Did you enjoy the NHL’s return to ESPN on Tuesday? I will admit that it was great to hear the music again and the presentation was pretty strong. Overall though, I got more enjoyment out of the goofy things the network did leading up to the start of the new season than the games themselves.
That is pretty understandable I think. I grew up in Mobile, AL where we had an ECHL team that moved after two seasons because they could not keep the ice on the rink frozen. Being a hockey fan was never really in the cards for me. On top of that, I am way more of a sports media fan than anything else anyway.
One thing that I have seen a lot in the lead-up to the new season is that the NHL and its two new TV partners are going to make an effort to grow the league’s popularity with the Latino audience. That means getting Americans of Latin descent to watch more hockey and getting games on in Mexico.
The NHL’s Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly spoke to ESPN’s Eric Gomez about this recently. He said that the league has its eyes on actually playing in Mexico. An expansion team in Mexico City is unlikely, but the league could build an international event game similar to its outdoor games started by the league and NBC.
“We had started hearing from our clubs that they’d love to play a game in Mexico,” said Daly. “The more we can appeal to more demographics, countries and culturally diverse areas, the better it is for us.”
I wondered how effective a move like this would actually be. Does a single game in Mexico each year raise the NHL’s profile in the Latin community in the United States? Does it even raise the profile of the NHL in Mexico more than one day, maybe one week at most, each year?
I turned to friends that have a history with hockey and are of Latin descent. They also both happen to work in the sports media. I thought they would have discerning eyes to and be able to offer perspective about what is going on here that a white dude from Alabama just wouldn’t have.
Mike Taylor’s show can be heard in afternoon drive on Ticket 760 in San Antonio and on AM 1300 The Zone in Austin. Prior to joining the San Antonio station, Taylor, who is of Mexican descent, hosted the postgame show for the Dallas Stars on WBAP in Dallas.
He gives the league credit and believes the effort to woo a Latino audience will be genuine. He has seen teams in both the NHL and AHL recognize the value of winning over those fans.
“It’s not lip service. Clubs in the South especially want to grow the game however they can,” he told me in an email. “The question is how? Dallas has done a pretty good job and before they left San Antonio, the Rampage tried to tap into the Mexican heritage of the city. And it worked. Many Latinos went to those games.”
Joe Ovies has been on the air in Raleigh, North Carolina for more than 20 years. He covered the Carolina Hurricanes’ 2006 Stanley Cup Championship for 850 The Buzz and now hosts The OG in afternoon drive on the team’s flagship station, 99.9 The Fan. In fact, Ovies and his partner, Joe Giglio, made headlines earlier this year for blasting the team after it signed Tony DeAngelo, saying it proved that ownership was out of touch with the market.
Ovies, whose parents are from Cuba, has questions about how the league, along with ESPN and TNT, plan to court “the Latino audience.” It’s not something that can be done successfully by employing a single strategy. He says he has seen ESPN make that mistake every time it tries to celebrate “Latino Culture”.
“For instance, they had a vignette on Tom Flores and his impact on Mexican NFL fans. It was incredibly well done, highlighting fans who viewed Flores as an inspiration and a rare representative of Mexican heritage in the NFL. However, as someone of Cuban descent, those cultural signifiers do not resonate with my upbringing in South Florida in any way, shape, or form.
“While I appreciate Mexican culture and go out of my way to point out its influence in this country, it can’t hit me the same way ESPN’s coverage of the MLB in Cuba did. And I would expect those fans of Mexican would have a vice versa understanding of it.”
Each of the United Sates’ “big four” sports leagues have left the country in the past. That doesn’t just mean games were played in Canada, where three of the four leagues have teams. The NFL has played games in England and Mexico. Major League Baseball has gone to Cuba, Japan, and England. The NBA has visited four foreign countries for regular season games and ten others during past preseasons.
The NHL itself is no stranger to travel. The league’s Global Series games began back in 1997, but since 2000, the events have been confined to European countries where there is already some kind of hockey culture. Going to Mexico and even wooing Hispanic American fans is a different challenge entirely.
