- Customer service and sales with Business Development & Customer Relations Manager Gena Barry.
- What are GigaMesh Extenders and why might I need them?
- The latest in Channel 6 and area events.
- Micah’s Trivia and more!
Transcripts have been lightly edited for clarity and readability.
Bryan Kell: Welcome to the BLC Connection Podcast. I’m Bryan Kell.
Karen Wilson: I’m Karen Wilson.
Micah Lawrence: And I’m Micah Lawrence.
All Hosts: Let’s get connected!
Bryan Kell: Welcome into the BLC Connection Podcast, episode six, I do believe. Karen Wilson.
Karen Wilson: Nice to be here.
Bryan Kell: Micah Lawrence.
Micah Lawrence: Hello.
Bryan Kell: We’ve got a show that’s just chock full of information, so let’s at least break it down just a little bit what’s in today’s episode. Micah, a lot of stuff going on, and we’re moving outdoors with more and more stuff that’s happening around the area.
Micah Lawrence: Yeah, we’re going to talk about some of the things that’s happening on Channel Six and also kind of where all the Wi-Fi van is going and a bunch of events in July.
Bryan Kell: Yeah, absolutely. And Karen, you’re going to be quizzing Micah and me on something called a GigaMesh extender.
Karen Wilson: I know. I’m learning lots of new techie words, GigaMesh extender, and why we might need one.
Bryan Kell: Good for maybe me and you to know a little bit of something about that maybe. But Micah, I’m gonna be relying on you.
Micah Lawrence: Maybe just a little.
Bryan Kell: Just a little. Speaking of Micah, you got your bag of trivia ready to go for this episode?
Micah Lawrence: Absolutely. I think I got you stumped this time.
Bryan Kell: Well, you had me stumped, but you had Karen, I think that got both of them last time. So we’ll see where we’re going with that. And Karen, up next, we’ve got a dear friend of yours that’s on tap to join us.
Karen Wilson: Yes. Gena Barry with customer service. She’s the manager of customer service. Been doing that for about a year now or so, and a great information from Gena on all things customer service.
Bryan Kell: So hang loose with us on this BLC Connection Podcast as we slide Gena in, and we thank you for joining us for the July edition of the BLC Connection Podcast.
Bryan Kell: We have got with us. Karen’s already told us who’s in here. So, Gena Barry. Who, the correct title, if I get this right Gina, business development and customer relations manager. Welcome into the BLC Connection Podcast.
Gena Barry: Thank you so much. That’s a big mouthful now.
Karen Wilson: Yeah. Gena, I guess write that down and take notes and make sure that you’ve got that right every time you introduce yourself.
Gena Barry: Yeah, that’s a long title there.
Karen Wilson: Well, Gina, you don’t have to tell me very much about yourself because we’ve known each other for a day or two, going back to probably kindergarten or so. But tell us a little bit about yourself and the highlights you’ve seen over the decades at Ben Lomand Connect.
Gena Barry: Oh, the things I could tell. I have been here for 28 years.
Bryan Kell: Just as a baby when you started here, right?
Gena Barry: I was.
Karen Wilson: You were fresh out of college to be fair.
Gena Barry: I was and you’re right behind me.
Karen Wilson: Yes.
Gena Barry: Karen. So yeah, started out when Ben Lomand started Ben Lomand Communications, so started their own LD company, that’s where I started at. So I kind of went from the ground up on that and have had some great rides. No internet when we first started. No class features. No caller I.D. So now I feel really old when we start talking about that. But over the years, of course, with all of our technology, we have grown so much and what we do for our customers. It’s hard to believe. I travel all over the United States, and we are one of the premier phone companies in the country. And our members and customers do not realize how well they have it. We are the only one that’s offering the gig/gig right now. Totally. And that’s something that you mentioned that in the telecommunications world, anywhere in any state, and they’re like, you’re what? And we’re like, “Yeah,” and we’re in McMinnville and Sparta and Tracy City. So, you know, we’re really growing on that. So we’ve come a long way in the last 28 years. It’s been a great ride. I hope to be here many more years. Not 28, but many more.
Karen Wilson: Yeah, just going back. I’ll chime in. You know, Gena helped me get my job at Ben Lomand, and we used to call people at night and ask if they would like a long distance calling card. Those were the things. You could not go anywhere, travel and call home if you didn’t have that. And then, of course, you started reselling that for the company that we were with. And you’ve traveled all over the United States doing that and then CLEC, which is competitive local exchange carrier. Lots of milestones while you were here.
