I despise the months of April through July. Yes, I adamantly hate the “offseason.”
Full disclosure: As you probably know by now, I am passionate about covering Iowa State athletics and specifically, publishing this website. On off weekends, I check the site dozens of times a day. Blogging on Christmas Day is something I’ve been known to do in the past. I’m lucky to have a cool wife who understands and supports this but we all know that indeed, I need a life.
However in the offseason, I feel like all I do is plan. As Cyclone Fanatic’s publisher, a large part of my job is to always be looking ahead. At its core, my job is to make this site as valuable, informative and entertaining as possible for you, the Fanatic.
When Cyclone Fanatic’s current ownership group took over in the late-summer of 2009, the vision was for us to become the “one-stop shop” for all things Iowa State – at a cost of nothing to you, the reader.
Our forums have always been top-notch. Jeremy Lind’s hard work in the mid-2000’s is the reason for that. From a community standpoint, I’ve taken the, “Ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach.
My main goal upon taking this job was to turn Cyclone Fanatic into a content machine and eventually be the No. 1 source in the world for fans to learn about Iowa State athletics.
Our motto is simple: Content is king. We need to be innovative. We need to use multimedia to our advantage and at all times. We need to be fresh in how we do things and never, ever, will we take ourselves too seriously.
This is why bringing Rob Gray on board as senior writer to anchor our Iowa State football and men’s basketball was so critical.
As many of you have probably been able to tell over the years, I am far from your standard beat writer. I just don’t have it in my blood. I don’t possess those skills. At times, I feel incapable of keeping my opinion to myself. It is a major weakness of mine, which is why adding Rob, a veteran and well-respected journalist, to our staff was key. He brings credibility to this site that we have never had before.
This brings me to the Cyclone Fanatic Podcast.
When we pitch Cyclone Fanatic sponsorships to advertisers, I often touch on what I call the “al a-carte-ization of America." It is what makes iTunes so successful. Niche products are very appealing to media consumers these days. This is why when many sports fans want information and analysis on their favorite team, they don’t want to be saddled with extras that they simply don’t care about.
Some do, but most Iowa State fans couldn’t care less about Drake basketball, other than when the Bulldogs are playing the Cyclones.
Another example: I am a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan but a casual fan of the NFL in general. When I want Vikings news, I go to a Vikings-only website. I follow Vikings reporters on Twitter. The NFL guys have their place, as do other central Iowa media outlets like the Des Moines Register and the various television options that cover Iowa State. But being the type of fan that I am, Bon Jovi buying or not buying the Buffalo Bills is not something I care to waste my time learning about.
When our Cyclone Fanatic Podcast hit No. 1 on the iTunes college sports chart last spring, I knew two things at that time: 1) There was a large appetite for that type of content in this market. How a couple of hacks recording an Iowa State podcast in some guy’s home office in Bondurant, Iowa could climb that chart to No. 1 is beyond me. 2) Cyclone Fanatic HAD to be the outlet to bring that product to you.
This is why I am excited to announce that beginning in a few weeks, the Cyclone Fanatic Podcast is growing. In-season, expect 3-4 fresh podcasts per week and the quality of the product will be improved, too. Once we cross a few more technical hurdles, we want to add other goodies to the podcast like live streaming video, the ability for fans to call in, interviews with newsmakers and more.
During the football season, Tommy Birch from the Des Moines Register will join me on Tuesdays. Rob Gray will be my co-host on Wednesdays. Cyclone Fanatic columnist Brent Blum will continue to co-host the Cyclone Fanatic Radio Show (that will be presented by Nebraska Furniture Mart on 1460 KNXO Thursday night’s from 6-7). On Friday afternoons, former Iowa State wide receiver and my Cyclone Reaction (on the Cyclone Radio Network) co-host, Jack Whitver, will stop by to preview the upcoming college football weekend.
As a marketer, overexposure with anything that we do is always my greatest fear. Generally, the more you do of something, the less cool it becomes. That is why I plan on keeping these podcasts relatively short. We will never go for over an hour. Think of it as an almost-daily Iowa State/Big 12 radio show but it is on the Internet instead. There will be a way for you to listen live and of course, audio from the program will be posted on iTunes directly following the conclusion of the day’s podcast.
This is the plan and I hope that you all enjoy it.
And last but absolutely not least, please take a minute to look around our website and take note of our advertisers. I’m not kidding when I write that without their support, Cyclone Fanatic would not be free. More likely, Cyclone Fanatic would not exist.
Thank you for reading today and by all means, let’s get back to talking about Iowa State football.