Tag Archive | "Media"

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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

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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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Finale: Part 5 – What is the future of sports media in Baltimore?

Posted on 10 February 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

“I will never, EVER “text” with you!” I screamed into my cell phone to my beloved son, Barry, during the summer of 2006 when he filled up my text inbox with messages that I had no idea how to access. “If you don’t call me on the phone, you won’t find me!”

What’s that axiom? “It’s what you learn after you know everything that really counts!”

Yet again, more words wasted and crow swallowed. It was just another humbling, woefully wrong prediction for my own actions and a future gone awry as I continue to grow in years and wisdom in my 40’s.

If there’s one pearl of wisdom I’ve learned the hard way it’s this: the learning NEVER stops and the world never stops changing. I’ve committed myself to be a student of life and it’s what gets me out of bed and keeps me alive and vibrant during these tough times.

The entrepreneur in me just got back from eight days in Fort Lauderdale at the Super Bowl watching all of the “big boys” do what they do – television, radio, newspapers, web entities, etc. It’s gone from old days of “Radio Row” to a hodgepodge of different media resources at the Media Center in 2010. And the national media outlets are all scrambling, trying to figure out how to serve a sports fan base that is now fractured via age and technological savvy and dinosaur systems and old-world employees and employers who have no idea how to make this emerging world of new media work to their advantage.

In one corner the NFL owns all of the Sirius/XM programming and the centerpiece of the NFL Network set and in the other corner Motorola is dropping big bucks to buy sponsorship of a “beer-less” media hospitality area and underwriting the “OCNN” – the Ocho Cinco News Network, featuring Chad himself and friends like Ray Rice and Chris Cooley.

The world of sports media has changed forever and the Super Bowl continued to prove what I already know: the web will rule the new world.

If you want to read a sensational book on this brave new world, pick up Gary Vaynerchuk’s “Crush It” and thank me later. Most of what I would predict for the future would be contained in his 132-page “must read.”

I delayed this blog for a few days – mainly because of the weather, flight issues and my illness but also because I wanted to take in the full Fort Lauderdale week and observe what I was seeing at the Super Bowl before I wrote the “finale” to my five-part missive here on the “state” of the media – and not just local sports media, but media in general.

There’s no bigger event than that monstrous marvel they put on in Miami on Sunday night, and virtually everything there from a media standpoint is “cutting edge” when it comes to the marketing and delivery of news, information and hype for the biggest game of them all. And while MLB and the NBA continue to shrink in our culture and the NHL still can’t grow its sport, the NFL continues to soar to heights so high that the only thing that’ll hold it back is how greedy all of the parties will get in how to divide up so much money, interest, love and passion. To the world of SaatchiKevin (another of my web resource/genius links), it’s a “Lovemark” – the most rare of brand breeds.

If you believe the TV ratings, Sunday’s game was watched by more people than any event in the history of the American universe. (By the way, I don’t necessarily believe the previous statement – as I’ve written this week — but who am I to argue and what difference does it make? A LOT of people watched the game on Sunday! Certainly more than anything else our culture offers, the Super Bowl is “THE” American event! A lot of marketing was done. And those commercials are a couple of million bucks a piece for a reason…)

I’ve made a lot of strong statements over the last week. Many have been backed up with new sciences of measurement, technology, your mobile device and 26 years of studying how all of this sports media stuff works. It’s been my passion for as long as I can remember.

But like every other “expert” in the marketplace, we’re all guessing what this thing is going to look like in three-to-five years.

I know where it’s NOT going. And that’s back to three TV stations, a few powerful, dominant radio stations (FM or AM) and it certainly will have nothing to do with printing the news today and delivering it tomorrow on a paper product.

The future is in your pocket. It’s in your phone and it will evolve – much more quickly than any of us can imagine – from there.

Virtual keyboards. Virtual porn. Virtual sports. Live HD broadcasts of sporting events where you pick your seat. Since the purchase of my Droid back in November, I’ve had less use for my laptop every single day. The “third screen” as they call it in the industry is exploding and it’ll never regress. It makes life too easy, too accessible. Just having something as trivial as Google maps on my phone has given me hours of my life back to use building WNST.net.

