Archive for Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Heard on the Hill: New KU vice chancellor Tim Caboni talks to community members; KU alum becomes voice of San Jose State football at age 23; new KU billboard honors astronaut professor

July 19, 2011


Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.

• I stopped by a luncheon hosted by the Lawrence-Douglas County Bioscience Authority that served to introduce Tim Caboni, vice chancellor for public affairs, to members of the community.

Caboni, wearing his usual smile and bow tie, told the crowd that KU would take the lead in setting its own message. He’s a member of the community now, he said, who lives in East Lawrence and gets coffee at the Bourgeois Pig.

He mentioned new ideas, such as a KU News Service that would pitch stories to a wider audience and a new structure where public relations employees have their own internal “beats” they cover at the university.

“We’re going to tell our story our way, because it’s an amazing story to tell,” he told the crowd.

He also said he intended to generate a more frequent update for KU news to the internal KU community, which today only gets the faculty and staff newsletter, The Oread, about twice a month.

One interesting thing Caboni said was that one of the ways good public relations happens is through individual comments. He asked people to counteract negativity about KU with their own positive comments about the university.

• Perhaps catching a bit of the positivity Caboni was spreading, a tipster wrote to me later to point out a recent graduate who’s doing rather well for himself, just one day after I mentioned news coverage of a graduate who was a bit down on his luck.

That’s certainly not the case for Michael Spero, a KJHK alumnus who’s only 23. And he’s already landed a job as the radio play-by-play voice of San Jose State University football.

“I think it’s not unheard of to get a job right out of college at age 21 or 22 and be calling sports for a university,” Tom Johnson, KJHK general manager, told the Kansas City Star. “But frankly you’d be looking at D-III or something smaller market for sure than where he’s at.”

• A new KU billboard has gone up east of Lawrence on Interstate 70, in honor of the last shuttle flight this month.

The billboard honors Steve Hawley, professor of physics and astronomy, who is KU’s resident astronaut.

“OUR FACULTY IS STELLAR,” the billboard proclaims in all capital letters, and it’s got a picture of Hawley, to boot.

• HEARD ON THE HILL IS STELLAR, TOO. Your tips help make it that way. Submit them at


Maxandwillie 6 years, 9 months ago

Fix the headline from San Diego St. to San Jose St.

emceelean 6 years, 9 months ago

Good for Spero, he's a swell guy and a swell broadcaster.

jhawknibod 6 years, 9 months ago

If Vice Chancellor Caboni thinks he is going to make a compelling case for KU in Topeka with the Brownback administration and the overwhelmingly Republican legislature by showing up with a bow tie and coffee from the Pig, then he is destined for the trash heap like his predecessors Janet Murgia and that other guy whose name I can’t recall who succeeded in only changing the KU font. What KU really needs is for someone to press its case in Topeka and throughout the state about the value and benefit it provides all 105 counties. Getting some uber-liberal academic from Vanderbilt who intends to reshuffle the public relations department appears to represent yet another missed opportunity in KU’s efforts to enhance its reputation and make the case for greater support. This position demands someone who can credibly walk the Capitol halls and Rotary and Chambers of Commerce lunches throughout Kansas to make a compelling case that KU deserves investment and returns on it. That’s best done without the bow tie or a “bourgeois” slow drip.

akhmatova 6 years, 9 months ago

Maybe they'll be impressed with his Tucker Carlson-esque bowtie?

borntoplay 6 years, 9 months ago

My, what an unfriendly welcome for a man who has just moved here and wants to make Lawrence his home. I have met Tim and will be working with him in the future and he is a great person for the job. How about giving him a chance?

WilburM 6 years, 9 months ago

Two things. Tim is a good guy, but the job is likely impossible, largely because it is the Chancellor's job to speak for the University. The Chancellor's. Period.If she can't, no one else credibly can.

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