Vanderbilt University has adopted direct-to-cell-phone text messaging services from Dobie Media LLC, a Nashville firm founded by Bruce Dobie, the long-time Nashville Scene editor who stepped away from the alternative weekly nearly two years ago.
V.U. Vice Chancellor Mike Schoenfeld said in an Aug. 28 news release that Vanderbilt's adoption of private-labeled "MobileVU" from Dobie Media reflects growing reliance on text messaging for news and information among students, alumni, community groups and others the university wants to reach.
Dobie Media announced Aug. 9 that the U.S. Senate campaign of U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr. adopted the company's text-messaging services, offered under the Mobilelect.com brand. A menu of services on the Mobilelect.com site contains options for subscribing to "Jim Cooper," "Bill Fletcher" and "Tuke" -- apparent references to U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, political consultant Bill Fletcher, Tennessee Democratic Party head Bob Tuke, a Nashville attorney, and others.
Dobie also recently launched Evie.com (for "events information everywhere").
In the Dobie model, text-messaging customers use Dobie Media's relationships with cell-phone carriers for nationwide reach. Dobie Media says it offers to manage text-message databases, fields customer calls and monitors carrier billing. For political campaigns, Mobilelect charges sign-up fees and fees per message.
UPDATED 3:30 P.M. — In an interview with NashvillePost.com this afternoon, Dobie said his co-investor and Dobie Media chief financial officer is Ben Gray, formerly with Massey Burch Capital Corp.
Dobie also explained that Vanderbilt and the Ford Senate campaign are current Dobie Media customers, while others named on the Mobilelect.com site are prospective customers who have been granted access.