Reporter, #IBJtech newsletter author

Technology, venture capital, media and marketing

Schoettle grew up in Indianapolis, graduating from Southport High School and Indiana University. He then departed on a tour of middle Indiana, reporting for papers in Greenwood, Frankfort, Columbus and Franklin before landing at IBJ in 1998. At his previous jobs, he spent a decade as a political and government reporter. Beyond writing, Schoettle’s passions include animals and wildlife, watching all manner of television and long-distance cycling and running. Though he put away his trumpet many years ago, he remains an avid music fan. Schoettle shares his home in Southport with his wife, Elizabeth, three salty dogs and three sweet cats. Preferring to live in a “park-like setting,” one of his primary goals each spring and summer is to see how seldom he can mow his front lawn.

Articles

Pacers gain traction with fans, sponsors: But Ron Artest’s return presents a marketing challenge

Pacers average attendance jumped from 16,558 last year to 16,995 this season. While it appears to be a small difference, it’s almost twice the percentage increase league-wide, and it pushed Pacers attendance higher than anytime since the 17,889 average in the second season in Conseco Fieldhouse. Capacity is 18,345. The Pacers enjoyed a slight attendance spike after Reggie Miller announced his retirement in February. But interest was already bubbling as the team was in the midst of an unlikely playoff…

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Farming fortune from frustration: Mower mogul got tired of servicing ‘crap’

In 1979, Art Evans busted his knuckles repairing one too many lawn mowers. As a distributor for a nationally known manufacturer, Evans also rebuilt mowers. And refined transmissions and steering units. And spent countless hours on tedious tasks, like adding washers and tightening bolts. Working a few weeks ago in an old milk barn adjacent to his parents’ Putnam County home, Evans was a long way from the 1973 Indiana State Fair, where he first saw a zero-turning-radius lawn mower….

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Crossroads’ work helps soldiers in Iraq: Money from project used for massive upgrades at Indianapolis operation

When the U.S. Army sought a contractor to manufacture a special identification panel for military vehicles in the mid-1990s, some shops didn’t think the contract was big enough to pursue. Others thought the work on the panel was too tedious. Locally based Easter Seals Crossroads Industrial Services didn’t hesitate to bid. Six years after supplying the Army with its first shipment of combat ID panels, Easter Seals Crossroads Industrial Services, a division of the not-for-profit Easter Seals Crossroads Rehabilitation Center,…

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Helping pets pop pills: Butler MBA student invents easy way to medicate animals

Rob Puma’s idea of a romantic date is not making dog treats in his kitchen. Yet that’s exactly what he found himself doing with his girlfriend over Valentine’s Day weekend in 2004. The unusual celebration of a lover’s holiday was part of what began as a semesterlong MBA project at Butler University four years ago and became, as trite as it sounds, a labor of love for Puma, the inventor of Medi-Crunch, a snack designed to help people medicate their…

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Radio roulette: Format moves start high-stakes bidding war for listeners

“This market hasn’t been shaken up like this in 20 years,” said Tom Severino, vice president/market manager for Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications Corp.’s four local stations, including the new WLHK. “This will affect almost every segment of the central Indiana radio market.” Emmis’ light-rock ratings lightweight WENS-FM 97.1 went country March 25, looking to steal listeners from the market powerhouse, Susquehanna Radio Corp.’s WFMSFM 95.5, which had been the market’s only country station. WENS officials are ushering in a new format…

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Wood flooring companies put bounce under ball: Hoops tourney signals competitive bidding season

With March Madness, the NBA playoff race and high school state tournaments reaching a feverish pitch, many Hoosiers are eyeing bouncing balls and hanging hoops. But Kevin Price and his staff are more focused on the floor below. Price’s company has carved out a profitable niche supplying, painting, polishing and servicing the hardwood that keeps basketballs bouncing. “I’m sure a lot of people just think of it as a floor,” said Price, Indianapolis’ regional sales manager for Cincinnati Floor Co….

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No backing down: Irsay leads crusade to strengthen NFL revenue sharing

Irsay became a central figure in the NFL franchises’ small-market vs. large-market battle at the annual owners’ meetings in Hawaii March 21-23. He told reporters he isn’t sure how long his-or any-team can be competitive in a city the size of Indianapolis if large-market teams have their way with the league’s revenue-sharing formula. The Indiana General Assembly is in the midst of a fierce debate over funding for a $600 million retractable-roof stadium for the Colts, but that could be…

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Marketing plan takes bad bounce: Owners of local IT firm, ABA pro hoops team get caught in snare of negative publicity

Unfortunately, the stories have focused on a series of bizarre events surrounding the team and its owners. The Rhythm’s third owner, recording artist Sally Anthony, Bucher’s wife, found herself at the center of several of the stories. Neither Bucher nor Christian returned repeated calls seeking comment for this story. Anthony was also unavailable for comment. The trio initially made a series of savvy moves, including filling the team roster with top talent just short of making the NBA. The owners…

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Convention, Colts issues in play: With gambling plan off table, stadium funding gets elusive

Whether it includes taxes on players’ salaries, tickets and suite rentals remains to be seen. But early deliberations won’t include revenue from gambling, according to Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, who chairs the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee. “There’s not going to be any gambling included in the bill,” Kenley said. “It’s not going to be funded through slot machines or pull tabs.” Sen. President Pro Tem Robert Garton, R-Columbus, also said he’d oppose any measure including slot machines or…

