Tag Archive | "Media"

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Here’s what your local “sports media personality” needs to know in 2012

Posted on 15 June 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

It was so much easier when I was growing up, this sports media thing. First, you learned how to write and then you went to some journalism or “communications” college or university, you did an internship and then sent resumes out and you got your dream job and lived happily ever after.

And maybe you got a gold watch if you hung around at the newspaper or TV station for 25 years or more?

Here at WNST.net this summer, we’re extending an open offer to any Baltimore sports fan who wants to be the next Baltimore Sports Media Superstar via our competition. All of the info is here…

The harsh reality of media and new media in 2012 is that it’s an all-encompassing commitment of time, experience and continuing education that makes a local personality or entity relevant as breaking news, information, analysis and the games themselves fly by in real time with your mobile device with you at all times.

And that’s just the content side.

Here’s a speech I gave to a Loyola Sports Marketing class in May 2012. This is Part 1 in a series about my current thoughts on the state of Baltimore sports media and the industry as a whole:

If you can’t sell your own personal brand – by bringing in audience, engaging them, adding value to their life experience and adding expertise or analysis that people care about – you will NOT be successful in the new media world.

If no cares to be your audience – or in this era that would be “opt in” or “follow” or “subscribe” — then no one will be available to stimulate the commerce necessary that ultimately will pay your salary via local sponsorship dollars..

In the old days it was easy – there were three TV channels, a few radio stations and a newspaper or two. Whoever the local program director or editor hired was all that the public got and all that you’d ever get from the “inside” of a sports team. The competition for those scarce jobs and the outstanding pay via expensive local television news ads fueled by automotive dealers and local advertisers was all coveted. And the public in Baltimore essentially had three choices for the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. news – WBAL, WMAR and WJZ. There were two newspapers – The Sun and The News American. And sports radio didn’t exist except for Charley Eckman screaming bloody murder about some local issue on the Johnny Walker show on WFBR.

That was the entire world of Baltimore sports media in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

And the only ones who really did it the “new world” way were Coach Eckman and Tom Davis, who bought and sold their own “in-show” advertising and made far more money than most radio “talking heads” did and certainly more than the folks at The Sun or The News American.

All of the TV and newspaper people were part of a larger ensemble and staff. The radio sports talk guys needed to fight for audience and those radio stations needed hosts who garnered real traffic and real new business for local sponsors and advertisers.

This is the world I lived in on local AM radio from 1992 until 2006, when tens of thousands of you crashed my webpage and my email with traffic from all over the world after the initial “Free The Birds” walkout and showed me a new world of WNST.net on the internet.

In the new media world, if you can’t sell your own brand as a sports media expert then how can a local sponsor or business owner trust that you can help them sell pizza or cars or beer?

The reality is that I’m in college every day at WNST.net. The college of life, emerging media and business in 2012 and how it relates to the changing ways of sports fans’ consumption of information via mobile devices in real time.

It’s taken two decades but I’ve finally figured out why I went to college back in the 1980’s. All of those beers at Jay’s off campus at the University of Baltimore and all of those evening classes about Marshall McLuhan — it’s all finally paid off. All those classes with Julie Simon and discovering the roots of communication and theory of how the “medium is the message” and emerging “global village” has changed the world in the last decade since the internet has extended our FCC towers at what was formerly a “little AM radio station” at WNST-AM 1570 and brought video and words and statistics and instant feedback into the realm of the palm of our hands via mobile via WNST.net.

I’ve finally figured out the value of my University of Baltimore education and Corporation Communications degree – it just took me 20 years!

While I’m not going to be donating to UB anytime soon – or anytime that the name of Peter G. Angelos

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Bisciotti talks about leadership of Goodell & predicts NFL future

Posted on 27 March 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

Steve Bisciotti was part of the NFL ownership that elected Roger Goodell the commissioner of the league back in 2006. After negotiating an unprecedented deal last summer and sparing the American sports public a nasty and protracted labor dispute, Bisciotti assesses Goodell’s tenure and talks about where the NFL is headed over the next 10 years.

Here’s part of my sitdown with The Boss today in Palm Beach:

 

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Where are you getting your Baltimore sports news & information? Sharing is caring…

Posted on 29 January 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

This blog was originally published two years ago. We’ll be revisiting this with a three-part series and updating these thoughts with a new 2012 WNST “State of Baltimore Sports Media” survey next week while we broadcast live from Indianapolis all week. This is Part 3 of 5: The State of Baltimore Sports Media (circa 2010).