Honestly, just think about how far it has evolved in the last 12 months with the advances of social media like Facebook and Twitter? Or the last three years, with the ability to now stream most anything to a mobile device? Or the last five years, when you had never seen HD TV before? Or the last 10 years, where websites now break news all day and everything happens in “real” time?

I’ve now been a consumer of the media for about 38 years and a producer of sports media-related content in Baltimore for 26 years.

I’m closer to your uncle’s age than your son or daughter. Now, think about how much that “old guy” uncle of yours who has eschewed modern media is missing by not texting, not using a computer, getting online or using email. Everybody has someone “older” in their life whom hasn’t caught on to this “media” and “mobile” thing yet, right?

I had employees at my company as recently as six months ago still using fax machines to relay information. Some people in my world still don’t text. Some people don’t do social media. Some people still wait for the 11 o’clock news. Or ‘til the next morning to pick up a newspaper at the Royal Farms on the corner. And some people, like me, are on Facebook and Twitter via the palm of their hands 24 hours a day.

It’s a very tangled web with so many ways to reach people and ways of giving them the information where they want it but the great equalizer will be the web. Because — eventually – the dinosaurs like newspapers, TV and radio will not roam the earth and the simplicity, connectedness and exchange of information via mobile devices will flatten the earth for companies like WNST.net.

A Haiti-sized earthquake, a Hurricane Katrina-style whirlwind has moved into the sphere of media and has forever altered the way we get information about virtually anything in the world. The web has replaced all of the libraries of the world and amassed their information, all of the record stores and malls in the world and put their goods on sale at a stroke and allowed everyone to communicate freely in real time. If you’re not using Skype, I pray for you…

This five-part series of many words, concepts, facts, accusations and observations was written to make you – the eventual user of all of this stuff and consumer of this information – think about the future and how you consume your local sports media.

We’ve also provided a detailed WNST “State of Baltimore Sports Media” survey to accompany the blogs so that you could give us honest feedback so that we can make WNST.net better. I sincerely hope you fill it out and be as honest as you feel you should be.

We want to be the best. I won’t apologize for that. I won’t accept anything less than that from myself, or any of our employees or partners at WNST.net.

I asked a lot of specific questions in the survey. But when it comes to the future, the best questions are the ones that can’t be answered. Most of this stuff has no “set” answer only a rearview mirror of the way things “used to be.” Kind of like life itself. We’re never going backwards on the technology and the past does not equal the future.

The NFL doesn’t know where this new world of media is going. Drew and I chatted with Sean McManus – a Baltimorean, son of Jim McKay and the current President of CBS News and Sports — and he has no real idea where this world of new media is going.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMAT0VY1Jq0[/youtube]

I go to seminars in New York all of the time with the biggest and brightest in world of media and they’re as befuddled as the rest of us. And the rank and rile sportswriters and broadcasters that I’ve spoken with over the past three years are a mess. I reaffirmed that last week when I quizzed dozens of people about our industry only to get a myriad of bizarre observations and old-way-of-thinking sadness. Most are just beginning the first steps to understanding how the new world of measurement will affect them and their personal brands.

I just know it’s changing more rapidly than anyone imagined and I see it and experience it every day. I use it all – web apps, email, text, Facebook, Twitter, social media, Droid, Four Square, etc. – I and think it’s cool and so does everyone else I interact with online.

For the younger generation, it’s their way of life!

To anyone over 30, we’ll will never be able to relate in the same way because the ingrained simplicity for the next generation will cause a synapse in all sorts of ways – kinda like when my son was texting me five years ago and I had no idea how to retrieve the messages on my phone let alone respond on my 12-digit keypad. Every day more of that goes on in the world of emerging technology. And every day it’s a full time job to keep up with it all. Personally, I rely on Mashable, but you can pick a myriad of different ways to get this social media world brought to you.

And anyone who calls themselves an expert in this new world of new media is a liar or a speculative snake oil salesperson or latter-day clairvoyant.

I think I know a lot about it. And I certainly know enough to know that we’re only at the very beginning of a modern-day miracle of transformation in how we take in media – and I don’t just mean sports media in Baltimore. EVERYTHING that we knew about the world of media from the 1950s until two years ago is now a dinosaur when a guy from Dundalk like me can build a company like WNST.net. – one that essentially transmits news, information, audio, video and community in real time from anywhere in the world. We’re unlimited in our scope or the ability to transform sports media in Baltimore. We’re only limited in the resources that the marketplace provides via sponsorship.

