June, 2002
Good Buzz
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



Home Improvement TV Discovers ASHI

SANDY BOURSEAU

Several years ago, the Society  hired a public relations consulting firm to help deliver its message to the public, and to gain recognition as THE source for information about home inspectors and the home inspection profession. Under the guiding hand of the Public Relations Committee, Publicis Dialogue has established ASHI as a presence in print. The Membership played a pivotal role in the process, responding when Publicis referred news and feature reporters and writers to them, as well as taking the initiative in building relationships with the local press.

As these promotional efforts continue, both Publicis and the Membership are quickly establishing ASHI as the home inspection authority on the little screen – especially on home improvement television programs.  

ASHI Member inspects “Trading Spaces”

Frank Moore was tapped by Banyan Productions of Philadelphia to inspect North Carolina properties used for the TV show “Trading Spaces.” According to Moore, the producers were looking for an ASHI Member, and located him by his Web page.

He said, “In all I inspected six houses for the producer, before and after each shoot (12 inspections total), over the course of about 11 days. It was fun going to the houses, talking to the owners, and seeing the rooms before and after the shows. It took about three days from the initial inspection to the follow-up inspection on the same house.”

The houses were located in Raleigh, Garner and Wake Forest, North Carolina, and the programs aired in May. Frank asked that he be identified as an ASHI Member in show credits.  

More TV credits to come

Angela Merideth, a producer for the HGTV program “House Detective,” is preparing to film several upcoming episodes of the program. She is working with Publicis Dialogue. The PR consultants put her in contact with ASHI Members Mark Cramer, Graham Bailey, Norm Sage and David Swartz to participate in the filming.  

The consultants are also working with ASHI Members who are interested in participating in the television show “Warehouse Warriors.”  The program runs on the Do-It-Yourself Network, and producers would like to feature two ASHI teams on a show filmed this summer.

ASHI Member Jack Feldman is slated to be a judge for an episode scheduled to be shot June 14. He says he’ll be wearing his ASHI logo shirt.

May’s CNN appearance demonstrates the power of TV publicity

ASHI Member Jeff May, author of “My House is Killing Me!,” reported he had a six-minute interview about the book on CNN “Saturday Night” with Catherine Callaway. He said, “She insulted my dust mites, and said they were disgusting, but that didn’t deter anyone. The book rank went from  #4500 on Amazon.com to #27, and I had 2,500 hits on my book Web site.”

During the interview, May suggested homeowners interested in getting to the bottom of moisture problems should call an ASHI inspector.

Gladstone works with magazines

While others were responding to requests from television, ASHI Vice-President Steve Gladstone was working with magazine publishers and writers. He is a featured contributor to the most recent issue of All about the House, Setting the Trends for Fairfield County. The magazine published his article, “Are you ready for the home inspection?”

Gladstone also was one of those who responded when a reporter from Smart Money Magazine asked to speak to several Members about how pest control, especially of termites, was handled in a home inspection.

More media highlights  

Publicis regularly reports the contacts it has handled on behalf of ASHI. Here are a few highlights from a recent report.

• Carl Larson, an editor at the San Diego Union Tribune, requested information on indoor air quality and the Government Accounting Office (GAO) study, and was put in contact with ASHI President Mike Casey and a local ASHI inspector in San Diego.

• Kathy Mitchell at the Union News in Springfield, Ill. received information for a story she’s writing on things to look for when buying a home.  

• A real estate editor at the Chicago Tribune got a call back from ASHI Public Relations Committee Chair Steve Preins after contacting Publicis with questions for a story on mold.   

• Holden Lewis, a syndicated real estate writer for Scripps News Service, was referred to Executive Director Rob Paterkiewicz and Casey for help with his story on real estate referrals and the conflict of interest.  The resulting story appeared on Bankrate.com with the following lead in: “Is your home inspector looking out for you? – Some home inspects say a conflict of interest exists when a real-estate agent hands a list of recommended inspectors to a buyer.”

• Editor Maria Gonzales at the El Paso Times requested and received ASHI material on common problems found in homes.   

• Editor Sue McKellister, at the San Jose Mercury News, received additional information on California home inspector legislation.  

• Editor Bill Kibler, at the Altoona Mirror in Pennsylvania, spoke
with Paterkiewicz and Casey for a story on potential rental home inspections.  

• Paul Wolverton, an editor at the Fayatteville Observer, requested additional information on current legislation in his state.  Publicis provided background information and put the editor in touch with ASHI leadership.

• Kenta Goto, a producer for Malcolm Visionary TV, is working on a Japanese program on home inspection schools. He was directed to Preins.  

• Shawn Murphy, an editor with the Capital News Network in Oklahoma, requested information on licensing in his state, and was put in touch with Paterkiewicz.  

• Linda Morris, an editor at Business First in Kentucky requested and received information on licensing in the state.