Gena Barry: Oh, yes, it has been, like I said, a ride. Watching us grow the way we have is unreal. I will say I love it. I’ve always loved it. You’re right. We called people for calling cards. That was a big deal. And then the calling cards went away, and it’s like, Oh, no, now what are we going to do? And it just every year we keep getting more and more things to offer our customers. And with that, you know, like I said, the gig/gig, our GigaSpire, all the new products. It’s so important that we as employees understand, but also to tell you as our customers, what we can do for you, is a big thing. Karen and I went through a lot over the years, is growing here, and I think it’s something I’m very proud of.
Bryan Kell: I was going to say, I ran across some of those when I was doing some archeology digging down in the marketing area. I found those cards. I’m like, Wow, these are pretty cool.
Karen Wilson: I hope you put your gloves on when you handled them, so you didn’t get your…
Bryan Kell: Small brush and all that kind of stuff.
Karen Wilson: Right. Right.
Bryan Kell: We’re recording this, gosh, I guess you’d have to say, mid-June, I guess so. You’re kind of fresh off last week of attending the TNBA Conference. Our industries, our state industries, big conference of the year over in Franklin. Two years ago, I think the governor spoke at it. Cameron Sexton spoke this year. Yes, it’s a big deal. What’s some of the stuff that’s kind of bubbling out of being able to see all the different telcos that are out there and the folks meeting together out in Franklin? What’s the big stuff you’re hearing out of that?
Gena Barry: So last week was that event and Cameron Sexton did speak. But one of the main things was more of the stuff of grants, you know, that you hear we’re getting now. They are bringing back down some more additional monies that’s going to be coming from the government. It will actually be coming down to the state, and the state will be the one parsing it out to all the phone companies or anybody trying to get in the telecommunications and do that. So we really was listening on how you do that. Talking to other phone companies, what were they thinking? Where were they looking at? Kind of what they’re wanting to do with it. What areas would they want to go to? That was the biggest thing. Then we had breakout sessions talking about what’s coming up. You know, what’s coming up in 1 to 5 years? What’s coming? What do we need to be looking at? How do we keep our customers? How do we provide what they’re wanting? So we had great discussion among the phone companies in Tennessee on what different ones were doing, what they were thinking about doing, or how we did things. And try to get more economy with scale. Try to get more in line where we can help each other and mostly help the citizens of Tennessee and keep us in the forefront of technology across the US.
Bryan Kell: I think Karen mentioned this, and I don’t think we’ve mentioned it on this podcast, but when Greg kind of broke the news on this podcast of us going to the gig/gig for $57.95, and we talked about this and what a big deal that was. I’m so glad Karen kind of brought this up is that whether you’re going to a state function or a national function, when you start mentioning that you’re providing a gig/gig for residential and business customers for $57.95, the reaction you get is shocking when you tell people that.
Gena Barry: Oh yeah, they’re like, how do you do that?
Bryan Kell: Exactly.
Gena Barry: And the other question is why? Why did your company decide to do that? And our biggest thing was, well, it’s something we can offer, and why not give our customers the best we have?
Karen Wilson: Well, yes. And I think a big part of it is it’s a gig. But that price point, too, you know, it’s such a competitive rate. It really changes the market as far as what people are having to pay for the higher tier of speeds. So that’s probably pretty shocking, I guess, and innovative as far as other telcos go.
Gena Barry: Oh, yes, there is none within $20 of us. I mean, even for residential. I think the closest ones, $22 higher than we are for a gig/gig, and that’s, they don’t even offer it a lot. You know, they really sell their lower speeds. I think, you know, the industry is changing. More people are streaming, more gaming, more all our different devices, cameras on security, all of our turn your lights on, your thermostat, all of that stuff. You need that bandwidth. And for our customers to get the best experience. You know, we did that. And I think that has turned the corner for Ben Lomand. And it gives our area something no one else in the state has for that price point.
Karen Wilson: And I will say, you know, we interviewed Chad last week. He talked to us a lot about deployment of fiber. And you mentioned where you go next. You know, certainly we are out to provide fiber to our territory, first to our Ben Lomand customers. But then, as you mentioned, you also, most telcos are looking with grants to go out of their territory into places that most people cannot get these speeds. So that’s a hot topic, I guess, as far as these grants go.