The saddest day of 2009 for any Ravens fan was also the day that I saw the state of the world had changed for WNST.net via the instant power of our text service. On the 4th of July at 4:17 p.m. I was sitting at home watching midday holiday baseball when I got a tip from a friend that Steve McNair had been murdered.

After receiving that quick text, I jumped onto the computer and saw that every Tennessee TV station was reporting his murder within the previous five minutes. At 4:21 p.m. more than 3,900 people received a WNST Text reporting the only facts we knew: “Tennessee media is reporting that Steve McNair has been murdered. More to come…”

At 4:50 p.m., ESPN finally reported it. And at 5:37 p.m. – a full 76 minutes later, The Sun finally had it on their website.

While I was blogging feverishly, looking for any information I could get from Nashville in the first 30 minutes on a sweltering holiday summer day – monitoring all of their TV stations and newspapers and fielding a wide variety of emails, Tweets and texts – apparently the 3,900 people on our WNST Text Service had taken matters into their own hands in forwarding our message to tens of thousands of other people like a game of virtual phone booth. More than 23,000 people had visited my blog by 8 p.m. on a premier national holiday on a day when virtually no one was in front of a computer. They were all coming from the palms of theirs hands via their mobile devices.

THAT – in the previous 25 years of my media existence — would have been impossible in the old, dinosaur world of local news. And it certainly would’ve been exclusively the area of the three local TV stations and, probably, WBAL Radio. But in the new world, they were all coming to the local source of the breaking sports news: WNST.net.

But the one thing about our WNST Text Service that often goes without saying is this: when we report it, you KNOW it’s true. Through our own goodwill, hard work and credibility, we have established a reputation for never, ever being wrong on a news story. And there are now more than 5,200 of you on the WNST Text Service.

Join the WNST Text Service…

And it goes without say that “timeliness” and the element of surprise is, in fact, the essence of what makes it “news.” News is immediate. News is shareable. News is eternal.

And, clearly, not all news is good.

But the depth of our content was also apparent on that sad, summer day. Ironically, we had video of Steve McNair joining about 1,200 Ravens fans in Nashville to greet them from January of last year before the big playoff game in our You Tube video vault. It’s a really weird clip — especially given it was the last time he’d do anything with his Baltimore roots. We raised $5,000 that night last January for the Air McNair Foundation and the Baltimore Ronald McDonald House. I had given very little thought that night at Limelight in Nashville that I would never see Steve McNair alive again.

Like most breaking news stories – and all tragedies – it was completely unpredictable that Steve McNair could die

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Live from New York: Nestor examines future of sports media and technology

Posted on 09 November 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

I’ll be live blogging all day from the Sports Business Journal “Sports Media & Technology” Conference 2011 in New York.

This is my fourth year live covering this event, which shapes the way WNST.net moves to serve Baltimore sports fans in a better and more interactive way. I’m always learning about life and work and business and marketing and technology.

Today will be a fun day of discovery.

Follow along with me on Twitter as well @WNST.

*******

The first panel is about “TV Everywhere”…it’s about how we as sports fans can access our cable television and programming that we’re already paying for in our homes and get it delivered to our mobile devices.

I’m finding this more fascinating every day. We ALL pay Peter Angelos for MASN and Orioles games in the summer. We pay him a LOT of money for this “right” to have Major League Baseball in our living rooms, bedrooms, mancaves, etc.

So, next April, try to get that same game that you’re already paying for on your mobile device.

(Here’s a hint…you CAN’T)

Some people are starting to see the hypocrisy in this model across all cable television networks.

The topic here today is “When will you cut the cord” and move to a mobile or tablet (IPad) as a preference for consuming sports content and live programming.

Here’s question of the moment: Do you think we’ll ever abolish the monthly cable television bill and be able to buy our favorite websites/platform/content ala carte and have it delivered to whatever screen we’re watching — mobile, tablet, old-school television?

Also, what sets sports aside from all other kinds of television and content programming is that it’s almost instantly disposable, unlike sitcoms, movies, reality television that has an afterlife for reruns and re-distribution. Other than watching last Sunday’s Ravens win over the Steelers, most Ravens fans don’t go back and watch past games over and over again. Except for ESPN Classic and the rare NFL game you’d wanna watch again during the week, live sports programming is worthless after the game ends.