After doing the last 16 “Radio Row” stints, it’s really remarkable when I see how polarizing and different the strategies of various companies – from the largest networks to the smallest radio stations – are handling the emerging changes in media and how the content is distributed.

But I’ll give you one key indicator. It always starts with what the sponsors and advertisers want. They pay for all of it and nearly all of the Super Bowl advertisers of substance and vision were chasing people to their computers to get folks on their Facebook, Twitter or dedicated online places with their uber-expensive, :30 second ads the other night. It’s not just Highlandtown’s C.E.O. Bob Parsons and Go Daddy who are trying to get you to watch the rest of the Danica Patrick commercial online and then chat about it on Twitter or Facebook anymore.

Virtually EVERY advertiser was chasing Super Bowl watchers to their laptops or PDA’s during the Saints 31-17 win on Sunday night. And aside from natural disasters and blizzards, the last bastion of “live” event programming is sports. Every other thing on your television is “DVR-able.” People still watch sports live – and probably always will – meaning the sponsor messages actually get seen and not fast-forwarded through. Radio is also considered more effective by marketers because folks have yet to figure a way to skip messages other than changing the channel, which is more of an FM habit.

So, if the Super Bowl is the “cutting edge” and the advertising was primarily sending traffic to the web, then I’m certainly doing the right thing here at WNST.net by attempting to build the greatest Baltimore sports media experience possible on the web. We want to be the place Baltimore communes during games to chat about the games in progress. We want to be the first place you turn for reliable information – when you want it and how you want it.

If you doubt the power of sports to bring people together all you needed to do was watch that parade in New Orleans on Tuesday night and remember what the Ravens’ 2001 championship did for Baltimore. If the Saints’ Super Bowl was vindication for Katrina, then Trent Dilfer and that defense was a massive vindication for all of us here and the Irsay/Mayflower memories and civic sadness. Sports brings people together. The Ravens bring people together like the Orioles used to when they cared about the community. WNST is designed to do that as well.

More than 1,000 of you have helped this week by filling out our survey. Honestly, we want more because we want our research to be as accurate as possible. We’re giving away a Panasonic 50-inch HDTV to one lucky winner.

Fill out our WNST State of Baltimore Sports Media Survey…

Now that I’m off of the radio and this blog will be my primary source to divulge information and my opinions and observations, this year I’ll become much more unabashed in what I’m writing about business, media and how it all works in Baltimore. The truth: I got off the radio to run the business. It’s really where my passion lies in 2010 and where my daily focus needs to be for the future of WNST.net. Anyone who really knows me knows this.

I’ll be doing some videos on the stuff that we’re doing to make WNST.net better as we install new developments and technology. We might even do some video tutorials with some features on the site. And if you give me a good ideas, we’ll try to install them somehow. I love when I see creative stuff on the web.

I’m trying to build a special kind of business with free speech and community and commerce at its core at WNST.net.

We want to cover the local high schools better. We want to do more with lacrosse. We want the Orioles to get “fixed” at some point. We want to be an “all seasons” sports resource for the Baltimore community. We want to find young, rock star writers and contributors and we’ll be doing another “Coors Light King of Baltimore Sports Media” competition this spring. People who love Baltimore sports as much as we do.

We want to take what we’re learning from our current poll and give you more of what you want. The company is nothing without the people who power it. I never forget that fact.

It’s why I started WNST.net in the first place.

Unlike the baseball owner in town, I’m happily held accountable.

We’ve made it this far against all of the odds. We’re No. 1 in the marketplace in daily traffic for Baltimore sports. That’s just a measurable fact.

Our product has NEVER been better. We’ve never had MORE people involved in the WNST message and every day we set out to be “different” than the corporate, out-of-town managed and produced sports radio, television and newspaper types in town.

We can move quicker. We can get you the information in the format you want it. And we’ll get it right every time and hopefully make you think – and feedback – in a variety of ways.

I’ll be unabashed, honest, just like I’ve always been. But it gets harder every day with various political and financial pressure and censorship as we’ve outline this week.