Gena Barry: Yes, that’s the big topic there. Of course, you’re right here at Ben Lomand. We want to get all of our regular area, our ILEC territory, totally fiber, and we are working hard to get that done. I know, with Chad, we were talking about that last week. But I know we are looking also at the future. We’ve got to continue to grow and if we can get monies that will help us, that helps all of us and our customers.
Karen Wilson: Yeah. Going outside our territory, does make the cooperative stronger and helps the revenue and helps all the cooperative members.
Bryan Kell: And helps those customers in those areas that are desperate for some kind of quality broadband.
Karen Wilson: Yes. Yeah, I know. We went door knocking, and they’re very eager for that. So, Gena, you know, if someone had told me back 20 years ago, you were going to step into customer service, I would have probably been in awe because you’ve been dealing with B-to-B or business-to-business long distance for a long time, but you’ve stepped into the role of customer service manager. How is customer service changing, and what do you look for in customer service employees?
Gena Barry: Well, customer service is changing in a lot of ways. For one, for many years, it was just you come in, here’s our service, didn’t have a whole lot of choice. We got you taked care of. You go out. Now, I think customer service is more going out of our way to take care of the customer. They have choices to go other places. We’re not the only one. So we have to go out of our way to take care of them. But also to sale, but when I say sell, it’s to help the customer. So always look, even when I was in sales and I know Karen, you’ve heard me say this, I’m not a sales person. I’m more of a consulting person. We help the customer see what they need. You don’t always know what you need until we all talk. And see what all are you using this for? Do you need our new ExperienceIQ? How can that help you? Do you have kids at home? Do you need to ProtectIQ? Which I think is something great. So our customer service now not only signs up, but they’re also having to educate our customers and look outside the box to take care of our customers. We want our customers to have the best product available at the lowest price. We can get it for them, especially in the economy today. Everybody’s looking to save money where they can. So we’re talking about them. We’ll help them with streaming for TV instead of maybe going to save some money. You know, we just want to take care of that customer. I think that’s what customer service is really having to look for and it’s keeping them really busy trying to do all of those different things for our customers and be there for them day and night, basically.
Bryan Kell: We’re talking with Gena Barry, business development and customer relations manager here at Ben Lomand Connect. Gena, when it comes down to the customer service side or even on the billing, just any thing that really touches the customer that we’re working with, are there any new technologies or things that we’re looking at or doing that are coming down the pipe to kind of help with customer service and all that?
Gena Barry: Yes, actually, there are several things we’re looking at. We are looking at a new DocuSign where there’s not as many paper, a lot that can be done just on the iPad for the customers. We’re going to be doing some door knocking.
Karen Wilson: That goes back old school again, but that’s that customer service touch.
Gena Barry: Yeah, we’re going to be doing some residential door knocking in some of our areas where the customer doesn’t have to come in. We can actually go to them. They can do all of the signing from the iPad. We can get them ready to get them installed. So that’s going to be coming this summer, changing some stuff around on there. Doing more training here with our employees to get them more up to date, more on what we’re doing. So that’s a few of the things I’ve got coming up. Just be looking for us out and about in different areas. This will be new, and it’ll be some of our employees will actually even be doing it in the evenings or on Saturdays.
Bryan Kell: We’re not going to get into one of the pieces of technology that’s coming down the pike for our residential customers. But without saying anything about that, which I think, you know, we’ve kind of dressed up the the up front area with some different looks that folks can kind of get their hands on up front. You want to talk just a little bit about that without giving away the service that we’re looking at launching?
Gena Barry: So right now up front, we have where you can come in and look at our camera systems and how you can log in and look if you’re not at home, if you have our security camera automation, we have that. We have some of our streaming services. So we’re putting stuff up so customers, when you come in, we can show you what all we can do. We have a GigaSpire that we show you what the router looks like. We show you how to download our app when you get it. I did that before I came back here earlier with a customer that came in that was going to get our service in the city. So I think we’re really trying to be more hands on to help customers.
Karen Wilson: So automation, it isn’t always a bad thing, but when it comes down to real people versus the phone or automation and stuff, who do you think is the most important as far as customer service goes. When you’re dealing with customers, do you think the customer had prefer the automated thing or that that real customer service person?
Gena Barry: I think they like the real person. For one thing, we’re down home. We’re here, and we’re listening to them. And a lot of times in automation, every time you push, push, push to get where you’re going, you’re mad if something’s wrong. Or you’re frustrated even if you’re just trying to get our service. So I think if they get a live person when they call, they get sent to someone. I think that’s something we have that a lot of companies don’t anymore. And I think that’s one thing Ben Lomand has been really good about is keeping our friendly down home easy accessible way of life.
