City representatives decline to elaborate on possible $9,000 in advertising

Published 7:00 am Saturday, May 20, 2017

Picayune city officials say they are in the early stages of possibly purchasing advertising on news program to highlight Pearl River County, but declined to give additional details.
City Manager Jim Luke and Director of Special Projects Christy Goss were adamant that the city has not yet committed to the $9,000 program offered by WGNO’s News With a Twist, even though a motion was approved by the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors during its meeting on Wednesday to split the expense with the city.
Also, business owners attending the Picayune Main Street meeting held Thursday night were advised that they may be contacted by WGNO representatives for advertising opportunities as part of the program.
Luke said the project was in its “infancy stage” and did not return further requests for comment.
Goss said she needed approval from the City Council, who had not yet been informed of the project, before discussing specifics and asked the Item not to run a story about the possible purchase.
However, during Wednesday’s Pearl River County Board of Supervisors meeting, District II Supervisor Malcolm Perry said he recently met with Goss and Picayune Main Street Director Reba Beebe about splitting the cost of the half hour special. Beebe also did not provide comments to the Item about the program when asked.
At Wednesday’s meeting, the Board voted to split the cost with the city of Picayune, committing $4,500 if additional funds can’t be raised from area businesses to defer the cost.
Perry said the special could include broadcasts from any number of locations in the county. Other segments would be filmed throughout the county for the creation of commercials, he said.
WGNO would also solicit advertising from local businesses so that each break would feature more of Pearl River County, Perry said.
Two weeks of advertisements would also run ahead of the special to garner interest in the show, totaling 84 commercials, Perry said.
District I Supervisor Donald Hart said $9,000 was a reasonable price for what WGNO was offering.
Yet, Board Vice President Hudson Holliday said the county has already been working on a new tourism video over the past few months.
According to previous coverage, County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said in November that he was planning to create a new video tour of the county featuring the Board and community leaders.
Lumpkin also said during Wednesday’s meeting that several Pearl River County businesses were already advertising in the New Orleans area.
Perry also said that all video produced by WGNO will be given to the county and city for their use.
Rick Erbach, news director for News With a Twist, said the program started in 2014 and has featured several cities and festivals along the Gulf Coast, including Bay St. Louis, Ponchatoula and St. Tammany Parish.
The program generally features different areas or stories in cities that are particularly unique, he said.
For example, in Bay St. Louis, the crew produced a story about a hidden Heisman trophy at St. Stanislaus that was donated by a former student who won it in 1944, Erbach said.
“It’s a good time, we spotlight things that maybe people from the New Orleans area maybe aren’t familiar with,” he said.
Erbach said he could not confirm if the special would take place in Picayune.
While the Board has voted on the measure, Goss said the City Council is unaware of it.

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About Julia Arenstam

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