The old media is fading. They’re for sale and it’s obvious. The ratings are for sale, too, really. Press passes and freedom of speech mean nothing. And lies published about you in the new world of the internet take on lives of their own.

But to me, you can’t sell the city off to the gypsies and live to tell. Baltimore is a national punch line in many ways. The Mayor just got indicted and convicted. The Wire is the paranoia of the public relations people in town but it’s how a large segment of the country views us. The Orioles are so “uncool” and irrelevant that Leno and Letterman don’t even make jokes about them. They’re THAT bad…that insignificant. The Baltimore Sun is in bankruptcy.

Where will the voices of Baltimore come from in the coming years? If it’s not WNST.net it’ll be someplace like it — a community “town hall” that will be more representative than a corporate, out-of-town news organization with no vested interest in Baltimore.

We believe in free speech. We don’t ban the media. We are accountable.
And we’re growing. Are you coming with us?

What more can we do at WNST other than state our mission and follow up on it with hard work every day? And hopefully you’ll talk about it and tell your sports friends about WNST and how we’re “different” than the other guys. We’re proud of that!

Fill out our survey! Tell us what we’re missing. Tell us how we suck. Tell us that we’re great. Tell us whatever you want.

Do you want mobile apps? Widgets? Better information? Honest, accurate information? Sent directly to your PDA? Available from anywhere in the world?

So much for that “little radio station,” right?

So what does the future digital world look like?

Are the bloggers going to take over the universe, the greatest fear of the Buzz Bizzinger types?

Will Twitter become the world’s biggest online “newspaper” in real time?

And will team websites evolve past the modern day extension of the current Jim Hunter and include analysis and/or criticism of themselves and their employees? (Probably not…)

We’ll keep working hard and communicating and trying to get better. That’s been my solemn vow from the beginning, to be the best.

My staff and I wake up every morning fully committed to fulfilling that goal.

How are we doing?

Go ahead and drop me a personal note…nasty@wnst.net. Get it off your chest!

To all of the folks who’ve given us the support and enthusiasm over the years – do us two favors:

1. Say nice things to your friends and recommend the stuff you really like at WNST.net. It’s the most robust, easily-accessible and FREE website in the marketplace.
2. Join our contests, events, promotions and clubs at WNST.net.

And if you’re STILL not satisfied, just do me a favor: send me a note right now either here or on Facebook. My Facebook name is Nestor J. Aparicio and I approve all people who want to be “friends” with me on my friends and personal page.

I worked at The Sun, wrote The Moon and now I will attempt to shape the next decade of sports media in Baltimore and where it’s going by building a company that serves our community. (Maybe we’ll call that “The Stars.”)

Here’s my personal email again (it’s the only one I have): nasty@wnst.net

As usual, we strive to stay ahead of the curve on technology.

The WNST story continues…

I really hope you choose to be a part of it!

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LIVE CHAT HERE NOW: Snowed in? So are we! Join our “superchat”

Posted on 19 December 2009 by WNST Staff

At 5 p.m. today we’re opening WNST.net up to Baltimore sports fans for a giant conversation. We’re going to call it the “Baltimore Blizzard White Room” chat at sundown when we’ll convene in our first-ever “online super chat room.” In lieu of opening up our traditional radio station at AM 1570, we’ll just open it here at WNST.net for anyone with a Facebook, Twitter account or a laptop, netbook or desktop. Hell, you can even use your mobile device, but no one is going anywhere!

So, get your shoveling done, bake your cookies, ice down your beer, reheat your pizza and come by and participate in Baltimore’s biggest and best “Blizzard” bar stool. We’ll chat about whatever is on your mind and we’ll watch the Saints-Cowboys game together.

All Baltimore sports fans and “shut ins” are welcome to attend and participate.

We’re all in this together…

Just click here for the link to the “White Room” chat…

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So you want to be a Baltimore sports media personality in 2009?

Posted on 11 March 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The resumes and cover letters from people who love Baltimore sports and think they can be a 2009 local media sensation are flooding into my email inbox. Some of them are pretty cool and impressive. Lots of folks – all male at this point but I’d love to find some females who really knows sports as well to enter – are thinking this “competition” will be fun. So instead of bringing in people and sitting them in a room, I figure if these folks REALLY think they can do this for a living, I’ll just give them the chance to prove it in “real time.”

