Press Release Produces TV News Documentary, Print and Online Coverage

Your press releases can generate publicity for several months or more: Here’s a sample.


It only takes one press release, if it’s well written and distributed, to put your company front and center in a number of media outlets. For example, ABC Music Store and Academy received significant online and traditional press coverage over a three-month period from a single feature release. Their story landed  in a television  news documentary, in regional print publications, and  front-page in local publications.  They were also prominently featured online.

Here’s How the Process Works

  •   A well-written, researched, properly formatted press release–including photos and supporting research–went out to targeted media contacts.
  •  A tailored email headline and message for each reporter was attached to each release.  Individual reporters were now receiving feature news for their own target audience. 
  • Follow-up phone calls drew attention to the release sitting in the reporters’ inboxes. A reporter is flooded with hundreds of releases daily Any release can be buried.  The phone call was not just a reminder; it pointed out the reasons the reporter’s audience would enjoy the article.
  • ABC owners and staff responded immediately to requests for  interviews, and video.
  • ABC updated its Facebook audience on an ongoing basis to generate more buzz. They also informed local media about the documentary coverage generating four articles and two videos.
  • In 2013, ABC was once again recognized by the City of Benicia for its contribution to the community and featured on the front page of the hometown paper.

Here are the Results

Media Coverage

  •  Oakland KTVU Channel 2:  “Holiday in Focus” documentary:
    three newscasts
  •  Livermore Independent Magazine – feature article
  • Benicia Herald – two articles
  •  Online arts blogs, websites
  • AOL Benicia Patch – 2 videos and feature articles
  • Facebook links and posts with summaries and links to online, print and TV coverage

and the release


ABC Music Store and Academy
739 1st Street, Benicia, CA   707.746.7565
2156 1st Street, Livermore, CA    925.443.1244

Contact: Stan Houston
Office: 707 746 7565

Couple empties cash register for kids’ music programs

Benicia, Calif, October 27, 2011 –Earsplitting and explosive.  These words come to mind in a classroom filled with first-time fourth and fifth grade band students banging and blowing on instruments. But trumpet blasts and cymbal clashes herald success to ABC Music Store and Academy owners Stan and Marianne Houston.

Since 2008, the couple has taken no money from their operations and instead, poured all of the profits, over $50,000, into afterschool band programs in Benicia and Livermore, communities where their stores are located.  With small businesses falling like dominoes in this brutal recession, why would the Houstons, by no means wealthy, put their hard-earned dollars into kids’ music programs rather than into their own pockets?

When asked this question, Stan Houston replies, “We do what we do because we believe music education is not a frill; it’s crucial to childhood development – it builds self-esteem and keeps kids off the streets. We want to get the word out regarding its long-term benefits.”

In his Benicia store, as he completes a customer transaction, Houston talks band details on his cell with wife Marianne, Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center. On the counter sits a blue ceramic piggy bank. The sign reads: Save Benicia Bands. Marianne Houston is just leaving work and will drive 35 miles to Livermore’s Arroyo Seco Elementary where she will meet with parents and ABC’s Livermore band director.

The couple uses their dollars to plug the dike of a leaky educational system. Contra Costa County elementary schools continue to slash music programs. Antioch’s elementary band program was cut in September. Mt. Diablo Unified eliminated programs over the past two years. Other districts snip here and there.

The ABC owners support Livermore’s Arroyo Seco Elementary, Smith Elementary, and local Livermore charter schools.  In Benicia, they work with elementary and middle school programs. To keep costs for band participation to a minimum – around $50 – they pay instructor salaries, provide curriculum, discount equipment rentals, and promote and produce fundraisers.  For any child who can’t afford the program, it’s free.

“It’s been proven that music education prepares kids for academic and career success,” Houston continues. “Universities tell us they look for it as an extra-curricular activity because they understand its academic impact. “

Sound academic and workplace skills

Statistics indicate a strong correlation between music and academic success. A report by the Music Educators National Conference states SAT takers with music coursework or experience had verbal scores 57 points higher and math scores 41 points higher than their nonmusical counterparts.  The very best engineers and technical designers in the Silicon Valley industry are, nearly without exception, practicing musicians says a report in The Center for Arts in Basic Curriculum, New York.

Houston says music education provides skills important to an evolving global workplace.  “Music is the international language. All ethnic groups participate in band.  As we move toward a more global workplace, that experience is important for kid’s future careers.”

Pointing to his own 30 years of experience facilitating engineering  contracts overseas, Houston says he used his music background to open doors.  “All cultures have music in common,” he says.  “You can talk about their composers, our composers, the greatest sax player.  This relationship building is something very hard to do without having been exposed to the arts.”

A political hot potato

Beyond the funding challenges, the Houstons juggle a political hot potato. Teacher’s unions and school districts debate enrichment programs. They argue over staffing, overtime pay and more. “Antioch has no program because the District and teachers’ union reached an impasse. We understand the teacher’s union looking out for the teachers,” says Houston.” But who’s looking out for the kids?   We work through the PTA’s to get the program to kids who need it.”

 Creating team players and safer kids

In the Livermore classroom, band director Chelsea Chambers keeps all eyes forward. The children are focused and attentive, glancing occasionally at one another.  Children learn to be team players in band, say the Houstons.  But unlike athletics, no aggression, no special physical ability is needed.  “No one warms the bench; no one is the star. Everyone plays on the team at all times, “says Houston.

Times have changed, and their effort is worth it, say the couple. “In the 60’s and 70’s, it was pretty much assumed that if your kid   was into playing music, he was into trouble.  Today, if he is into music, you can assume that he isn’t.”


The Photos and Captions


ABC Music Store and Academy owner Stan Houston gets a tip from student Jake Sackett on the drums.  Jake, an ABC student and 5th grader at Mathew Turner Elementary, went from the afterschool program into the Benicia Middle School Jazz Band two years ahead of schedule.

Marianne and Stan Houston, owners of ABC Music Store and Academy, with locations in Benicia and Livermore, have poured all of their operational profits back into community music programs.

Programs in Livermore directed by ABC Music Store and Academy support 50 children.

 Chelsea Chambers, ABC’s Livermore band director, works with a student on snare drum technique at the Arroyo Seco Elementary afterschool enrichment program.

The Research and Contacts

Contact information for additional interviews


Title, Role


Chris Van Schaack Assistant Superintendent, Livermore Unified School District
Vickey Schalenberger President, Livermore Valley Education Foundation (925) 294-4068 ABC supports Livermore Valley Education Foundation.
xxxxx xxxxx
ABC Music’s Livermore band director

Photo Information




1 Male instructor with child on drums Stan Houston, ABC  drummer  Parents’ phone, above
2 Children playing instruments Children, see photo caption
3 Child on drums ABC band  on snare drum

*all  children in photos have written parental consent

Statistical Information
NAMM website school music students score higher on SATs in both verbal and math than their peers. In 2001, SAT takers with coursework/experience in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal portion of the test and 41 points higher on the math portion than students with no coursework/experience in the arts.
Source: Profile of SAT and Achievement Test Takers, The College Board, compiled by Music Educators National Conference, 2001
Childrens music workshop very best engineers and technical designers in the Silicon Valley industry are, nearly without exception, practicing musicians. Grant Venerable, “The Paradox of the Silicon Savior,” as reported in “The Case for Sequential Music Education in the Core Curriculum of the Public Schools,” The Center for the Arts in the Basic Curriculum, New York, 1989