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  • Writer's pictureKeeper

Media Frenzy

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

2023 was the summer of media coverage. In fact, it turned out to be a downright media frenzy.

It began the weekend I opened the lighthouse in May and didn’t stop. That Friday, May 26, the General Services Administration (GSA) released its 2023 list of lighthouses for sale/auction and while an annual event, this release prompted considerable media attention.

I have worked with GSA off and on doing media interviews since purchasing the lighthouse in 2011. I’ve answered questions such as “Why did you want to buy a lighthouse” to “What would you tell other people thinking about buying a lighthouse?” However, this particular Friday of Memorial Day weekend, I wasn’t aware that GSA had released its 2023 list of available lighthouses until the phone rang.

My first media call was from BBC News (yes, THAT British Broadcasting Corporation across the pond). The reporter wanted an interview on what it was like to purchase a lighthouse from a GSA auction, the renovation process, what advice I would give to someone interested in also doing so, etc. etc. Although a bit taken aback, it was a productive interview and the BBC article ran on May 30, 2023.

Just after I finished the BBC interview, I got a message from a reporter I knew from Lake Erie Living magazine. Lake Erie Living was interested in the same information, however, since one of the lighthouses on GSA’s list was the Cleveland Harbor West Pierhead Lighthouse, Lake Erie Living had a more local angle they wanted to pursue.

A few hours later, I got yet another call from a random number. It was the NY Times. YES, THAT NY Times. They were also writing a story on GSA’s release of its 2023 list of lighthouses available for disposition. The line of questioning was similar to the other two outlets i.e. “What was it like to purchase a lighthouse from GSA?; What were your biggest challenges in renovating the lighthouse?; What advice would you give someone interested in purchasing [and renovating] a lighthouse?” The reporter asked a few specific questions about my particular purchase and Fairport Harbor West and the article ran on Sunday, May 27, 2023 (yep, the SUNDAY NY Times).

Little did I know, that was the warmup. Not long after, I got a call from The Today Show…yes, my favorite morning show. They wanted to feature me in a story for National Lighthouse Day, August 7. The filming was set for July 13 and after 5 hours spent with a crew of 7, they packed up to visit Cleveland West Pierhead Lighthouse, interview the head of GSA, and head back to NY for editing. The piece was, indeed, featured on the 3rd Hour of the Today Show celebrating National Lighthouse Day, Aug 7, 2023. Oh yeah, and that 5 hours of filming resulted in just a 1 ½ minute feature.

Following The Today Show, I received an email from the TV network CNBC, which produces a YouTube program called "Make It” that highlights people renovating and living in unusual properties. In late July, a crew of 2 handled all the questions and filming for that show over a very long eight hour day. With some expert editing and creative graphics, my show launched on Aug 18 and runs just over 10 minutes. With a 1.3 million subscriber base, my episode – entitled: “I Bought an Abandoned Lighthouse” – has been watched over 1.2 million times so far.

Following “Make It,” my friends at GSA called and asked if I’d be a guest on their podcast called, “GSA Does That!?” “Well, I’d love to,” I responded as I’d never been on a podcast before. So after a 40 minute interview and some GSA production, the podcast ran on August 22. My episode was called, “So you bought a lighthouse, now what?” and was part of a series GSA created about their lighthouse disposition program.

With the summer finally winding down, it seemed the media frenzy might as well. But, not so fast. In late August, I spoke to two additional media outlets: Insider and Epoch Times. Insider describes itself as “a global news and lifestyle publication with hundreds of journalists in London, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Singapore and beyond.” The Epoch Times says it is “…dedicated to seeking the truth through insightful and independent journalism, standing outside of political interests and the pursuit of profit, in order to serve the public benefit and be truly responsible to society.” Apparently both publications’ readers also like lighthouses.

The Insider story ran on September 25, 2023 and the Epoch Times story ran on Oct 9, 2023. Following those stories for which I had been interviewed, another story appeared in the UK Daily Mail, for which I was not interviewed. The Daily Mail created a story from the other media coverage I had received this summer. Sadly, there were some inaccuracies in their story and the photos they “lifted” were not properly credited to the photographers who took them.

And while I appreciate all the publicity and the work that so many journalists did to tell my story, I’m happy to take a break and get back to work on the renovations.

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