MODE Weekly

Dr. Mod Illum had this website restored and archived as part of his required reading for his Internet Publishing course. Dr. Illum comes to us from Taliesin Markup, an investigative periodical focused on cultural issues and socially significant unsolved crimes. He won praise in a feature article in Just Cause for his post on crimes against the elderly, featuring the exploits and victims of con man George Binakis in NYC and one particular story involving a 72 year old woman defrauded of over $65,000 in a contractor fraud. George had gained trust & sympathy via previous work and stories of a very serious heart condition requiring a pacemaker and other health problems. His con worked so well that when he disappeared with the money, the victim was certain he had suffered a heart attack or a debilitating illness - the reason he was unable to respond to calls and emails. Dr. Illum also found evidence that although George Binakis' business was a NY company, he had requested that checks be made out to him personally and those checks were later cashed in Richmond, Virginia. The case is still open and will be part of the his course material. Students can find the complete reading list posted on the department bulletin board.


From 1990-2003 this was the website for MODE Weekly which offered Cool Stuff About Business and Entertainment in the Greater Harrisburg, PA Area.
Content is from the site's archived pages.

About Our Premier Issue’s Cover

Recently a prominent "money" magazine rated Harrisburg, PA 267th out of the top 300 cities to live in, in the United States.

That’s fine if you a) live in a city rated above 267, or b) you don’t care.

We at MODE decided a) because we did live in a city rated 267, and b) we did care, that this article was unfair to the city of Harrisburg, and downright insulting to the people who choose to live here. We believe this to be so true that we dedicated our premier issue’s cover to topic.

First and most disconcerting is the fact that the folks rating these 300 cities only visited the top 10 and bottom 5 , leaving 285 cities to be rated on statistical data and subjective opinion only. That’s fair. Second, why in the world rate 300 cities. Because you have statistical data for 300? Wouldn’t you agree that rating the top 100 cities would make more sense? By rating 300 cities, it appears to me that this "money" magazine is sending a message to its readers that the bottom 150 cities are places you probably don’t want to live. If you were looking over this list, would you consider the bottom cities?

As relative newcomers to Harrisburg, We’re proud of our decision to move here. Would we have moved if we had read this "money" magazine’s article? Of course, but because we visited Harrisburg several times and discovered how wonderful the people are and what great things the city has to offer. How many other cities do you know of that own their own baseball team?

We believe Harrisburg, PA should NOT be included in any further surveys or lists published by this "money" magazine. If you feel the same, tell them! Harrisburg is a wonderful city, as are many that probably came in at the bottom of that list. Until that magazine visits each and every city before they pass judgment all we can say is: 267th, Are You Kidding!

We urge you to read this article yourself. You’ll have to go to the library or borrow a friend’s because the July issue is on longer on the newsstands. But, as of the printing of this issue, the above internet address will take you directly to the Harrisburg, PA page within the "money" magazine’s web site. (They make it simple to browse their site, don’t they?)
Originally published: July, 1996


What’s Your Favorite Pastime?

Have you ever gotten goosebumps listening to someone sing? That happened to me last night. My wife and I stopped by Skyline Studios (one of our charter advertisers) to work on a radio commercial and, for the first time, got to hear a true 5-part street-style a acapella doo-wop group sing. Pastime is Gordy Geesey, Jr., Donnie Schwanger, Ron Horner, Bill Healis, and Buddy Scharff (l-r). Pastime is a street-style doo-wop group that focuses on harmony and blend as their forte. Pastime is excellent.

Gloria and I listened briefly as the group wrapped up another song for their soon to be released CD, as yet untitled. Donnie, the group’s founder, told me that they have no original songs. Everything they do are covers from the early 50’s to the mid 60’s, and everything they do sounds terrific. It was immediately clear that making a CD was the right move for this group. The CD will have an anticipated 20 to 22 songs on it, and is slated for a September release. (Check with the MODE office for availablility.)

Three key factors influence why Pastime sounds so great: 1) the member’s dedication to the "street-style" doo-wop sound, 2) their ability to harmonize naturally, and 3) the almost perfect blend of their voices. Buddy Scharff, the group’s vocal coach, told me that there are essentially two types of doo-wop groups from the 50’s, the barbershop style and the street-style. Barbershop style groups are always made up of four members, each scoring and arranging their singing separately. Street-style groups usually have five members, never score or arrange anything and commonly change singing parts according to which member can "hit the note". (NOTE: three of the five members can’t read sheet music, yet still sing powerfully). So a street-style group learns a song by singing and resinging until it’s right.

Harmonizing doesn’t come naturally, and more considerably to an a capella group. Pastime’s ability to make the music flow is outstanding. Buddy Scharff explains: "In street-style harmonizing there are three parts, one high, one low, and one in the middle. What makes Pastime sound so great is that we have an additional high (the 1st Tenor) and an additional low (the Bass)." It took practicing 3-4 times a week, 4 hours a night non-stop to memorize the 40 songs Pastime sings.