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Buckner relishes role as executive: IU great recalls lessons from Knight, Bird

Quinn Buckner has always sought out strong mentors, but he didn’t have to search for his most solid role models. From Bob Knight to Larry Bird and Donnie Walsh, Buckner has surrounded himself with some of basketball’s best minds. But he credits his parents with instilling in him the leadership skills and determination that have carried him through good times and bad. “Coach Knight was a great mentor to me at an early age,” said Buckner, who played for Knight’s…

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TV weather war becoming a race for arms: Local TV news ratings, advertising dollars at stake VIPIR attack

A storm is brewing. But the weather-related tempest has as much to do with television viewer ratings and advertising dollars as it does with tornadoes and hailstorms. With an array of new forecasting technology hitting the market, Indianapolis’ four local TV news operations are arming for a weather war that would make Dorothy and Toto run for the nearest Doppler radar. “The weather is an enormous driver in local TV news ratings,” said Bill Perkins, president of locally based Perkins…

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Clarian’s capabilities keep Combine here: Medical services lure NFL officials, owners back to Indy

When Mayor Bart Peterson announced in December plans to build a new stadium for the Indianapolis Colts, he mentioned as a side note the $600 million facility would help retain the National Football League Scouting Combine. The mayor’s pronouncement is no side note to Clarian Health Partners, the hospital system that handles all the athlete medical testing for the four-day Combine, which runs this year through March 1. “We were told by Clarian officials this event adds $1 million to…

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Radio Slayer?: The 3.6-ounce iPod could become a 500-pound gorilla

The 3.6-ounce iPod could become a 500-pound gorilla Radio’s death knell has tolled before. In the 1950s, television was supposed to kill radio. And in the last 30 years, there have been a cavalcade of challengers from cassette tapes and Walkmans to compact discs and portable disc players. Even though a record $20 billion was spent nationally in radio advertising in 2004, a new predator on the landscape has the potential to take a serious bite out of the industry’s lifeblood….

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Johnson County gets major gated community: Development planned next to The Legends golf course

Johnson County is set to get its first major gated housing development, and The Legends of Indiana golf course-coowned by former Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight-should reap a much-needed financial boost. Construction on the $35 million project on 35 acres in Franklin is set to begin this spring. The project, consisting of 144 homes and condominiums, will be constructed between the front nine and the back nine of The Legends’ Jim Fasiodesigned championship course. There will be 38 single-family…

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George’s role as team owner draws criticism: Some say purchase is conflict of interest

Nine years of hunting for sponsors, recruiting and trying to retain drivers, and managing costs that had nearly doubled in recent years had taken its toll. The founder of locally based Kelley Racing shuttered his Indy Racing League team at the close of last season. And with the close of Kelley Racing, a new era for the Indy Racing League opened. Founded in 1996 as an alternative to CART, the open-wheel racing series stepped into what IRL founder Tony George…

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Celluloid tax credits?: Incentives for movie makers getting bipartisan support

House Bill 1639 would put in place a hefty set of tax incentives for companies making movies, television shows, music videos, commercials and corporate videos on Hoosier soil. Though the bill has bipartisan support in the House, a similar measure was spiked last year because of concerns over lost tax revenue. Even the bill’s author thinks there could be a fight over the measure in the Senate. Those who think the idea of drawing movie producers to Indiana is far-fetched…

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Zoo gets boost from marketing campaign: Attraction is drawing record crowds by luring more visitors from farther away

The Indianapolis Zoo’s attendance has increased 50 percent in the last decade, reaching record levels the last two years. More than 1.2 million people visited the downtown attraction last year. Zoo officials credit an aggressive advertising and marketing campaign in 2003 and 2004 for the most recent attendance jumps. The zoo hired Lodge Design Co. to help spread its message around central Indiana, but also asked the small, Indianapolisbased agency to help bring in more remote visitors, targeting those within…

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Herff Jones considers global acquisition: Deal to buy George F. Cram Co. is in the works

Sources close to Indianapolis-based George F. Cram Co. said the 139-year-old maker of globes and maps is being sold to Herff Jones Inc., another local company with deep roots. Cram officials did not return phone calls seeking comment. But sources said Cram officials have indicated the sale is done. Officials for Herff Jones-an employee-owned maker of school-related items including caps and gowns, yearbooks and high school diplomas-said the deal is not yet imminent. “We’re in conversations, but we’re not ready…

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NASCAR fuels C&R growth: Maker of custom racing parts diversifies from open-wheel roots

Though he’s only 45, Chris Paulsen is a grizzled veteran in racing circles. The storied mechanic has already been invited to take part in old-timer events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But industry sources say Paulsen’s future is as wide open and promising as that of a schoolboy with a fresh diploma. The innovations that made him a household name in open-wheel have earned a following among NASCAR’s elite, and the insightful entrepreneur even talks of starting his own race…

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Movie theater ads spark big-screen debate: Appeal of captive audience and demographics push advertising sales to record levels, prompting backlash

Ron Keedy can be found taking tickets, popping popcorn and sweeping floors at Key Cinemas on Indianapolis’ south side. There’s little Keedy won’t do to build customer loyalty at the two-screen cinema he owns. What he won’t do is sell advertisements to go along with the first-run, often offbeat films he shows. Keedy thinks movies are art, and there’s no place for commercial ads in the art his patrons pay to see. “Maybe I’m a purist,” Keedy said. “I feel…

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