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3 NHL Broadcasters Reflect On League’s Sudden Pause

“The landscape of professional sports, as it has been for the last two years, is unprecedented and always subject to change.”

Derek Futterman

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After a stable first quarter of the season in terms of cases of COVID-19, the rapid spread of the Omicron variant and subsequent proliferation in total cases coerced the National Hockey League to start its holiday break early, pausing the season on December 22. Following the announcement, the NHL and NHLPA also revealed that they would not be sending players to the 2022 Beijing Olympics out of an abundance of caution and the protection of competitive integrity within the 2021-22 NHL regular season. While this pause only lasted six days, it was a stark reminder of the looming threat the pandemic has played in everyday life, and the uncertainty surrounding the remainder of the NHL season.

The landscape of professional sports, as it has been for the last two years, is unprecedented and always subject to change. The NHL has sought to bring some level of stability to its players, staff and personnel by modifying its protocols as the world learns more about COVID-19 every day. With the NHL on the precipice of 100% vaccination (all but one player), infected players, staff and personnel have largely shown mild symptoms, if any at all. Yet the league continues to take protocols to ensure the health and safety of all parties involved, including its broadcast teams.

Over the last two years, the terms “health and safety protocols,” “taxi squad” and “quarantine” have become an integral part of the vernacular in the sports world, and are undeniably part of the reason the NHL has been able to play most of its scheduled games amidst a pandemic.

For broadcasters, having to take precautions and adjust the way they call games has changed the way sports media is being viewed in today’s world. At this time, broadcasters can be taken off-the-air at a moment’s notice because of a positive or inconclusive COVID-19 test; a broadcast crew has the ability to call games remotely from studios or their own homes to avoid travel; and media availability has been and may continue to be exclusive to video conferencing platforms.

I recently spoke with three NHL play-by-play broadcasters, and gathered their thoughts on the season thus far, and what they anticipate going forward as the world seeks to mitigate a raging wildfire of the pathogenic coronavirus and its variants.

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Prior to the NHL taking a pause of its season, there were many clustered COVID-19 outbreaks among teams fueled by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. What was it like as a broadcaster to prepare for games you were not entirely sure were going to happen?

Chris King (Broadcaster, New York Islanders): I’m very used to that in my baseball broadcast career because games often get rained out. I had not experienced that in hockey ever until this pandemic began.

From a personal broadcasting standpoint, it’s incredibly frustrating because I could do 10 hours of prep-work on a game and find out the day before it’s not happening, and I’d say 80% of that you have to throw away. [It’s] just frustrating personally.

Chris King a 'Yes! Yes! Yes!' man with call of Isles' clincher | Newsday
Courtesy: Newsday

On the baseball side of it, you can check the weather forecast and get an idea that something like that may happen. With something like this, it came out of the blue. I would use the word frustrating just because of all the preparation.”

Mike Maniscalco (Broadcaster, Carolina Hurricanes): Nothing changed for me, honestly, because you have to go about it with the same preparation that there’s going to be a game. You know that there’s a chance that players you did some research on, or information that you’re looking up will be useless if a player tests positive or you find out that somebody’s not going to be in the game or they’re going to call somebody up a few hours before. But honestly, nothing really changed for me as far as preparation for those games that – will they or won’t they be played.

Dan D’Uva (Broadcaster, Vegas Golden Knights): We prepare for games that are on the schedule; I’m always preparing. The fact that there was one game before Christmas that was postponed in the case of the Golden Knights against Colorado. I know the Avalanche pretty well, so there was the diligence for each game putting together scorecards and lineup sheets. I watch and read about a lot of hockey, and watch the Avs quite a bit. Preparation for me is very much about the aggregate over time. I would have been ready had there been a game against Colorado on that Thursday before Christmas.

Was it the right decision to pause the season? How did the pause affect you and your work?

Chris King: I think it was. When it got to the point right around the Christmas break, what they eventually did is add one day on the front side of Christmas and two on the backside. At that point, you’re trying to get everybody healthy and off the COVID list. The separation of players from each other is probably the best thing for it. The league-wide pause put everyone on a level playing field. Up until Dec. 1, the only cancellations were [games of] the Senators and the Islanders.

