Arash Markazi Utilizing New Media Methods For ‘The Sporting Tribune’ – Barrett Sports Media

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“Is there a different way we can connect with a younger fan base? Is there a way that we can have events and watch parties when the team is on the road?”
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As someone who has worked for Sports Illustrated, ESPN and the Los Angeles Times, Arash Markazi knows traditional media.
But in the next act of his career, Markazi is looking to conquer the new media frontier and bring a different type of coverage to the West Coast.
That’s why he launched The Sporting Tribune in late summer of this year. The web outlet covers all sports in Southern California, Las Vegas, and Hawaii at thesportingribune.com. The launch of the brand, two months ago, was attended by Lakers owner Jeanie Buss. That’s not a bad start!
Barrett Sports Media caught up with Markazi this week by both phone and e-mail to learn more about the venture. (Some of the answers combine answers from the phone and the e-mail to similar questions).
BSM: How do you describe The Sporting Tribune when you tell people about it?
AM: It’s a platform where we want to tell stories in a unique way. I’m often asked why we chose Southern California, Las Vegas and Hawaii as our coverage region. There are a couple of reasons. The first is that the broadcast area for our regional sports networks such as Spectrum SportsNet, SportsNet LA, Bally Sports West and Bally Sports SoCal is Southern California, Las Vegas and Hawaii, and second, our daily radio show – The Arash Markazi Show presented by The Sporting Tribuneis on The Mightier 1090 ESPN Radio in Southern California, 98.5 The Fan in Las Vegas and the Hawaii Sports Radio Network 95.1 FM and 760 AM in Hawaii.
So we wanted to figure out a way to cover sports in the market in a unique way and we’re just beginning that process now, working with reporters, trying to figure out how best to tell the story. I came from a traditional journalism background and that usually meant a print story, a game story, or a notebook. I think now when you’re looking at 2022 and beyond, I think that’s a podcast, that’s a YouTube video, a Twitter Spaces, a TikTok and social media. I mean there’s a lot of different ways we can tell a story.
BSM: What is The Sporting Tribune in its best form? What is it in your vision? Do you see it as The Athletic with more digital offerings?
AM: I really think what we’re trying to do is build a connection with the fan base and build a connection with the community as well. I think what The Athletic did extremely well was hire established beat reporters who had been working at newspapers and had been covering teams in a certain way.
We’re trying to be a little bit more creative here in saying we’re not just going come into a market and hire the established beat reporter. Is there a different way we can connect with a younger fan base? Is there a way that we can have events and watch parties when the team is on the road? I mean, that’s why I really wanted to focus on a market where our show is already on the airwaves, but also, it’s really important for us to build that community and build that connection with the fan base.
We’re not just trying to come in here and say, ‘Hey, read our coverage behind a pay wall’, and that’s it. I mean, we really want to not only cover a team, but have a Twitter Space and have a Q and A, have a watch party, have different events where the fans can connect with our journalists.
BSM: Who are you hiring to be the faces of the outlet?
AM: We have hired not only veteran journalists with decades of experience in each market but also younger journalists who grew up in the region and organically built a connection with the fan bases of the teams they cover.
I’m writing columns from Southern California after covering the region for the past 20 years. Steve Carp is writing columns from Las Vegas. He was with the Las Vegas Sun and the Las Vegas Review-Journal for 30 years. Nick Abramo, who was with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser for 20 years is writing columns from Hawaii.
I’m most excited to see our younger journalists grow with us and build on the connection they have with the fanbases. We have Blake Harris on the Dodgers, Ryan Ward on the Lakers, Fernando Ramirez on the Chargers, Joey Linn on the Clippers, Taylor Blake Ward on the Lakers, Russell Morgan on the Kings, Jake Rudolph on the Ducks, Ryan Sakamoto on the Raiders, Michael Duarter on the Rams, Nick Hamilton on the WNBA and Chandrima Chatterjee on MLS.
BSM: Are you looking to dominate the main sports scene or are you looking to expand out to undercovered sports as well?
AM: I think it’s a little bit of both. I think we can’t be in the market and not cover the Lakers and the Dodgers and the significant teams, but I also think it’s important for us to kind of cover the teams that are not well covered. Not just the colleges, but I mean, hockey in this market is just not well covered.
