Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Why You Have To Podcast

Now, while the article that sparked this post was released on January 27, 2016 -- only days ago, I have news for the author of that piece:  I put my very first podcast online on a Wednesday night, October 31, 2007  In fact, "My Hockey Secrets" aired online once per week until I had to close my Whitman, MA studio to move south three years ago.  Even that chaotic move didn't stall my belief in podcasting, though, because I eventually began a Florida-based version dubbed "Dennis Chighisola's Hockey Secrets Podcast" on Sunday, November 23, 2014.

Okay, so suddenly -- in early 2016, an article appears in an online sports mag announcing:

:)  Better late than never?  No, not really.  I understand what the author was trying to say, because pro athletes aren't exactly Internet marketing gurus -- who have been podcasting for a lot longer than I, they're not business people (in the way we usually define business people), and they're not even advice-sharers (perhaps like this old hockey coach).

Getting closer to what was meant, that article began with, "While sites like Players’ Tribune and Uninterrupted look to create a player’s voice in the printed word or the visual, the spoken word in the form of podcast may be taking hold as well as a medium for regular expression, and even news."  And that piece went on to explain how "... L.A. Clippers veteran guard J.J. Redick would become the first NBA player (and only the second active pro athlete, joining A.J. Hawk) to take on a podcast during the regular season."

Except for following my boyhood favorites, the Boston Celtics (along with other Boston or New England-based sports teams), I'm not that much into b-ball.  None of us have to be, however, in order to get the gist of that article, in that podcasting can be super-helpful to anyone who wants to become better known or better understood by a broader audience.

A couple of interesting asides my readers might not have considered to date...
Ever awake on a Saturday or Sunday morning to your favorite radio station broadcasting shows featuring either a local lawyer, a local gardener, a local estate planner or a local auto repair shop?  I know those shows' hosts share a lot of valuable information with their listeners, but I'm also going to suggest that they border on being pure infomercials.  Trying to put a nicer spin on this, though, let's just say that they do share a lot of useful info, while at the same time hoping you'll have learned to like them, and hoping you might even call them the first time you have a related problem.

How about tuning in to your favorite radio or TV talk show, and hearing or seeing a favorite celebrity interviewed?  Actually, that's also a two-way street, in that the celebrities and hosts entertain us a ton as they interact, while the celebrity gets to hype his or her latest book, movie, CD or what have you.  (If you think about it, neither a radio or TV show could afford to pay for a famous actor to visit, for a pop idol to sing a song, or for a politician to make an appearance; but those types surely will go on a popular show -- for free, based on what's really at stake.) 
If you get my drift here, such shows -- be they on radio or television -- are aiming to suit a bunch of needs -- from their own to their advertisers' to their guests' to those of their listeners.

Now, tooting my own horn here for a few secs, new readers should know that I recently created the first ever online radio station that's basically all hockey talk.  I say "basically", because Hockey Talk Radio mixes in some awesome rock music during show breaks, and it also includes a number of instructional podcasts that aren't specifically about hockey -- like shows on diet or nutrition, exercise, mental training and more.

I tell you all this to also let you know that it hasn't been all that easy to fill 24-hours per day with quality shows.  Oh, I've managed, and I do have some awesome shows involved.  But what surprised me was how few people there are out there who are podcasting meaningful stuff.

For example, I thought it might be an unbelievable idea to have a hockey equipment specialist do something like a 15-minute segment per week -- on gear selection, on skate sharpening, and anything else the typical hockey family wrestles with on a regular basis.  And, although I belong to a Facebook group that includes hundreds of hockey pro shop specialists, I've yet to get one taker to run a podcast. 

You might think it would be easier for me to find guys or gals to share tips on hockey skills and coaching, but that hasn't been the case, either.  No, to date, only Jeremy Weiss and I do that (although I have been fortunate to feature a couple of great goalie coaches in Mike McCarthy, Justin Johnson and Chris Dyson.)

And, while I think we have one of the best motivators when it comes to physical training -- in one Gino Arcaro, I can't believe I haven't yet found someone to advise our listeners on specific exercises for hockey, training methods and such.
Smiling to myself a bit, I'm recalling about a decade ago, back in the Boston-area, when a local radio station dared switch to an all-sports-talk format.  They got bashed pretty good in the beginning, and the popular opinion was that such a format would never fly.  LOL!  Go through the AM radio listings today, however, and you'll find them all over the dial and all over North America.  My point -- and the point of that cited article, is that podcasts are here to stay.  And, let me add that, so is online radio.
Then, the article that got me going had something else I found interesting, and very much worthy of sharing.  For, "... podcasting as a medium is not new but it is certainly fast-growing across all genres. Podcasts like 'Serial' garner thousands of downloads and a cult following while Bill Simmons’ podcast quickly became a must-listen on any device for fans of sports and pop culture. With an audience now growing accustomed to listening as part of storytelling, it’s an easy one on commuting, walking, going to gym; audio is becoming big business."

Ya, "With an audience now growing accustomed to listening as part of storytelling, it’s an easy one on commuting, walking, going to gym; audio is becoming big business."  (I listen to Hockey Talk Radio on my laptop as I work, and then I use a free app to listen on my phone as I'm out and about.)  So, while I'll take the arrows in the back that come with being an innovator, I'm kind proud of the fact that I've created another first in an around-the-clock, all-hockey talk, online radio station.

Lastly, as most of the above suggests, there are still plenty of voids to be filled in a brand new field.  The online world is waiting for more knowledgeable people to share what they know, to stake claim to some notoriety, and to truly help advance their area of expertise.  And, if it has to do with hockey, I'll be here to help however I can.


PS:  I was actually lured to Florida to be the GM and head coach of a new Junior team in a newly proposed Junior league.  How that all fell apart is an entertaining story, to say the least.  Still, what I discovered from Day One on the job was that the biggest challenge to building such a program is in recruiting good players.  Of course, making sure your program or league is well known around the hockey world is a step in the right direction, which has organizations going to great lengths -- and great expense -- to accomplish just that.  So, you can imagine how I smiled when someone from one North American Junior league recently contacted me about maybe doing a weekly show highlighting their players and teams.  "Oh, man," I thought, "wouldn't I have loved to have put my planned team on the map with such ease!"      


Want to read the cited article?  Just click here:   "The Podcast Era For Athletes Has Started And J.J. Redick Is First To Create A Louder Voice"


Many friends have been asking lately about adding a Hockey Talk Radio player to their hockey blogs and sites, and I tell them it's easy and powerful.  I just provide the code, the player looks just like the following one, and anyone visiting the site can hear the station -- 24/7 -- just by clicking the arrow...