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Willie Colon Fits Into Media Roles He Never Expected

“Evan and Babs already had a fanbase. They were already established in the radio world. People know them. A lot of celebrities and entertainers are well aware of who they are.”

Derek Futterman

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The careers of professional athletes are finite in that there is only so much the human body can withstand until time eventually expires. Some athletes are given the fortune of being able to choose when to retire, but for others, injuries and other internal and external factors often play a hand in the decision. For former offensive guard Willie Colon, his career ended after his age-32 season due to a sprained MCL that landed him on injured reserve, limiting him to just six games.

Before suffering the knee injury as a member of the New York Jets, Colon was playing for the team that drafted him – the Pittsburgh Steelers – where he put together productive seasons but battled through other ailments. Those included a torn Achilles prior to the start of the 2010 season and a torn triceps muscle in his first game returning to action in 2011, meaning he only played one game in two years.

Colon, who was born in the Bronx, N.Y., experienced various highs and lows throughout his decade-long stint in the National Football League. Broadcasting was not initially in the playbook for Colon, as he had never collected experience in the field nor did he think he would be forced to officially hang up his spikes in 2017.

As an interdisciplinary studies major at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Colon split his time between attending classes and playing on a scholarship on the school’s now-defunct football team. During his final injury as a professional athlete, Colon contributed to local sports coverage on SportsNet New York, a regional sports network in the New York metropolitan area. While he was not earnest about working in sports media, his wife persuaded him to take broadcasting more seriously once retirement became a legitimate possibility.

“I was still very bitter about how I left the field. If it was up to me, I’d still be playing but my knees had other plans if you will so I was forced to walk away from the game,” Colon said. “Nevertheless, I was meeting a lot of important and successful people in media who… kind of put that battery in my back and it was like ‘Hey man, if you just start working at it, start doing things, be willing to do spots, be willing to dive into the business, you can make a career out of this.’”

Colon got his start in the business in San Francisco, when he and Julie Stewart-Binks auditioned to appear on Fox Sports’ network programming alongside Jason Whitlock. Neither Colon nor Stewart-Binks received the role and both returned to New York City to progress in their careers and pursue other opportunities. During his early days in sports media, Colon appeared on 98.7 ESPN New York, a traditional sports talk radio station, to discuss football and other sports throughout the day, and also did live hits for other west coast stations.

After some time had passed, Stewart-Binks called Colon to tell him about her new job with Barstool Sports, a digital media company with content spanning both the worlds of sports and entertainment, and persuaded him to audition to join. While he had no prior knowledge about the company, he felt joining a digital media platform would give him the ability to be more authentic with his audience.

“I had never heard of it,” Colon said. “For me, it just sounded like an opportunity for me to kind of be more ‘me,’ because when you’re doing ESPN, you’re doing more traditional radio [and are] kind of boxed in. Yeah, you can have a personality, but there’s only so far you can go with your commentary or what you want to say or how you want to go about things.”

Following an audition that took place with Stewart-Binks and Francis Ellis, Barstool Sports President Dave Portnoy extended an offer to Colon to join the brand. By mid-January 2018, Colon was officially added on a brand new morning show called Barstool Breakfast, airing across Barstool Media’s broadcast platforms and SiriusXM Channel 85.

Colon took a leap of faith joining Barstool Sports and was a fixture on the morning show during the three years it was on the air, along with show producer Kevin Rafferty (“Wayne Jetski”) and newer co-hosts Patrick McAuliffe (“Pat”), Michael McCarthy (“Large”) and Peterson Zaha (“Zah”). In fact, signing on with the brand was something that people around him were not completely sold on, questioning its premise and the overall prudence of the decision.

“I just jumped at the chance,” Colon said. “It came with a warning label. A lot of people who knew Barstool and how Barstool went about its business were telling me to approach with caution…. We had a really, really good nucleus of fun, in-your-face [and] opinionated [talk] – and it was just great all-around and I loved it.”

While he was a member of Barstool Sports, Colon and McCarthy shared a close relationship based on the similarities in their backgrounds. They are both natives of New York City born in the Bronx who went to Catholic high schools and consider family among their core values. The chemistry Colon was able to kindle with McCarthy on the air enhanced the sound of the show and made it more relatable and casual for listeners, especially those aligned with the company’s target demographics.

“One of the greatest compliments I got working with ‘Large’ on Barstool Breakfast was ‘Every time we listen to you guys, we feel like we’re tapping into a conversation between two best friends,’” Colon said, “and it felt like that, honestly. We had our ups and downs, and we went through things together, but I honestly believe we had each other’s backs.”

Joining Barstool was indicative of a liberating feeling for Colon in terms of topic selection, as he escaped to a form of aural content creation and dissemination free of Federal Communications Commission regulation. During the time he was on traditional radio, Colon was cognizant of the effects his words could have on the station and made sure to carefully express his opinions on certain topics.

