Back in high school one of my favorite places to go to was Dirt Cheap Records. It was down in the Old Market and I’d hang out there and talk music and pop culture with the staff. (Usually it was Maria-Elena Buszek, now an art professor in Kansas City.) Rows upon rows, stacks upon stacks of records (“vinyl” to some of us), posters, tapes, shirts and anything else music-related. Still having a hard time picturing it? Think Championship Vinyl from the book/movie High Fidelity.
I started going to the store because I collected records and it was one of the best places to go to get records. (Granted, it was one of the few places to go to get records.) The staff there would help me out in tracking down some record I was wanting, doing special orders and getting imports of bands I liked. (bands from the Seattle scene)
It’s interesting because even though at that time, in the early 90’s, cds were dominant in music retail you still had this niche market of record buyers. People who were audiophiles and/or just loved the sound of music off a record. I enjoyed the vibe of listening to records and the distinct sound it provides. So even though technology has allowed for digital music files and for it to be accessed all across the world, you have this niche group of record listeners. The foundation of digital music is analog, and no matter what there will always be that aspect in the music industry.
Now, in my opinion, we have Silicon Prairie News (SPN) which is digital in so many ways: news, delivery, style and more. Yet, you have its mascot/logo/brand, the prairie dog, which is obviously not digital. More so, Jeff Slobotski, one of the founders of SPN, talks a lot about “hustle”. Jeff and Dusty are always hustlin’ SPN, unabashedly promoting it to anyone, anywhere, anytime. That’s old school in a lot of ways. Yeah, they have blogs, websites, are on social networks, but when you get with them one-on-one in conversation it tops it all. They don’t just expect business and web traffic to magically appear because they have a web presence, they go after people. Everything else they use (blogs, videos, social networks, etc) is a complement or tool for them, but just that. It isn’t the end all of things with them or SPN. They are the heart and soul of SPN, in a sense. (Pardon the hyperbole, but you get my drift.)
I was trying to think of how to caputre that ol’ school, retro feel in a word/name that would still juxtapose well with all things Silicon Prairie News. Reflecting back on my fondness for Dirt Cheap Records, I did some research on the words “records” and “vinyl” trying to find the right word to capture that cool, retro feel. And then I came across the word “analog” when reading some history of records. I knew right away it was the word I was looking for. It was a great contrast to digital and the culture and age we are in. Plus, analog rhymed with prairie dog, which probably appeals to me more since I read lots of books with rhymes to my two boys who are under the age of three. The name would be easy to remember and flowed well with prairie dog.
I thought I had a solid entry for the mascot name. Obviously, I was pleased that it was chosen as a finalist and that so many people voted for it.
So, that’s a bit of the story. Thanks to everyone who voted for it, and thanks to everyone who was a part of Dirt Cheap Records who helped spawn the name. Too bad they aren’t around anymore, I’d go down and buy some rare Pearl Jam records like I use to do.
See you at Big Omaha.