One thing I’ve always believed when it comes to taking on new projects is that you constantly want to be trying to take the next step forward. This is the same approach I have when it comes to this blog. And that mindset has led me to creating the Navy Sports Central podcast, which will be coming your way soon.
The Back Story
I started the Navy Sports Nation blog just over a year ago. The idea was to provide a more in depth look at the different Navy teams and their athletes. The pandemic really threw a monkey wrench into the works last year. But I managed to improvise one way or another in order to publish some good content.
While doing so, I found out some really interesting things along the way. First, the support that Navy fans have for their athletes is unmatched. And it goes beyond how they perform on the field.
Navy fans know that the athletes playing for team’s they follow will go onto make even bigger contributions when it comes to defending our country. It’s great to see the backing they get throughout the season, even when they hit a rough stretch of road.
Another thing I realized was how much I enjoyed researching sports I knew relatively little about. Take rowing for example. A year ago, you could fit what I knew about that sport in a thimble. And while I am certainly no expert now, it is without question the sport I’ve become most enthusiastic about since I started this blog.
Finally, I’ve been more than a little impressed at the large, loyal followings that teams like rowing, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and wrestling have. And that is what got me thinking about where I could take things next.
Increasing Both Reach & Engagement
Those are two terms we hear tossed around quite a bit when referring to internet content. Clearly, I enjoy writing about Navy Sports. Why else would I spend time putting together 1,800 to 3,000 words of material on a subject I think you all might find interesting every one to two weeks?
But not everyone can take that kind of time to read and absorb features that long. So it occurred to me that having another way of you getting the content might work out pretty well.
Coming Soon – The Navy Sports Central Podcast
I’ve worked on pulling this project together for the past three months. It won’t be the first podcast dedicated to Navy sports. There is a good one called “Sing Second Sports” that is a little over a year old. It’s co-hosted by John Schofield and Ward Carroll. John is a former PAO who spent some of his active duty time at the Academy. Ward is an ’82 grad and former naval aviator.
The podcast also features Bill Wagner from the Annapolis Capital Gazette. I’ve inlcuding links to Bill’s articles in the past. You will not find anyone more dialed into Navy Football than he is.
These guys all do a great job. And they’re pretty plugged into Navy Sports Information, so that really helps them with respect to lining up interviews.
The vision for Navy Sports Central is do something a little different. I definitely plan to do interviews. But I also have some ideas on how I can go in another direction. That’s what I want to get into next with respect to the format.
Audio Only vs. Video Podcasts
I gave this quite a bit of thought. Ultimately, I decided to go with an audio only format for this podcast. The main reason is because it’s easier to edit. Including video means having to deal with one more thing, which also means it’s just one more thing that can potentially go wrong.
Now when I interview guests, we will be able to see each other. I think the face to face interaction is important for the purposes of building a connection faster and reading body language. So I wanted to make sure the service I subscribed to had that capability. But I will not be using the video component in the podcast. I figure I have to see my face every day when I look in the mirror. The last thing I want to do is put it in front of a camera.
Single Host vs. Co-Hosts
One main difference between Sing Second Sports and Navy Sport Central is that I’ll be flying solo on this one. However, I am looking into how I can incorporate a guest host from time to time depending on the subject matter.
I’ll be completely transparent here and tell you that when it comes to my blog and this podcast, I am very, very particular about what goes into it. Besides, my schedule is pretty random these days. That would make it tough to coordinate with another schedule, whether that person is local or remote. So the decision for me to go with a solo format was a pretty easy one.
Interviews – Type & Frequency
I’ll admit that I’m not as connected with Navy Sports Information as the guys at Sing Second Sports. But, I am slowly building some relationships. Things might be slow getting some interviews lined up at first, but I’ve set a goal to do one at least every three or four episodes.
The next question that comes to mind is “Who are good interview candidates?” I have a couple coaches in mind already, But I’m just as interested in talking with some of the Mids also. That’s more of a wild card considering the demands on their time. It’s usually pretty limited.
When I interviewed Mike Zanti from the Navy Rifle team last fall, I only had about 10-15 minutes. I could have easily talked with him for an hour if he could have done it.