Karen Wilson: Our employees are just you know they speak the language. I had an instance this morning where I was trying to call my cell phone provider and went through 20 minutes of trying to get a live body. But even here, we have our response center 24/7 that can take a call.
Gena Barry: Oh, yes. You can get Ben Lomand any time, any day. Christmas Day. Easter. You know, Thanksgiving, it doesn’t matter. All the time, you can get a hold of someone here. And we’ve had instances that customers have needed something, and we’ve even come in at night in our department for some reason, but the guys are always out helping. I think we have, our customer service, whether it’s when you come in, whether you call the CRC, whether it’s the guys in doing the install, it’s the guys putting in your computer routers or whatever your phone systems. I think each employee at Ben Lomand takes pride in our company, and we appreciate each of our customers.
Bryan Kell: A couple of final things. One, we’ve spent so much time talking about the customer service side on residential. Business is a big part of not only your background, but also your team going out and doing work. Want to talk about all the what all they’ve got going on. They’re a busy bunch.
Gena Barry: Oh, yeah. I always love to talk about my business girls and guys. We have added a new person, so we now have another person in our business group that you all will see around. He is a sales engineer. He has been helping Stevana and Rosa which I know, if you know us much in business, you know Stevana and Rosa. He helps them with putting in things, doing quotes. Really has helped us out and made us able to sell even more. If it wasn’t for our whole team for business, whether it’s Stevana and Rosa selling systems, whether it’s traditional, it’s hosted, it’s whatever we need along with Kyle doing a lot and all of our outside guys and Mike helping and Micah and Chris and everybody in Managed IT, it takes us all to take care of each of your businesses. But we are here 24 hours a day for you. Our guys will come out no matter what, to get you back up and going if at all possible. And we appreciate our business customers more than they ever know and take pride in taking care of them.
Bryan Kell: Final question, two parter. Tell us about young Karen Wilson. Very young Karen Wilson, think kindergarten Karen Wilson. And something about a fight and who won it.
Karen Wilson: Well, let’s go back to the chewing gum incident. So tell us about Rachel having to get peanut butter in the middle of the night to get chewing gum out of my hair.
Gena Barry: So Karen and I grew up together and would spend the night with each other. And my mom, Rachel, of course, she was over, and she went to sleep with chewing gum in her mouth and got it out on her hair.
Karen Wilson: Gena had the coolest little chewing gum machine, and it was a penny, and she knew how to even hack it and get the gum out without putting a penny in it. And I’d never been exposed to that much chewing gum in my life. And I was, you know, not going to go to bed without a mouthful of gum.
Bryan Kell: It just ended up in the hair.
Karen Wilson: Ended up in the old hair.
Gena Barry: Yeah. We both had long blond hair back then, so we.
Karen Wilson: Thank goodness for Rachel and her peanut bear.
Bryan Kell: So there wasn’t a fight. It was a little scuffle.
Karen Wilson: On the playground. We used to kind of I don’t know, we’d love each other one day and fight the next, you know?
Gena Barry: We were kids. But, hey, our brothers were best buddies.
Karen Wilson: Yeah.
Bryan Kell: Yeah. All right. Hey, thank you so much for coming in and talking to us about very, very, very important things when it comes down to customer service and business development. Gena Barry, thank you for your service and for your years before and today.
Gena Barry: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
Karen Wilson: This is the BLC Connection Podcast, and it’s time for our Connected Home segment. I’m Karen Wilson and Micah and Bryan are back to talk about a companion piece to the GigaSpire Blast router, the GigaMesh extender. Welcome to the giga show, guys. Giga. Giga.
Bryan Kell: It’s the gig/gig. Giga gig.
Karen Wilson: Yeah, I know. And this isn’t about frogs either. So we’ve got lots of technology to talk about. I’m learning so much from you all about things. So let’s go back an episode or so, probably two episodes ago, and talk about the GigaSpire router and why a home might need this GigaMesh to go with the router.
Bryan Kell: So we would always encourage folks to go back and take a listen to a former podcast. Like you said, Karen, this is probably two or three episodes back that you can get the full information on a GigaSpire. But the Cliffs Notes version of this, is the fact that this is a router that we are using in our residential settings that allows folks to be able to receive the full power of a synchronous gig connection for $57.95 from Ben Lomand Connect. And what makes this probably well, it is more unique than any other router that I know of. Micah, please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t know that we have ever had a router that you could build off of like this one, meaning these GigaMesh extenders that we’re going to be talking about today. So this is something that was very exciting to folks at Ben Lomand when we started finding out more and more about what this GigaSpire could do. And this was one of the major components that we’re going to be talking about today, which is the GigaMesh unit.
