Is this thing on?
For those of you who are not already aware, I am pleased to introduce, or very likely re-introduce, myself as the Managing Editor of WVSportsNow and leader of all of the WVSN properties within the Sports Now family. Below you will read the announcement I previously put on Twitter, but I wanted to add to the site to make sure everyone, especially all of Mountaineer Nation, was aware as we head into the rebirth of the Backyard Brawl and a very important season.
Rewind 4 years ago. At that time, I was at a crossroads. My contract was coming to an end with the Trib, and for several reasons (no bad blood at all), it appeared like that chapter in my life was going to end. That was a tough pill to swallow back then because the experience of having the backing of a major established brand, hosting my own show for a legit outlet and helping to run a station (what was then called TribLiveRadio) was all a dream scenario and I didn’t want to stop doing it. Was it a perfect situation? Not at all. But was I disappointed it was something I wouldn’t be doing anymore? Absolutely.
Now the Trib was not all I was doing then. I did have another steady job in media at that time and other freelance gigs. Yes, I was busy as hell. I was not going to be out of the industry or even out of work, but anyone who knew me and my career progression, knew my position with TLR was what I really wanted to be doing. Nothing against any prior media job I had, and I definitely had “big break” opportunities prior (my time at WPXI for example), but they weren’t the end goal. What many people may not know is I really put energy into leaving the Pittsburgh market then and starting new elsewhere. I spent time networking elsewhere, had serious talks with people who could’ve helped make that happen, received offers, I was mentally gone. Both professionally and also personally it felt I should leave.
Now enter Pittsburgh Sports Now.
Alan Saunders, who back then I only knew from Twitter and having had him on as a guest a couple times on shows I was hosting, hit me up to inquire about my interest in helping to run what was going to be the broadcast side of their family of networks. That would be called Pittsburgh Sports Live. While that did seem like a cool opportunity, I knew building a brand is never easy. This also happened while I was falling for my now wife. Something in me said go along for this journey with them and stay in Pittsburgh. So I decided to stop trying to get out and joined the PSN family.
As the PSN family grew, so did my role and opportunities. One of those opportunities was the birth of Steelers Now. While I had already covered the Steelers and held a credential for a few years with multiple outlets, SN would grow into my true in with the top franchise and team in the market. SN went from a new brand, even though within an established network, to among a small chunk of outlets invited whenever Art Rooney II would talk to the media. Now after covering training camps, several full seasons, a big Hall of Fame induction weekend and tons more, my time putting energy into SN has come to an end. And for anyone wondering, this is not about any ownership change that includes that site. I was already planning to give up my season press pass and not cover games in person etc this year due to feeling I was needed at home more for my most important role yet: dad. I could pretty much do all of my other work at home anyway.
Now don’t get it twisted. I am not leaving the Sports Now family. My focus will now shift to a place my heart has been since deciding where to attend college – covering West Virginia University athletics. I will now move to a role as Managing Editor of our WVSportsNow site. It remains to be seen if I do this by joining our coverage in person at games or not, but I will lead the direction of the outlet. In addition to this role, I will still host shows that stretch well beyond just WV talk for whatever the Sports Now team offers broadcast wise for video and podcasts. This will likely include continuing Mike Drop, Mike’d Up and possibly starting another show I can’t speak on yet but am trying to make happen.
In closing, I am not going away, just shifting gears focus wise. A colleague once called me relentless. I am. I embrace that, even if it wasn’t intended as a compliment. A big thanks for the continued trust and support from Mike Vukovcan, and a special shout-out to the previously mentioned Alan Saunders for everything he’s taught me and for being the hardest working reporter in the entire damn game.
Stay tuned. I also feel a big “LET’S GOOOO!” is needed for WVU fans.