San Diego Fleet players
San Diego Fleet players on the field. Courtesy of the team

iHeartMedia San Diego has been named the radio partner for the San Diego Fleet, a new professional football team that’s part of the Alliance of American Football, a startup league with eight teams.

The Fleet’s 10-game regular season games, as well as pregame, halftime and postgame coverage, can be heard on iHeart’s Newsradio KOGO 600-AM XTRA or XTRA 1360-AM Fox Sports San Diego. Seven games will air on XTRA 1360, while KOGO will air the other three games. Announcers are Jon Schaeffer for play-by-play and Rich Ohrnberger as color analyst.

Schaeffer, who calls San Diego State University football, basketball and baseball on XTRA 1360, has been broadcasting professionally for 16 years and recently called national play-by-play for the 2018 Holiday Bowl. He has appeared nationally on CBS Sports Network, Fox College Sports, ESPN GamePlan and ESPN3 and regionally on SNY, Root Sports Pittsburgh, MASN and CSN Mid-Atlantic.

Ohrnberger is the co-host of “The Mark & Rich” Show heard weekdays on XTRA 1360 Fox Sports San Diego. He also works Sundays on national Fox Sports Radio. He also has served as color analyst for San Diego State University football, as well as for NFL and college football on NBC 7 San Diego. Selected by New England in the 2009 draft, Ohrnberger enjoyed a six-year NFL playing career as an offensive lineman for the Patriots, Arizona Cardinals and San Diego Chargers.

Eight Fleet games will be televised on the NFL Network, which is owned by the NFL (the NFL also has a joint venture partnership in the Alliance of American Football). The Fleet’s Week 7 contest on March 24 will air on the CBS Sports Network.

Elevator Agency and Organik SEO Become Digitopia

Frank Cowell

Elevator Agency and Organik SEO, two San Diego digital marketing companies, have merged to become Digitopia. The new company, with 20 full-time employees, is based at 5431 Avenida Encinias in Carlsbad, which was Organik’s previous office.

A Digitopia statement said the merger was in direct response to the evolution of the digital marketing landscape and the increasing complexities clients and brands face. The new company, the statement said, will work with brands to set up their digital marketing ecosystems for long-term sustainable growth.

The senior leadership team includes: Frank Cowell, CEO; Julien Brandt, president; Joseph Freeman, COO; and Arianne Brandt, CMO. Other employees include Sheri Lopez, director of finance, and D.J. Shirley, director of production.

“Every day, the digital marketing industry becomes more and more saturated,” said Cowell. “Because of this, agencies have a responsibility to make necessary moves to innovate and bring value to their employees and clients. The merger of Elevator and Organik SEO was executed within this spirit, and I’m excited that our joining of forces means that our offerings to both clients and employees will be world class.”

Elevator was founded by Cowell in 2004. Organik was launched by Brandt in 2010. Previous clients of Elevator include Qualcomm, Toshiba, T-systems, Agena Bioscience and the City of San Diego. Previous Organik clients include Emmy’s Organics, Suja Juice, Bonafide Provisions and Sunfood Superfoods.

Entry Deadline Extended for San Diego American Advertising Awards

SDX has extended the entry deadline to Tuesday, Feb. 19, for its 2019 San Diego American Advertising Awards, San Diego’s largest advertising industry competition. Timeframe for entries is work that appeared between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2018.

ADDY awards will be presented March 15 in more than 110 advertising, digital and graphic design categories. Categories include sales and marketing, print advertising, out-of-home and ambient media, film, video and sound, elements of advertising, cross platform and online-interactive, as well as about 30 student categories. This year’s awards program theme is “Fight Night.” Traina Design provided event theme and creative design.

Members of the following local networking groups can enter at the SDX member rate of $120 per entry: Ad 2 San Diego, American Photographic Artists, American Institute of Graphic Arts, International Association of Business Communicators, Printing Industries Association, San Diego American Marketing Association, San Diego Direct, San Diego Media Pros, and Society for Experiential Graphic Design.

The name of the award is an ADDY, the same name of the award presented on the national level. Following the local awards program, SDX will pay entry fees for Gold winners competing at the district level, which comprises Southern California and Southern Nevada. Then, district winners can advance to the national American Advertising Awards, presented by the American Advertising Federation.

The federation is a national advertising trade organization with members comprising more than 150 local advertising clubs, including the SDX. The national ADDYs program is known as the world’s largest and arguably the toughest advertising competition with more than 40,000 entries annually.

At the 2018 awards program, SDX presented 16 Gold, 34 Silver and 36 Bronze ADDY awards to 24 companies in 41 professional advertising, digital and graphic design categories, culled from 201 entries. In addition, student awards included 3 Gold, 3 Silver and 5 Bronze. Founded in 1911, SDX is San Diego’s largest and oldest local networking and professional group for advertising and marketing executives with more than 100 companies representing about 300 members.

Southwest Strategies Adds Four New Employees

Public affairs firm Southwest Strategies has announced the addition of four new employees to its San Diego office. They include three senior account executives, Amanda von Leer, Jeff Meyer and Zach MacQuarrie, as well as account executive Rebecca Rybczyk to support transportation and water projects.

Prior to joining Southwest, von Leer worked as managing director of government relations and chief of staff at Hill Impact, a government relations and strategic communications firm in Washington, D.C. Meyer spent the past three years as senior manager of member relations with the North San Diego Business Chamber.

MacQuarrie, with experience directing grassroots operations, government affairs, political campaigning and coalition building, previously worked with Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group funded by brother David Koch and Charles Koch. Rybczyk was previously a deputy press secretary for Rep. Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican.

Southwest Strategies has nearly 50 employees who work at offices in San Diego, Fresno and Sacramento. The firm provides comprehensive communications strategy and outreach support to public sector and private companies across a broad range of industries, including energy, transportation, water, retail, housing, professional sports, maritime and real estate development.

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.