On the radio and on the web, you’ll have a chance to knock it out of the park if you enter our competition and are selected by our staff.

At WNST.net and AM 1570, we have the medium, the outlet, the resources and a bunch of sponsors to provide a grand prize to make it all worthwhile. We’re are still putting together the finer points and details of how this will go between now and Memorial Day but I want to have an open, on-the-air and on-the-web competition (a talent show meets American Idol-kinda thing) to see who can be great. We hope to begin the actual auditions on my show on Tuesday, April 7.

Over the next two months I also hope to meet some fun, cool new people, and share my love of Baltimore sports and media with people who think they might want to do this for a living. Just like I did 25 years ago, back in 1984 when I walked into The News American as a slappy 15-year old Dundalk High Schol intern who wanted to do Baltimore sports journalism better than anyone ever did it.

But it’s a lot harder than I ever thought it’d be and it’s been very hard to watch an industry I love so much shrinking and the talent pool becoming more dense on the internet but more shallow in the old media world. And people in Baltimore want great sports writing and great sports radio. They want and deserve the truth and accuracy. At WNST.net, it’s my vision to marry those over the coming months and years while embracing everything folks in Baltimore do to connect via sports.

WNST.net will be the place everyone goes “first thing in the morning” just like my Pop went out the front door to get The Sun on our front doorstep with the plastic bag around it. We’ll also be the place you go during the games for chat and information and analysis.

WNST.net will be the place everyone in Baltimore comes via their mobile device or PDA to get the best sports news, information and analysis – day and night. If you’re on our WNST Text Service, you know what I’m talking about. No more FCC restrictions on our signal. No more “small radio station” lies to our sponsors who know better. Just an old-fashioned level playing field with WBAL, The Sun and anyone else who was ever “bigger” than little WNST.

I grew up wanting to be a sports writer. That’s all I ever wanted to do: chase down athletes, sporting events and stories and news and write about it. I idolized John Steadman, Oscar Madison, Mitch Albom and Howard Cosell (although I didn’t know it at the time).

For all of the grief and horrible lies I have to deal with by being an unwitting “public figure,” every single day of my life someone also writes me a nice, heartfelt note or comments about WNST and how much they love my little growing company. The loyalty shown from the public for my employees is really nice, but it’s sad when it manifests itself in backlash and public and private personal attacks and lies about me and my family. (This, too, you should know, sadly comes with the job in 2009.)

People have been telling me that I suck for 17 years. I’m used to it. My skin is thick because it must be to survive.

But who in the Baltimore sports media is truly great and consistent with breaking news, entertainment, information, true analysis, insight, honesty and integrity? I’d like to think that WNST is known throughout Baltimore for these qualities. (And if we’re not we’ll keep trying via means like this competition to get better. We’re always trying to get better!)

Call it bragging if you must, but I think Drew Forrester and Bob Haynie are the two best sports talk show hosts in Baltimore – by a mile, really. And I think they also write the best and most informed blogs as well. And I think Glenn Clark, Alex Thomas, Thyrl Nelson, Chris Bonetti, Rex Snider, Cliff Saunders, Chris Pika and all of our bloggers are awesome and I enjoy reading their insights here at WNST.net. Ray Bachman is the sports radio producer in the business. But we can always use more talent, more specialty and depth, more informative, good stuff to read for the people who love Baltimore sports. I’d also love to find a person to take the 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. radio shift here at WNST somewhere down the road but I want to find the perfect person. (My bar is pretty high, as you probably know.)

And I want to evolve and make WNST the best it can be by making 100% sure I’ve looked at every person who would ever want to do this and be great and loyal to doing it the right way. (There’s also a very real “business” side to making a living doing this in a rough economy in 2009 and that’s always the hardest and most significant element that’s been missing in some cases throughout the marketplace. Basic sales, marketing and sponsorship knowledge is essential if you want to make this a viable career choice in 2009!)

I want to find someone who loves ALL of it as much as I do and is as committed to it as I am.

And I’m sincerely looking for someone who is better at doing sports radio and blogging and video than me. (Insert joke here…)

As you probably know, along with Brian Billick and some other amazing partners, I really do own and operate WNST AM-1570 and WNST.net every minute of my life. For any of you who’ve ever owned a business or managed people, you know it’s a challenging and all-encompassing existence. And, it’s not always easy making employment calls on personnel — hiring or firing and the hurt feelings, public nature of it and the lives that are unavoidably affected — especially in this rough economy.

