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United By Media 082315

Aug 18, 2015|

AN INTERVIEW WITH TODD KIMBALL, FOUNDER OF UNITED BY MEDIA, ABOUT THE WORK THEY DO WITH EMPLOYING AND EMPOWERING PEOPLE WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES WITH A MEDIA VOICE AND A PLATFORM FOR COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

This is met Cisco and Entercom radio Portland public affairs program. I'm Gary Luxembourg and this time on the show I'd like to introduce you to somebody who's really trying to make a difference in the world. Like to introduce Todd Kimble he's the founder of united by media could Tug welcomed a microscope. Thank you Gary get a beer crates of so maybe let's get started by getting a little history of you've told us about you well. I think that I've always been a disability advocates Ben and OnStar Nora and really that started that fighting spirit started. From birth for me I was born three months premature. Weighed two pounds when I was born. And back in the late sixties are you're chances for survival. At that. Birth three mortar incredibly low. So you know I've always been a fighter in my parents instilled in enthusiasm and an entrepreneurial spirit in me so I'm. You know I was able to be successful in school and went to Fresno state for my college education and finance. I got my masters saying business at Arizona State. Had a career in radio. And staffing own my own staffing agency in Portland for six years and and now I'm very happy to be doing and united by media. View of credit history and a where did you grow up in Brooklyn San Francisco Bay Area so big giants fan zone in the enjoy the baseball season had a three championships in five years sent. Bing big fan of that Bay Area teams and enjoy the Bay Area. Lot of disability advocacy they're coming from Berkeley and a we were brought to Portland well I was married at this time around divorced now but. We were living in Phoenix for twelve years and when you go through twelve Phoenix Summers literally and figuratively if you're looking for a cooler place than them. We were never beach people a lot of people in Arizona go to San Diego to cool off the weeks to come to por lo and enjoy the beautiful Summers. And though the culture and Miami ex wife and some artists so she enjoyed the they are seeing here and then also neither one of us drove so. This is a great city for public transportation and brilliant nice fit for us. That's great it's it's. It is a great city to try to get around and and what is it appropriately you with a disability how how is it too to maneuver around port. You know it's pretty good that any time you have a West Coast city. And I had the opportune travel a lot. In staffing and in radio. And anytime you have a Wesco city it's going to be more accessible than in the eastern city simply because it's new learn. A little better climate so I'm. Easier to get around but Portland's great I mean you know he running here occasional historic building you can't get into but. It's really great city for people in wheelchairs. You say you we've always had an Contra new real spirit. My entrepreneurial spirit that if I can Taylor apparently I don't know what that if I thought I thought that that tells about that would even do annually for sure. I mean it really started. In my name out. My graduate school days I co founded a radio show called on a roll which was a radio talk show on disability issues. This was really before the Internet. Two Coleman had a major presence in our lives so. We were two guys in wheelchairs talking about. Different disability issues and interviewing national gas. And sews a Sunday night conversation. And we were able to expand that to 45 cities around the country and then. I was kind of looking to get married and settled down a little bit travel less so. Employment was a huge part of what we talked about on the show because to big issue for people would disabilities. And so I made the transition from radio to staffing. Worked as a recruiter for a staffing firm. And then that experience allowed me to come to Portland and open my own staffing agency here back in the early two thousands. And I enjoyed that and then soon after that started united Armenian so. I guess I'm not negative working for other people look a little bit of a trillion it's starting my own thing but that looks that's a fantastic way to be. You're your own mosque and I think you have to put so let's talk about united by media you started this so how recently. Well it officially in 2010. That's when we. Filed the paperwork and the original name of our organization wasn't mainstream media. But that was a little hard for our reporters to say and I think united bank media captures what we do in uniting people. The both in the media and people list disabilities. We expanded to another city as well so it's really all about uniting and helping people to experience culture so. Officially we started in late 2010. But we really got rolling the spring of 2011. And what do you were to be able do with united remedial. Well it's designed to empower. People with developmental disabilities as members of the media. And help them to experience culture in their communities so. The way we do that is we have one on one interviews with our reporter person with a disability. Kind of an orientation when they come to us and we find out what have they experienced in the past. What would they like to experience what do they wanna learn about who are their heroes. And based on their answers to those questions. We get them press passes to events that they enjoy. And then they talked with celebrity's so they've talked to people like Lewis black and Lyle Lovett. Ken Griffey junior. Greg Paulus. Household names from all