Once we got into December, you really started to see these monster numbers where teams had double-digit numbers on the list. I like the fact that they added a little bit to the Christmas break to shut it down with the hopes to get people back. Obviously, it hasn’t worked out entirely as planned.

Mike Maniscalco: [It was] the right decision. Especially with the holidays and the travel schedule, there were people who were in Canada [and it] would have been difficult to get them across the border and home for the holidays.

I have no issue with the league hitting the pause button in the way that they did, especially in those situations because we were in Canada before that, and trust me that was one of the things we were talking about. I got to be home and spend Christmas with my wife, so we had a very quiet Christmas and nothing really out-of-the-ordinary for me [except] that it gave me more time to catch up on reading.

Dan D’Uva: I don’t have an answer for that because it’s a different case for every team. The Golden Knights would have very much been suited to play that game against Colorado, and the game that was postponed against L.A. after the break. They did not have such a high COVID rate where they couldn’t have played the game.

The reason for a lot of the postponements, especially now, has to do with not just COVID problems, but attendance problems. In Canada, they have had so many games that have been postponed because the teams can’t take the financial hit playing the games without fans. Given the number of restrictions in Canada, they just can’t stomach that financial burden because they had to swallow that last year. It was not as though they had a decision like March 2020; this has been more of a case-by-case thing.

What differences were there between the NHL’s pauses in 2020, 2021 and 2022?

Chris King: There’s 2020, which [became] the bubble playoffs. There’s last year, where no fans were in the arenas and then [it transitioned] back to normal in the second half. I would just say the biggest difference in the last two years was obviously last season had no fans in the building at all and built to near capacity, and they got through a truncated season of 56 games. Now we’ve had those long breaks; it’s certainly very different than anything we’ve experienced in the seasons before. Once we got fans back in the building, it felt like normal.

Now you’re looking at an Islanders team playing two games in 24 nights. That’s a ten-day break at the holidays, and an eleven-day break out of their New Year’s win against Edmonton. When they come out of the break, they are playing four times in six nights. It is very different from a year ago. Once it did get started, it went all the way through without these major disruptions, whereas this year, every team has dealt with some kind of disruption.”

Mike Maniscalco: The big thing for me is we didn’t come out of this going “We’ve got to go into a bubble.” Also, we had an abridged season last year where you were only playing seven teams because they broke up the NHL by the divisions, and then of course Canada was its own separate entity.

[This year], we know [the Canes] are going to still see other teams. You’re going to try to keep it as close to normal [as you can] with what’s going on. I don’t think that we’re going into something that we haven’t seen before. If the NHL does need to say there has to be a bubble or put a limit on fans, it’s something that we’ve seen before… At least we have an idea of what it will look like if there are changes that need to be made, whereas the first two lockdowns and pause, we had no idea what was coming next. At least there’s a bit of an idea of what things can look like to move forward depending on how the situation grows.

Canes Corner Roundup: Mike Maniscalco Returns; Canes To Start Season with  Four Alternate Captains - Canes Country

Dan D’Uva: I would not characterize what just happened as a pause. There’s always a break for Christmas. Were they a couple of additional games postponed? Yes. There were other games postponed as well.

What happened in March 2020 [was under] extraordinarily different circumstances. At that time, we, meaning the public, had no idea this was going to turn into a months-long delay. It was thought to be a matter of days or weeks, and then we would return. We had no idea it would turn into the pandemic it became and didn’t know how to handle that as a society.

Now, it’s totally different. We have vaccines; we have booster shots; we have a lot of ways to combat the medical challenges, and the reality is that the NHL has been through this before; [it knows] how to reschedule games given what happened last year.

It seems to be an entirely different circumstance and trying to shut things down because of the unknown, they are shutting things down on a case-by-case basis given the obstacles of either individual teams without enough healthy bodies, the risk of an outbreak, or, in Canada, the financial burden.”

What are some of the precautions you and your broadcast team have taken to ensure you stay healthy and safe?

