Chocolate will flow from a fondue fountain. Exotic cars will be parked at the entrance. Music will be provided by a hot Latin band, and people will jump for prizes in an air-filled bubble.

No, this is not a scene from a trendy club or a traveling casino. Rather it is a preview of the annual Princeton Regional Chamber/U.S. 1 Newspaper Trade Fair. The all-day event takes place this year on Thursday, September 15, at the Westin Hotel in Forrestal Village.

While the prize grab and chocolate fountain are getting all the buzz, the real news is the date. Traditionally the event has taken place just a few days before Labor Day. But, says chamber president Kristin Appelget, "over the years we have had requests for a date change. People do travel before Labor Day. So many people said ‘I want to be there, but can’t.’"

As for any hike in price the date change may have occasioned, Appelget will only say that "the Westin is an excellent partner. They were able to accommodate us."

While there is no way to gauge attendance two weeks out, Appelget says that the date – in the thick of the back-to-work season – appears to be a good choice. "We have more exhibitors than ever before," she says. "Close to 150." Of those exhibitors, a full 70 percent are at the trade fair for the first time.

There will not be workshops, because, says Appelget, they have not worked in the past. The trade fair is, at heart, a networking event. People want to be out on the floor, looking at exhibits and meeting people, she has found. All of this shmoozing is free. The only cost of admission is a business card. Be warned, however, that the chamber president is very serious about insisting on this credential. Asked if anyone arriving sans card would be ejected, she says that the cards are more than proof of a legitimate business interest. "How can you network without business cards?" she asks.

The one event for which there is a charge is the luncheon, at $30 for members and $40 for all others. The speaker this year is Lynn Doyle, political director of cable network CN8, and host of "It’s Your Call with Lynn Doyle." She was chosen by Melissa Tenzer, owner of Lawrenceville staffing company CareersUSA, and chairman of the event. She met Doyle at a charity shindig. "She’s full of energy, and has interviewed so many people," Tenzer says of the television personality. "She’s a powerful businesswoman. I thought that she would really hit home with local business owners."

Before and after hearing Doyle speak, trade fair attendees can choose from a number of new activities while browsing exhibits. There will be a fashion show with models from Dandelion and Nick Hilton. Outside there will be a car show, another first for the trade fair. Dealers will set up alongside companies that rent exotic cars.

Fueling the event will be refreshments from Katmandu, provider of the chocolate fondue fountain, as well as mini panini and Reuben sandwiches; Dish Catering, which is bringing Dish Water, its new brand of bottled water; and Whole Foods, whose offerings include feta cookies.

As the day winds down, and as exhibitors begin to take apart their booths, U.S. 1 Newspaper is holding a "break-down party" featuring music by the Arturo Romay band, refreshments, and a cash bar. Like the earlier portions of the trade fair, the break-down party will be free, with plenty of networking opportunities available.

Princeton Chamber and U.S. 1 Newspaper, Westin, Forrestal Village, 609-924-1776. Trade fair, free with a business card. Thursday, September 15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Luncheon, Lynn Doyle, CN8 host of "It’s Your Call." $40. 11:30 a.m.

Following the trade fair, a breakdown party featuring the Latin sounds of Arturo Romay. Free, cash bar. 4 to 6 p.m.

Doyle: What Are You Doing?

Lynn Doyle’s relatives and neighbors had to keep on their toes. "When I was a little girl, I walked around with a pad and pencil," says the Comcast CN8 anchor and political director. "I would say ‘What are you doing?’ I asked 1,000 questions." She says that her parents knew she was destined to be a reporter.

They were right. She never doubted it, and she has never pursued another career, although she did replace her pad and pencil with a microphone early in her career, moving from reporting regional news to hosting current affairs shows on the brand new medium of cable television.

Strangely enough, this straight-line career path is strange for women who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, as Doyle did. The norm is more of a zigzag career path. Education is often interrupted. There are any number of throw-away jobs, some of which turn into careers. There are stints of higher education, and, quite often, a business start-up or two, possibly followed by a retirement job based on a favorite hobby.

