• I Know Her!

    gas station

    A post on Vox Daily reminded me of a vacation nine years ago. We were driving from Charlotte to the Florida Panhandle. It was late at night and we were in unfamiliar territory in rural Alabama. We pulled off for gas and caffeine to get us through the final leg of the trip. I was filling up the car when a voice came on overhead through the speakers, inviting us inside to purchase tasty snacks and refreshing beverages from the convenience store. The voice was unmistakably familiar…so familiar in fact, it was the last voice we had heard before we left Charlotte. It was our friend Becky Hoech, former Muzak voice talent, and dog sitter extraordinaire.  The last stop as we were leaving town was to drop our dogs off at Becky’s. I wanted to wave my hands and shout, “I know her! And she has my kids too!” What a reassuring feeling it was to hear Becky’s friendly, confident voice in that remote, alien place. I went inside, grabbed a little sustenance and thanked them for being a Muzak Voice client. Still today, I always listen to overhead messaging at convenience and retail stores for a familiar voice. When I hear one, it’s everything I can do not to turn to the people nearby, point up at the speakers and say, “I know that guy!”

    Contributed by Adrianne “Ace” Pryor, Product Line Manager, Voice

  • Ready to Rock Your World!

    Guitar WallWhat do “Weird Al” Yankovic, Bill Szymczyk, Little Steven, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Tom Petty, execs from Rack Room Shoes, Lowes, Burger King, Belk, Chick-fil-A, Sephora, and Duff McKagan all have in common?  They are all friends of Muzak… and we have their autographs to prove it!

    Hundreds of personalities from business and music have walked the streets of our Home Office and been greeted by the cheers of our employees at City Center.  Because we’ve had so many celebrities and business partners visit us over the last 10 years, we’ve begun a tradition here at Muzak.  We ask each guest to sign one of our special electric guitars.  At last count we’ve amassed a collection of 15 guitars, each packed with autographs and proudly displayed in our Café.   It’s become a must see at our Muzak Home Office.

    So, if you’re a business looking to enhance the sensory experience of your brand, and you’re visiting or live in the Charlotte area,  come on down to Fort Mill where the North American headquarters of Muzak and Mood Media is located.

    Our “Guitar Wall” will impress you… and our Home Office and employees will rock your world!

  • Helping Music Make a Difference

    MM Logo

    Today, Muzak Heart & Soul Foundation announces the recipients of our 2011 Music Matters grant program.  To many Muzak employees, this is the most gratifying day of the year, because it exemplifies what it means to give from the heart and give back to our community.

    Music Matter grants are presented each year to music education programs across the country (K-12) in dire need of funding.  Grant applications are accepted from both school programs and community music programs.  Donations come to the Heart & Soul Foundation from Muzak employees, the company and clients, business partners, and other generous contributors passionate about supporting music education for children.

    After several months of reviewing hundreds of worthy applicants, our Music Matters team of volunteers is proud to present the final 15 grant selections.   And the music education winners are…

    • Aspen Park Elementary, Riverton, WY
    • Blue Ridge Elementary School, Dalton, GA
    • Burke Elementary School, Kansas City, MO
    • Dignity Housing DII Drumline, Philadelphia, PA
    • Forks Middle School, Forks, WA
    • Goliad Elementary, San Angelo, TX
    • Imagine Schools at West Melbourne, West Melbourne, FL
    • Independence High School, Charlotte, NC
    • J.O. Schulze Elementary, Irving, TX
    • Jefferson Middle School Rock and Rhythm Band, Albuquerque, NM
    • Lockland Elementary School, Cincinnati, OH
    • Meadowlark Elementary School, Pittsburg, KS
    • Socastee Elementary School, Myrtle Beach, SC
    • The Cipher – Austin’s Hip Hop Project, Austin, TX
    • Woodlawn Elementary School, San Antonio, TX

    Music Matters director Adrianne Pryor comments, “The absolute appreciation expressed by these selected recipients was beyond description.  Tears and screams of joy were the most common reactions. I don’t think we fully realize the importance our grants have on these needy music programs.”

    The foundation looks forward to presenting checks to each of these worthy programs in person this fall.

    We’ll be sharing the stories of each of the music programs on Muzak Heart & Soul Foundation Facebook Page. For more information about Muzak Heart & Soul Foundation and how you can help support it, go to www.heart.muzak.com.

    social_facebook social_twitter

    Contributed by The Muzak Heart & Soul Team

  • Muzak Idol is Coming!

    Jagger at the 2010 Muzak Idol

    Jagger at the 2010 Muzak Idol

    Imagine it’s Friday afternoon at Muzak.  At exactly 1:55 an email notice goes out to the nearly 500 employees at our Home Office in Fort Mill.  The anticipation has been building for weeks as all the seats in City Center fill-up quickly, with standing room only.  It’s time for the 8th Annual Muzak Idol.  The place is packed as emcee Jagger begins the show at 2PM sharp with a surprise performance of his own.  The crowd loves it and the cheers egg him on for more.