ESPN, TNT and the NHL seem to understand that success will require some education. There is likely a significant portion of the audience that has the same relationship to hockey that most Americans do with hurling. We know it exists, we know it is a sport, and that is where our knowledge stops.
If that’s a hill the three entities have to climb, Mike Taylor is adamant that anyone with a financial stake in hockey’s success needs to understand that taking a game to Mexico won’t be good enough. In fact, while it may make an impact in Mexico, Taylor doesn’t think that it will mean much of anything to Mexican-Americans.
“Mexican-Americans are who the NHL needs to focus on. It may sound silly but these teams simply need to do more Mexican-type stuff. Serve authentic Mexican food and promote the hell out of it. Do what a bunch of minor leave baseball teams have done and create an alternate team name that’s Latino-centric. Hire Latin musical stars to play concerts. Get local soccer stars to come to games. Have a low rider show in the parking lot. Some of this may sound stereotypical but if you want Mexican kids to come out, you have to do Mexican things.”
When it comes to ESPN specifically, Ovies is a little more skeptical. He doesn’t see a network that wants to bring hockey to a new audience. He sees a business that needs to make its money back and win over the audience that is already there.
“ESPN paid a lot of money for the rights and investing in NHL coverage to earn back a level of trust with hockey fans who have held a grudge against the network’s lack of coverage for over a decade. When you pay that much money, you have to get your bang for the buck. So I think they went to their binder of ideas that have worked for other leagues, like the NFL, and said ‘hey let’s try this! It’ll look cool and there’s outreach!'”
Ovies’s exposure to hockey dates back to his childhood in South Florida when the Panthers first came to the NHL. His father was a big sports fan and wanted his sons to see big names like Wayne Gretzky play before it was too late. He admits that not enough Cuban dads thought that way. That is why the Panthers left Miami for the suburbs.
Still, he says there is a lesson in that for the NHL. The key to winning over Latinos, or any new audience really, isn’t creating spectacles. It is creating personal connections and memories.
Joe’s son, Jacob, is a huge Hurricanes fan and even participates in the team’s First Goal program. Joe told me that it was possible because of a learn-to-skate program subsidized by the team. The Canes made it easy for anyone who wanted to learn to play to be able to do so.
That hasn’t just created loyalty to the team from his son. Joe told me that it strengthened three generations of his family’s bond with hockey.
“Here you have a 10-year-old kid with a Cuban dad born in the states to Cuban immigrants going through a highly subsided NHL team learn-to-skate program. That leads to house league participation in the Triangle, where he’s playing games on the weekend.
“My dad goes to his first game and is all emotional about it. Essentially tells me ‘my dad was the soccer player, your mom’s dad was the baseball player…you were a good baseball player too…but Jacob is the first Ovies to play hockey…your grandfathers would love this.'”
Taking those learn-to-skate programs and roller hockey leagues to Latino communities in the United States would be exactly like Major League Baseball’s efforts to rebuild fandom for its sport in Black communities. Equipment in both of those sports can be expensive. That is why you get teams and current and former players involved to lower the barrier to entry.
Look, the NHL absolutely should be looking at how to attract these audiences it has ignored for so long. Auston Matthews, one of the league’s biggest stars, is a Mexican-American playing for one of the league’s Original Six franchises.
I can’t stand hockey fans that tell me I don’t like the sport because I haven’t given it a chance. I have. I think it is dumb. What I like about hockey is that my kids like hockey, so we go to games together.
There are plenty of people and communities that “haven’t given it a chance” though because the NHL never gave them a chance. If the league and its partners focus on how to introduce hockey to those communities and make meaningful connections with them, it would be making a smarter investment than creating a major event that pays lip service to that community for a few days every year, thinking that will make them so grateful to be acknowledged that they run out and buy hats and hoodies.
Jon Gruden Put On A Clinic In How Not To Apologize
“In one short paragraph, I counted a single mention of Smith, while Gruden referred to himself 13 times.”
It has been said that failure is the best teacher. I believe that not only can lessons be learned from our own failures, but the shortcomings of others can provide excellent examples of what not to do as well. Former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden has recently put on a clinic of what not to do.
