Let the search for Baltimore’s next sports media star begin now…

July 18, 2010 | Nestor Aparicio

With WNST.net about to enter its 13th year of existence the changes we’ve made here are pretty apparent. As has been my mantra for more than three years, WNST – the “radio station” – has evolved into a thriving web company with tremendous reach and accessibility to Baltimore sports fans in a myriad of ways.

We’re growing at WNST.net this summer and building a better user experience for the people who love Baltimore sports the most – you, the very person reading this blog and utilizing WNST.net for all of your local and national sports information. From our radio station’s original reach and the distribution of sports information on this website and the level playing field we enjoy on the web and with mobile information, we’ve managed to grow the company to become the No. 1 most-visited website in the marketplace for Baltimore radio and No. 4 overall, only behind BaltimoreSun.com, WBALTV.com & WJZ.com for daily traffic and influence (according to www.alexa.com).

We now have more than 10,000 people every morning getting our all-new WNST Morning Newspaper. We have 5,600 people every day on our WNST Text Service. And our web numbers grow every single day in social media with Baltimore’s biggest and best Twitter feed and Facebook community.

And we’re only getting better…

One thing we’ve certainly become known for – in that great American tradition, which I’m very, very proud of – is a world of real-life opportunity for local talent and budding media stars who really know Baltimore sports and can present it in a cogent way.

At first back in 1998 when I began WNST-AM 1570 this was simply on the radio.

Now, the stakes are higher, the work is harder and more demanding and new media is a reality forever and we’re officially looking for “five-tool” players at WNST.net.

1. Writing – this is a basic tenet of communication in the era of the internet
2. Journalism/news judgment – Clear focus, accuracy, timeliness, integrity & knowledge with distribution of information is essential
3. Radio – Our base product is to provide Baltimore’s best radio and conversation
4. Understanding of business – Sponsors pay our salaries and we market their products (you either understand that or you don’t and I’m worn out trying to “teach” basic math and household accounting to college graduates)
5. Understanding of social media adapting to change – We’re a media company, not a radio company so the tagging and categories for blogs and using a video camera and Twitpic should not be a root canal for you

Please send all serious inquiries to: nasty@wnst.net

So, while this might seem like the world’s greatest job search – and make no mistake about it that’s exactly what this is, a talent search on the part of WNST.net that will commence in the coming weeks as the “Budweiser King of Baltimore Sports Media” unfolds and challenges folks to get better – but the only way any company can get better is to find better people. People who embrace change and want to be great. People who are educated, flexible, bright and love Baltimore sports.

I’m honestly looking for a few good men or women who are ready to dedicate themselves to a pursuit of a life in Baltimore sports media and take it as seriously as I do. And as seriously as I have for 26 years.

We’ll have another public contest in August with blogs, videos, in-studio radio hosting and social media awareness simulating what will be necessary to work in the new media age in Baltimore sports journalism and information.

(And here’s a hint: it’s not as easy as we make it look…)

So, send along your resumes, cover letters, blog links, information, photos, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and let’s get the party started. WNST.net is BUILT for people who want to succeed in this business.

Look, I get resumes from kids every day here who have $100,000 worth of education and college debt and are desperately seeking a job in a horrible time to be coming out of college and into the American business system. And many of these erstwhile “stars” aren’t writing blogs or shooting vlogs or doing anything that they went to school to learn and then turn into a career in journalism circa 2010.

On occasion I get invited to a local campus to lecture a class and I always tell these young people that if you’re not blogging every day and improving your writing or communication skills then you’re not cut out for this business.

(Think about it. If you’re in a band and you want me to sign you to my music label, wouldn’t you have a few songs you’ve written that I can listen to? Wouldn’t you have a demo? Wouldn’t you have a “live show” for me to come see? A showcase?

So, think about it – and my reputation as a latter-day Baltimore Simon Cowell precedes me – if you’re not blogging now and getting better every day why in the world would I hire you?)

What seems very simplistic to a guy like me who began his career in the dark ages of 1984 at The News American seems like Chinese to many people who haven’t seen the overwhelming and incredibly swift changes mobile devices and high-speed internet and technology have brought to the world of media – just in the last 18 months alone WNST.net has begun to dominate because we have a talented staff that uses the industry’s best practices.

The business model has changed to the point of being an entirely different industry. It’s a completely different paradigm when a guy like me just five years ago would’ve had to spend $4,000 on 30 minutes of video time on some random local channel that would sell me an infomercial slot but can now stream real-time HD video via WNST.net for literally the cost of the camera and my time.

Or, like 10 years ago when it took me six weeks and $8,000 to deliver a stale, wacky black and white newsletter to your P.O. Box via the USPS via bulk mail. Blue Sky Factory now delivers our radio, TV and newspaper product every morning for a fraction of the cost and our “greenness” has allowed us to not use a thread of paper or ink. And all of our sponsors are linked via the web to commerce and bettering their local businesses. (Hey, we’re all in it together in Baltimore!)

That’s a paradigm shift. That’s powerful. And WNST.net stands to push the envelope further by bringing in the best young talent in the marketplace.

Some of you are in business or are involved in advertising or new media and understand this. Some of you don’t.

But this company will be going harder than ever after your attention before, during and after Ravens games this fall and we’ll be doing Baltimore’s best sports analysis, information and commentary this fall.

We think we’re the best at what we do. We won’t run from the challenge of being the best in Baltimore at breaking local sports news and then analyzing it and enjoying it with you.

The resumes and cover letters from people who love Baltimore sports and think they can be a 2010 local media sensation are flooding into my email inbox. I’ve been getting them for months and I’ll be reaching out to the dozens who’ve sent them along.

But this is officially “last call” – at least for the upcoming competition which I’ll have more information on later in the week.

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.

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 our Sept. 10 “crowning” of the King (or Queen).

We hope to begin the actual auditions in the afternoon next week.

Over the next six weeks 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 smart phone 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 2010.)

People have been telling me that I suck for 18 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!)

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 2010 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!)

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 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?

Over the next few weeks I’ll be publicly giving my philosophy on what makes a sports talk show host and blogger successful in 2010 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…”

Comments on Facebook

Comments are closed.