Editor’s note: Charlotte Beat is a regular feature on Wednesdays.Scott Place of Maverick Marketing in the Triangle looked downright shocked when we mentioned that a recent Associated Press article suggested recordable CDs and DVDs might not be as durable as once thought.

Relax, Scott. Ronan Ryan, marketing director of Verbatim, a Mitsubishi company headquartered in Charlotte, tells Local Tech Wire many of the reports have been exaggerated.

Verbatim makes a full spectrum of CD and DVD recordable media.

Ryan said that while human abuse can indeed shorten the life of CD or DVD discs, those made according to industry standards are likely to last decades or longer.

The AP article quoted Dan Koster, a web and graphics designer at Queen’s University, Charlotte, who discovered that some of his 2,000 music CDs had “a constellation of little points where the light was coming through the aluminum layer,” when he unpacked them recently.

That particular blight, called “CD rot,” is a problem that occurred “many years ago on CD-ROMs,” says Verbatim’s Ryan.

G. A. “Andy” Marken, president of Marken Communications, which handles Verbatim’s PR, wrote a white paper to address what is a periodic question from the media, called “Data Longevity on CD, DVD Media.”

In it, Marken notes, every so often “the press will ‘discover’ that the media is susceptible to CD or DVD rot that will eat your information, audio-video-or data…in as little as two years after it is written. Because CD and DVD media is used to archive nearly everything today, it does make you worry.”

Sure worried us, Andy.

We immediately searched through the 300 or so blues and jazz albums on CD, the dozen or so DVD films, and data discs as well, all bought since the mid-1990s. Nary a sign of disc rot of any sort. We couldn’t claim we always took the very best care of them, either, particularly the music discs, which sometimes get left in a hot car for a week or more. No pinpricks of light. The oldest discs played like new, not something we can say for our older vinyl records or tapes.

“CD rot is a phenomenon that occurred years ago,” says Ryan, “due to degradation of the aluminum layer, which doesn’t occur in recordable media, which doesn’t have one.”

In the case of DVDs, Ryan says, “The active layers are situated between polycarbon and are practically impossible to hurt.”

Basically, Ryan says, if you don’t abuse your data discs by writing on them with hard points or leave them sitting out on the desk or kick them around the room, they’ll probably live up to that many-decades of life expectancy promised.

Ryan pooh-poohed the idea that discs need to be stored vertically (rather than flat, as in those plastic tube containers some are sold in). He also said that room temperature storage, air conditioned or not, should be fine.

Archival storage tends to prevent damage because the discs are carefully handled and stored, avoiding that cause of most disc damage, human abuse.

Occasionally, Ryan and Marken both note, some manufacturers may have taken short cuts that comprise disc integrity, but most reputable makers guarantee their discs. Some general tips on care should be followed though, says Marken.

You shouldn’t bend a disc, even when taking it from its case. You should avoid large swings in temperature and humidity where discs are stored. They shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight. Write on them only with soft felt pens. Don’t scratch them…and remember that contrary to what many people think, the top is more vulnerable than the bottom.

“If you want to destroy a disc, scratch it,” says Ryan.

Biggest mistake?

The Business, Innovation and Growth Council’s next monthly meeting Tuesday, June 8 features a panel focused on entrepreneurial failures and how to avoid them.

Rich Campbell of Sockwell & Associates and Win Maddrey of Blue Nine Partners arranged the panel, which hasn’t been formally named yet.

“My biggest mistake, what we did right and what we did wrong is what we’re thinking about,” Campbell tells LTW.

John Magee, head of a business turnaround consulting firm, will moderate. Jay Kilkenny, of Executive Sounding Board Associates, Beth Monahan of Monahan & Associates, and Dale Tweedy, and entrepreneur who started System Five Technologies, are the panelists.

“Tweedy’s System five merged with Ballantine Consulting Group, which in turn sold to Pomeroy Consulting, where he worked for a while then left to start a real estate development company. He has all sorts of stories about what he did right and what he did wrong all along,” says Campbell.

BIG holds its monthly meetings at SouthEnd’s Bryon Hall 5:30 to 8:30. Free to members, $25 for guests. About 50 to 100 people generally attend.

BIG is also hosting an invitation only reception tonight (Wednesday, June 2) at the McColl Fine Art’s Gallery at SouthEnd at the corner of East and South Blvds.

Terry Thorson, president of BIG, tells LTW its part of the organization’s sponsorship drive and also serves to show off the Gallery’s wares. Thorson says she hopes Hugh McColl, former Bank of America Chairman and still a mover and shaker in Charlotte, will attend but says he’s made no commitment to being there.

Verbatim: www.verbatim.com

BIG: www.mec.org