Frank Rolfe on CBS This Morning


#1

Our very own Frank Rolfe on CBS.

While Frank is talking about the economics of the business, the shows pans his home detailing his luxury living.

Typical media hatchet job?

Mike


#2

@mhmike , thank you for sharing!

I am sorry to hear the ‘spin’ that the media put on Frank.

Providing ‘affordable housing’ is a great thing!

Unfortunately, the media has their own agenda.


#3

Just watched the episode. Partial hatch job.
Overall, a good job by Frank. Great job at explaining the business and humanizing park owners. Just showing up and going on camera was very important.

But a couple of notes from someone who’s been in the media business for more than 20 years:

  1. From the moment you are contacted and the reporter identifies himself or herself as a reporter, you are on the record. That includes being aware of the optics and how things will look. The meet and greet should have occurred in an office or at the park.
  2. Maybe this was said and was cut out in the final aired piece, but the key talking point is “we are the last resort to millions of people being homeless.” The former HUD secretary essentially made that point when he said that HUD’s subsidized housing program can only accommodate 3 out of 4 folks who apply. There is simply not enough SUPPLY. We can help fill the gap…we can keep that fourth person off the streets and with a roof over their head.

Final point: This is a process. I think we will see more and more focus by the media on our industry, and unfortunately i’m not convinced the industry trade groups are ready or willing or able to articulate the “we are the last resort to millions of people being homeless” talking point. We as owners need to fill this gap – by not running away every time a reporter or camera shows up, by not being combative when tough questions will invariably be asked and by being proactive in helping shape the story in terms of the optics. (Have the interview done at a nicely , manicured park instead of a stereotypical run down property with homes dating back to the 1970s. Help set up interviews with residents who like and can speak about what a great experience they’ve had in the park.)


#4

Those are all good points, and I attempted all of those. They required that the episode start at my house, as they said that National Geographic wants the “personal element”. Additionally, we own ten different properties in St. Louis, with nine of the ten luxury in appearance, but they only wanted to film at the property that dates to 1954. So, in many ways, the story was “spun” to meet the needs of the writers. However, I’m still glad I filmed with them for three days, because it totally changed their views for the better, They were thinking that all mobile home parks are like 8-Mile when they showed up, and left with a far greater knowledge and much less belief in the stereotype. One of the best segments would have been an interview with Justin Donald – who owns several great properties – but they cut that segment probably because he’s too classy and the property looked too nice.

I think they did a decent job with the material, and I was happy with the finished product. Certainly I would have preferred it to be a more upscale property that we own, but I understand that they have to deliver ratings and know their viewers and what they want to see. I can guarantee you that, had I not met with them, the story would have been extremely negative. It’s also important to note that the reason they called me was that MHI (our national lobby) would not talk to them. I have been an advocate – exactly as you suggested – that silence is not golden when it comes to elevating an industry that has a horrible stereotype and stigma. I think discussion of the affordable housing narrative is important to spur the government to take more action, and I was proud of the passage of the Section 8 Voucher program for mobile homes last year. I think people in government are starting to listen. We all just need to keep talking!


#5

Well done @frankrolfe!