Gruden described NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith by using racist language in a July 2011 email. According to the Wall Street Journal in a story that broke last Friday, Gruden wrote, “Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin (sic) tires.”
As disgraceful as that message was, it was just the tip of the iceberg. By Monday evening, Gruden had resigned as head coach of the Raiders. The turn of events followed a New York Times report that uncovered numerous emails from Gruden over a seven-year period that were racist, anti-gay and misogynistic in nature.
Well, as Ron Burgendy once said, that escalated quickly.
There was speculation last weekend that Gruden might be fined or possibly suspended for the email about Smith. After many more unacceptable messages were uncovered, Gruden is now unemployed altogether.
Gruden’s apology following the Raiders 20-9 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday was a red flag to me. See if you notice a pattern here:
“All I can say is that I’m not a racist. I can’t tell you how sick I am. I apologize to D. Smith, but I feel good about who I am and what I’ve done my entire life. I apologize for the insensitive remarks. I had no racial intentions with those remarks at all. I’m not like that at all. I apologize, but I don’t want to keep addressing it.”Jon Gruden
That apology had way more to do with Gruden than Smith. In one short paragraph, I counted a single mention of Smith, while Gruden referred to himself 13 times. “I’m not a racist.” “I feel good about who I am.” “I’m not like that at all.”
Me, me, me.
Anybody who is truly sorry about screwing up is more concerned about who they offended, not their own reputation. That wasn’t the case with Gruden. He was more focused on letting us know that he didn’t have a racist bone in his body. Supposedly.
How would you feel if a person that harmed you was focused on themselves? If a driver runs a red light and smashes into your car, it’s one thing for that person to say, “I’m so sorry. Are you okay?” It’s quite another for the driver to say, “Ya know, I don’t have a bad-driving bone in my body. I feel good about the driving I’ve done my entire life.”
I’d be looking at that person sideways while searching for loose debris to hurl at him.
This brings up an interesting question; do you accept an apology that isn’t sincere from a person who clearly doesn’t get it? Gruden said he isn’t a racist, but he might be up for an Oscar for playing the role of a racist convincingly well. Whether you accept the apology in a similar instance is a personal choice. You’d at the very least hope the person apologizing is truly sorry though.
Gruden provided us all with a blueprint on how not to behave; especially for people in the sports radio industry that are also public figures. Here are three main points:
First off, don’t be a rectum. That’s pretty simple. Uplift people instead of condemning them. Look, I understand you might not sound like Mother Teresa when involved in a minor Twitter scrum with a troll. But you can’t toss out insults that offend others who aren’t even involved in the conversation.
It’s a horrible idea to crack on a person’s race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. Gruden offended many more people than Smith while criticizing his lips, and many more people than former defensive lineman Michael Sam when he referred to gay football players as “queers.”
Next, if you do make a major mistake, own it. There are so many atrocious apologies in the sports world and beyond. “This isn’t a reflection of my behavior. This doesn’t show my true character.”
Yes, the hell it does. It also reveals a lack of character when you wrong someone else, yet still focus on yourself. It isn’t about you. It’s about who you disrespected. Just own the wrongdoing. “There’s no excuse for what I said/did. It was dead wrong. I’m so sorry.”
Lastly, behave as if you’re on the record. This one is easy to forget. Gruden clearly forgot that his email diatribes could be uncovered. Urban Meyer forgot that basically getting a lap dance in HIS Columbus bar could be filmed. Donald Sterling forgot that spewing racism on phone calls might be recorded. Truly being off the record rarely exists for public figures.
This isn’t to say poor Gruden, Meyer, and Sterling. I’m saying, hey bozos, don’t give them anything to uncover.
When I was doing a sports talk show in Portland, something strange happened to me at a station event. I was standing around minding my own business when a girl intentionally banged into me from behind while her brother filmed it. They were upset that I said the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles were overrated and wouldn’t make the playoffs. Yeah, seriously. They were trying to set me up.