Chris King: UBS Arena has done a great job. It requires that you’re vaccinated. If you get a chance to come up in the press box, everybody wears their mask — even when we are in our radio booth. That mask stays on pretty much until a minute before [we go on-the-air]. Obviously, you choose not to wear it while you’re broadcasting because it would not sound the same. We have separation between each of us in our brand new booth in the building. I see everybody in the press box completely masked up.

Mike Maniscalco: We’ve got to mask up at all times except for being on the broadcast [and] keep as much social distancing between us and the crew that we work with. Basically all of the protocols that we put in place last year, minus the plexiglass between me and Trip Tracy – the analyst who I work with – because Trip and I have been vaccinated; I’ve been boosted. At least we have that going into this year and knowing that’s where we’re at.

Basically, the same protocols are in place for what we had last year, especially now that things have really escalated with what’s going on with Omicron going around there. It’s still keep your distance, straight-line to the press box, straight-line to my car to get back home, and that’s about it.

Dan D’Uva: The precautions are — first of all, being vaccinated and receiving booster shots. The others would be — wearing masks when inside arenas as much as any other person in society would do. That has been part of the routine for those of us in the NHL’s traveling party.

For myself included, when you are traveling with the team there are protocols you adhere to, and it has been, for the most part, reasonable and in-line with the guidance you might receive from the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] or the Canadian government. For me, the most important thing was to be vaccinated and to receive a booster shot; that was the obvious, most significant thing. Aside from our professional needs and duties, the most important thing is to be healthy as a person — forget about it as a career. God forbid someone should have a serious illness — you would hope that the vaccines and the booster would minimize the health effects of the virus.

Do you believe the NHL will be able to complete its season as scheduled, or do you foresee there being additional delays and/or postponements?

Chris King: I know they’re going to do their best to make up most of these postponements during the Olympic break. For the Islanders, it’s 11 postponements with only two rescheduled [thus far]. I’m sure [NHL Deputy Commissioner] Bill Daly has said they are going to try to get a majority of those games in February, but right now, you’re looking at the end of April as the last scheduled game.

I think they might end up using a couple of days at the start of May just to finish off anything that hasn’t been able to be shoehorned into the schedule. If they have to play a week or two into May, it pushes it out to a week or two to the very end.

Mike Maniscalco: I think that with the way that February has opened up with the NHL and the players not going to Beijing, we will get everything in. They will find a way to get everything in.

Dan D’Uva: I can see that games will be postponed, but I do not foresee a delay in the season itself or the conclusion of the season. That three-week period in February provides a nice buffer for these games to be rescheduled. At some point, the need to get games in will supersede the need to play games in front of fans.

Golden Knights radio voice Dan D'Uva gets the call-up | Las Vegas  Review-Journal
Courtesy: Las Vegas Review-Journal

Right now, they have a buffer, and they have become very good at rescheduling games given the last couple years. My hope would be that any additional postponements would not affect the conclusion of the regular season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

BSM Writers

Twitter Blue Debacle Showcases Company’s Ongoing Concerns

“If you start giving away blue badges to everyone, then it has no value. It’s the equivalent of a currency. if you start printing more, it gets devalued. Same for verified badges.”

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For years, a blue “verified” check mark on Twitter has long been considered a symbol of status. Anyone — entrepreneurs, journalists, business executives — could potentially end up in the same exclusive space as celebrities like Taylor Swift and Tom Brady. 

Perhaps the one quality that the blue check mark represented that had been overlooked was its authenticity stamp. The badge has been used all across social media platforms to signal an account’s authenticity — a verification that recently has proven to be of significant importance to not only people, but brands as well. 

Shortly after Elon Musk’s $44-billion takeover of Twitter, the billionaire swiftly made his mark which, among many things, included a democratization of the app’s verification system. With a $7.99 monthly subscription to Twitter Blue, which launched last year as the company’s first subscription service, users could now possess what had long evaded them: a blue check mark.

“Theoretically, this would have made it easier for some brands or influencers to get verified than it has been in the past,” Galen Clavio, director of undergraduate studies for the Media School at Indiana University Bloomington, wrote in an email about the possible benefits of Twitter Blue’s verification accessibility. 