Karen Wilson: So what is it, I guess, that makes homes need this type of an extender or this GigaMesh piece?
Bryan Kell: I’ll start, but then Micah is probably going to finish this one. But you know, you’ve got a lot of different – homes are not just cookie cutter. They’re made of all types of different things from a log cabin to just a traditional brick and mortar type house. And then some people are one level like mine, and then some people have four levels like Karen, if it… No, I’m joking. But I mean multi-level homes. There’s a lot of stuff happening to where people are building up quite a bit or out, and even Micah in some cases, they want to be able to reach, to be able to connect, even outside the home and this helps.
Micah Lawrence: Yeah. So you know, one of the biggest struggles we’ve had over the years when wireless, you know, became popular was, you know, we put this one wireless router in your house. It could be either in the middle, or it could be all the way on one side of the house. And you didn’t quite reach the other side or certain places in your home. And our only option was to kind of put another expensive router in the house, which I always tell customers two routers are a no-no because you can see a lot of problems with that. So, you know, we needed some type of device that allowed us to cover the entire house with Wi-Fi because as we know today and you know, today is a day that Apple announced a bunch of new devices and software and things like that. You know, people want to use their devices in all parts of their homes. And this allows us to cover that entire house. And like Bryan said, sometimes outside of the house, I know I’m a victim of wanting to listen and jam to music while I’m mowing. So I want to make sure I’ve got Wi-Fi out there to be able to to download my music and listen to it. So this is the best way to cover all areas of your home.
Karen Wilson: So tell us, I guess, how the mesh technology works.
Micah Lawrence: So some of the terminology you might have heard before are repeaters or extenders, and then now you’ve got this new technology called mesh. So I guess let’s explain each one so that we kind of better understand what’s happening. So with a repeater and an extender, they’re very similar. You put them on the edge of where, you know, your main router can actually reach, and then it – like the word – it extends it out further. So that way on the other side of the house, it picks up it looks like you got full bars on your device. This can be a little misleading. I tell a lot of our customers, you do not want an extender or repeater, mainly because I’d love to be able to show a diagram of this. But imagine a wireless router being in the middle of a bull’s eye, right? A little dartboard. Every ring that you go out beyond that router, you actually have your bandwidth cut almost in half. So if let’s say around the close to the router, you’ve got 100 meg and as you go out, you get down to 25 meg if. You get down to, let’s say, five or ten meg, and then you stick a repeater. Now, you might have full bars on the other side of your house, but the fastest you can go is five megs. And so repeating a bad signal is not really a great experience.
Bryan Kell: Just as a question here, you used 100 as as just an example. But with us offering a gig, does that at least help be able to push signal strength out for – even if you’re cutting things in half – that’s got to help.
Micah Lawrence: It does. On the on the technical side of things, it always depends. You’ve got two bands that work off most modern day routers. You got 2.4 gigahertz, and you got 5 gigahertz. 2.4 has a limitation. You know, like if you do what I would call the how it comes out of the box, it will only do up to like 30 megs. And then you can go up and get to about 60 or 70. 5 gigahertz side, you can obviously get a lot more than that. So previous to Wi-Fi 6, which is what our GigaSpire is, you know, you could only get maybe max, 144 megs, you know, somewhere around there. So, yes, with Wi-Fi 6 and 5 gigahertz band being used, you can get more bandwidth out on those outer edges. However, it still is not that full quality experience that a lot of people, you know, desire that they want. So most time repeaters and extenders are generally not a good idea. And also the other side of that, too, is they sometimes broadcast a different wireless name and maybe sometimes a different password than what your original router is. So you’ve got to keep up with multiple names and multiple passwords throughout your house. Lots of people did not like that, so that’s where the mesh technology came into play. So it does a couple of different things. One, it integrates with your main router using the same wireless name, same password. That way you can walk from one end of your house to the other and never lose connection. The other side of this is the meshing part of it where every mesh extender that you have and every wireless router that you have, they all communicate together to get you back to where you need to go to, which obviously would be the Internet. And it all works together depending upon where you are in the house. So it all integrates together and gives you that best experience possible.
Karen Wilson: Okay, so Bryan, tell us, I guess about the affordability of this system versus buying your own mesh system for your home.