    Then the competition begins.  Six Muzak employees are gathered in the green room counting down the seconds ‘til their names are called.  Selected from a series of auditions, these finalists have been rehearsing for weeks, getting ready for their big moment.  The back-up band, called the m.playerz, and three judges, all music business vets, are in place, as contestant #1 enters to the applause of an exuberant audience of Muzakers.

    Well, that’s how it will go this coming Friday, August 12th at Muzak’s Home Office.  Six contestants, all employees, will sing their hearts out at Muzak Idol.  What a way to spend a Friday afternoon.  A well deserved break from a very busy week; 45 minutes of music and entertainment, all put together by a team of employees called the Shakers.  Pure fun planned for the entire staff.  It’s become a tradition.

    Just another day at Muzak…sorta!

  • Rock Stars

    Q2 2011 Rock Stars

    Q2 2011 Rock Stars

    Every company has some.  Some companies more than others.  You know… those employees that simply transcend all expectations.  But does every company take the time to recognize these exceptional performers?

    For years, Muzak has honored special guests, touring musicians and clients as rock celebrities, having them sign guitars that are proudly displayed at our Home Office in Fort Mill, SC.  Hey, we’re in the music business, so it just makes sense.  At last count, we’ve got over 15 autographed guitars; each packed with the signatures of these special Muzak ‘celebs’.

    Upon his arrival at Muzak last year, new president Steve Richards was looking for a way to identify and thank our exemplary employees… the ones he called our “Rock Stars.”  Our Rewards & Recognition team had been waiting for the right opportunity to initiate an all company program that would do just that.  Muzak Rock Stars was born: an all company program that awards top performers who go above and beyond their job duties to consistently find ways to improve processes, productivity, sales, teamwork and/or the quality of the work environment at Muzak.

    So now each quarter up to 15 employees are selected from hundreds of nominees as Muzak Rock Stars:  technicians, administrators, IT specialists, programmers, call center reps, sales support, warehouse personnel, designers and the list goes on.  Each of these quarterly top performers is recognized at an all-company Town Hall meeting, in front of our 500 Home Office employees and streamed to over 750 field employees and franchisees.  Each Rock Star receives an engraved trophy, a spotlight in our weekly digital newsletter and internal web site, a feature on our Muzak digital signage network and some cash!  We also have a special Gibson SG guitar (collector’s model) with each quarter’s Rock Stars engraved on the pick guard.  It is mounted front-and-center with our 15 other autographed guitars.  All of this coupled with lots of high fives, hugs, handshakes and emails from an appreciative team of employees and managers.

    Contributed by Bruce McKagan, Company Communications, Heart & Soul Foundation

  • Carolina Sound Communications – Muzak Franchisee Speaks Out

    Perry Family

    Perry Family

    There is a saying in Charleston, SC that once you have run your feet through the sand on our beaches, you will always return to Charleston.  Muzak is something like that.

    Who knew 27 years ago, when our family decided to buy the Charleston and Myrtle Beach franchises, after being part of corporate Muzak for three years, that we would become an inter-generational business.  We were neither musicians, nor entrepreneurs, but both converged on an opportunity and we have never looked back.  Now Savannah is also part of our family.

    The people were the first draw for us – not the corporate types, but the franchisees whom we met at the IPMA (Muzak independent affiliate association) meetings who intrigued us.  We had travelled and lived around the world and these folks were interesting.  They loved their business, they loved good food and wine, and they mostly liked each other.   There was a camaraderie… a gentleman-like way of working together that we had not seen in other businesses or groups.  And the music was their common theme.

    What a privilege to sell something as glorious and emotional as music.  We could have been insurance salesmen or stock brokers.  We could have been “madmen” or any of a number of other product reps but we sell dreams.  We get to set the stage for the times of people’s lives…whether through the music or other branding media and there is something about that that gets in your blood.

    And without planning, it seems to get into the blood of our progeny because many of us are happily surrounded by our families who are also involved in the business and in our communities.  Perhaps that is another hook for most of us; though we serve many national clients, we do it in a local fashion as we are part of the network of the communities in which we live and sell and service…

    So the sand in our feet keeps us home and the people and music in our businesses keeps us coming back to Muzak.

    Contributed by Evelyn Reis Perry, President, Carolina Sound Communications, Inc.

  • Pride Matters

    independence checkWith the economic challenges that face every company every day, it’s very difficult to commit the resources necessary to do anything that doesn’t impact the bottom line.   Unfortunately we’re all forced to make tough decisions about overhead and expenses.  Falling off most priority lists are sometimes the most important things, like building a company culture that promotes pride.

    Muzak is no different.  After several years of trimming and cutting whenever and wherever possible, it was clear that we had begun to lose some of the cultural make-up of the company we loved.

    In February of this year we made the decision to reignite our commitment to our Muzak Heart & Soul Foundation, the cornerstone of our company culture.  Since its inception in 1998, the foundation has supported music education for thousands of kids across America and beyond.  However, Heart & Soul took a major hit over the past few years because of the economy and other critical company needs.