“From an algorithmic perspective, that would have made sense to pursue under the Twitter setup that everyone had come to know,” he added. 

While perhaps not a surprise to Musk or Twitter executives, everyday people were paying for the newly revamped Twitter Blue to boast their social media clout. Whether Twitter leadership knew it or not, though, those same subscribers took the opportunity to verify themselves using the alias of actual people. 

Very quickly, Twitter Blue created an abundance of impersonators masquerading as verified celebrities and companies. Misinformation was hard to identify, making it tougher to find information in an era already plagued by discrepancies between fact and fiction.

“If you start giving away blue badges to everyone, then it has no value,” Alessandro Bogliari, CEO of the Influencer Marketing Factory, an influencer marketing agency, wrote in an email. “It’s the equivalent of a currency. if you start printing more, it gets devalued. Same for verified badges.”

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A screenshot of a fake account created to appear as pharmaceutical company Eli Lily shows the dangers of allowing anyone to be verified on Twitter.

Shortly after the Twitter Blue re-launch, a tweet was sent from an account using the same logo and name of Eli Lilly, a pharmaceutical company. It read, “We are excited to announce insulin is free now.” The tweet seemed legit — the branding seemed real, as did the company name. It also boasted a blue-check mark, so it had to be true. 

As just one of many misrepresentations that succeeded it, the Eli Lilly tweet was a fake. Even when Twitter finally removed the tweet, more than six hours later, the fraudulent account had more than 1,500 retweets and 10,000 likes. The pharma company’s stock also plummeted $368 a share to $346 a share, reportedly erasing billions in market cap, according to several economic reports. Eli Lilly’s stock price currently sits at roughly $352 as of Nov. 16th.

“I can only imagine the damage a tweet like that made for the company, its employees, stakeholders, shareholders and anyone really related to their offering,” Bogliari said. “Some were able to tweet from their official accounts and restore it a bit. Others, I imagine, used PR and reputation firms to get to a solution fast. But it’s not that easy for all of them… for others it could be potentially a damage so big they won’t be able to survive, not just in terms of market cap/stock value, but also in terms of reputation and customers love.”

The verification mishap affected not only Eli Lilly’s reputability and profitability, but could also spell trouble for Twitter’s revenue stream.

“It’s making it really easy for advertisers to say: ‘You know what, I don’t need to be here anymore,’ and walk away,” Jenna Golden, who previously ran Twitter’s political and advocacy ad sales team, said in an interview with The Washington Post. “People are not just providing inaccurate information but damaging information, with the ability to look legitimate. That is just not a stable place for a brand to invest.”

Sports personalities were also hurt by the preponderance of fake users across Twitter. Basketball star LeBron James trended on the platform after a tweet from someone with the user handle, @KINGJamez, claimed that the 37-year-old was leaving the Los Angeles Lakers to join his former club, the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

Adam Schefter, a notable football analyst at ESPN, also trended after someone with the user handle, @AdamSchefterNOT, revealed that Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels lost his job. While the user handle clearly indicates that it didn’t come from the actual Adam Schefter, the fact that it was quote tweeted could have led many people to assume it was really Schefter, since many were unlikely to take the time to click and confirm the tweet — and tweeter’s — validity.

These are just a few specific instances where, while a more open verification system could have helped Twitter users, the idea did not lead to a successful implementation.

“Being verified would have given those brands more credibility and be marked as the official brand — impersonation happens also for smaller brands and not just for Fortune 100 companies,” Bogliari said. “So the idea was theoretically good — I would say only for brands and certain individuals and not just for everyone… documents and proof (are still) required but the execution showed us all the flaws.”

Verification issues aside, Twitter faces an uncertain future under Musk’s leadership. As much as 50% of the company’s 7,500 employees predating Musk’s ownership have been laid off under his tenure. The billionaire also revealed that Twitter’s cost-cutting methods are a result of the company losing upwards of $4 million daily. He’s even announced potential bankruptcy if Twitter doesn’t correct its financial woes. 