But not for Doyle. Hooked on exploring why people do what they from a young age, she has never even considered another life. Neither has she packed up her notebook and jumped from employer to employer. After working as a reporter on a weekly newspaper near her native Baltimore, and as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun, Doyle took a job with a cable television company that was acquired by Comcast, and has been with the cable giant for some 23 years.

Doyle, host of "It’s Your Call with Lynn Doyle," is familiar to anyone who subscribes to Comcast, the largest cable television company in the country. That would be most of the residents of central New Jersey, but not Princeton Borough and Township (served by Patriot Media) or Hamilton (Cablevision).

Although relatively unknown in some parts of New Jersey, Doyle, who was just nominated for her fourth Mid-Atlantic Emmy in the talk show category, reaches 7.1 million people from Maine through Richmond, Virginia. Her 9 p.m. weeknight program looks at everything from drunk driving to governor’s races. The format includes guest appearances and phoned-in questions from viewers.

Doyle, svelte, blonde, and looking a good two decades younger than her birth certificate would seem to indicate, presides with a mix of animation and calm. Yes, she is extremely interested in the topic at hand, but, no, she is not going to allow anyone to jump on the furniture, as Tom Cruise has taken to doing on air, or to lunge at a dissenter, as does anyone passing the time with Jerry Springer.

People on her program do "get fired up," she says. But, she adds, "it’s dignified. There’s no name calling."

She and her staff of 10 comb newspapers and magazines in search of "hot" topics. They keep multiple televisions going in their offices, and they also listen to what people are saying in supermarket aisles, in coffee houses, and, yes, at the hair dresser’s. Each segment needs to focus on something in the news, but Doyle is aware that not every news story, "hot" or not, makes for a lively talk show. It’s not just news that she seeks for her segments, "it’s what others consider news," she says.

"There are two elements," she says. "It has to be news, and it has to be news that people have an interest in. The topic has to be big enough so that everybody has something invested." She gives the proposed ban on smoking in cars in New Jersey as an example. Yes, she admits, most of her viewers live outside of New Jersey, but this is a topic on which everyone – whether tending lobster traps in Maine or raising tobacco in Virginia – is apt to have not only an opinion, but a strong opinion. The type of opinion that could lead to a call to a television station.

There are questions of highway safety, Doyle points out, and questions of the right to privacy. There are issues of whether other activities should be banned – applying make-up while behind the wheel? reading the sports page while stopped at a red light? The possibilities are endless.

Doyle grew up in a home where news was fodder for dining room conversation, and in an era where big news stories came along with regularity. Her father, a plumber who owned his own business, died when she was very young. Her mother, a nurse and operating room supervisor, remarried, and she grew up with her stepfather, an attorney. As a very young child, Doyle gained career insight from her mother’s work.

"Early on I knew that I didn’t want to be a nurse," she says. "I hated blood, guts, and gore." But not totally. "I could handle covering it," says the reporter, "but not actually dealing with it."

Her father, who, along with many of his relatives, had moved north from West Virginia in search of work, had been politically active, and her stepfather held elective office. Their input on the importance of civic involvement was formative. "We were in the throes of the Vietnam war," she says. "We went through the riots in Baltimore in 1968. The city was burning around us." She was 12, and while she didn’t fully grasp the scope and implications of the riots, she says that she was keenly aware that the adults in her life were anxious.

She watched the moon walk with her family, and soon afterwards followed the events surrounding Richard Nixon’s resignation. "Woodward and Bernstein were my heroes," she says.

She emulated the investigative journalists by studying political science and mass communications at Towson State (Class of 1979). Then, while working for the Times Newspaper Group in suburban Baltimore, she covered a story involving a proposed development on that city’s waterfront. She says that the developer, Leonard Berger, was impressed by what he saw as her fair coverage, as opposed to the relentlessly negative stories by other reporters. He asked her to work for the cable company he was starting.

