Charleston Daily Mail
Public relations veterans form media company
Daily Mail business editor
Thursday November 17, 2005
A public relations veteran and a producer of videos and documentaries have teamed up to form a new company, The Media Center.
"Our company doesn't fit any typical category," said Joe
Stevens, the public relations veteran. "We're a media relations company that has the capability to get the word out about businesses. We're doing it in a unique way because we're combining news and production experience in one company."
Stevens comes to the venture from Snowshoe Mountain Resort, where he was communications director for 15 years. Before that he was a reporter for the Virginia News Network and AP Radio.
Partnering with Stevens is Dan Shreve, who comes from Motion Masters. Shreve has produced hundreds of videos and broadcast documentaries and has won numerous awards. He joined Motion Masters when the firm was established in 1984. When he left, Shreve was vice president in charge of production.
Before his career at Motion Masters, Shreve worked at Channels 8 and 13 here and at WAVY, an NBC affiliate in Norfolk, Va.
Stevens said he and Shreve began working together about eight years ago.
"Dan did a lot of video production for me at Snowshoe," Stevens said. "Recently the opportunity came up where we could work together and The Media Center was born.
"What's going to separate us from other media relations firms is our use of technology tools," Stevens said. "We're in the process of purchasing a digital TV production satellite truck."
The truck will allow The Media Center to provide on-the-scene reports that companies could use to promote special events and reports that could be picked up by media companies for their news broadcasts.
"We could also lease it to various networks for news, sports and special events," Stevens said.
"We're offering one-stop shopping for media services - from the conception of an idea to the birth of a media awareness program," Stevens said. "We're going to specialize in the awareness factor."
The Media Center is at 222 Capitol St., in the structure known as the Cox Building. The building housed Lance's Card and Party Shop until 1998. It stood vacant until last December when Robert Samples and George Manahan bought it and began remodeling. Samples and Manahan have transformed it into modern office space.
Stevens and Shreve share space in the building with RMS Strategies and The Manahan Group. That is not by chance. The Media Center is a unit of RMS Strategies. Stevens and Shreve believe all three of the firms can contribute resources to help solve clients' needs.
"We're technically a part of RMS Strategies but we operate independently," said Shreve. RMS Strategies provides survey research, communications counsel, litigation support and marketing services.
"They are a part of our bench," he said.
The employees of the companies at 222 Capitol St. have worked together in the past. For example, Jim Reader, a familiar face on local television stations for years, is among the employees at RMS Strategies. He and Shreve go back to 1984, when they worked together at Charles Ryan Associates.
The Manahan Group specializes in advertising, public relations and multimedia.
Stevens said 222 Capitol St. "is getting quite a brain trust. It's turning into a media think tank."
Shreve began working at The Media Center on Aug. 31. Asked why he's become involved in a startup, he said, "It's always good to reinvent yourself. The opportunity to create something like this really gets me going. I love what I do. I love the projects and the differences I've made in this state.
I've helped several companies grow through different commercial endeavors and videos and documentaries I've been involved in."
Shreve, 47, has been involved in photography since he was eight years old. "I went to college knowing what I was going to do and came out the other end doing it," he said. "Photography and video story-telling and West Virginia -- those are my passions."
Stevens, 48, began working at The Media Center last month. Stevens said he and his wife Angi -- a St. Albans native -- were happy living in southern Randolph County. But when they had a baby 20 months ago they began thinking about educational opportunities. "We decided a more urban setting would be the best for him," Stevens said.
"When this opportunity to team up with Dan came, it was a family decision to make the leap."
Stevens' title at The Media Center is director of communications and development. He can be reached at 720-5466. Shreve's title is director of operations and production. He can be reached at 720-5482.
Contact writer George Hohmann at 348-4836.
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