If I would have said, “Watch where you’re going, you bleepity bleep bleep,” my employer might have watched the video and said, “You know what? Buh bye.”
There will always be people with cell phones looking to expose you and newspaper writers searching for juicy stories. Don’t give them what they want. If you simply behave, they have nothing to reveal.
Some people will say that Gruden should still be the Raiders head coach. They’ll argue that he was sending private emails, and the standards were different back then, and blah blah blah. You can live in the should-be world, or you can live in the real world. It’s your choice. In the real world, Gruden got exposed and is now unemployed. If you’d like to avoid the same outcome; be better than Gruden.
Are We On The Verge Of A Sports Radio Boom?
“The money won’t create new stations on its own. Savvy marketers and sellers will have to recognize opportunities and act.”
Tattoos are very much my midlife crisis. I had zero when I turned 39. By the time I turn 41, I will have at least 4. Currently, I am in the middle of getting a half-sleeve done on my right arm. It eventually will look like those old steamer trunks covered in stickers from the places my wife and I have traveled to. Since I can only handle the sensation of a tattoo for about two and a half hours before I have to tap out, we are doing one sticker design at a time. That means every couple of weeks, I sit down with my artist Neal and for two and a half hours we talk while he digs a needle into my skin.
Neal is awesome. He is a great talker and also great at getting a college football or Star Wars fact just wrong enough that I am compelled to correct him. This has to be on purpose because it occupies my mind and distracts me from the pain when he is working on areas where the skin is thinner and more sensitive.
This past Sunday, Neal told me that he had read my piece from last week about starting to bet on sports. Neal is also a big college football fan, but obviously not a media professional. He said that he had noticed more ads for sportsbooks during games, but it hadn’t dawned on him that it was a brand new revenue stream for radio stations and TV networks and that it was eye-opening to learn about just how much some of these companies are spending on advertising.
He asked me a really good question. Even if the books have all of the money in the world to spend as irresponsibly as they want, at some point, networks run out of commercial time to sell, right? So what happens then?
That is when it hit me. I cannot speak for TV, but on radio, we are absolutely going to see new sports stations springing up soon. Anywhere gambling is legal is a potential market for sports radio expansion. Markets like Indianapolis and Phoenix, in states where wagering is legal and there is only one dominant sports brand seem particularly ripe for format flips. The same was true in Detroit and then Beasley turned on The Roar. The day mobile wagering becomes legal in North Carolina or Florida, you can bet someone will be ready to do the same in Charlotte and Tampa.
Not only can gambling money lead to more stations, but it could also lead to a more reliable and accurate way of measuring success. If the money is there, does the number matter? If advertisers, be they sportsbooks or sports bars, see the value of your product, it doesn’t really matter how many people Nielsen says are listening. It matters that enough people are listening that clients see a payoff to their message being on your airwaves.
Dismiss this prediction if you want. I understand the reasons you might find it hard to believe. “If new stations were coming, don’t you think they’d be here by now?” “If new stations are coming to take advantage of gambling money, it won’t be traditional sports stations. It will be VSiN affiliates and small iHeart sticks branded “The Gambler” and small Audacy sticks carrying BetQL.”
Maybe all of that is true. What I can say is true for sure is that anywhere there is demand, someone will show up to create supply. Which supply is more valuable to online sportsbooks: people already gambling or an audience full of potential new customers and players?
The money won’t create new stations on its own. Savvy marketers and sellers will have to recognize opportunities and act. That will mean conversations with corporate leaders about the necessary investment to create quality local programming and why the payoff will be worth those costs.
Sports media has never been a hotter buy for advertisers. Sure, that is being led by one industry, but there is so much potential for piggybacking. I mentioned sports bars. Electronics would be another. Acknowledging reality, you have to admit that divorce attorneys likely would be in that group as well.
The environment for new sports stations to thrive doesn’t need groundwork laid. It already exists in most states. All a company has to do now is develop its game plan and execute it successfully.
Gambling is the conduit here, not the framework. Sportsbooks want to spend money to advertise their services. That does not mean gambling is the only thing these stations have to talk about in order to get that cash.