And make no mistake: this competition is not a “hiring” contest. WNST is not necessarily “hiring” people. We can only hire as many people as the market and our community sponsorship supports. We have empty hours on weekends on the radio. We have an unlimited amount of space for audio, video and blogs on our website, which is the No. 1 most-visited Baltimore sports media website on a daily basis.

Over the next two months, we’re really looking to do a talent search. We’re going to give away a series of major prizes worth thousands of dollars that we’re still working on (if anyone who has a business wants to get involved via prizes and sponsorship just contact me directly).

And just like Jay-Z, we’ll be essentially saying: “Show me what you got!?”

You’ll have a chance to have the world know how good you are. Trust me, if you’re good at this and you can make money doing this and you’re a quality person of integrity (our first requirement), WNST.net or someplace else will want to hire you.

I could do this or I could post a listing on Craigslist or Jobs.com or college message boards saying:

Help Wanted: “21st Century Baltimore Sports Media Rock Star”

“WNST.net is looking for a local sports nut with a Facebook and new & social media zeal who can write professionally and proficiently, analyze many sports verbally, talk sports day and night, go to sporting events, talk to athletes, shoot and edit videos, learn and study sports and sports business and marketing and legal and political issues, evolve as a person, do marketing and promotions at bars and sporting events and have some fun with a bunch of people who love Baltimore sports as much as you no doubt do if you apply for this surprisingly demanding position. A deep concentration and understanding of local sports history regarding the Orioles, Ravens & Terps is essential for long-term success. Long hours, a major commitment with high upside possibilities for the right, driven candidate who is looking to make a career in new media sports journalism with a growing internet-based company with two decades of market excellence and leadership. You must have a basic grasp of how business works and how money is made in new media in the 21st century. Apply within…”

Or we could do this competition and give away a big prize, which will be the next best thing. And perhaps the winner will find an opportunity? Or maybe a bunch of folks will find an opportunity? And perhaps we’ll find someone to replace my “lousy” show and host 2 p.m. til 6 p.m. on WNST?

Over the next few weeks I’ll be publicly giving my philosophy on what makes a sports talk show host and blogger successful in 2009 and beyond and how we’ve been growing for 10 years doing local sports radio. There’s no “magic.” It’s hard work and dedication and passion and knowledge and communication that fuels WNST.net throughout my company.

In the meantime, spread the word. If you know someone who is qualified and can truly communicate the English language in words both spoken and written, have them drop me a note or friend me on Facebook.

Yeah, if you don’t have a Facebook page or Twitter or MySpace or Linked In (etc.) you’re probably not a viable candidate or one who will fare well in this competition, which will have some voting and social media elements.

Are you better than we are?

“Show me what ya got…”

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Get over it

Posted on 18 February 2009 by caseywillett

So what did you really want Alex Rodriguez to say?

I have no problem with anything that he said, although it was funny to me that some of the media members thought they were going to get him to say something different.

There were some dumb questions:

Reporter: Alex, do you remember the first time you injected and what it felt like? … Really?

Reporter: What is the name of the cousin who got the stuff for you and brought it from the Dominican? … Sure. Let me just expose a family member who committed a crime.

Reporter: Would you have admitted your steroid use if you had not got caught? … Ok, I understand the question, but again, we all know the answer to it.

Reporter: Do you think stats from those years should be erased from your records? … Come on, honestly. What did you think he was going to say, and here’s some breaking news, he is not the commissioner of baseball.

I now have heard people criticizing him for reading from a prepared statement. So what, did you really think he was not going to go up there prepared with every answer he wanted to give right out of the gate?

Rodriguez did yesterday all that he can do at this point. He admitted he made a mistake, he knows people will question him and his credibility, and he understands all of that. His past is the past, he has not tested positive for anything since 2003, and oh by the way, he has already admitted more than what we initially knew.

Maybe I am just tired of hearing about steroids, HGH and over-the-counter items, but I have no issues with A-Rod. He messed up, he admitted he was wrong, and he wants to become a person that educates people, and in particular kids that what he did was wrong.

Case closed.

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