“I see the Twitter Blue controversy as one of several items that are likely to just make brands and creators look elsewhere in the social media landscape,” Clavio said. “Twitter offers minimal exposure for creators and brands to the public when compared to other networks, and a much higher risk of doing or saying something that can cause a crisis.”

As more people grow skeptical about Twitter, alternatives have started to emerge. More people are visiting platforms like Discord, Reddit, even Tumblr. Others are joining Mastodon, a free and open-source microblogging site that has drawn comparisons to Twitter for its timeline of short updates arranged chronologically rather than algorithmically. 

As recently as Nov. 12th, Mastodon boasted approximately 6.63 million accounts, a 17% increase from the 5.65 million users it had on October 28th. 

From internal struggles to increased competition, Musk inherited a Twitter that, for better or worse, might be on a continual spiral to irrelevancy. 

“It’s clear that the Twitter platform is pretty fractured right now,” Clavio said. “At the end of it all, I think a lot of brands will just opt out of having a presence on Twitter, paid or otherwise. It’s just not big enough of a platform to justify the potential negative exposure.”

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BSM Writers

Christian Arcand Returns To Where It All Started At WEEI

“Going to WEEI was a no-brainer for me. I started there. That’s my radio home.”

Derek Futterman

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Since the turn of the century alone, Boston has hosted 12 ticker tape parades to celebrate championships. Christian Arcand has had the opportunity to experience that success firsthand, initially as a diehard Boston sports fan and then as a voice of the fan. Now as he begins his second stint at the WEEI — this time as a producer and weekend host — he aims to ensure a seamless transition for both the Merloni, Fauria, & Mego afternoon drive show and his career in sports media.

Returning to a station where his Boston radio career began, Arcand enters the same building where he started his last sports media job with 98.5 The Sports Hub. Once the station moved to Dorchester, Massachusetts, WEEI moved its studios to the location – and it is where its shows are broadcast from today. Arcand’s time at 98.5 The Sports Hub ended in being laid off last month; despite that though, going to work evokes feelings of nostalgia and déjà vu.

“Walking back in there for the first time was pretty wild,” Arcand said, who returned to WEEI earlier this week. “I was laid off from The Sports Hub and it was a big surprise to me and to, I think, everybody that [it] happened.”

After graduating from the University of Colorado, Arcand moved back east to work for WDIS AM 1170 in Norfolk, Massachusetts, which he says isn’t really an option for those entering the business today.

“These little stations are all gone,” Arcand expressed. “Those were pipelines to places like WEEI and WFAN and other places in the area. You’d work in Connecticut or you’d work in Rhode Island or whatever and these places all just disappeared.”

Just over a year later, Arcand made the move to ESPN New Hampshire, initially co-hosting Christian and King with Tom King, a sportswriter for the Nashua Telegraph covering the New England Patriots, Boston Bruins and other college and high school sports. The show was broadcast during the midday time slot from noon to 3 p.m. and sought to entertain the audience while informing them about the day’s action.

After nearly four years on the air, Arcand transitioned to work with Pete Sheppard, a former member of the heralded WEEI program The Big Show hosted by Glenn Ordway, on Arcand and Sheppard. Additionally, Arcand was named as the show’s executive producer, meaning that while the show was going on, he was often focused on many different tasks. Once Christian and King was brought back, he continued working in this dual role before the show ended in January 2017, six months before the format flipped from ESPN-branded sports to oldies.

“It was a lot – cutting up all the audio you want to play, then playing it during the show, then cutting the commercial [and] trying to answer the phone,” Arcand said. “It was this whole thing, but I really loved it; we had a lot of fun up there.”

While Arcand currently works at WEEI, it is his second stint with the station – and this time, he is working in a brand new role. He initially joined the station in 2013 as a sports anchor and co-host of the evening program Planet Mikey featuring Mike Adams. Shortly thereafter, he helped launch WEEI Late Night, airing from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. where he became known in the Boston marketplace going on the air after the conclusion of Boston Red Sox live game broadcasts.

Unlike his time in New Hampshire though, he was solely hosting and not producing – requiring him to adjust to not having as much oversight regarding the inner workings of each program.