Besides that, I’m always looking for an angle. So anyone connected to Navy sports that presents me with an interesting story is a candidate. And they are out there. It’s just a matter of finding them and setting things up.
The way I see it, interviews represent just one potential way to engage with an audience. There are others, though. Here are a few things we are going to try.
If you’ve been in the Navy, you know what this term usually means. The Navy Sports Central definition is way different. Instead of being awake from 0000 to 0400, we’re going to pick an athlete from both a men’s and women’s team and follow their progress for the rest of the year.
This should actually work out okay. By the time we launch our podcast, there will a little over a month left in the spring sports season. So that should give me a pretty good sample size so I can figure out what tweaks to make with this segment going into the fall.
These can be pretty fun. Three of my early blog posts covered who I thought were the Top 5 Navy Quarterbacks of the Triple Option Era.
There’s no reason we can’t carry this theme over to some of the other sports. Even better, here is an opportunity for all of you to get engaged as an audience. Like I said, even though this is a recorded show, we can make that happen. Here’s how we do it.
During each episode, I will provide a phone number provided by Google Voice. Each podcast will include a segment where listeners can respond to a question of the day. It might be related to a countdown category or it can deal with an entirely different subject.
Either way you can leave a voicemail with your answer or take, and I will choose some for everyone to hear on the following episode. So get your radio voices ready. I am sure some of you possess one better than mine. Now, here are some other things that bear mentioning.
Launch Date & Episode Frequency
The Navy Sports Central launch is planned for Thursday, March 25th. There is a reason I picked that day. My Naval Academy classmates should be able to figure it out. For those of you reading this, you can reply in the comments section below if you did.
As far as frequency, I am going to plan on once a week. As I learn more about podcast work flow, I’m seeing that there are ways to streamline things. This is especially true when it comes to editing. So what seemed like a pretty labor intensive chore is looking like it’s becoming more manageable.
What About the Blog?
I can tell you that the Navy Sports Nation blog isn’t going away. The plan is to continue publishing content every 10 – 14 days. I really do enjoy writing the features. The audio format is really cool, but sometimes there is no substitute for the written word.
Besides, I think there are ways for the blog and the podcast to feed off each other. So I’ll definitely be looking to see how I can make that happen.
Some of you may be wondering why I didn’t name the podcast Navy Sports Nation also. It’s really pretty simple. I wanted the two to be linked, but I didn’t want the word “podcast” in the main title.
It also meant paying the same amount of money to create a modified logo as I would pay for a new one. So I just figured I would come up with a new name and new artwork. And as long as everyone could see the two were tied together, I’d be in good shape.
The podcast will live on a separate website. But the tagline reads “The Official Podcast of the Navy Sports Nation.” That establishes that the blog and the podcast are clearly linked.
What Happens Next?
Between now and the time the first episode drops on March 25th, I’ll be pretty busy. If everything goes according to plan, I will have recorded at least one interview (possibly two) that will be included somewhere in the first three episodes. But I do have contingencies if something goes sideways.
I also have a trailer coming out this week announcing the podcast launch. You can click here to check it out. It’s only about a minute long. The main purpose is to give everyone a heads up that it’s coming. I’ll have it listed on all the major directories like Apple Podcasts, Google, and Spotify. Episodes usually take anywhere from 5 -10 business days to appear in those directories. By subscribing, they will be sent to you automatically.
The timetable I mentioned means that there will still be a solid four or five weeks of sports left in the spring season. And don’t forget that there were some fall sports teams such as soccer and volleyball that pushed their seasons off until the spring also. So there is a lot going on in Annapolis right now sports wise. That should give us plenty of topics to discuss.
For those of you who read the Navy Sports Nation blog consistently and follow our group on Facebook, you know how big a fan I am. To me, creating the Navy Sports Central podcast is just the next logical step. I really enjoy writing about the athletes and coaches. Talking about them is even more fun.
We have plenty of opportunities to do that in the future, so please join me. The format I’ve decided to go with sets us up to do that really well. That was by design in order to make this a two way conversation as much as possible. I’m getting pretty fired up about this. I hope you are too.
Until next time . . .