different walks of life. But it's often not the nationally known celebrity. Where the really funny interview over the key connection is made a lot of times it's locally here in Portland covering. The blues festival or words stop her. The many and great events that we have here in town. That sounds pretty exciting to have that kind of access to. Some names some big names are or not a big names descend back tested to be able to do that. What people with developmental disabilities they have a lot of enthusiasm and they have a unique perspective. And they really haven't had any venue or vehicle. To express that. They're whole lives and that's what united the media is designed to do just today we have one of our reporters Jordan. Covering the Seahawks training camp and get some pictures. From him and he's had a great time so it really is and incredibly empowering experience both for the reporter with a disability as well as the celebrity. They gets to be asked some questions that they've never heard before. Yeah I bet there's there's some great questions like him. It would have been some some good questions and some good interviews that you can think. Well one of the and one of our first enemy is and one of my favorites. Was our reporter Robin who interviewed Lewis Black. The comedian and it's. One of the things about people with developmental disabilities. They often have an an incredible passion. For particular subject and they kind of fixate on that subject. So Robin her passions she really likes vacuum cleaners. And Robin asked Lewis Black what kind of vacuum cleaner do you own and that many think about it it's a great question first celebrity right. Because you get to know what kind of place they live in whether there. Active in their house work whether they have five maids who get to know about the lifestyle and Lewis Black. You know lives and a two bedroom New York apartment likes to do his own vacuuming and he has an electoral Lux so but it's a good good question I get to know people. That is fantastic. While that is the question I bet you never a million years thought his every new past and I would imagine. That's what looks like theory goes on document theft. Until some more stories. Well. We had a comedian that Josh Ballou. Who is a comedian with cerebral policy. So he can relate to both the Slevin lifestyle as well as. I'm a person with a disability. And he was one of the winners of last comic standing. He's been on the Ellen show. And he. Interviewed one of our reporters and we're was interviewed by one of our reporters David mcginnis and he and David mcginnis shared comic material. And kind of road jokes together and brand that they were there having a beer at the time so that. Helmet of hope but. It just eat the interactions that. People with developmental disabilities get to have with the celebrities there's a nice synergy. And so it's it's a lot of fun you know boy do you suppose the united by media is needed my boy do you do this. I think I think it's needed because for one thing and we have. An ever increasing population of people with developmental disabilities it's one of our. Fastest growing populations. There's a six times. Our rate of autism then there was even twenty years ago so. As more people are born with developmental disabilities. We need to have an approach. That honors their capabilities and and their lifestyle. And I think that when you're able to help person within. Developmental disability. You help. Probably five or six other people because you help the parents. Ian helped chair nearest you helped the neighbors. So it really has an exponential positive effect. When you're able to help a person within. Developmental disability to have fun and to reach their full potential. It probably gives them the person with a group disability it really helps them but of achieve their goals and then have some some proud moments well absolutely and it can help and so much more than. Just being entertaining being out. A fun thing to do. It helps them to really learn learn who they are. And have surprised. And that try can be taken into. The workplace. And into school. In everything they do in life and just with people with developmental disabilities were. Working with a population where. They haven't had many opportunities. To truly take a leadership role in anything. Often they aren't outs outside that much there aren't out of their homes that often. And so to be able to. Put them in society in an area where they really have fun. And they're the leader in their own experience with the united by media it's very empowering and it can impact their lives. In many positive ways. So many times and fortunately they may be feel like we've been forgotten. I'm absolutely I mean they're they're isolated in the sense that maybe they have. Their families and caregivers to let. But they really aren't connected in two society and that's what. United I media does it connects it unites. People with developmental disabilities celebrity's. Publicist really unites a lot of different publics. In having fun and educating people about the talents of people with developmental disabilities. If somebody has a disability or maybe one of their caregivers wants to get involved how committed. Absolutely. Where. We're always looking for. More reporters so they can. Contact me via phone. Happy did give the phone number if you like it was in 503. 