“I’m not a control freak, but I remember [thinking], ‘Wow, this is different. I’m not running the board anymore. I’m not playing my own stuff,’” Arcand said. “….That was kind of jarring at first [but] I ended up working with a lot of great producers and I still am today.”

Mike Thomas, who currently serves as the senior vice president and market manager for Audacy Boston, was integral in building 98.5 The Sports Hub from its launch in August 2009. He was responsible for signing Arcand away from WEEI to join the brand as co-host of The Adam Jones Show airing weeknights.

Working alongside show producer Jeremy Conley, he gained an in-depth understanding of what it entails to produce a sports talk radio show in a major market, helping broaden his knowledge of the craft and position him for his current job with WEEI.

“I really had a good opportunity to learn from some of, I think, the best [producers] in the business,” Arcand said. “….It’s cool being a fan of these guys and then getting to work with them and learn from them and all that other stuff…. It’s really a job that requires a lot, and the guys who are really good at it, I think, are just top-notch.”

Over the last several years, 98.5 The Sports Hub has earned massive wins across the Nielsen ratings, recently finishing number one in the summer book across all dayparts in the men 25-54 demographic. Days later though, the station’s parent company Beasley Media Group made budget cuts, resulting in Arcand and Toucher and Rich producer Mike Lockhart’s employment being terminated.

While Lockhart has since been re-hired after Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb lobbied for the decision to be reversed, Arcand was in the job market quickly mulling over his future in the industry. In fact, it was reported that Arcand was on the verge of signing a three-year contract that would have kept him at the station before the termination of his employment.

“I was so shocked that it had happened and it was sort of hard to deal with it,” Arcand expressed. “Then I was angry about it and then I sort of channeled that into, ‘Okay, what am I going to do next here?’ You start thinking, ‘Is this it? Is this the end of the career? Are you going to even continue doing this?,’ and that was a thought I had a couple of times.”

Arcand’s abrupt departure from 98.5 The Sports Hub and Boston sports radio was short-lived though, as there was a substantial market for his services. In the end, he communicated with Thomas and WEEI operations manager Ken Laird, utilizing industry connections and his own versatility to return to the place where he began working professionally in Boston.

“Seeing that WEEI was in the market for someone on-air and to produce [the afternoon] show, I was right there and willing to try out something I hadn’t done in a while,” Arcand said. “It was a no-brainer, really. Going to WEEI was a no-brainer for me. I started there. That’s my radio home.”

As someone once again “new” to the station, Arcand is looking to foster a working chemistry with afternoon hosts Lou Merloni, Christian Fauria and Meghan Ottolini, along with radio producer Ryan Garvin. Arcand enters the role replacing show executive producer Tyler Devitte who left the station to pursue other opportunities and feels that the composition of the show is unique in the sports radio landscape. In short, it gives them an opportunity to further differentiate themselves from other afternoon programs across multiple platforms of dissemination.

“It’s an interesting show because Lou and Christian are both ex-jocks,” Arcand explained. “It’s rare that you sort of see shows where it’s just two guys like that and it was just them for a while but then with [Glenn] Ordway and then they brought in Meghan [Ottolini].”

Arcand had been listening to the afternoon drive program long before the offer to return to WEEI was made to him and now looks to offer his insight and expertise when necessary. He does not want to enter his new role with insolence or by coming off as dogmatic when expressing his opinions about the show.

“I’m sort of taking the approach of observing more than maybe I would in a couple of weeks from now or something,” he said. “I want to sort of make sure I get the rhythm of the show and the clock and everything like that. Those are all things that you have to be more aware of when you’re behind the glass as opposed to on the air.”

Arcand will be hosting a solo radio program on WEEI every Saturday afternoon, reminiscent of Sunday Service, a weekend show he used to host on 98.5 The Sports Hub. He is excited to be able to return to the Boston airwaves and connect with his audience once a week to bring them the latest sports news and entertaining talk – all while bringing his trademarks of sarcasm and congeniality.

“I’m really comfortable just sitting in the room, cracking the mic and talking with the callers or putting out my points and getting to certain things that I want to touch on,” Arcand said. “….I think my style is one that you just sort of tune in and you’re hanging out with me for a couple of hours.”