“You can have a personality, you just can’t piss off the sponsors,” Colon expressed. “There’s people who are paying the bills. Disney… owns ESPN, so you have to walk a fine line. They want you to cut onions, but they also don’t want you to go to the point where you’ll jeopardize any sponsorships or say anything that’s really going to stir up some stuff.”

While with Barstool Sports, Colon participated in a variety of podcasts, some of which were focused on football and sports while others were more centered around commentary centered around larger cultural issues. He left the company in 2021 and eventually signed on with SiriusXM Mad Dog Sports Radio to join a bonafide duo in Evan Cohen and Mike Babchik on Morning Men. Since his start on the show in September 2021, Colon has sought to seamlessly slot in as a co-host without disrupting the previous chemistry between veterans Cohen and Babchik.

“Evan and Babs already had a fanbase. They were already established in the radio world. People know them. A lot of celebrities and entertainers are well aware of who they are,” Colon said. “Me getting the nod to be a part of their show, I was only apprehensive because it wasn’t a matter of ‘How do I fit in?’, it was a matter of ‘Do I fit in to where I don’t want to hold these guys back?’ because they had so many things going on for themselves.”

Cohen is a traditionalist who is more erudite in nature with profound sports knowledge and the ability to rapidly perform calculated analyses to formulate a cohesive opinion. Conversely, Babchik is, according to Colon, a “sex, drums, rock ‘n’ roll” type of personality with a great sense of humor and high level of showmanship he brings to the air each show. Finding the medium to which Colon could slot in and avoid disrupting the engrossing divergence imbued within the show was essential for his assimilation and the program’s sustained success.

“If anything, my mindset was like, ‘Alright, I’m the jock/dude. I’m a man’s man, I’m a guy’s guy,’” Colon said. “That’s pretty much my angle. I’m obviously a former Super Bowl champion [who] played for two great organizations, but I’m a man’s man… and I’m a family man. I have two children now and I’m married. I’m the all-American male, if you will, on top of being a guy who had a hell of a career in the NFL.”

A common criticism of some former athletes beginning careers in sports media is in their inability to relate to the average fan, sometimes disclosing esoteric knowledge not understandable to consumers. Having played professional sports and expressing one’s opinions on such topics usually heightens the credibility of a program or media outlet though, and it is an asset Colon brought to Morning Men that was previously absent from the show.

The challenge for a preponderance of newer sports media personalities is in being able to relate to an audience composed of a broad range of listeners with varying levels of investment in the program. For Colon though, playing professional sports has given him the confidence and determination to adapt under pressure in the number one media market in the country.

“I think what sports has done for me is [being able] to be fearless in the moment,” he said. “When you’re on-air and when you’re in front of the camera, there’s a big sense of vulnerability because once you open your mouth, you’re telling people who you are. I try to be conscious of that and not try to be somewhat bullish in my approach.”

One particular criticism that has come from some sectors of listeners of the show is Colon’s sporadic use of foul language. Although it bothers certain listeners, he believes that talking in this manner sometimes is the most optimal means to get his point across, something he would not be able to do if he were broadcasting on federally-regulated airwaves.

“I’ve always been told [that] people who are honest curse,” Colon explained. “They tell you exactly what it is and they tell you exactly how they feel. However, you have to be mindful that there are people who are listening to you who may have loved ones in the car and they don’t want their four-year-old to develop a curse word. If they don’t want to digest that, then they’re turning you off – so now, they’re not listening to you.”

As a former professional athlete, Colon has friends still playing in the NFL and those who are retired, along with relationships with other coaches and team personnel. In his role now though, it occasionally becomes necessary to criticize someone with whom he has a connection, and it was an aspect of the industry that initially dismayed him from pursuing a post-playing career in the industry.

Jerome Bettis, a former member of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pro Football Hall of Fame running back currently hosting an eponymously-named television show on WPXI in Pittsburgh was asked for advice by Colon on discussing situations with some players and personnel. It changed Colon’s outlook and espoused to him a new way of thinking about this type of commentary.

“One of the things [he said] that I thought was very true and trite was… ‘You never talk about the player. You talk about the situation and you talk about how you would respond in that situation or how they should have handled the situation,’” Colon said of Bettis’ advice to him. “Any time you directly talk about a player – especially when somebody’s close to you who you know is going to get back to it and they may have some hard feelings about it – you don’t want to necessarily dig at them about their character or anything about them.”

Some media programs today, whether they be in television or radio, remain focused on discussing players individually and it has led certain athletes still actively playing to strive for their own voices to be heard. In response, they have launched podcasts and other multimedia content that allows them to rewrite the narratives being propagated about them, whether they are true or false. This “new media” movement, especially popularized among athletes within the National Basketball Association, gives fans primary sources regarding certain information and demonstrates the revolution technology and frequent intersociality has instantiated among consumers.

“Now [there are] a lot of programs [that] kind of want you to say, ‘Hey Player A, this is how I directly feel about them.’ You have to be careful or you can just be bold,” Colon articulated. “….It’s all about what you’re comfortable with at the end of the day. I try to do both – I have no problems talking about a player individually. However, I understand that sometimes it’s more about the situation and context that has to be explained rather than who he is as a person.”