Bryan Kell: I’ll be honest with you, I was very shocked when accounting, Jared Sain, give him a plug too, when they came back with this and they said, “Tell you what. We’re going to go with $3 a month for this GigaMesh extender.” That was – this is like Micah said – this is a nice piece of equipment to help push signal throughout your home or even trying to push it outside of your home. And so, yeah, less than $0.10 a day. I mean, that’s the very easy to remember on all these things that we seem to talk about, whether it’s ProtectIQ, Experience IQ, and now also with the GigaMesh unit is the fact that you can have one of these in your home for less than less than $0.10 a day.
Karen Wilson: Yeah. So you’ve got the GigaSpire router, that’s what, $3 a day or $3 a month, sorry $3.00 a month. Then if you need an extender, this GigaMesh extender, then that’s maybe $6.00 versus going and spending a lot on your router at this big box store, plus multiple extenders. So it kind of, I mean, that’s amazing. $6 a month if you need both.
Bryan Kell: Yeah, absolutely. It’s one of those things I mean, Micah has built in routers from, and you can spend a lot of money on those, up front money.
Micah Lawrence: Yeah. And if you look today if you just go and search Google of what that would cost a Wi-Fi 6 router that has two mesh units that go along with it, it’s closer probably to say $600 or $700 just to have that throughout your home. Great thing about the GigaSpire is we can add as many extenders as you need. Obviously, there is kind of a limit there that you don’t want to do that. But the other big portion about our extenders that makes things great is when you mesh units together, you kind of lose an experience there anyways with still tapping off that main router that you’re coming from. But what’s great about our extenders is we can also wire them as well. And I’ll tell any company, any residential person, that if you can wire anything, you want to do that. That’s the preferred way of doing that. So if you want to have it on the other side of the house, but you want to wire to it, it makes it for a whole lot better experience because you’re getting the full potential of, you know, what you’re paying for.
Karen Wilson: So just to clarify that, you won’t lose your Wi-Fi. You have to wire to get the best wireless.
Micah Lawrence: That’s right. So, you know, you’ll still have a great experience with the mesh. But if. And more what I’m talking about is people who are like gamers. You know, normally gaming, you don’t really want to necessarily go wireless anyways. But sometimes I know there’s not an option. Or some kids that have Xboxes and PlayStations, you know, they can’t exactly get a cable to where their rooms are. So having this together, it can make things so much better for their experience. But wired is always better than wireless.
Karen Wilson: So apart from price, which that’s awesome. But let’s go into some of the other benefits as far as getting this from Ben Lomand versus going out and trying to make it work yourself.
Micah Lawrence: Sure. So when you go out and you buy these these routers and mesh systems on your own, these manufacturers have tried their best to make it really easy and real simple for you to set up. But the problem with it is, is they’re not taking into account security. They’re not taking into account. Well, the person that’s setting it up doesn’t understand the full networking potential of what you need. So you’re just, you’re setting it up right out of the box and that’s what you get. But you don’t realize, hey, I’ve got a gig at my house. You know, you guys were talking earlier about Gina that most people don’t know or have. You don’t know that they can even get a gig. So having, you know, the equipment set up to support such speeds is not always default with these devices right out of the box. So with getting it through Ben Lomand, you’re getting something we know we’ve tested. We’ve configured it properly. And then it also you have all these features that we’ve talked about in previous podcasts of the ProtectIQ, the ExperienceIQ. You’ve got the ability to set up your own wireless names, your own wireless passwords, and it’s just, you know, it’s a few settings on your phone as opposed to having to download their software and not really sure what the terminology is and how to set it. So with Ben Lomand, we’ve got full support capability through that.
Bryan Kell: You’re saying we can kind of do the thinking for you.
Micah Lawrence: Yeah.
Bryan Kell: And be there for you 24/7 like you’ve said before too.
Karen Wilson: I like that. I like that. So great information. We’re always, I guess, looking for solutions. It’s a complicated world that we live in now, and everyone wants to stay connected. So Ben Lomand, it’s been great to work for a company that is always providing solutions on how to keep us connected. So thank you both.
Bryan Kell: Yeah, and real quick, if you want to find out more information on this, please go to our website and just type in the search engine at the very top. Ben Lomand Home, click on the page, and it’s all there for you. A couple of videos as well.
Karen Wilson: Yes. And plenty of live bodies here, as Gena said, to answer any in-depth questions that you might have.