****

The topic now has moved to 3D television and how it will impact sports. I saw the first-ever 3D screenings of an NFL game and it was amazing but I don’t know anyone who has a 3D set and I’m not really sure what programming they’re actually watching and how often they’re putting on those funky glasses.

Have you ever seen an NFL or college football game in 3D?

It’s superbadass…but feels very inaccessible to me.

These executives here today are trying to figure out if there’s a demand for it in the future and how it would make money.

*********

The late morning panel is the one I’m most fascinated about today in New York — “Independent Digital Media Outlets — Leveraging Sports Content”

It’s a panel that includes the leaders of SB Nation, Bleacher Report, The PostGame, etc. Several of these people, I’ve known for a number of years and I respect the national platforms they’re building and trying to galvanize local bloggers to create content.

In my opinion, most of the “amateur” content is just that — amateur content.

I’ve always tried to make WNST.net content “expert” or “insider” content, not just someone in a basement writing about sports as a fan. Having done this for 27 years, I can tell you that there’s an ocean of differentiation between a real journalist and sports writer or broadcaster and someone who is a  fan writing without perspective, intelligence and experience that I as a self-considered expert care to read.

If your opinion has no sources, no background, no true expertise, I have no interest in reading it.

And I think it shows — the analysis of a truly seasoned sports expert who is working as a journalist.

What do you think of amateur content that is “packaged” as expert opinion on websites?

And do you find yourself returning to these kinds of sites often?

Bleacher Report?

SB Nation?

Yahoo Sports?

The PostGame?

Grantland?

Big Lead Sports?

Shannon Terry of 247Sports just said it all: “Can we hire the best sportswriters and talent in the industry and attract new readers, users to our website and platform?”

That’s what we’ve tried to do at WNST.net and that’s what the national players are doing…

Another great Terry quote: “The internet exposes you…are you aggressive, accurate, timely, relevant?” The internet and the users will tell you whether you are. Facebook and Twitter will give you an honest evaluation of your relevance.

*******

At least I know I’m thinking the right way at WNST.net.

Every panelist is talking mobile for sports media technology. Many platforms are getting 30% of their traffic from Iphone & Droids. They are debating the value of overinforming on Twitter or Facebook vs. getting direct traffic via their website. Using social media as a breadcrumb and then finding sponsors and advertisers to support the platform so they can afford to pay talent and content creators.

Very interesting day thus far…lots of food for thought.

I’m always trying to find better ways to bring instant Baltimore sports news and information to your on your phone. If you have any feedback for how you use WNST, please drop me a note: nasty@wnst.net.

 

MORE TO COME ALL DAY FROM NEW YORK…

 

 

 

 

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I hope Ripken isn’t next Orioles hero signing up to polish Angelos’ smelly turd?

Posted on 10 August 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

On Tuesday night, as Camden Yards sat mostly empty on another beautiful summer night, it happened again. No, not just another “tough-luck, one-run Orioles loss” en route to what could possibly be the worst season of this era replete with 100 losses, but instead the whining, moaning and embarrassingly homerish “media” scam pulled on a nightly basis in my living room by the likes of Jim Hunter, Mike Flanagan, Rick Dempsey and company at MASN.

Along with all of the apologists at The Baltimore Sun, WBAL, PressBox and WJZ (the entire CBS “family” is in bed with the Orioles and has spent 14 years making lame, transparent excuses while taking a paycheck) – it’s amazing these employees of Peter Angelos can put their heads on a pillow at night and believe they have any integrity left in their words this community.

The crazy part is that there are still hopeless fans in the orange Kool Aid bunch who refuse to even acknowledge that all of these former “heroes of Birdland” are employed by Peter Angelos and will lie to you every night like state run media in Egypt, Syria and Libya.

It’s been said many times in many ways but it’s absolutely true to any thinking person in America circa 2011 — false praise in the absence of legitimate criticism is hollow. Perhaps these are the same morons who watch Fox News and believe they’re getting “balanced” reporting.

The media in Baltimore are not really “media” at all. They’re paid employees of the Orioles. It’s the only way you’re allowed to “report” on the team. It’s a “no criticism” rule when you sign up for the credentials and access.

Jim Hunter is as much of a journalist as Vince McMahon was when he interviewed Ivan Putski and George “The Animal” Steele on Saturday afternoons on Channel 45. And Rick Dempsey – well, sorry pal, I loved you as a ballplayer but as someone who allegedly has “insights and observations” that I’m being told to respect you’ve become a sick, nightly joke on my couch.

