If you’re on this website, chances are you’ve been a WNST or Nestor or Drew or local Baltimore sports fan for quite some time. Sure, a few of you just heard about us recently on Twitter, but for the most part it feels like I know most of you. All 50,000-plus of you, who come to us in so many ways all had a “virgin experience” with WNST. But you’re all here now and my 42 years in Baltimore — 27 of them as a local journalist and almost 20 more as a local media and marketing entrepreneur – has you somewhere an arm’s reach away whether you’re my Facebook friend, Twitter follower, ex-girlfriend, a former sponsor, current sponsor, old friend from high school, you’re on our text service, you get our morning newspaper, you got a “Dump Trumpy” or a “Wacko 4 Flacco” sign from me – I think you get the picture.
I’ve always thought that the late, great Dick Schaap had the greatest line I ever heard about humanity and walking the earth: “I collect people.”
There are a LOT of you. There really are.
And I’ve shaken hands with thousands of you like a politician at the Heritage Fair in Dundalk and honestly it’s almost embarrassing at this point when people yell nice things — or sometimes it’s the occasional F-bomb at an Orioles game — at you all afternoon at a sporting event or at a restaurant or just walking through Towson or Bel Air or White Marsh or Catonsville. It’s mostly wonderful and makes me proud on behalf of my Mom and Pop and I’m extremely grateful that so many people have randomly talked to me about my work or a Baltimore sports memory we’ve shared over the years.
One thing I know I can say for certain is this — I’ve answered every email I’ve ever received. Tens of thousands of them, really, since I started in 1992 and the email started rolling in soon after. In the early days, I even tried to appease the unappeasable and when I was on 425 stations from 1999-2001 at Sporting News Radio, I learned it was going to be impossible to make everyone happy with my conclusions and well-founded opinions based on evidence and facts.
Hell, I’ve given up trying to argue with every nut who sends me hate. But, if you send me a thoughtful disagreement, I have no problems replying respectfully.
But the 1-in-a-thousand who are rude or abusive are far less memorable than the 999 others who have been incredibly kind, supportive, helpful and encouraging as I’ve tried to build an authentic local company that you can trust and one that you’d want to support.
I feel like WNST was a trailblazer in a lot of ways from doing sports radio first in Baltimore in 1998 to becoming the premier sports media company in the community on the internet – and if you don’t know by now, that’s the ONLY place that will matter in the future.
We were stressing being a “community business” before there were “online communities.”
We know customer service because in so many cases we actually KNOW our customers – like really KNOW them! We know how to treat our listeners, users and partners with dignity and respect and integrity. But we need to prove the value of our audience every single day with sales reports because every business owner I know has had troubles, shortages, headaches and financial pain of some kind since August 2008. It’s a reality for anyone who owns a business that the way we’ll do business has changed forever in the new media age combined with the depression in this economy and the way our society has suffered over the past three years. And the price of gas affects every single American and has added crushing weight to the cost of every consumer product we use on a day to day basis.
WNST is no different than any other small business. We’ve shrunk in manpower over the past three years and we’ve made up for it with willpower and old-fashioned sweat equity by refusing to deliver Baltimore anything less than the best and most timely sports information divinely possible.
For our crew, this change to the world of new media has been a welcomed addition and a VERY measurable, accurate portrayal of the depth of coverage in both content and audience reach.
I welcome our partners, friends or competitors to measure our viability and reach vs. that of CBS Radio, WBAL or any of the corporate-owned radio conglomerates who look at Baltimore as a place on a map with pins in it that represent how much money they can suck out of our economy without participating in any long-term civic concern, especially with the media voice to create a positive change in our community.
So while I’ve expended a lot of words over the past two days to show you WNST.net, here are a series of pictures that explain a lot of the reasons we’re bullish on our growth.
And for those of you who think I use too many words – and you’re right, by the way – this is more of the “picture book” some of you have been requesting.
Last February, when I did my five-part “State of Baltimore Sports Media” blog series, I accompanied it with a survey (powered by Survey Monkey, hence the headline – good company by the way…I recommend them!). There were a billion questions, much of it has kind of aged like the technology questions about Droids and IPhones, but here are some highlights:
WNST Text Service (powered by MSnap & Marketron)
We were the first in Baltimore to offer an instant news text service. Now, every media company in the market has one, although ours is universally considered the best. Ask ANYONE who has it if they like it. Our numbers have steadily grown over the past three years:
COST TO USER: FREE!!!!!
These kind of speak for themselves:
Buy A Toyota Morning Newspaper
I asked this question on the Survey Monkey back in February 2010:
So, because of YOU, I built it.
And Blue Sky Factory and rock stars like Greg Cangialosi have helped me with it. BTW: If you need an email marketing organization, they are the BOMB!
This is what it looked like today:
This morning 14,273 people received the newspaper in their email inbox.
You can subscribe in the upper right corner of this website!
Like all of our services here at WNST.net — it’s completely free!
We are still pretty much the only local sports media outlet that utilizes YouTube with any quality or consistency:
We’ve had 53,274 people access our videos.
We’ve had 2,262,591 views on our channel in the last 12 months.
Subscribe to them. It doesn’t cost anything…
I’ve written about this many times. Just click on the Categories to the right of this blog and you can read all about Alexa. These are just some current trends that I thought you’d find interesting:
Our Facebook reach is greater than anyone’s. You can just look that up for yourself and see the way we reach our friends and partners in many ways there with pictures of events, status updates, fun sharing of information and opinions. But here’s a surprising part of what you don’t know. This is from our WNST.net Facebook “Fan” page:
Yeah, chicks dig WNST…
This is the part where the competitors REALLY get their feelings hurt. You can see the size of their “signal” transparently. Go ahead…pick anyone else in Baltimore and see how many followers they have and you’ll see the size of one’s “girth” in the audience marketplace. We used to have 5,000 watts to their 50,000 — hence their “stick” was bigger. But not anymore…
This is all public information. Go check your our favorite Baltimore sports media competitor’s feed and see their reach.
If you care to learn more about WNST.net, simply click on the ADVERTISE button in the upper right corner and download our 2011 Media Kit. It gives more details about a lot of the measurements of WNST.net.
TOMORROW: How Groupon and Living Social have changed traditional media and sponsorship forever. And why we’re moving to a business model that sells goods for local Baltimore companies at discounts.
And I’m always here for any positive or negative feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As Peter Angelos once said: “I’m a very available individual…”