9604683. I can also contact us via the web their contact information. Is on the on the web sites. Our web domain is united by media dot org. And they can follow us on Twitter at Twitter is our main social media platform. That's at the united buying media so many listing in touch with stuff you're out there are some are we can always find you're absolutely but such how many reporters DR Renaud. Around 38 now I don't fluctuate depending on you know how active people are some of some of our reporters Ernst and are starting school also. So they're a little bit busy but in any given time we have around thirty reporters. And we try to keep. Reporters doing something at least once a month so that's it's an event a day that we're doing so. Pretty active here in the community covering different thinks who organizes all the interviews is that what you do yeah that is well. Really up until the end and that's one of the things and that I really it's it's a goal of mine two recruits. More volunteers to united by media our goal is to match our reporters with volunteers in the community. Based on common interest so. If there's anyone that wants soon experience a sporting events or music they can contact me and will match them with a reporter has it really is. I teamwork approach every time a reporter goes out to an event. They haven't and video are referred -- assistance. That helps them in the recording so. Plenty of opportunities to volunteer with the united media. How do you get in touch with them but no call on celebrities or or whomever Intel on the door or he knew where to. To get the interviews well then that is part of the puzzle all right every. Every interview that some rain seems to come about in a different way. But sometimes. It's through on the venue itself we have great relationships with people over at the Arlene it's mister and the girding for the air hands. The rose quarter so so. There are event managers who are incredibly supportive of what we do. I'll always looking for more of those relationships. And then the celebrities themselves as they come to town. They have done a number of managers and publicists and people to contact so it's basically a puzzle to train get to the right person and then. And see what we can make happen he probably of people reaching up to you now. Yes so we're having more and more which is nice in and it that's a lot of fun now. What have you learned during this. I think I learns. I mean I knew that people with developmental disabilities had untapped talents and that untapped enthusiasm. But they really they impress me every day and surprise me and it's just to see how. Though the fun interactions that they have when they're covering an event. With a celebrity that there interviewing. It's it's very rewarding and I also think that I hear from celebrity is all the time that. Are on the road in and have to talk to the traditional media. I mantown I wish. And David or Jordan could come with me when I have to do this interview and now I can see it as much better questions they get tired of the same old questions and never have to worry about that. Even as I mean it was pretty great and both are the best part yes. What are some of them misconceptions are running in run into any misconceptions about doing interviews with people disabilities. Sure I think tend to and it's the job of a publicist to be. Concerned about. The welfare of the of the celebrity that there representing rights and sometimes publicist was saying. Well gosh you know what if what if my celebrity and reacts the wrong way you unity is your reporter gonna get offended. I think that people have the misconceptions that. People with developmental disabilities are sensitive and some are just like just like the general. Population is sensitive wore on or tough in how they deal with things but. In general. People with developmental disabilities have an incredible sense of humor. An incredible resilience. And I think that people sometimes see them as they. Overly sensitive population. Now. I'm probably being uncomfortable isn't normal reaction. To a certain degree in but to keep giving overlap is even better yeah absolutely and that's that's one of the fun things. When we go from scheduling an events and maybe the publicists is a little bit nervous. Two. To the research that we do with a reporter preparing for the events. To get coverage of the events. And you kind of see those stereotypes that breaking down and people. Being pleasantly surprised at how well things went that's. It's really the the cycle of productivity that is so so grade and rewarding about united on media. That's that's fantastic that's nuts per warming me there. So did you we talked a little bit about small and your opportunities a little bit earlier but what other other ways that that are listening audience communal. Sure. Every reporter there we have found we try and have a corporate sponsor. Matched up with them so that the corporate groups. Logo recognition or a small video. Within the interview southern number ways that we can highlight our sponsor and so we try and match sponsors up with our reporters so that's one way that the M. That the community can get involved and we're actually starting. A program where we expand united by media to other cities we're expanding to Albuquerque. Is there any kind of happen by accident but that Albuquerque is our next city. And I'm getting really good support from the Albuquerque community and so one and expand to other cities. And in order for me to be able to do that I'm going to look for the same relationship. In Portland that I haven't Albuquerque which is. A disability organization that would like to partner with united by media. Two. Tell helper on the organization because as. United by media expands to other cities. That's the relationship is I find a disability organization Albuquerque. In Las Vegas in Austin. That's interested in starting a united by media chapter. And I need that same relationship in Portland so. A lot of different ways of volunteer opportunities. Corporate sponsorships. Disability organizations so we can have stronger partnerships here in Portland