From a traditional newspaper perspective, for example, there is no full-time beat reporter for the Kings. You’re talking about a Kings team that has won two Stanley Cups within the past 10 years. There is no full-time beat reporter for that team, so we’re going to do our best to be at all their home games, to be at all their home practices.
And the reporter that have covering the Kings (Morgan) is a new reporter, but there’s not a Kings fan who’s on social media that hasn’t heard of him… He hosts these Twitter Spaces after the games, and there’ll be 300, 400, 500 people there.
BSM: What’s the next steps for The Sporting Tribune?
AM: We are still such a new company. We launched the site two months ago, but I’ve got to be honest, the launch was more like a soft launch. We kind of just wanted to get things up and going. We had a launch party that Jeanie Buss attended, which was very cool.
We’re a very new company, so we’re still in the point where we’re trying to hire folks, we’re trying to look at different ways to tell stories, trying to grow our footprint, and trying to grow our brand.
And an open plug here: [email protected]. If there is a journalist out there who kind of likes what we’re doing and likes what we’re about, we would love to talk to them.

Brady Farkas is a sports radio professional with 5+ years of experience as a Program Director, On-Air Personality, Assistant Program Director and Producer in Burlington, VT and Albany, NY. He’s well versed in content creation, developing ideas to generate ratings and revenue, working in a team environment, and improving and growing digital content thru the use of social media, audio/video, and station websites. His primary goal is to host a daily sports talk program for a company/station that is dedicated to serving sports fans. You can find him on Twitter @WDEVRadioBrady and reach him by email at [email protected]
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“If you would have told me this five years ago I just don’t know how I would have believed it, for a lot of different reasons. It’s fabulous it’s happening.”
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The single-best social media post I’ve seen this year from a sports radio station is pinned at the top of ESPN 1000’s Twitter page. If you haven’t seen it for yourself, go check out what the folks in Chicago did to announce their station will be the home for the Bears starting in 2023. It’s fantastic work that celebrates a huge opportunity for ESPN 1000. Carmen DeFalco realizes the significance of the new deal his station just inked for the Bears, but for him, it’s a little deeper than just that.
He was the kid growing up in the Chicago area that was enamored with sports. DeFalco had a pretty good idea early on he wouldn’t be playing shortstop for the Cubs or White Sox, so he turned his interest and attention to sports radio. 
“100 percent,” laughed DeFalco. “I was an average athlete, who was undersized and young for my grade. I had no chance, basically. Right around that time, I started high school in 1990, The Score goes on the air and sports radio finally came to Chicago. I start listening and all of a sudden it feels like there’s an avenue and a path to follow, where I was just this sports obsessed kid that loved it. I loved the talk radio format anyway, I loved listening with my dad to Kevin Matthews and to Johnny B and Steve Dahl. I dug the format anyway, and then the sports angle came into it and I saw my future.”
It’s a fun thought for DeFalco to think about what that sports-crazed kid would think about his current situation. He’s a host in his hometown with a former Bears player that gets to talk about the teams he grew up rooting for. Starting next year, he’ll get to do it on the flagship of the Bears. It doesn’t get much cooler than that. 
“It’s huge for the station,” said DeFalco. “If you would have told me this five years ago I just don’t know how I would have believed it, for a lot of different reasons. It’s fabulous it’s happening and to have the most popular team in town associated with us now, the most popular sport, the one people want to talk about most, I said earlier in the week, we never get a phone call that says you guys talk too much football. Never. To be partners with the Bears moving forward is tremendous.”
But a new relationship with the Bears could be interesting for the hosts at ESPN 1000. Meaning, do the expectations of the hosts change when talking about the Bears? And what direct benefits will the hosts see when the station becomes the flagship?
“That’s a good question,” said DeFalco. “I don’t really know and maybe we’ll find out more as we get into next season. It could be where we have a little more access to some guests and some players. Jurko and I don’t do a ton of guests. We have a pretty quick show, we’re only on for, if you throw out the crosstalk with Waddle and Silvy, it’s only two quick hours for us. We don’t like to do a whole lot of guests because of that. But at the same time, a recurring Bears guest we would totally be open to that.”
The one thing DeFalco isn’t concerned with is Bears management being upset if he has to be critical of the team on the air. Unfortunately, not every host at a flagship station in the country can feel the same security. However, DeFalco says the staff has been told their content won’t be directed by the team. 