Covid and the spread of legalized sports gambling coincided at the right time. There is money out there and there are talented programmers, producers, and hosts looking for work. Someone is going to see that and take advantage.
4 Sports Radio Hosts Answer 5 Questions About Facebook
“A significant part of sports radio’s evolution involves broadcasting and disseminating its content to multiple platforms, one of which includes social media such as Facebook and Instagram.”
Over the last week, Facebook has been dominating news headlines — for all the wrong reasons. A whistleblower, revealed in a 60 Minutes interview to be Frances Haugen, said the company’s products “harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy.” One of the world’s most valuable companies with a market cap of nearly $1 trillion, Facebook is the world’s most heavily used social media platform, hosting 2.85 billion users who share photos, reconnect with old friends, shop for products and consume written and visual content. The company also owns Instagram, another popular social medium which has nearly 1.4 billion users of its own, and WhatsApp, the world’s most heavily used instant messaging service.
Haugen, a former company employee who resigned this past April, copied internal research documents and provided her insight to several media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, who published the information last week in a public impugnation of the ethical and moral standards of the company. As the former lead product manager in Facebook’s civic misinformation department, Haugen testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation about the company’s products that she considers to “deepen divides, destabilize democracies and make young girls and women feel bad about their bodies.” Haugen’s mission is to help reform social media, rendering them as net positives in mediated communication rather than allowing companies like Facebook to profit off of deception and dread.
A significant part of sports radio’s evolution involves broadcasting and disseminating its content to multiple platforms, one of which includes social media such as Facebook and Instagram. With the recent negative headlines disquieting users and amplifying the conversation as it pertains to the regulation of social media, our own Demetri Ravanos suggested last week that it was time for sports media to leave Facebook. I put that theory to the test, asking several hosts across sports media how they utilize these channels of communication in the 21st-century, and how they see them continuing to be implemented in radio.
How much access do you let listeners have to you on Facebook as opposed to other social media platforms?
Marc Hochman (Host, 560 WQAM/790 The Ticket Miami): “Zero. Facebook is reserved for friends and family. I have a queue of thousands of people over the last ten to fifteen years that have tried to be a Facebook friend. Twitter and Instagram are my two go-to platforms for my interaction with listeners. I try to be super active on both..”
Damon Amendolara (Host, CBS Sports Radio): “I certainly try to give them access in multiple ways. I do think there’s a limit to access; I won’t post everything that’s personal to me. There needs to be some line where public figures have private lives. I try to be accessible as much as possible on as many different platforms as [I can so] my listeners get to know me. Ten years ago, we did a lot [on] Facebook. We found that the interaction there hasn’t been what it once was. Twitter really took over as a go-to [platform,] and so did Instagram. We still use Facebook, but we use it less. Its usage has dropped [quite] precipitously over the last five years.”
Maggie Gray (Host, WFAN): “It’s really evolved for me. At the beginning, I was very closed off. When I first got hired at WFAN, the transition was so crazy, and I thought it would probably be best if I was not checking my mentions all the time. As I got more comfortable at WFAN, I started to ease it back a little bit, and started to really enjoy it. I’ve interacted with people a lot more.”
Christian Arcand (Host, 98.5 The Sports Hub): “I’m not really on Facebook anymore, but I have an open Twitter and Instagram account. I used to be a lot more open with things before I was on the air. I think a lot of people come across that as they move up in the business — [I] never felt [it] to the point where I felt I had to delete a bunch of tweets.”
In general, have hosts been helped or hurt more by having a social media presence?
Marc Hochman: “My personal experience is that it’s helped because you get a deeper view into who the host is and what he or she is like outside of the show. I’m very careful about it. It hurts some [hosts] because people are very apt to be wildly unfiltered on Twitter and sometimes will go for a joke or a hot take. Besides [it] beyond falling flat, [it] can impact someone’s career negatively if it’s written poorly or not thought out. For me, social media has been great, but I’m sure there’s a myriad of stories of social media even killing careers.”