a number of ways to get involved. Is that entrepreneurial spirit against him. It is always there with you Todd please if it's always no blood that the Holy See in the future for united by media. Well when I started this and had some success in terms of mean the end transforming lives and Manning and good experiences for people. Whenever you have an idea that's needed. My only two goals are make sure that it gets to be experienced by as many people as possible. I want it to exist. Well beyond the borders of Portland and Albuquerque and I'd like it to exists. In every city in the US and I wanna do exist for as long as possible so those are two very simple. But. But very long term goals that are gonna take a lot of work and a lot of support but I think I think we can get there. Four. Over fifty years now Special Olympics has been. The the major. Organization for people with developmental disabilities it's a fantastic organization providing. Amazing opportunities but I think united a media. Is also very important and we can provide. Opportunities for people. With developmental disabilities in areas. Larger than to just sports participation sent China media. The broader organization and really. Individual sizes opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. What do you see you for the future of people with disabilities. Well bottom line is society. Keeps getting more and more and accessible. Two people with a physical disabilities so. You know they. It's. Fairly commonplace for a person in a wheelchair or person with a visual impairment. To be employed. In today's society. And it's less common. People with developmental disabilities. Are the most unemployed population that we have here in America. But as we're able to break down these stereotypes and show the talents. That people with developmental disabilities have. I think you're gonna see more and more of them now working. And and the more people are out in society especially in the workplace. The more the stereotypes that continue to be shed in this inclusion for everyone so. I think that. I really view united by media as kind of the first step in breaking down the stereotypes. And we're China to use it as a vehicle. To also help people with developmental disabilities become employed so. It is a family member worse Bourque curator of somebody with a disability but what to what is their first step to getting involved in the united by media. Sure they would just reach out to me by phone or email or whatever contacts and method they're comfortable with. And then the first step is we sit down we have coffee and the caregiver. Would be there and then the reporter and anyone else at the reporter would like to have in getting to know each other session. And then we talk about. What they would like to experience in life or do they like music do they like. A sports do they like outdoor events and they like yeah. Food and wanna do restaurant reviews. So can we talk about the the types of experience they wanna half and then we talk about. How would they like to experience that some of our reporters. Are very verbal and they don't so appreciate are enjoying being on camera so. I'll have them summarize their events in writing or in pictures. Some of our reporters they they can't toxin they can't formulate. Questions to the news reporter or to the celebrity rather but. We used picture books to have them point. To different concepts and up so there's always a way to. Make the experience is valuable regardless of what are reporters verbal and or cognitive. Ability is and that's really what I wanna encourage. Family members is. You know you may not think that your loved one is capable of being a part Indiana by media but we always on meet people where they are in terms of scale sent. And make it fun. The other that the tape the fun thing it definitely really really enjoy it like everybody can sue you break that ice that's that's that's fantastic absolutely thanks. In the last couple minutes we have your time do you have any advice for people. Sure I know that it's tough. For both. People with developmental disabilities and their loved ones I mean it's a dated a struggle to figure out how to. Financially make ends meet how to put together the proper resources. So they your loved ones can have the life that you want for them. And it's I am. Kind of an expert on connections and resource is in Portland so. I encourage people to reach out to me even if it's not exactly the right time for their loved one to be involved as a reporter. I know a lot of resource is that's 100. Things that I took away from the syndicated radio show that they did back in the ninety's is he making a phone calls there's always a way to solve a problem. And then there are some incredible resource is out there incredible technologies. And I really want united immediate to be not just a vehicle for fun. But a vehicle for solving problems and helping families. Of loved ones with people with developmental disabilities. You're really doing fantastic work and god you have that on trumped entrepreneurial spirit even though I still can't say thank you so much yeah. Todd Kimball founder of united by media thinks or be in a mattress goes to thank you had a lot of fun. Metals gold was an Entercom communications public affairs program. My name's Gary and if you have a nonprofit or public affairs organization that you'd like to let others know about. You can email me at microscopes @entercom.com. Remember intercom starts with a need for you can go directly to the station's website click on the community link and submit your information there. Also we like to hear this program again you can visit our podcast paged pat microscope PDX dot com. Thanks for listening to mr. scope and enjoy your weekend.