“In terms of content and how much it changes the show, I don’t think too much,” said DeFalco. “We talk a lot about the Bears and NFL anyway and we’ve been promised that we will not be approached by management at any point to say we’re being too hard on them for this or that. We can feel free to speak our minds freely, which we always have. That’s great and totally reassuring for all of us. They don’t want us getting personal, but that’s the case with or without a rights deal.”
Like most shows in an NFL market, Bears content has always been the focal point for DeFalco. Heck, his co-host John “Jurko” Jurkovic was a 10-year NFL veteran. The duo was in Dallas in late October for the Bears game against the Cowboys. DeFalco was welcomed to DFW by a packed crowd at a Twin Peaks they were broadcasting from. 80 percent of the patrons were Bears fans. 
“Whenever we’re out, and we’re out a lot during the football season, there’s a great energy about it that I like,” DeFalco said. “I’ll be honest, it can be a little bit harder to do a show and a bit more distracting, but I like the energy and I like being out. During breaks and before and after the show, we bounce around and mingle with people. It’s nice they come out and see us and support us and the station.
“I was blown away by the live show we had on Friday in Dallas just by us promoting it on the air and saying, hey, if you live in the Dallas area or are going to the game, come by and see us at Twin Peaks in Irving, Texas. It was astonishing and it exceeded my expectations. The Twin Peaks was probably at capacity and it was about 80 percent Bears fans. People heard we were going to do the show down there and it was a sea of blue and orange. It was really cool.”
It’s moments like those that make DeFalco really reflect on how blessed he’s been during his career. He’s been blessed with a great job in a major market, sure, but he’s also been blessed with great co-hosts. That includes Marc “Silvy” Silverman, who he got his first big break with and his current co-host, Jurko. 
“It was probably Silvy and I both getting to do stuff together on the weekends when we were young,” said DeFalco, regarding his first big break. “Silvy is a little bit older than me, and has a few more years in the business, but he’s not only a great friend but a mentor to me early on. We just sort of clicked on the air and they kept giving us more and more opportunities to be on other than just Saturday mornings.
“We did nights during the week and that eventually turned into doing mid days together. Things diverged and things played out the way they did, and we went out different ways here, but the two of us doing a weekend show together on Saturday was really the thing that gave our bosses the thought we could do more than just the weekends.
“First, with Jurko, kinda like with me and Silvy, I just feel like we’ve always clicked. Jurko and I have always had the same vibe and we just play off each other nicely. We’re the whole similar in a lot of ways and different in a lot of ways. I think we balance each other out really nicely and he brings some insights that few people can bring. The guy played over 100 games in the NFL and played in a dozen playoff games.
“His style and delivery and willingness to say whatever he feels and to playfully poke fun at everybody and everything. We always joke that nobody is spared from Jurko coming after them. But he does it in a very playful way, which not everyone can pull off.”

Tyler McComas is a columnist for BSM and a sports radio talk show host in Norman, OK where he hosts afternoon drive for SportsTalk 1400. You can find him on Twitter @Tyler_McComas or you can email him at [email protected]
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Michael Kay shares his career journey as well as his thoughts on the Yankees, Mike & the Mad Dog, CC Sabathia and more.
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Stephen Strom can be heard hosting ‘The Sports Talkers Podcast’ for Barrett Sports Media. In addition to hosting here, Stephen works as a broadcasting assistant for the Miami Heat and color analyst for Nova Southeastern. Additional career experiences include working for SiriusXM, performing analyst duties for Princeton basketball, and hosting shows for TalkNorth.com. You can find him on Twitter @SStrom_.
Some would be broadcasters have likened the experience to ‘speed dating’, spending a little time to try and get to know a job and then on to the next.  Don’t let the speed affect your ‘pitch’.
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It’s not just for baseball players trying to find a new team, or that next job. Baseball’s Winter Meetings are also about young broadcasters looking for that first opportunity. There’s a large gap in the pay scale between the different kinds of “free agents”, with the players well ahead of the broadcasters. You have to figure out if following your dream is worth it. You have to start somewhere, right? The job fair at the “meetings” is usually a good place to do that.
Each candidate has his or her own strategy. How aggressive should you get? How do you stand out? Who should you talk to once you get there? It can be overwhelming to say the least. Just think, there are usually 100’s of people in the same boat, looking for the same thing. A job in baseball.
