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Guest Editorial: Despite Efforts to Tear Us Down, Ethanol is Still Standing Strong
by Bob Scott

In the early 1970s a young man graduated from the University of North Dakota and bought a struggling radio station in Grand Forks, a station that couldn’t make its payroll. I was fortunate enough to be asked to join the team of people who would turn that station around and eventually build a nice chain of stations. We were young, excited, passionate, and – if you will allow me – we were good. In little time we had the market turned upside down with a new sound and a new way of doing business.

Our competition told the market that we didn’t know what we were doing. They said our ideas wouldn’t work, advertisers wouldn’t get enough mileage out of the money they spent, nobody wanted what we had to offer, and that we would fail. In fact, they told these things to so many people that these competitors soon became one of our best sales forces. They actually thought that the consumers and the advertisers would believe anything they told them. What an insult. And the advertisers started saying that they needed to talk with us because we must be doing something right. Otherwise, why would our competition spend all their time talking about us?

Now we get to the end of 2008, and it’s been a year much like my first year in radio – and I’m thinking how interesting it is how history repeats itself. But there’s an advantage in that we get to learn from each repetition. There will just always be a certain number of people who have to tear everyone else’s deal down in order to build their own deal up. There will always be those who will go to all extremes to try to make others fail. There will always be those who think they are so powerful that they can actually make everyone else believe anything they say. What an insult, taking people for granted like that.

What made our radio group keep going and growing in spite of all that our opposition said? It’s simple, as most things really are. Our message had nothing to do with our opposition, or even our own success. It was really about what we could do to make the future better for our listeners and our advertisers, and we worked hard at that.

Even through a difficult 2008 our ethanol industry is still going and still growing in many ways. And our message is still the same – ethanol is good for Americans . It’s good for the air they breathe, good for their cars and trucks, good for rural America and the agriculture that is so important to all of us, and it reduces the amount of tax dollars that need to be spent on farm program payments. The list goes on and on, but let us remember, certainly America’s use of ethanol reduces our dependence on foreign countries who don’t like us. And that dollar amount is a staggering billions of dollars.

To our friends in the politics from State Legislatures to Congress – thanks for your support in 2008. I hope we made you proud. To those who haven’t yet been able to lend us your support, we just ask for a chance to talk about it and we’ll try hard to make you proud also. Thanks to all of you for your work.

Some of you I’ve known for a long time and you ask from time to time how my family is. I’m glad to say that my family is wonderful and healthy and I hope that yours is the same. It’s their America – let’s work together to make it stronger.

Special thanks goes to Brian, Ron, Kristin, Shannon, Lacey, and Chuck at the ACE office for their total dedication and hard work, and to the ACE board of directors for their commitment. Merry Christmas and happy new year to all.

 
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The American Coalition for Ethanol publishes Ethanol Today magazine each month to cover the biofuels industryís hot topics, including cellulosic ethanol, E85, corn ethanol, food versus fuel, ethanolís carbon footprint, E10, E15, and mid-range ethanol blends.
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