This is the part where I’ll let Jim Palmer off the hook for being Jim Palmer. But at this point, I’m astonished he hasn’t been fired. I really am…and most nights he goes overboard in trying to be kind to another young pitcher who has surrendered six runs in three innings in another loss. And Gary Thorne, who makes no bones about being an outsider and hired gun, is just cashing a paycheck and trying to not laugh at the nightly ineptitude, almost playing a straight man in what would be a comedy if it weren’t destroying the city on summer nights.

They should all be ashamed of themselves and allowing this civic tragedy and disgrace to continue while taking a paycheck and lying to the very fans who made them heroes.

Trust and integrity are a funny thing. You only get one chance to lie to me and I’m gone forever. And after watching a 20-minute post-game show that grilled third base umpire Phil Cuzzi for “costing the team the game” on a blown call on Nick Markakis, it’s apparent that serving up the Kool Aid is the only way to keep your job with the Angelos clan if you’re name isn’t Palmer.

The Orioles are in the midst of their fifth straight last-place season. Of course, if you watch MASN, they’re not in “last” place – the co-workers of Andy MacPhail and Buck Showalter are only allowed to refer to it as “fifth place” or else they’ll be fired.

And either way, they’ll have to grovel for their jobs, careers and lives once again next February when Angelos goes through this his usual bullying tactics and stall techniques to gain leverage over these poor over-50 former ballplayers/heroes and tarnished “media” members as they try to earn a salary for another year in the MASN empire while serving up pretzel logic and lame baseball excuses for why the team hasn’t played a meaningful game since 1997. It’s the same methodology that Steve Bisciotti experienced in trying to “partner” with Angelos and MASN last July.

The Orioles PR and marketing staff – despite the awfulness of the team and the emptiness of the stands and the downtown area in general – still employ Gestapo tactics against my staff and anyone else who doesn’t praise the team’s .393 baseball this summer as “the road to improvement.”

Intimidation and threats are a daily way of life at The Warehouse. And, if anyone doubts whether Greg Bader and the Angelos family will take away your ability to feed your family, my picture is on the wall there as the “poster child for bad behavior” by the local media.

The truth: I’m in the only one in the local media who seems to care enough to be loud about their awfulness but that’s nothing new because the WNST staff are the only ones who aren’t on their payroll. We might also be the only media members who actually purchased season tickets (not my idea, by the way) this year via Drew Forrester’s “parent and child” program.

On Tuesday night in between the innings I managed to catch the entire episode of “The Band That Wouldn’t Die” on my DVR. To see the passion and energy of John Ziemann and his cohorts with the Colts Marching Band and their still open wounds from their undying love of the local team and the Irsay move is still inspiring and amazing. I can’t help but wonder if I’m going to live long enough to have a real baseball team with a community spirit in Baltimore or whether this will go on into perpetuity and Angelos will buy another 20 years of life from the devil and continue to torture my baseball soul while making $50 million per year in profit.

To think that ANYONE still cares about the Orioles enough to watch every night is amazing enough.

But to insult our intelligence again and again, night after night with this mindless banter? Really, the joke’s on me for giving my time and energy to these clowns.

At this point, it’s become a macabre comedic act in our house to watch the post-game just to see how many excuses Hunter and Dempsey can come up with after each nightly loss. It’s particularly entertaining when the Orioles lose 17-3 and these guys can come up with ways the “home team” got screwed or were a play away from being “right back in the game.”

The Orioles didn’t lose on Tuesday night because of one call – and, sure, it was an awful call. The Orioles lose because they don’t have enough good players. The Orioles lose because good players don’t want to play for Peter Angelos. We get crappy programming because real reporters with integrity don’t want to work for Peter Angelos.

But, sadly, for some legends, they don’t have the option of staying away like Cal Ripken.

Which brings us to the next rumor – the “Ripken to join the front office of the Orioles” phonebooth whispers have begun against in earnest as they seemingly do every summer.

If Ripken is smart, he’ll stay away.

But my gut tells me he won’t be able to help himself at some point. Eventually, if the old man lives long enough, Ripken will sign up for the party and become the butt of the jokes as well.

Cal Ripken’s involvement can’t fix the Orioles. It might create a few headlines and sell Angelos some more tickets but putting gold paint on a pig still doesn’t make it more than ham and bacon.