As I tell my broadcast students all the time. Have a plan. It’s vital that you know what jobs are open, who the decision makers are and what your strategy is going to be. This will require you to do a lot of research ahead of time. Luckily, it’s a lot easier to that now, than it was in prior years. Every team has its own website, so you can get a vibe about that particular club. There’s also a directory readily at hand, so you can figure out quickly the people you need to connect with. Plus, you will see a picture, more than likely, of that individual to make it easier to spot that person in the crowd.
When you go, have your resume updated, your demos ready to go, and the other thing to pack is your patience. While not everyone that attends the job fair will get an interview or a gig out of it, the experience is a good one.
Back in 2019, the Meetings were in San Diego. The set up featured row after row of boards in the posting room. Each board laid out the specifics of each opening, the job description and what is being offered. Those looking for jobs, would check out the postings to see if they were interested or qualified.
If they were, they’d list the position number and title, the team and personal contact info on their resumes and slide them into a drop box. The openings aren’t always for radio, there are team internships, ticket sales, marketing and yes, even a few for the mascot. Don’t laugh, Greg Brown, the television/radio voice of the Pirates, was the backup “Pirate Parrot” for five years!
While the task may seem daunting, with so many people up for only a handful of jobs, some now Major League announcers were once in your shoes. Mets’ broadcaster Wayne Randazzo found himself in Nashville for the Winter Meetings in 2007. He was one of those people that put his resume in boxes along with about a hundred others trying to get into the field.
Randazzo is someone I’ve known for a long time and I’ve always admired. I remember talking to him a few times during those meetings. He was confident and prepared with his own thoughts on how to position himself in the best light.
“It was a strange system, but I noticed the job seekers were in one room and the teams were in another, so I just went around that room and introduced myself to all the different teams and circumvented that whole process,” Randazzo told the New York Post in 2019. “I ended up with a few job offers and the one in Mobile [Diamondbacks Double-A] was at the highest level, so that’s the one I took.”
It certainly helps your case when you’re talented and good. But this is all part of ‘having a plan’ like I talked about earlier. You have to strike a delicate balance, about keeping up to date on the latest openings and working the hallways or lobbies of the hotel. Sometimes these two places are far apart, so time management is key.
Some would be broadcasters have likened the experience to ‘speed dating’, spending a little time to try and get to know a job and then on to the next.  Don’t let the speed affect your ‘pitch’, stay focused and be your best with every interaction you have.
So, if you’re an aspiring broadcaster headed to the meetings in search of a job, consider this advice. Although the plan is to get offers and earn a job, the truth is most of the time it won’t happen during the week. There are occasions though when it will. If a team is so impressed with a candidate or feels it’s time to move quickly and fill a role, they may pull the trigger.
Again, be prepared. Resumes, written material if you’re going for a PR or marketing job and of course audio clips of your work. These days, most people have a website that teams can go to and hear what you sound like. Make sure that’s highlighted on your resume. Some more aggressive job seekers have gone through the trouble and expense of getting flash drives to hand out. Whatever it takes to get yourself noticed.
Most of all, be professional. Don’t take that to mean ‘buttoned up’, it’s more a respect factor. Respect the time and space of the decision makers and your fellow job seekers. Don’t interrupt ongoing conversations to pass along a resume. Odds are pretty good that they’ll put it in the circular file. Wait until their done and see if you can ask for a little time at that point.
Put your fandom in your back pocket. Meaning if you see players milling about with their agents in the lobby, don’t go asking for autographs. Look your best too. Professional attire will present you as a serious candidate and separate you in that way from others.
Landing the job is your ultimate goal, but you have to look at this as an experience, a journey and a learning experience. Networking is also one of the best things you can get out of the time you spend there. Comparing notes with peers is valuable, but don’t make it a one-sided relationship. Make sure to give info as much as you receive it. Most everyone is in the same situation you are.
Meeting fellow broadcasters helps grow your network and gives you valuable contacts, if that person you talked to lands a job. He or she can let you know if they are leaving and the job is open again. Or they can introduce you to others that may have information on other jobs. Recommendations from others in the industry gives you credibility. Remember that.

Andy Masur is a columnist for BSM and works for WGN Radio as an anchor and play-by-play announcer. He also teaches broadcasting at the Illinois Media School. During his career he has called games for the Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres and Chicago White Sox. He can be found on Twitter @Andy_Masur1 or you can reach him by email at [email protected]
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