Cliff and Cheryl Pia of the Carlsbad-based PIA Agency.

By Rick Griffin

The PIA Agency, a Carlsbad-based advertising agency, has opened a new office in Portland, announced Cheryl and Cliff Pia, who founded the firm in 1997.

PIA has leased 9,300 square feet of office space at the New Market Theater building in Portland’s Old Town-Chinatown historic district. The New Market Theater was built as a marketplace and 1,200-seat theater in two phases in 1872 and 1875. It was modeled after a building in Venice, Italy. The space was converted into office after it was purchased by Swift Real Estate Partners in 2015.

“We are proud to participate in the revitalization of this historic Portland icon, and were drawn to its vibrant downtown location, close transit connections and proximity to the waterfront,” said Cheryl Pia, CEO of the agency. “We are excited to build our agency presence and become part of the robust creative community by hiring outstanding Portland talent.”

Pia said one of the agency’s first hires is Marie Murphy, a creative director who worked most recently at Razorfish. Murphy’s major brand experience includes T-Mobile, MillerCoors, Best Buy, Microsoft, Expedia, Intel, Geek Squad, Pfizer, OPB, Target, Mitsubishi, Nike and Kaiser Permanente.

PIA has 50 staff members in offices in San Diego and San Francisco, with plans to hire as many as 40 employees in Portland. The agency has provided advertising, digital, mobile and web content for such clients as Hewlett Packard, Pepsi and Sony. It was recently named one of the 50 fastest-growing women-owned-and-led companies in the U.S. by the Women Presidents’ Organization.

Former Sportswriter Returns to Sports

Former Los Angeles Times sportswriter Steve Dolan has retired after 15 years at San Diego State University’s College of Extended Studies and is returning to the San Diego sports world. Dolan is serving as statistician for Padres home games on Fox Sports San Diego. In addition, during college football and basketball seasons, he will work as a statistician for CBS Sports Network, ESPN and Spectrum SportsNet.

Steve Dolan

“I feel like I’m coming back to bat,” Dolan said. “I’ve come full circle, starting with covering sports for community newspapers, then the dailies, then the public sector, and now back to sports.”

With the LA Times’ San Diego County edition (1979-1987), Dolan was one of the few sportswriters to cover Tony Gwynn both as a basketball player at SDSU and later as a Padres rookie. He covered the Chargers during playoff seasons (1980, 1981) and the Padres during their first World Series appearance in 1984. He also worked with the Blade-Citizen and Daily Californian newspapers, Copley News Service and KOGO 600-AM, covering the Heaven’s Gate story in 1997.

“I love sports and I love statistics because they never lie and they paint a picture of what’s happening on the field,” he said. “There’s nothing like sports, I can hate your team but still like you.”

Robin Roth Moves from Evenings to Mid-days at KFM-BFM

Radio station KFM-BFM 100.7-FM has announced that Robin Roth has moved from the weekday night shift to the weekday mid-day slot following The DSC (Dave, Shelly, Chainsaw) show. Mike Vasquez, station program director, said an announcement will be made soon on a new nighttime talent.

“I’m so excited to do what I love in mid-days and following The DSC is a dream come true,” said Roth. “Taking the baton from them every day will be an honor. Plus, now I get to enjoy the San Diego scene at night again.”

With nearly 30 years of experience in San Diego radio, Roth was named the station’s assistant program director in May. She began her radio career in San Diego spending two years at 92.5-FM, then 18 years at 91X-FM, then Rock 105.3 for three years, then back for six years at 91X-FM, with four of those years as music director.

“Robin Roth is a radio legend in San Diego and having her follow the best morning show on the planet is a huge win for us all,” said Vasquez.

Owned by Midwest Television, KFM-BFM 100.7 features a variety rock format. Midwest also operates KFMB 760-AM, KFMB-TV CBS 8 and The CW San Diego.

PRSA will host Summer Social at Birch Aquarium

The Public Relations Society of America’s San Diego-Imperial Counties chapter will host its annual summer social and media mixer starting at 6 p.m.Thursday, July 27 at Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institute in La Jolla.

PRSA’s “Summer Social by the Sea” will include a panel discussion about the role of communications in science, networking, appetizers, a complimentary drink ticket, and silent auction, which will support scholarships for college public relations students, as well as private access to Birch Aquarium and all the exhibits. Silent auction items include gift baskets and gift certificates for dinners, entertainment, hotels and professional services. Prices start at $65 for members, $75 for non-members and $50 for students. For more information, visit

New this year will be a panel discussion with three speakers, including Kim McDonald, director of science communications, University of California San Diego, discussing the university’s research communications program and how she helps guide scientists on how to communicate their research; Alexander “Sasha” Gershunov, research meteorologist, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, discussing climate change; and Gary Robbins, science and technology reporter, San Diego Union-Tribune.

Rick Griffin

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.

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