It was the early-1980s, and cable television was brand new. She became an on-air anchor, one of the very first in the medium. When the company was acquired by Comcast, she went along. Then, when CN8 was developed, some eight years later, she became its political consultant. In that role she does everything from anchor national political conventions to decide what events, political races, and issues the station will cover.

CN8, Comcast’s regional cable network, began in New Jersey in 1996, says Jon Gorchow, its vice president and general manager. Politics was a key part of the mix early on, and coverage of high school and college sports quickly followed. "We have 70 hours a week of original content," he says. "Politics is still important, but smaller."

When the model worked in New Jersey, where CN8 has its headquarters in Moorestown, Comcast moved into other markets. Now seen from Maine to Virginia, the network will expand further, says Gorchow.

In response to the geographical expansion, Doyle’s program is increasingly covering generic topics, although she is planning full coverage of the state’s gubernatorial race. This does not trouble Gorchow. "Lynn Doyle’s ratings continue to rise," he says. Her show typically garners a Nielsen rating of between .5 and 1.5., a very respectable rating for a regional cable television program. To put the numbers in perspective, recent cable ratings included the Eagles pre-season game against the Steelers on ESPN, which rated a 3.6, and Sponge Bob, at 2.8.

Doyle is married to Michael Doyle, Comcast Eastern Division president, and the founder of CN8. The couple met early on in their decades-long careers with Comcast. They live in Upper Makefield Township, Pennsylvania, and have two grown daughters. They recently built a home on Long Beach Island, and Doyle, smitten with life at the beach, is spending most of her time there.

Preparation for each segment is extensive, she says. Asked if there have been any on-air disasters, she says no. "Each guest is interviewed twice before appearing," she gives as the reason. This tends to weed out anyone likely to set the set on fire or to stare at the camera and go numb. Still, she admits, "I’ve had people who are duller than I would like."

The most difficult interviews, says Doyle, are those with the recently bereaved. She talks about a program on which a mother appeared to illustrate the horrors of drunk driving. The woman’s boyfriend had had too much to drink and asked for a ride home. She roused her 18-month old daughter from sleep and went to pick him up. On the ride home, they were struck by a car driven by a drunk driver, and her child was killed.

Interviews such as these, says Doyle, require patience. The pace needs

to be slower. The grieving guest needs to have time to collect herself. "If you’re calm, they’re calm," she finds. "If someone goes quiet, you give them a minute." Keeping eye contact also helps, particularly if the guest, suddenly thrust into the news, is not comfortable on a television set. "It can be overwhelming," says Doyle. She doesn’t worry when an expert is set to appear, but takes extra pains when the guest, grieving or not, is in front of a camera for the first time.

Doyle has practically grown up in front of a camera, and is well aware that the rules are far different for a woman than for a man.

"It’s very hard to be in the public eye," says Doyle. "It’s very hard to be a woman of more mature age on TV." She has to worry about her hair cut and color, her nails. "I exercise every day," she says. "People are looking at you. People look at you first, no matter what the issue."

Attention to image is not necessarily an unpleasant chore, though. "I like style," she says. "I have since I was a kid." She characterizes her style as "dignified, and professional, but not stuffy. I try to strike a balance." Typically dressed in tailored suits, often in vivid colors, she appears to succeed in this to a greater degree than her on-air hero, Katie Couric.

During the past year, Couric’s choice of short, short skirts and youthful tops has come under increasingly nasty media notice. Doyle, however, refuses to join the chorus. She points out how very difficult it is to be scrutinized day after day. "Everyone has an opinion about how I should wear my hair," she says. If Couric is going out on a limb a little with her style, cut her some slack, is Doyle’s take on a discussion of NBC’s star morning anchor.

While acutely aware that she cannot have a bad hair day, not ever, Doyle also insists that her program is not about her. "It’s called ‘It’s Your Call,’ not ‘Lynn Doyle’s Call,’" she says. "I come from a school of journalism where it’s not about us. What we’ve seen is a lot of shows where it’s all about the host. I don’t subscribe to that."