Damon Amendolara: “I think it can always help more than it hurts. Obviously, you have to hesitate on engaging in mean-spirited conversation, or when someone just wants to fight and argue. You have to put out there what is smart to put out there. We have seen so many people get in trouble with other stuff. Think through what you’re saying and posting. You have to remember that your negative interactions are [usually] outweighed by positive or neutral ones, so I think, overall, giving listeners access, being able to publish your stuff and have more people consume it, and having people be able to see you in multiple lights is really important. I think a lot of people don’t even listen to the show who are fans of my content; there’s a percentage of my consumers that consume me only through social media.”
Maggie Gray: ““I think it really comes down to the individual host. For all the flaws that social media has, I can’t imagine doing this job without it, simply because it’s where news is breaking [and] where you are trying to find a new audience. On the flip side, you’re in a public space giving opinions, so with that you are naturally going to be drawing criticism just by virtue of what the job description is. It’s about making sure you are weeding out and not paying too much attention to people who are either trolling you or arguing for arguments’ sake.”
Christian Arcand: “I think in some cases hosts have built their entire careers on social media — younger ones certainly — and some guys my age or older have used it to niche their brand and boost their message or content. I think there’s also been some people who’ve had their careers ruined by it because I think we have all been in a bad mood one day and argued with people. You see that happen everyday on Twitter, and you hope that it’s not you doing it. I think it’s a double-edged sword in that way.”
How does social media play a role in talent evaluation? Namely, does what people say or like in the past have an impact on their candidacy in a job search?
Marc Hochman: “If I were still hiring for the radio station, I absolutely would use social media as an indicator — not the be-all end-all in the decision — as to who I’m dealing with. When you are listening to someone’s audition or reel, or having an interview with them, you’re getting a brief and polished glimpse at a person. Social media gives you a more full-depth view of a person’s proclivities and who a person is.”
Damon Amendolara: “I certainly think so. I’ve certainly seen people get hired for certain jobs based only on their social media presence — networks, television stations, radio stations, etc. have simply looked at how many followers a person has and [sought to] leverage that into eyeballs for them. I’m sure it depends on every given scenario, but that’s absolutely a factor in hires and some decision-making made across the industry. I don’t think you can resent it; you simply have to accept it as part of the industry right now. You either get on that train or move aside. If you don’t like that other people are benefiting [from] it, you have to be better [at it].”
Maggie Gray: “As someone who is in the public space and who is on social media a lot, I’m constantly thinking about it. I want to make sure that I’m coming across in a genuine, authentic way. I try to be as clear as I can, especially if I am tweeting jokes or trying to be funny. You have to make sure things are coming across in the way you mean it so it does not get misconstrued. As far as hiring practices, a program director or a manager would be better suited to answer that question. I noticed when I got hired at WFAN, people [online] had gone back through my social media and searched my entire feed. Nothing was bad or offensive — I would never do anything like that. The social media world went ahead and did the work to try to find something. I was surprised at first, but that’s to be expected.”
Christian Arcand: “I’m certainly nowhere near any hiring jobs right now, but I would imagine when someone’s looking to hire a personality, they look to see if they have a social media following. I don’t think anyone wants to hire anyone who puts stuff on social media that would embarrass them or the company. It’s so common these days with everybody on some platform or another — you wouldn’t be doing your job if you didn’t go back and check it out.”
How have the recent negative headlines about Facebook made you rethink your use of that platform and social media as a whole?
Marc Hochman: “I really use Facebook, again, just personally, and I use it for posting pictures of my family and, for me, it’s like a video scrapbook. You have to remind yourself that Twitter and Instagram are not representative of real-life human-to-human interactions. I don’t really give [either platform] too much credence because [they] become an echo-chamber, and oftentimes Twitter becomes mob mentality; very rarely does that kind of stuff rule in real life. I love it more for the interaction between listeners and hosts. The way that I use Twitter and Instagram is not just to promote the show on a daily basis; I use it to start conversations that are interesting to me. I like when conversations are heated about silly things. When social media isn’t fun, [I ask] ‘Why am I doing this?’”