Colon had a positive relationship with the media throughout his NFL career, understanding their job and his own role in supplying them answers. Now being on the other side of the microphone, he knows of the difficulties professional athletes face when being faced with questions, some of which they are hesitant to answer. Yet just because the media may be undertaking a task with which one may not be comfortable, it does not mean they should behave towards them in an adverse way.

“I tried to tell a lot of young ball players that you shouldn’t treat the media like the enemy,” Colon said. “If anything, when you treat anyone like the enemy, you give them the power. I feel especially in the New York market even with my own team in the New York Jets, we put so much attention [on] what the media is going to say and how they’re going to react to certain things that happened within or around the building or even on the field.”

Nonetheless, there are occasions where interactions with the media can have the opposite effect they are intended to by the players, making the unintentional creation of embellished and superficial headlines all the more feasible. Colon was aware of the consequences his words could have on him and his team during his playing days and avoided falling into those traps. Instead, he opted to focus more on his play on the field, as he thought if it was exceeding expectations, there would be little if any negative commentary towards him overall.

“Too many times young athletes, because they’re asked a question or if they’re confronted with a trap question that could become a nugget or something viral for them to say… feel like they need to say something,” Colon said. “The player always has the power because the person trying to get the report is literally asking for you to say something, and you can say ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’”

Colon’s sports media career quickly took him beyond the radio studio when he joined SportsNet New York in 2017, the regional sports network he contributed to towards the end of his playing career and official television home of the New York Jets. He is a frequent analyst appearing across studio programming such as Jets Game Plan and Jets Post Game Live, providing his insight on upcoming matchups and completed games. Radio and television, while they are both traditional platforms of content creation and subsequent dissemination, possess stark differences in terms of the workflow of hosts, analysts and on-air talent in general.

“[In] TV… you talk in sound bites. You just have to deliver the meat and potatoes of whatever you’re trying to say – and it has to be quick because there’s obviously commercial breaks and segments that cut up everything,” Colon said. “You have to know what you’re trying to say and get it out as real and clearly as possible.”

Radio is more difficult than working in television, Colon affirms, because on-air hosts rely on their voices as the primary form of entertainment they transmit to the audience. As a result, it is essential one has a certain aural presence about them in order to captivate listeners and keep them coming back for more.

“You can be as animated as you want to, but if you can’t necessarily get that out via words coming out of your mouth, then it makes for bad radio,” Colon said. “There’s a lot of tricks to the trade that you have to learn and there’s a lot of things that come with radio other than just picking up a mic and just talking about what you’re willing to talk about.”

Outside of sports media, Colon is involved in numerous other projects that are keeping him busy since he exited the playing field for the final time. For example, Colon is the owner and operator of the Bricks & Hops beer garden in the Bronx, N.Y. and also enjoys golfing and fishing in his free time.

Moreover, he hopes to become fluent in Spanish, learn a form of martial arts, lose weight and focus on being both a good father and good husband. On top of that, he wants to continue to work in both radio and television and is looking to become a gameshow host similar to Michael Strahan, who currently hosts The $100,000 Pyramid on ABC, or Steve Harvey, longtime host of the syndicated program Family Feud.

“When you talk to people about how they evolve, they can only address their bank account,” Colon said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean you changed, that means you earned a lot more money. I want to evolve.”

Former athletes entering into the world of sports media garner credibility to large sectors of the viewing audience because they have firsthand experience playing professional sports. However, that ethos can quickly diminish if they are not able to effectively express their knowledge to an audience.

Colon often thinks about Tedy Bruschi, a three-time Super Bowl champion and current NFL analyst on ESPN and how he was able to assimilate himself into the industry. Reflecting back on his first year on the air, Bruschi was not satisfied with his performance and decided to act more resolutely towards the profession so he would be able to deliver viewers the best product possible.

“He said, ‘You know what? If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this,’” Colon said of Bruschi. “He showed up with a briefcase. He showed up with a suit and tie and he took on the craft and he attacked it. That’s why he’s good on-air and that’s why he’s good at what he does right now – because he took the role seriously.”

Willie Colon is willing to put in the time and effort that it takes to make a name for himself in sports media and he has no plans of slowing down. Improving on a daily basis in both television and radio is on the front page of his playbook, and he knows that operating off of his résumé will only take him so far. Instead, it takes establishing legitimacy within the sports media industry itself to genuinely succeed in a post-playing career no matter the medium.

“If you’ve been blessed enough to wear a gold jacket, meaning the Hall of Fame, they love you in the beginning,” Colon said regarding large sports media networks. “After a while, you’ve got to understand that you… probably [have] a two to three-year period where you can ride off your name and then it becomes: ‘Okay, what else do you have?’ They’re kind of over the allure and over the mystique of you [and] you’ve got to put in the work.”

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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BSM Writers

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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