We all know people with a deep passion for sports. They turn on a sports station first thing each morning. They can tell you the standings of the major league teams on nearly any day. They are always up to date on player trades, free agent signings and the upcoming draft.
Many of these folks long to be in sports media. They listen to sports talk radio and think: "I could do that job!" Maybe they call into shows to offer "their take." Some, in privacy, turn down their TVs and offer their own play-by-play coverage of the big games. They have a dream: to turn their passion into a profession.
But for most, it is just a dream. The field of sports media is really hard to enter. Unlike many careers, there is not a linear path to a good job. In fact, if you ask those who are successful: how did you get started? The answer from most reveals a very random pattern. There is no consistent road map.
For this reason, my vision is to create a top flight sports media training camp. I plan to bring together a blue-chip team of people and resources that will provide exceptional training. What follows from here is information about our resources/team, the training and how you can support us. We plan to build a program that does provide a road map. With your support, we can equip students to chase their dream.
We have pulled together an elite group. I have been in sports media for the past 7 years, running a company (Gow Media) that includes two sports stations in Houston, multiple sports websites, and syndicates sports radio shows across the country. In the midst of this work, I have gotten to know some exceptional people who share my vision to start a training camp. To name just a few, our group includes the following.
Sean Salisbury, a long-time national sports personality on TV and radio;
Bob Ryan, the highly-regarded columnist of the Boston Globe;
Clark Haptonstall, Chairman of the Sports Management Department at Rice University;
Steve Czaban, who hosts both local and national sports radio shows; and
Travis Rodgers, the former Executive Producer of the Jim Rome show and now a successful national show host in LA.
This group, combined with others, possesses the experiences, insights and backgrounds to create an industry-leading training program.
Our plan is to bring in 20 students at a time for a rigorous two-week boot camp. They will "drink from a fire hose." We will give them instruction on all forms of content -- video, audio and written word, and on how to connect with audiences across a variety of platforms -- TV, radio, websites, and new media such as twitter. The training will be "hands on," as students will sit behind a mic, record content, edit content and learn how to post or distribute their content online, over the air, etc. They will also learn about the business of sports media in a classroom setting. At the end of each day, they will be exhausted, educated and enriched.
Notably, we want to expose the work of our students to the public. In the second week, each day we will put their work on our training camp website, providing visibility and enabling a select group of judges to grade their performance. At the conclusion of the camp, we will offer the top student a job at a radio station in Houston, the #5 radio market in the country. All students will get help finding a job. A demo will be made of their work, posted online and sent out to our broad number of our relationships across the landscape of sports media.
The camp requires funding of $70,000. We will benefit somewhat from the use of studio space at Gow Media, but the availability there is limited and the site is not equipped to take on a full classroom of students at one time. The funds will be used to compensate the teachers, purchase new equipment and set up space for video work. Our aspirations are high. We want to create an exceptional program that will launch the careers of the next great broadcasters.
Our team is very grateful for your support, and has crafted a compelling set of awards for donors. On the list you will see a number of VIP opportunities, e.g., dinners, a ballgame or golf with members of our team. We also have some unique awards, such as the chance to co-host a radio show, or enjoy insights from a national sports personality at a remote hacienda in the middle of the Yucatan jungle (right down the road from beautiful Mayan pyramids)!
On behalf of our team, I thank you in advance for your support. The need is real, and we have the resources lined up to meet the need. Your support will enable students to pursue their dream.
Risks and challenges
Our plan is to close on the funding in March, and launch the camp in July. During this period of 3-4 months, the following risks exist.
1. Teacher Attrition. We have assembled a great team, but there is always a chance that 1-2 teachers will have to bow out by the time we launch the camp. However, if this should happen, with successful funding, we should be able to attract other teachers to step in.
2. Facilities/equipment. As mentioned above, once we secure funds, we will purchase new equipment -- e.g., video gear, lights, mics, etc. that will enable hands-on training. The work to equip the camp could take longer than planned. But we have identified the gear, know the suppliers, and normal delivery cycles provide plenty of cushion.
Be recognized as a donor on the Sports Media Training Camp website. Site will include videos of the students, grades for their performance, etc -- and your name as a "founding supporter" of the camp! Site to be launched in June 2014.
Picture of a radio show host, autographed with a custom greeting with your name (Pick your host: Steve Czaban, Anthony Pepe, Fred Faour, Sean Salisbury, Travis Rodgers, AJ Hoffman, David Tepper, Jerome Solomon or John Granato)
QB Training! Be one of seven students in a 3-hour session of QB instruction with former NFL QB Sean Salisbury in Houston. All ages welcome. (Travel not included, 7 students per session, we will do two sessions)
Dinner with Bob Ryan! Receive two seats at an exclusive dinner for 14 with Bob Ryan, Anthony Pepe, and David Gow at the Harvard Club in Boston. Roundtable discussion led by Bob Ryan on Boston sports teams. (Travel not included)
Dinner with Sean Salisbury! Receive two seats at an exclusive dinner of 14 persons with Sean Salisbury and David Gow at the Harvard Club in NYC. Salisbury to provide insights on upcoming football season (Travel not included).
Suite night at the Astros! A package for ten persons to enjoy an Astros game at Minute Maid park in an exclusive luxury suite -- all food and beverage provided! (Travel not included, dates to be mutual agreement).
Round of golf for two at the Houston Country Club with David Gow and one of the following show hosts of your choice:
John Granato, or
Sean Salisbury -- Your pick the host!
(Travel not included)
Get a "bank of ads" (10 ads) to be recorded by the top-ranked student at the camp, AND to be run/heard across the country on a nationally syndicated sports radio show. You can pick between Steve Czaban show or show featuring Sean Salisbury and John Granato. The bank of ads includes ten :30 spots to promote your cause or business (content of ads subject to approval).
Be a one of seven judges of the Sports Media Training Camp. Receive notoriety on site, providing daily grades for participant videos and vote for a winner at the end of the camp. Three positions awarded here, to join four judges from the teacher staff
Be a co-host on a nationally syndicated sports radio show! Join either Brian Benway or Elissa Walker Campbell (the "Big E") on their radios shows -- you pick! You will receive a recording of show as a keepsake. (Date to be mutually agreed upon; location flexible, as you can do the show by phone)
Host dinner for a package group of 12 people at David Gow's house in Houston with the entire lineup of Houston sports radio hosts from KFNC -- David Tepper, Jerome Solomon, Fred Faour and AJ Hoffman. The evening will include a live radio broadcast of The Blitz (Fred Faour and AJ Hoffman) at Gow's house, to be followed by gourmet meal!
Receive a four night stay for a group of eight at an exotic hacienda in the jungle of Yucatan, Mexico (picture on left). You will explore Mayan pyramids next door, and be hosted by/receive an overview of sports landscape from your choice of one of the following top sports personalities -- John Granato, Sean Salisbury, Fred Faour, David Tepper, Jerome Solomon, AJ Hoffman or Elissa Walker Campbell. All food and beverage provided, but air travel not included.