Listening to Pastime can be a profound experience if you close your eyes. Their perfect blend of singing creates the sensation that there are many more vocalists than just the five guys. For Pastime, their blend, or their ability to adjust their volume, intensity, projection and to match every vowel exactly, is what makes them so unique. Listening with your eyes closed is a truly wonderful experience. (It gave me goosebumps). When the group was finished with their recording session, they gave my wife and me a brief performance. Pastime sang Have You Heard, originally by the Duprees, and Diamonds and Pearls, originally by the Paradons. It was fantastic and no words on this page can describe the experience. It sounded like a chorus of singers filling the room from end to end.

If you’ve never enjoyed hearing an a capella group sing, I strongly recommend that you stop up to Circle G on Route 322, Saturday, July 27th for one of Pastime’s few local performances. You can also catch Pastime in Philly on an almost regular basis.

Good luck to Pastime on their CD project, and thanks for recording MODE’s radio jingle, we love it!



Why should I care about advertising on the Internet?

You should care about everything that affects your business. The Internet is truly in the spotlight right now, but it’s definitely not new. The Internet has been around since the early sixties, and all along has been used for information exchange between universities and governments. Just recently has "big business" realized the potential of advertising on the Internet. Commerce via the Internet is global yet affordable. Imagine that. You should care about advertising on the Internet because your business, however big or small, can reach the entire world, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

A small investment can go a long way. Depending on who you work with to do your Internet advertising, you could pay as little as nothing to get on the Internet. (We offer free Internet ads!) The key to advertising on the Internet is finding the right people to advertise with. The right people will tell you honestly if the Internet is an advertising avenue you should explore. They will evaluate your business and offer you affordable advertising options. They can give you statistics regarding the number of people that view your ads, and show you ways to make those statistics turn into profits. But BE CAREFUL, there are a lot of sharks out there just waiting to rip you off.

Done right, it can be HUGE. Look before you leap. The Internet will be there tomorrow, and there is no rush. Ask a lot of questions before you chose a company to put you on the Internet. Tell them you have three primary goals, and ask them how they will address them. Your first goal is to have as many people, "Net surfers" visit your Internet site as possible each day. Your second goal is to show your product or service in a way that is informative and exciting, yet fast. Your final goal is to get the "surfer" to respond to your ad, either by asking for more information or by actually buying something. They should be impressed, and able to address each goal readily and in plain english.

If it’s FREE, take it! This is our shameless self-promotion. Advertise in the print edition of MODE, and we’ll put your exact same ad on the Internet for FREE! We’ve decided to do this because we value our advertisers’ business and believe they deserve a chance to experience advertising on the Internet with NO RISK. If our advertisers find success, BRAVO. If they don’t , well no harm done. So call MODE today, and find out how you can advertise on the Internet for FREE. Only from your friends at MODE!



Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Always Advertise!

  • 1. Your market is constantly changing.
    2. People forget fast.
    3. Your competition isn’t quitting.
    4. Advertising strengthens your identity.
    5. Advertising is essential to survival and growth.
    6. Advertising enables you to hold on to your existing customers.


We all rely, in part, on repeat business and referrals. Old customers are the key to both. When old customers don’t hear about you, or directly from you, they tend to move on. Cutting your advertising is a negative signal to those who actively patronize you.

  • 7. Advertising maintains morale.
    8. Advertising gives you an advantage over competitors who have ceased advertising.
    9. Advertising allows your business to continue operating.


You will always have overhead; bills, telephone, rent/equipment, your time. Advertising creates the AIR overhead breathes! Advertising is the portion of your business responsibilities that rejuvenates and draws new life (revenue) into the process.

  • 10. You have invested money that you stand to lose.

If you stop advertising, everything you’ve invested becomes lost, as the consumer’s awareness you’ve purchased slowly dwindles away. Sure you can buy it again, but you’ll have to start from scratch.


Organize. Take inventory of the advertising you do right now. Spend a few minutes with paper and pencil and write down all of the advertising you’ve done for your business (that you can remember) in the past year. If you keep records, kudos for you.

Evaluate. What do you personally feel was successful. Where do you think you went right, and where do you think you spent wrong? Measuring subjectively, no matter what the salesperson tells you, can often point you in the right direction. If it just didn’t feel right, it probably wasn’t.

Apply. Cut the fat. If it was stupid or didn’t work, forget it. Rely on the things that you know were and are successful. What was the best advertising you ever did? How can you duplicate that advertising more effectively, and at a lower cost? If you put your mind to it, advertising can be a powerful tool for you and your business, instead of a painful irritating experience.

Finally, plan ahead. Plan your advertising calendar 3 months in advance. No arguments. If department stores can put the Christmas decorations up the day after Halloween, and income tax services can offer refunds the day after New Year’s, you can plan 90 days into the future. Remember: If they need an answer by morning, the answer is: PASS!



MODE wins Microsoft award

Just as this premier (print) edition of MODE was being wrapped up, we received a very special and prestigious award via E-mail. Microsoft Corporation (the 800 lb. software gorilla) named MODE to their Ultimate Web Site list.

Microsoft surfs the web in search of web sites that take advantage of Microsoft Internet Explorer tags (commands) vs. Netscape Navigator tags (the popular favorite). We chose MSIE over Netscape because of it’s ease of use for the novice, and it’s extended multimedia support. MSIE 3.0 plays music, video and animation right from Windows 95, no plug-ins, no helper apps. It’s great and well worth downloading (for FREE).

We’re happy to to be named by Microsoft, but it’s you, our readers, that we want to hear from.