Micah Lawrence: So now we’re back with Connect with BLC. Karen, we know a lot of people watch Channel Six. We know there’s a lot of content out there. What’s some of our staple shows that a lot of people are tuning into to today?
Karen Wilson: Well, you know, with summer and the end, thank goodness, of lockdown, I will say that things are kicking back up with events. So in “Table Talk,” we talk about a lot of events coming up and just pertinent things. Of course, “Soul of Warren County” has always been great. Love working with Mickey Gwyn on that show. And then who doesn’t love a movie? We’ve had Dave and Susie on for years doing “Reels to Rentals,” talking to us about all the different movies that are available to rent these days. So lots of great content on Channel Six.
Bryan Kell: And I think that with “Soul of Warren County” and “Table Talk,” they can find archived episodes as well. Tell them about that.
Karen Wilson: Yeah, we have started putting those on YouTube. So if you want to go back and watch last year’s fair pageants or older episodes of things, especially Mickey’s show with the Soul, they are all loaded on the Ben Lomand Connect YouTube page. If you’ll just do a search, it should come up, and you can go to the playlist, and they’ll all be there for you.
Micah Lawrence: Great. Karen So we also know that the Wi-Fi van is moving about throughout the summertime. Where can we expect it here soon?
Karen Wilson: Well, the big place coming up is the Monteagle Mountain Market. That’s a fun thing that I believe it’s its second year having that and just a great big craft fair. And Monteagle is a beautiful place to go visit. Lots of neat stores and things. And then, of course, they’re going to bring in all these vendors. It’ll be a great place to spend the weekend, and you’ll get free Wi-Fi there with the van.
Micah Lawrence: That sounds awesome. Bryan, what kind of events can we see around our service area in July?
Bryan Kell: Okay. Well, by the time this airs, there will already have been a couple of events that have taken place in which Ben Lomand played a part when it comes down to being connected. Relay for Life just wrapped up another event in Warren County downtown. And also probably by the time this airs, it’ll be right close to it, 4th of July in downtown McMinnville. In all those cases, any time you’re in downtown McMinnville, take a trip on the free Wi-Fi there provided by the city of McMinnville, and I think we’ve said before generated by Ben Lomand Connect. So that is always there for folks around the clock there in downtown McMinnville. However, something else that is also a very big deal, and that is Main Street Live, also in McMinnville. Not only because they have averaged, I think before COVID around 1,500 folks that show up for that with highs in attendance of 3,000 folks at times that have shown up for that, lots of folks. But something, Micah, you were involved with is free Wi-Fi at those concerts that take place throughout the month of June and throughout the month of July. Last year, we did it for the first time, and you and your bunch were a part of getting that set up. And it was a good thing.
Micah Lawrence: Yeah, absolutely. We got it to where we can flood the whole kind of grassy area with Wi-Fi, and also kind of where some vendors set up. So that way, if you want to take a picture or two and put it up on your Facebook or Snapchat or any of those social medias, you can do that with ease.
Bryan Kell: In the month of July. They’ve got, I think, Motown going on. 80s something me and Karen definitely lived, and just all kinds of different types, I think Beatles, Abbey Road, I think is there. I think that’s what they, and they’re doing Beatles stuff. So lots of different concerts of different varieties. To get the complete list go to MainstreamMcMinnville.org.
Karen Wilson: I know, and we love it when those vendors have that slide capability of that that card versus having to take cash to the event. So the Wi-Fi is awesome for the vendors, too.
Micah Lawrence: Great. I think I’ve got you guys stumped this time.
Bryan Kell: It’s Micah’s bag of trivia.
Micah Lawrence: Yeah. Yeah. All right, so here we go. You ready?
Bryan Kell: Yeah.
Micah Lawrence: What is a “pleb?”
Karen Wilson: A pleb.
Bryan Kell: That sounds scientific.
Karen Wilson: It does. I’m thinking like a, something like on a blob on a spaceship that’s going to, like, infect the entire spaceship. I go deep Bryan.
Bryan Kell: You did go really deep (laughs). A pleb. A pleb is a parasite. I don’t know.
Micah Lawrence: No (laughs).
Bryan Kell: Neither one of us.
Micah Lawrence: Okay, so what’s interesting about this is short for plebeian. I don’t think our youth actually use it as such. But what’s interesting is it’s actually an older word. It was used to describe ancient Rome’s lowest class. In other words, excluding slaves, but it was meant to kind of say that there of a…
Karen Wilson: Plebeians, I remember studying that. I should have known that.
