Good Companies: BSWUSA, Symetrix

Time for another entry in my “Companies: Good & Bad” category.

Today’s Good Companies are Broadcast Supply Worldwide and Symetrix.

First, the setup. A couple of weeks ago, I purchased a Symetrix 302 used off of Ebay. I got a heck of a deal– about $75 delivered for a $280 Made in America microphone preamp. I’ll be using it for America’s Debate Radio for Jaime‘s and my microphones.

The unit I purchased is in good shape overall, but it was missing something called “Euroblock connectors.” They’re not essential for the unit’s operation, but I can definitely envision a time when I will be using them. I searched high and low for a company that carried the connectors, and couldn’t find them anywhere. As a last resort, I emailed Symetrix.

About four and a half hours later, I received an email back from someone at Symetrix named Mark. He gave me the part number for the connectors, and referred me to three different online merchants that would be able to special order the parts for drop shipment directly from Symetrix. Now that was nice– a same-day response on a request from a gear manufacturer, and it wasn’t even a form letter. Few and far between are companies that personally respond to email.

So, of the three recommended companies, I chose to contact BSW for the parts for two reasons: 1. They had the other items that I needed, a rack-mount tray for my 302, and a blank filler panel to make the rack -mounted 302 look complete, and they had them at a great price. And 2., I have been on the BSWUSA mailing list for some time, and have never ordered from them.

I sent an email to BSW on Tuesday night, and received an email back on Wednesday morning from Jamie at BSW indicating that he would be happy to put together a quote for me. I contacted him back the same day with the information that he requested from me.

Jamie contacted Symetrix about getting the Euroblock connectors, and sent me an email back on Thursday. Symetrix offered, if I ordered the rack and the panel, that they would throw in the Euroblock connectors free of charge. Yes, that’s right– free of charge. He sent me a PDF quote a couple of hours later, and told me that I could call him and place my order.

Jamie went above and beyond what is expected by contacting the Symetrix and getting them to throw the connectors in for free, and was refreshingly prompt in his responses to my requests. He even gave me a discount off of the regular listed prices on the rack and the panel, which is very much appreciated for a website/radio show that has an extremely limited budget.

I called Jamie, and he answered his phone right away– no “push 1 for this, push 2 for that” as one would expect for most companies. I gave him my credit card information, and the order placement was completed within minutes of my calling. From the time I hung up the phone and walked back upstairs to my computer, I had received an email confirmation for my order.

Service like this from Jamie at BSW is surprising. I’ve looked at BSW’s radio catalog. They sell items that cost more than my car, such as broadcast consoles about which I can only dream, or drool. But my order– my measly little order– was for less than $50, not a significant amount for a company that sells individual items that cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. I can only imagine the service that would be offered if I were ordering a full studio!

So to summarize for those who are considering ordering from BSW, or purchasing Symetrix products– do it. You won’t regret it. You’ll get top-notch service, prompt responses, and have an amazingly pleasant experience.

Bravo BSW and Symetrix!

Michael Vick Checks In

As some of you are surely aware, Michael Vick, the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback, has made a plea deal related to charges stemming from a dogfighting investigation.

Yesterday, Vick checked himself into jail to start serving his sentence, even though he will not be officially sentenced until December 6.

I have a hunch as to why:

Michael Vick’s mom: Michael, you better be here for Thanksgiving.
Michael Vick: I’ll be there, Mom.
Michael Vick’s mom: …and you better bring a dessert.
Michael Vick: Mom, I’m not bringing a dessert.
Michael Vick’s mom: You better bring one. You never bring anyth…
Michael Vick: OK Mom, that’s it. I’m not coming.
Michael Vick’s mom: You’re not coming? You better be here or I’ll…
Michael Vick: I’m going to jail.
Michael Vick’s mom: Yeah, I know you’re going to jail. That’s why you need to spend Thanksgiving with us.
Michael Vick: I don’t think you understand. I’m going to jail now. I’d rather have Thanksgiving dinner in jail than spend another holiday with this dysfunctional family.

…or something like that.

Happy Thanksgiving!

My Thoughts on Thanksgiving Travel Delays

My Thoughts on Thanksgiving Travel Delays:

If you are taking a commercial flight in the several days before or after Thanksgiving, then you have forfeited your right to complain about travel delays.

We go through this every year. I’m sick of seeing the same story every year.

There is one positive, though, about all of the lame coverage that these flight delays attract: It makes me feel smart. Every single person I see on TV complaining about flight delays must be stupid if they didn’t know delays were to be expected. And since those who complain as they wait for their flight are stupid, I must, by default, be very, very smart, since I am not waiting for a flight during one of the best known periods of the worst flight delays all year.

It feels so good to be right. There is nothing more exhilarating than pointing out the shortcomings of others, is there?

MSNBC’s “Green is Universal” week

I watch MSNBC not because I like it, but I see it as the presidential-election equivalent of news networks: The lesser of the evils. I can’t stand Fox news– too much opinion for me. And I can’t stand CNN– no in-depth coverage. So I watch MSNBC

This week, MSNBC has been running a “Green is Universal” week, where they are trying to convince us of the position that they have taken: we need to be more environmental conservation.

Besides the fact that they have taken a clear position on what is currently a heavily-disputed and loosely-proven political issue, here’s what annoys me: They are not practicing what they are preaching.

Today as I watched, they did their stories about being “green.” In the background of the shot, there are no less than nine large-screen televisions up on the wall. OK, fine, they need to monitor the news. If that is the case, why mount the televisions way above their employee’s heads? Oh yeah, because those televisions are decorations, meant to be part of the set, and serving no legitimate purpose besides eye candy.

They are not practicing what they are preaching.

During an interview with a correspondent, Contessa Brewer and the correspondent were talking about how the network was “paperless” for a day. Pan out leading to break, and what do you see? Yeah, that’s right, multiple stacks of paper on Contessa Brewer’s desk.

The other thing that is driving me nuts: Fact checking has taken a break this week. Reporting quality is also way, way down.

Earlier today, one of their Weather Channel correspondents, in reference to junk mail, said that 100,000,000 trees– yes, one hundred million trees– are used to make the junk mail that we all receive in our mailboxes.

First, according to whom?

Second, what is the frequency? Is it 100 million trees per femtosecond, or since the advent of junk mail?

Those are two key pieces of information that should have been included in a story that is being used to try to influence social change upon the masses.

All in all, MSNBC has failed.