No longer quizzing aunts and cousins about their day-to-day activities, Doyle obviously enjoys drawing out celebrities and common folk caught up in news stories. She leans forward toward each guest, combining warmth with enthusiasm, and turning her elegant Penn’s Landing set into the true descendant of the Baltimore kitchens and backyards where she first honed her reporter’s skill.

Top Of PageU.S. 1 Exhibitors

Building and Interiors

Mrs. G’s, 2960 Brunswick Pike, Lawrenceville 08648. 609-882-1444; fax, 609-883-3063; home appliances, televisions. www.mrsgs.com

Resource Interiors LLC, 61 Mariner Drive, Sewell 08080. 856-589-8920; fax, 856-589-9207; full-service office interior firm specializing in office workstations — space planning, furniture installation and reconfiguration. www.resourceinteriors.com

Shared Offices

HQ Global Workplaces, 116 Village Boulevard, Princeton Forrestal Village, Suite 200, Princeton 08540. 609-520-2144; fax, 609-520-1702; full-service executive office space with telephone answering, receptionist, conference room space, furniture package, secretarial and videoconferencing services. www.hq.com

Office Support

Document Depot, 126 Stanhope Street, Princeton Forrestal Village, Princeton 08540. 609-520-0094; fax, 609-520-1294; b/w copies, color laser prints, full color posters, engineering prints, and graphic design. www.documentdepot.net

DX LLC, 121 Bertrand Drive, Princeton. 609-497-9115. High-touch customer contact and retention system.

Communications

Taylor Photo, 743 Alexander Road, University Park Plaza, Princeton 08543. 609-452-9444; fax, 609-452-9517; advertising/architectural photography, custom color and b/w printing & processing, digital imaging service bureau. www.taylorphoto.com

Computers

MediaSoft Solutions, 281 State Road 79, Morganville 07751. 888-339-4620.

Princeton Internet Group Inc. (PInG), 13 Roszel Road, Suite C-222, Princeton 08540. 609-452-1667; fax, 609-452-0063; full service interactive agency specializing in intranet, extranet, E-commerce, multimedia, and web solutions. www.PInGsite.com

Princeton Computer Support Inc., 3490 Route 1, Building 7-A, Princeton 08540. 609-520-0770; fax, 609-520-0774; computer network sales, installation service contracts, support plans, cabling services, VOIP telephony, multimedia, software, repairs. www.pcsi-usa.com

Source One Systems Solutions, 2 Carnegie Road, Lawrenceville 08648. 609-895-9700, extension 248. sales of computers and office equipment, Internet services, consulting and training. www.source1sys.com

Financial

FPC Financial LLC, 3490 Route 1 North, Building 15 A, Princeton. 609-720-0730. Capital funding.

Office Equipment

VoiceNEXT, 888-369-NeXT; fax, 732-907-1833; IP-Centrix systems.www.voicenext.net

Xerographic Document Solutions, Inc., 127 Route 206 South, Suite 16A, Hamilton 08610. 609-581-5577; fax, 609-581-7490. www.xdsinc.com

Personnel

Princeton Staffing Group, 116 Village Boulevard, Princeton Forrestal Village, Suite 200. 609-524-4024; fax, 609-524-4027; temporary and direct hire — accounting, finance, administrative, HR. www.princetonstaffinggroup.com

Health

NJ Family Dentist, 365 Clarksville Road, West Windsor 08550. 609-716-7600; fax, 609-799-6633; evening and Saturday appointments available, general and cosmetic dentistry, also at Princeton Meadows Office Center. www.NJFamilyDentist.com

For the Princeton Chamber exhibitors, see the print edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper.

www.princetonstaffinggroup.com

Health

NJ Family Dentist, 365 Clarksville Road, West Windsor 08550. 609-716-7600; fax, 609-799-6633; evening and Saturday appointments available, general and cosmetic dentistry, also at Princeton Meadows Office Center. www.NJFamilyDentist.com

For the Princeton Chamber exhibitors, see the print edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper.

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