Damon Amendolara: “For me, they’re all individual. I took a long and hard look at Instagram before I got on there. I cultivated what I thought was a game plan to approach it, and, of course, that evolved as I went on; you see what works and what doesn’t work. I did the same thing when I was originally on Snapchat; ultimately, I bailed on Snapchat because I did not think it was a benefit. Facebook, in 2006-2007, there’s a value there. In 2008-2009, you kind of had to be there. Now I don’t think you don’t need to be there anymore; that’s not where conversations are taking place. The headlines on Facebook did not change my view of it. You have to view and watch it on a regular basis. It’s a tool. If you feel it’s valuable, you use it. If you don’t feel it’s valuable, you don’t use it. I don’t think it should be some sort of grand change based on news. You should kind of be locked in on those realities every day you use these things.”
Maggie Gray: “I don’t do anything on Facebook. I have a personal Facebook, and I don’t really use that at all. I use Twitter, a little bit of Instagram, but [Facebook] hasn’t really played into [my] life.”
Christian Arcand: “It honestly has made me think about it a lot. I don’t really go on Facebook that much anymore because it’s not that interesting to me. I was in college when Facebook came out, and it was really great. You could reconnect with all your old friends; you just type in a name and you find somebody from your past. I’m so far removed from the novelty of it that I don’t really care — I could lose my Facebook tomorrow. Instagram I guess is an offshoot of Facebook, and The Wall Street Journal had that series about how it affects teens. I’m glad I didn’t have that as a teenager; I think it’s tough for kids today on social media. The people in charge of running these platforms are preying on them in many ways, and I think that’s really messed up. I use my Instagram to post pictures of my wedding stuff; I’m an old Instagram guy. I think, all and all, there should be some changes. I do think they ought to. It’s been tough on the younger generation, for sure.”
What do you see as the future of the implementation of social media into radio?
Marc Hochman: “It just brings you closer to the air personalities and the radio station. I don’t think there’s much more to evolve; I think people get side-tracked all the time. ‘I have to be more active on Twitter; I have to have a Twitch channel.’ All of this stuff, to me, takes people’s eyes off the prize, which is the radio show. I love to use it as a complimentary piece because I find it to be fun and a good way to grow the audience. If I was listening, things that are important for a radio show, I don’t think social media would crack the top five.”
Damon Amendolara: “Ultimately, sports media is communication. We are expressing ideas. We are communicating through a microphone — ideas, opinions, etc. Social media [are] simply that. These are modes of communication. It’s never going to go away. They are intertwined forever. Broadcasting and opinion-making is social media. I think that people will ultimately get more sophisticated and more savvy and more smart in how they use it. In some ways, it is a relatively new thing people are dealing with. We have a lot of people in our industry who are older than the general users of social media, so they don’t always know how to use it as well. In my estimation, you understand it, you learn about it, you utilize it and if you don’t, you get out of the way. It’s an extension of what we do in living — which is to express ideas on a platform.”
Maggie Gray: “I think that people are using social media to get their work out there and to have it shared. It is much different than when I was first getting out of college and into broadcasting and there were so few ways to get in front of people. Social media has totally obliterated that barrier. I think it’s excellent for finding new talent and new voices; the cliché about the democratization of information. I think it’s excellent for people to get their voices and opinions out there, and try to cultivate a following. I think that’s only going to increase as we get going. Maybe it shows that we need even [fewer] traditional mediums because you can get your stuff out through Twitter and Instagram, and amass a big following without going the traditional route in media.”
Christian Arcand: “I think at some point it’s going to be completely intertwined, and if we are talking [about] social media, that includes streaming platforms. There’s so much money on Twitch right now. I saw this ‘Dungeon and Dragons’ series made $9 million on Twitch; it’s unbelievable. Our show is broadcast on Twitch… [and] we share clips on social media all the time. Again, I haven’t checked The Sports Hub Facebook account because I’m not on Facebook much. It’s very intertwined and I don’t see that separating anytime soon. Radio is a platform, and you are always looking to add to it. Eventually, TV, radio and social media [are] all just going to be one big thing. I don’t know when it’s going to happen, but it will.”
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