Ultimately, Christian Arcand has made the move back to what he refers to as his radio home. As he concludes his first week back at WEEI, he is focused on producing the afternoon drive program and complimenting that with his solo show on Saturdays, the first of which will take place tomorrow from noon to 2 p.m. Through all of his endeavors, he will talk about Boston sports with his listeners no matter the season, giving them a platform to engage with the hyperlocal coverage.

“Being back at WEEI is something that I’m really happy about,” Arcand expressed. “I was excited to get started, [and] now that I’m there, I’m excited to see where we can take this show.”

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What Twitter Alternatives Exist For Sports Media?

Sports Twitter is a major vehicle that has helped establish the platform’s reputation for accurate and authentic up to the minute information.

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The reality of Twitter dying as a platform was looked at as a bit hyperbolic when Elon Musk first took over the social media network. Now though, it is slowly coming closer and closer to potential reality.

Musk has been on a quest to salvage Twitter’s economic stability but has done so in an irrational and unplanned fashion. The actions he has taken include publicly criticizing his employees and firing them after pushback and firing essential engineers who literally keep the platform from crashing. Developers have even warned Twitter users with two factor authentication to either remove the feature or to remain logged in because the function that handles that process no longer works.

Sports Twitter is a major vehicle that has helped establish the platform’s reputation for accurate and authentic up to the minute information. It has helped establish the careers of insiders such as Adrian Wojnarowski, Shams Charania and Adam Schefter. In case Twitter does actually come to an end, what should reporters who rely so much on the platform do?

Establish an email list through Substack

With permission from their employers, I would suggest starting a newsletter list that they would be able to carry with them in case they decided to leave their employer at some point (all three of the mentioned journos recently signed extensions). Posting on Substack through a mobile device is just as easy as posting on Twitter and it gives users an almost similar experience to what they had with using Twitter in the sense that they could have their email notifications turned on and they could interact with other basketball lovers through Substack’s comments section.

Create a live blog that always exists on your employer’s page

A running page of information that was sponsored and existed on ESPN or Stadium’s page would make digestible, quick hit commentary monetizable for the networks that employ Shams, Woj and Schefter. It brings people back to their employer’s page and establishes even more of a bond between consumers and apps/websites – a connection that has been taken away from many due to the existence of social media.

Establish a Mastodon server

With over a million users, Mastodon has become the closest thing to a Twitter alternative that’s available. Even though signing up for an account is a little confusing and the ability to search for unique users and takes isn’t fully established in comparison to Twitter – Mastodon has a similar look and feel to Elon’s platform and it gives employers more control over who is and isn’t interacting with their employees and what they are able to see. It would make it easier on ESPN or Stadium’s part to constantly promote links to their pages for viewers and readers to consume.

It’s the closest thing that is available to establishing your own social media network without the startup costs, hiring of engineers and figuring out tech issues. An advertising mechanism hasn’t been established yet but ESPN or Stadium could be in the forefront (because of the credibility they bring to the table) of establishing the revenue side of things alongside Mastodon.

Stick it out with Elon

NBC Universal’s advertising head recently told AdAge that NBC is sticking it out with Twitter. Twitter’s ad program has faced setback since Elon’s takeover but it is still much more established and streamlined that anything else available out there that is similar to Twitter. She also said that Twitter is the biggest host of NBC content on the internet (besides NBC owned platforms of course).

If a major company like NBC is standing with Twitter and if most major advertisers haven’t left yet, maybe sports reporters should also stay put for now. Twitter is not a startup. Despite the disarray we read about everyday, it’s still an established company that is up and running. We are all using Twitter itself to talk smack about its mismanagement but the reality is we are all still using Twitter. Even those who have gone away from the platform still come back more often than not to check in on what is happening directly on Twitter.

Maybe the grass will eventually be greener on the other side and Elon will have Twitter on more established ground. Maybe Elon files for bankruptcy and sells it to bankers who create an environment of stability for the company.

The reality is there is no other platform as good at real time reaction than Twitter so maybe sticking it out and keeping status quo is the best thing for everyone to do. See you later on Twitter (follow me @JMKTVShow).

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