And that would be really, really hard to watch, Ripken falling into the Jim Hunter trap.

Lord knows, watching Dempsey and Flanagan is hard enough these days…

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Part 2: What does WNST stand for & what journalistic value do we have in Baltimore in 2011 and beyond?

Posted on 03 May 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s impossible to address anything that has happened at WNST in our 13 years of existence without talking about the deterioration of the Orioles, the orange fan base and the interest and passion surrounding baseball in our community. And conversely, what would we be – as a company or as a sports town – without the emergence and consistent excellence of the Baltimore Ravens?

We launched WNST-AM 1570 in the summer of 1998, when the Ravens were “the other team” in Baltimore. In our entire existence as an entity, the Orioles have yet to play a meaningful summer baseball game. Not one game!

To think that hasn’t done incredible damage to our community and my business would be to just not understand the premise of what we’ve always tried to do – create enthusiasm and support and interest and passion for Baltimore sports.

Our perceived “war” with the Orioles is legendary and we’re proud of everything we’ve ever said or done in regard to protesting 14 years of losing, insolence and lack of civic courtesy shown by Peter G. Angelos and his ownership group. And every time they continue to do stupid things as an organization – and they do them so shamelessly and publicly – we’re gonna call them out on it and give the Baltimore sports fans the truth. They have done nothing to warrant “patience” or “a hall pass” on anything they do given the sheer pettiness and mean-spiritedness they’ve invoked in so many ways in the community over the past decade and a half.

Just last week, they were welcoming Red Sox and Yankees fans into the Inner Harbor in a way that’s so obviously flawed that I can’t believe it can be cogently debated. Can you imagine the Ravens selling Roethlisberger and Ward jerseys in the Ravens gift shops? Can you imagine the Ravens giving Penguins playoff updates on the scoreboard during TV timeouts so the Steelers’ fans would feel at home?

The Orioles have been pandering to visiting fans for a full decade and now wonder why “real Orioles fans” wouldn’t rush back down there, pay a fortune to see the Red Sox and Yankees and “paint the Yard orange.”

But, again, to some homers and blind loyalists, we’re just “a little too hard on the Orioles.”

To be honest, the 14 years of losing and our insistence on telling the absolute truth about why they lose so much “has been a little hard on me.” But it beats the alternate in our minds, which our competitors are seemingly always happy to do: take a check from the team and look the other way.

It’s painful when any Baltimorean would think that I would ever want anything but prosperity for the Orioles, despite the damage this ownership has done to me and my family and my employees and partners with the consistent losing on the field and in the community with lost revenue for countless businesses around the metropolitan Baltimore area. There’s nothing that would make my life better than a truly competitive baseball team.

But, someone in this community has to be honest and hold local sports decision makers accountable in 2011 and if there’s anything I’ve really learned in 20 years of education in the local media and journalism is how incestuously corrupt it all is. The “partnerships” and money flowing back and forth and the same “media intimidation” President Obama spoke of on Saturday night at his annual press dinner in Washington, D.C. is enough to make me sick. And for the most part, it’s all controlled and profited from by mainly out-of-town conglomerates who have no more respect or stake in our community than that of their employees, who come to Baltimore from elsewhere and refer to our home as “your town.”

How much do I love the Orioles?

I’ve written a 19-chapter book about my love of baseball. Find anyone else in Baltimore who’s done that? Find anyone else in the media who has shed light on what’s happened here since 1997 and explained the tens of millions of dollars of civic damage the Orioles demise has cost the community – from beer to hotels, from restaurants at the Inner Harbor to the tax base lost when 3 million people per summer disappear from the downtown on summer nights?

And, honestly, if WNST is best known for defending the honor of Baltimore’s good name via sports and saying that 14 years of baseball awfulness

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Confessions of a lifetime of hatred for Pittsburgh from a real Baltimore sports fan

Posted on 12 January 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s a big, emotional week of football in Baltimore and the reason it’s so significant is because of our civic desire to have another purple parade at the Inner Harbor and the sheer nausea we all feel in the pits of our bellies about the fact that at 8 p.m. on Saturday night this could be the worse loss of our lives all over again.

Just like all of our January losses to the likes of Indianapolis and Pittsburgh and Cleveland and New York.

Or, it can potentially extinguish the 40 years of domination from the city of Pittsburgh, but specifically the Steelers and their arrogant, obnoxious fan base here in the region.