    Muzak’s re-commitment to the Heart & Soul Foundation has been a testament to the resolve of our people.  Within a few weeks over 50 volunteers jumped in to help and the numbers continue to build.  The rewards have clearly outweighed the sacrifices.  To know that a simple check for $2000 might have saved a high school music program, to realize that an employee’s gift of an unused piano would mean so much to a needy new music foundation, and to see the absolute ecstasy on the faces of 16 gifted teenagers as they experienced 10 packed days of music education and passion at a Heart & Soul camp called NOISE! These real events helped to remind us that pride comes when a company makes a difference… not just in business, but in the community.

    Sure, these times remain challenging for every business, including Muzak.  All of us will continue to be forced to make extremely tough decisions.  But as you do, be sure to recognize, embrace and protect the true heart and soul of your company, whatever that might be.

    Contributed by Bruce McKagan, Company Communications

  • The First Week of NOISE! 2011

    NOISE! 2011

    NOISE! 2011

    The first week of NOISE! proved to be a wonderful and enriching experience for this year’s students and for all who have had the opportunity to be involved in camp. As such, I’d like to share with you an excerpt from one of our camper’s blogs.  Brendan Carchidi writes about his visit to Muzak’s Home Office:

    “Once we arrived at Muzak, we were greeted by all of the great employees and a different office-building layout. The Muzak office is hard to describe, because it has such a modern interior to it. There are bright colored walls, odd towers that are conference rooms, and even a Muzak jumbotron. Easy to say it was really cool.”  He continues, “Out of the whole day, the nicest part was being able to see all of the Muzak employees, the people who really made NOISE! happen. Seeing the smiles, and the true hospitality, we felt more and more blessed to be a part of such an exclusive program. So thank you to all of the volunteers and employees who give their time to make our dreams come true – y’all are the true stars of the week, not us.”

    And there is so much more to come!

    Our gifted NOISE! musicians and singers will showcase their talents live from the Home Office for NOISE! Live on Tuesday, July 19th, beginning at 7PM EST.  The event will also be streamed at www.livestream.com/muzakheartsoul and open to anyone who wants to view it during or after the event.

    For more info on what’s happening during NOISE! including daily camper blogs and photos, please visit our Facebook page or follow the action on Twitter @muzakheartsoul using #noise11.

     

    Contributed by JK Dameron, Communications Director | Muzak Heart & Soul

  • The Face of the Muzak Home Office

    Teria Hefney

    Teria

    If you’ve ever visited the Muzak Home Office in Fort Mill, SC, you might have been struck by the architecture of the building, the music playing everywhere, the display of technology, the archive museum, or the vastness of the facility.  It’s an impressive place that showcases our business of music and media in a very unique way.

    But there’s one thing that catches everyone’s attention each and every time they visit.   Her name is Teria.  Some companies might call her a receptionist, but to Muzak she represents much, much more.  She is the personality of Muzak.  She is what people remember most about this place.  We have many opportunities to impress visitors: entertaining City Center events, tours, guitar signings, an awesome new video wall and the list goes on.  But Teria trumps them all.  She just has the uncanny talent to connect with everyone she meets: the smile, the conversation, the laugh, the warmth.  That still doesn’t capture everything she brings.  She is simply wonderful!

    So, if the award winning facility or the intrigue about this historic company doesn’t bring you into our Home Office, then we think you should consider coming just to meet Teria.  She’ll have you at “hello.”

    Contributed by Bruce McKagan, Company Communications, Heart & Soul Foundation

  • RED Everywhere!

    HS AdminIf you just happen to visit Muzak’s Home Office in Fort Mill, SC, and that visit just happens to be on a Friday, you’ll see an ocean of RED.  Red T-shirts, golf shirts, hats and balloons everywhere!  It’s not a company promotion.  It’s not a birthday or an anniversary.  To most employees it’s something much more than that.

    The Muzak Heart & Soul Foundation has been a part our company’s culture for over 13 years.  It’s all about giving back to the community, extending the power of music to the lives of today’s youth.  Through music education, a child can better achieve his/her full potential and stimulate personal and educational growth.  One heart-felt program of the Foundation is Music Matters, a grant program focusing on grade K-12 music education programs serving the underprivileged.

    So why the RED on Fridays?  It’s simple.  Our Muzak Heart & Soul Foundation color is red and our staff wanted a day to commemorate the educational programs we have and will support through Music Matters.  Inspired by a group of passionate employees, it’s called Music Matters Fridays.  Building each Friday for weeks, we don’t expect it to end anytime soon.  Hundreds of employees have now joined in, with RED literally seen everywhere.  With each Friday our employees seem to come up with new ways to bring to life the real impact of the Foundation by sharing stories, posting pictures and writing articles about the kids we’ve touched.

    Music Matters Fridays demonstrate the passion that runs deep in our company culture.  Muzak is a company with a commitment to give back by supporting our music community today and in the future.  RED symbolizes the passion of our employees in keeping the Muzak Heart & Soul Foundation heart beating strong… for the sake of the kids.

    For more information about Muzak Heart & Soul Foundation go to: heart.muzak.com

    Contributed by Bruce McKagan, Company Communications, Heart & Soul Foundation

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