Micah Lawrence: The way they use it today is of someone of lower mental capacity, as in like a moron. So I’ve heard that word being used two or three times, but I thought that was interesting to see the history of that word.
Karen Wilson: It is. Some professors sitting out there listening to our voices thinking, how could you not know what a pleb is? I mean, good grief.
Micah Lawrence: Yeah.
Bryan Kell: So that’s what people have been calling me, and I’ve just not known it. I thought it was a term of endearment, but clearly.
Micah Lawrence: Well, I thought you would pick up on that, Bryan. Sorry.
Bryan Kell: That’s kind of rude.
Karen Wilson: Yeah. Bryan’s a real pleb.
Bryan Kell: Yeah. You got another one?
Micah Lawrence: I do. I do have another one. It is “cap.”
Karen Wilson: Gosh, we use that.
Micah Lawrence: You got to use it in some kind of… I mean, cause we know what a cap is.
Micah Lawrence: Okay, I’ll give an example. It says, “Stop capping, bro. For real, ask her out.” (all laughs)
Bryan Kell: Wait, just say that again.
Micah Lawrence: No.
Bryan Kell: No, come on. Do it again. Do it again.
Micah Lawrence: Stop capping bro.
Bryan Kell: Capping.
Karen Wilson: So stop like maxing yourself out. You could do big things. You got this.
Bryan Kell: Stop, stop. Stop shouting at me. Like quit, quit like firing stuff off at me. Stop capping.
Karen Wilson: Like, capital letters. Like you scream at somebody. Okay, that’s a good thought.
Micah Lawrence: Nope.
Bryan Kell: Not even close on any of it.
Micah Lawrence: So basically another word for lying. It can be used like “no cap.” Or you can say “stop capping.”
Karen Wilson: I am like… I’m just wondering how I’m going to keep up with the world these days. I can’t do this. My mind is just blown by all these new words.
Micah Lawrence: That’s because I’m giving you these words. So that way you’ll know when people are talking to you, you’ll be like, Hey, I don’t know what that means.
Karen Wilson: Stop capping bro.
Micah Lawrence: Stop capping bro.
Bryan Kell: I feel like a pleb. Thanks, Micah.
Micah Lawrence: All right. You’re welcome. Until next time.
Karen Wilson: Well, we can’t. We don’t have a good batting average this time, that’s for sure.
Bryan Kell: We’re going to take max bag of tricks and hide it or trivia. Bag of trivia. Thanks, Micah.
Micah Lawrence: Thanks.
Bryan Kell: Well, we have wrapped up another BLC Connection Podcast. And in case you are wondering, hey, what if we want to ask a question to Karen, Micah, and Bryan? Well, you can do that by reaching out to us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also message us through Instagram or through Facebook or through Twitter, any of our accounts that way, even LinkedIn. So there’s a couple, a few different ways that you can reach out to us on those platforms. And then if you’re just listening to this maybe on the website, because we provide the link to it when it comes out, and you’re not sure, maybe some of the other places that you can catch it at. If you can go to Spotify, then you can listen to it on Spotify. Apple Podcasts, also Google Podcasts, Amazon, Audible, iHeart Radio, and many others that are out there that people use to to get their podcast. Karen, the mini episodes are getting listened to. Lots of great guests. Give us a little tease. Who’s on the next mini episode of the BLC Connection Podcast?
Karen Wilson: We’re going to go inside the Tennessee Robotics Center with executive director Larry Flatt. They have a lot of interesting things that go on there. That’s a hot place to attend school now. So that’s my next one.
Bryan Kell: That’s a good one. And Micah, tell us about the next full episode of the BLC Connection Podcast. You’ve pulled in some folks.
Micah Lawrence: That’s right. I’ve twisted some arms to get a couple of guys from network operations. You know, it’s kind of a department that not a lot of customers hear about, but want to kind of dive into what these outside guys do for network operations. It’s going to be interesting.
Bryan Kell: And also maybe what they do not only during regular business hours, but after hours.
Micah Lawrence: That’s right. That’s right.
Bryan Kell: More to come on that in the next episode of the BLC Connection Podcast. Karen, thank you.
Karen Wilson: Thank you.
Bryan Kell: Micah, thank you.
Micah Lawrence: Thank you.
Bryan Kell: I also want to thank Gena Barry for coming on and being on the podcast with us. And thanks to you all out there that are listening to this and stay safe and most importantly, stay connected.