This is an epic throwdown between two cities that don’t like each other but a rivalry that is so embarrassingly lopsided that it makes the Roadrunner look like a winner.

I’m up to my eyeballs in rattlesnakes throwing parties, organizing bus trips and running WNST.net – 12 hours of radio, the daily newspaper, text service plus all of our social media endeavors on Facebook and Twitter that truly is Baltimore’s best and most comprehensive sports coverage in the world. And for those of you who know me, you know what a massive time commitment it is being a washed up sports talk show host and new media entrepreneur of the station that no one listens to but the website and social media that everyone in Baltimore seems to visit and read.

This whole “Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore” thing takes on such a personal, vitriolic part of my inner soul that it’s almost best that I not focus on it too much and keep my head down and wait for the game at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday to release that part of my energy.

But some jackasses from the “out of town media club” (which encompasses the greater part of the whole local scene outside of WNST.net) have written, said and defended their typically insensitive and uneducated remarks just to remind us how out of touch and clueless they really are about what this community is about and WHY the Ravens are important in the first place.

Nothing in the local sports community divides like Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh. The Colts thing, while far from dormant, is now a distant second place. And the “I Hate Washington Club” is shrinking because the Redskins and Nationals are weak and irrelevant and the Capitals are the fastest growing brand in Baltimore and I have statistics to prove it.

And the out-of-town media geniuses all talk about expertise, ethics and journalism while all taking a chunk of your Orioles/MASN money to hush up criticism of an oozing, open sports cancer in Baltimore while waving purple pompoms in January like they really care about the Ravens and like they invented Festivus.

To anyone with half a brain from Baltimore, it’s insulting.

I attended a Smart CEO event last Thursday night where I was summarily subjected to a pair of morning show faux sports imposters from Boston and New York standing in front of a room full of mostly Baltimore upper-crust businessmen and patronizing them

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State of Baltimore Sports Media Fall 2010 Update: WNST.net continues to grow beyond radio and into web dominance

Posted on 25 October 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

One of the few joyful benefits of being the “independent” voice in Baltimore sports is that we never have to kiss anyone’s derriere or ask for permission to speak the truth or make our point. We’re afforded the rarest commodity in American media today – “free speech” – and most days that ain’t even close to being free. And now that our newest product, “The WNST Morning Newspaper” powered by Blue Sky Factory and presented by Toyota, is reaching nearly 15,000 of you every morning I thought I’d take a little time during the bye week to update everyone who cares about us here at WNST.net with a “state of the local media” report.

With another successful Ravens season reaching the halfway point – and I stand on the side of the room that is delighted with 5-2 for Halloween — it’s always a good time to take stock in where we are as a company and where we’re heading in the future as Baltimore’s measurable sports media leader on the web and in mobile at WNST.net.

We’re not doing a lengthy survey this time around with a “State of Baltimore Sports Media” update, but I do want to thank all of you who participated in February. Of the 1,850 who took our poll, more than 91% of you essentially told me that you “wanted a new newspaper” in our survey.

Daily Newspaper question

And lo and behold in May we started in a beta form a daily e-newspaper that we send to your inbox free of charge every morning. It’s had its hiccups and bumps, like any new product, but we’re now getting it consistently out and the boom to our web traffic has been significant.

There can now be no logical dispute that WNST.net is the fastest growing new media site in Maryland. Google Analytics says our traffic is up more than 48% over the last year

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Ravens and MASN decide to part ways

Posted on 03 August 2010 by WNST Staff

The Baltimore Ravens and local TV cable sports entity MASN (Mid Atlantic Sports Network) have broken ties after a long negotiation and a three-year partnership. For local fans it means they’ll have to turn elsewhere to get this year’s preseason games and the five weekly shows that the Ravens produce in-house for fans, including the immediate postgame and locker room show.

WNST will be doing more investigative work and we’ll be reporting all of the background story on this later in the week when the dust settles because the political pressure and money is all at the root of this relationship between the Orioles and Ravens coming undone.

MASN is fully owned and operated by Peter Angelos and his family, who have had a long history of disdain for the Ravens, which has always made for a unique relationship in Baltimore. The TV network and its accompanying web products are all essentially baseball products with very little unique programming to support anything outside of the Orioles and Nationals.

The Ravens’ first pre-season game is Aug. 12 against the Carolina Panthers will air on ESPN nationally. All four preseason games will again be simulcast on WBAL TV (Ch. 11).

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Dear Peter Angelos: When will you fix this disgrace?

