorded interview with you, you are in the queue and you’re coming up, but we’re doing some, you know, the editing and stuff like that. And so that’s what’s going on right now with those with, like I said before, we have webinars coming up. We got six of them that we’re doing with this year. Um, if they go, well, we’re going to do more. And the cool part about these webinars compared to say other ones is that we aren’t selling anything at all, you know, it’s not like there’s other webinars where it’s like sponsored by this corporation and it’s an hour commercial or maybe like a 45 minute commercial and you do like 15 minutes of question and answers at the end.

Todd DeVoe :     This is, these are full on conversations with emergency management or you can be involved and ask questions and go into the chat and chat amongst the people there as well. So I’d love to have you guys come to those because they’re number one, a lot of good information to have shared. Number two, they’re kind of fun to be part of. And this is the three. Is this building another community for emergency managers to have regular interaction with EMs, talking about EM topics that affect you on a regular basis. So, um, our next one that we’re going to have is going to be in March. It is the emerging technologies in emergency management and that’s going to be a, I think a really good show. We have a couple of good techie people coming on and I think you’ll be interested in having to hear what they have to say.

Brian Colburn:    It seems like a technologically, there are more and more tools and assets being put into play for you EMs. For those of you who don’t know, I was a responder to Katrina in a rescue ambulance and we didn’t have cell for quite a while, and we didn’t have paper maps for quite a while. Some of our instructions were picked people up here drive north for about an hour and then ask somebody, um, and we rolled with the punches. But technology is getting stronger and Mesh networking and cell towers, if they go offline, they are coming up faster. So, you know, if you’re not paying attention to technology in EM, you should probably start. Um, just so you don’t get far behind the curve. Okay. Todd, we’re coming to the end of this interview and this is the toughest question yet. What book or books or publications would you recommend every to every EM have on their shelf?

Todd DeVoe :     Wow. Well, that’s a good question Brian thank you for asking. We have an episode that talks about the top 10 books that belong on an EMs shelf and uh, I really stayed by, by that. However, however, there are a few books I am actually reading right now that I think that, uh, I’m really going to have a good play into what you do, um, as emergency managers. Um, and one of them is, it’s Kind of funny, I’m laughing at myself because I hear other people recommend same books, but I have to say why it is extreme ownership. I liked her a lot, number one and number two, it just really shows like what you need to do, um, to, to really own what you are. A I first, uh, I read the dichotomy of leadership and um, I thought it was okay. So I kind of read it backwards. I’m the only thing is for me with those, there are a lot of military stories in there that was, I kind of skipped through, but the principles that you’ve learned, a leadership that we learned, Brian and I are both in the military that we learned in the military are truths that I think that’s really important and this one here is by Simon Sinek and it’s Why and I think that that’s one of the things that we miss as emergency managers is that we don’t understand what our “Why” is. As emergency managers and I think that’s why sometimes we get lost into the responding agencies such as fire, police, ems because and we don’t understand what our why is or we don’t articulate to the public what our why is. And I think as emergency managers we really have to understand what that is. Articulate what that is and live that why.

Brian Colburn:    I want to take the opportunity and to tell all of you. We truly appreciate you listening to the show. We truly appreciate those of you who have clicked on our either advertisers or sponsors and have engaged with them, but bringing you some technologies that we believe in or companies that we believe in, even with some advertising money in sponsorship, money coming in, we don’t make a living off running EM Weekly, um, pretty much every dime has gone back into improving hardware and software so we can provide a better product for you. You know, some of you have clicked and you have called and you have engaged with them and, and you know, we hear back from them and we’re grateful for that. Very, very much so because that just is kind of proof of concept that what we’re doing is working and there is value in what we’re doing and that’s just my analytical brain in the back end. Measuring what my concept of successes for the show. So again, I want to thank each and every one of you. If you ever have questions again, you can reach me at brian@emweekly.com Todd, do you have any parting words?

Todd DeVoe :     Again I just kind of echo what Brian just said, that we’re here for you and this is not about Todd or Brian for that matter, it’s about you and I really want you guys to own the show, make it part of what you want and then please reach out to us, give us ideas to come on a show and you have a lot of stuff to share here. We hope to have you. It’s just a collaborative effort. As emergency managers, we are collaborative people and this is what EM Weekly really is. This is not my show. I just happened to be the caretaker of it today. I do really appreciate everyone out there that listens to the show and thank you so much.


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