There was some hot gossip floating around town recently that a national television program was interested in sharing the story of Warrensburg with the rest of the nation.
Imagine – Good Morning America segues into a segment on small-town America with the noble mug of Old Drum blended with the Warrensburg logo on a water tower, then fades to the monolithic image of the old Innes grain elevator looming over Pine Street and maybe a close-up of that Tipsy Tower mascot with the beer-tap crotch.
No such luck. The whole thing was a marketing ploy. Journalists don’t interview someone and then ask for money in return for broadcasting or publishing the story.
“It turned out that after several conversations the company was not Good Morning America,” Mayor Baird Brock wrote me in an e-mail. “The initial phone message led us to believe that we were dealing with Good Morning America. They talked very fast and when asked key questions they would explain that they would have someone else call us to give us details. We thought we were being pursued by The Studios of Good Morning America. After the third contact, it was clear that they were simply a marketing company trying to sell us a rather expensive service. We weren’t interested. The city simply does not have the funds to spend on a national promotion at this time. Besides I didn’t like the way they presented themselves.”
The same company previously approached the University of Central Missouri as well – with the same results. The university declined the offer to pay for a story.
Unfortunately, I could not find the name of the company.
But this incident makes me wonder how a program like Good Morning America would portray our community. What are our bragging points? Old Drum and “man’s best friend,” right? Certainly the university and Whiteman Air Force Base are bright spots but what else?
I would say music. Warrensburg has a rich history of producing fantastic musicians. The Nace Brothers are still doing it. And to my delight, The Hummingbirds have played some shows again. Frogpond tasted the sweet fruit of success before disbanding. We are in a sort of lull right now, but I’m confident the energy will return.
Music brings people together and so do festivals. I’m certainly excited Warrensburg is getting a new one – Old Drum Day “A Tribute to the Dog” Festival scheduled for April 14. We have the forward-thinking ladies downtown at the Old Drum Gallery & Trading Co. to thank for that.
Many generations ago, this was a resort town – a destination for those seeking the healing waters of Pertle Springs. We’re quite removed from those days, but hopefully our positive momentum will translate into a story folks would genuinely be interested to hear.