Posted on 18 June 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

At the risk of “piling on,” I’ve decided to throw my two cents into the blogosphere today to briefly (insert joke here) discuss the situation regarding the Orioles as they continue their West Coast horror tour where no doubt Adam Jones will be tweeting about how great it is to be in San Diego and how pretty the girls are.

Yeah, well I was almost in San Diego, too this week.

When I saw the schedule come out last year I looked to do a baseball trip to my favorite city in the U.S. and watch the Orioles play and needless to say I made a great decision avoiding the So Cal and the Bay Areas this June of 2010, especially considering the U2 show on Wednesday night in Oakland was cancelled. I also thought for a while I was headed to the World Cup in South Africa, but alas, duty calls here in Baltimore in the way of running WNST.net.

I’m much happier to be headed to Harford County for the day to support soccer and my country, than to be watching this dreadful 18-48 baseball team in sunny San Diego over 7 a.m. eggs and bacon.

I built WNST.net so I could write and talk about Orioles baseball on a daily basis but quite frankly – and for the first time in a long time – I’m almost speechless.

There’s a part of me that wants to say “I told you so” – and I DID tell you so and I HAVE been telling you so – but the sick part is how low the franchise has sunk in so many measurable ways.

The 13 years of ineptitude has now reached a low so profound, so sad, so utterly disgusting that even words we could use on the internet wouldn’t be profane enough to properly express our inner rage as Orioles fans, baseball fans and as a sports community.

Everything about the Peter Angelos ownership regime has been appalling. And year after year it’s gotten progressively worse amidst the lies, propaganda, steroids, banning and intimidation of the media and railroading of the fans and sponsors all while profiteering at record levels via a deal with other Major League Baseball owners that has rewarded this behavior with tons of cash for the Angelos family.

Sure, the team is likely lose its 50th game before it earns its 20th victory and there are STILL people in this city who will defend the indefensible, like a troop of Baghdad Bobs.

But let’s get back to the core issue: What the hell is going on here and who is going to be the one to fix it for the fans and the community?

Let’s start with MASN, which is printing money off of the nipple of the people here and now stands to profit even more with no outlay of cash on the biggest superstar in the sport. Think about it: Stephen Strasburg is a cash machine for Angelos via the television rights and he made ZERO investment in the big right-handed phenom.

The Orioles current product on the field is atrocious – on pace to be among the worst teams in the history of modern sport. You can pick on any variety of players or talk about injuries to Brian Roberts, etc. The truth: they’re all just excuses for why the team sucks.

The reason the team sucks is because the owner has made it suck and the deal he has rewards him financially even when the team wins forty-something games in a season.

I’m sick of excuses. I’m sick of the lying. I’m sick of the manipulation and the treatment of the community as a piñata with cheap tricks like “walk up” surcharges on sunny nights.

I’ve written tomes on Peter Angelos and this awfulness many times in the past. Just google it…

But the mere notion that Andy MacPhail is “in charge” is laughable to anyone who has ever stood in a room with Peter Angelos.

MacPhail came here for the money, which was a sure thing, but not the glory, which was always a long shot. Oh, sure, maybe he thought he could fix this rotten franchise from the top down and at least get the team into third place behind New York and Boston.

But, Andy – you’re a smart guy — you had to know you were not really the guy at the top, right?

Pity poor Andy who came here to get a step up into the Commissioner’s lukewarm seat at MLB soon enough and to profiteer off of the riches of the largest television gift/heist in the history of regional cable pirating.

Andy thought: “They’re loaded with money, the old man is looking for ANYONE to stand at the front door and protect him and I’ll cut the payroll, show him I can make him a fortune and tell the fans we’re going young…

“What’s the worst thing that can happen when the team is already awful? It’s gotta get better, right?”

Wrong.

Welcome to 18-48 and a chase at the worst record in the history of modern baseball Baltimore, Andy MacFail…

And when the boyish general manager isn’t making UStream videos in a somber, Barack-like posture from the oval office of The Warehouse in May, he’s running from the real media and looking for an escape hatch from this living breathing, two-month old turd in June in the hopes of getting a one-way ticket back to the MLB offices on Park Ave. in New York.

Last week it must’ve really hit home when – for the second time in three years — he couldn’t find anyone reputable to even consider taking the job and manage this team. I personally think Bobby Valentine flew in for the crab cakes and to sit across the table from Angelos and MacPhail and laugh in their faces on behalf of my father, who is no doubt flipping over in his grave over at Gardens of Faith at the mere notion of the last 13 years of losing.

On the field, where it certainly matters the most, they can’t get any players outside the organization to come here and play. (They’ll probably coin a contract phrase for Kevin Millwood after what he’s been subjected to here over the past four months. It’ll be the “Millwood Clause” that says trade me ANYWHERE but Baltimore).

And even more disheartening, thus far they’re on the road to wrecking the career of Matt Wieters and this crop of young talent.

Think about being 24 and being 18-48 and feeling like there’s no hope and there’s no one around you who is providing any hope. You come to the ballpark and it’s either empty or filled with fans from Boston and New York.

The players on this 2010 Orioles team at times simply look outclassed but at other points disinterested and/or disheartened. There are no excuses for not running out ground balls or fly balls. There are no excuses – period — when you’re in the big leagues and are expected to perform and at the very least put out a requisite big-league effort.

Angelos and MacFail fired the surly manager Dave Trembley and to my eyes it looks like it’s gotten even worse the past two weeks under Juan Samuel, whose Spanglish prose in the pre- and post-game at least injects some gallows humor into my living room each night around a solid dose of constipation from poor Jim Hunter and Rick Dempsey.

Sometimes it feels like Gary Thorne is laughing at the team under his breath and Jim Palmer and Mike Flanagan probably see this as standard operating procedure because they know what a freaking mess the whole place is from the top down in more ways than anyone could ever know.

The MASN house ads would be pulled if anyone there had any sense and they’d be out trying to sell a sponsorship to Maalox or Tylenol, which are requisite medication to be a nightly watcher at this point.

I think the message the fans should be sending is one of demanding accountability. Honestly, that’s what Free The Birds was all about. Someone there who is responsible should have to answer for this and apologize for this and be held accountable for this.

But instead, Angelos remains invisible, the millions of former Orioles fans mow their lawns and wait for Ravens training camp to open and the dozen bloggers and the few thousand sheep who continue to drink the 18-48 Kool Aid continue to defend the indefensible.

Like my Pop said there really is a sucker born every minute.

But I haven’t given up, especially not after seeing the Chicago Blackhawks hoist the Stanley Cup last weekend. They are the twin cousins of the Orioles here in Baltimore. Bill Wirtz might’ve actually been worse than Peter Angelos and that’s a bold pronouncement coming from me.

But yes, I’m still prone to watching them play most nights as my Facebook statuses will attest although I’m guilty of missing Jake Arrieta’s masterpiece on Tuesday night due to a severe case of the sandman.

But, alas, perhaps a true gem appears in the body of Arrieta who has looked the part of Jake Cool in his first duo of outings against top-notch competition.

We’re trying to somehow, someway digest what’s left of 2010 as a local baseball fan and Arrieta has given us a glimmer of a reason to “look up” every five days as the Orioles lose their way into baseball history yet again.

Look, it’s not shocking that the team sucks and they’ll finish in last place. What IS a shock is that the team is 18-48 and we have almost 100 more games left in this steamer of a season.

Are you watching?

Will you be watching in two weeks, four weeks – FOURTEEN weeks from now?

Are you rooting for them or against them at this point?

Well, for the next 3 ½ months Ty Wiggington will be playing and probably not as well as he did in April. And Jake Arrieta will be pitching until they shut him down for throwing too many innings in September. And Nick Markakis can keep demanding accountability within an organization that lacks accountability from its head down. And they can keep feigning this ridiculous notion that Brian Roberts is miraculously going to appear after the All-Star break.

All of this masks the ugly truth: the worst might be yet to come once MacFail starts dealing off Millwood, Tejada, Scott and any other remnant item any other franchise might want to take off his hands and unburden his budget of another $5 to $10 million before year’s end.

But there’s a lot of bad baseball ahead, I’m afraid.

But I have plenty of Free The Birds shirts left over from last month if you want to state your case.

And we are doing a bus trip up to Yankee Stadium to see them play on Labor Day Monday.

I’d try to get a group to go down to Camden Yards to have some fun but every time I try that it fails.

Our sponsors want no part of baseball. Our listeners and readers don’t want to go to the games with us.

I brought up an idea in our staff meeting this week to throw a big All-Star Game Charity party but I was almost laughed out of the room.

It’s gonna be a long July.

But what I’m really wondering is when it’s ever going to change?

And who will be the one to change it?

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