The State of Sports Media for Texas Tech and Lubbock

On Friday it was announced that KLBK's Brandon Rawe was hired by the Texas Tech Athletics Communications department as the Assistant Director/Multimedia. Congrats to Rawe as I think he's a good guy from all accounts and he's been in this market for a handful of years. I like this move for Texas Tech. In addition to that, I'm incredibly interested in your thoughts in the media competition that's crept up over the course of the past few years so we're somewhat combining two different thoughts into one post.

So, let's get to Rawe first. The press release lists Rawe as "local sports figure" and that's awesome. More interesting that the headline is what Rawe is going to do for Texas Tech:

Rawe will serve as a reporter, anchor and producer for both live and on-demand content at TexasTech.com and will play a major role in some exciting new developments for the website that will be announced later this fall.

The first thing is that this was released on a Friday. News folks know what when you want to somewhat bury something in the weekend news, then you release something on Friday. I don't know why Texas Tech released this on Friday, perhaps this is when TTU and Rawe agreed to a deal, but the timing of press releases should almost always be noted. Second is Rawe's job description, which is obviously some sort of anchor for the eventual third tier programming that Texas Tech sounds like it will be producing in the not so distant future. Texas Tech needs and anchor and Rawe is just that. Not only that, Rawe can hold his own as a host, is more than intelligent to host a radio or television show (this sounds like a dig, but I think being able to think on your feet in an interview setting is not as easy as it looks). The only downside is that Rawe is a Longhorn. We're watching you Rawe . . . (just kidding, I don't care where he got his degree)

If we put some things together here, Texas Tech has hired a reporter, anchor and producer in Rawe, has also recently hired Courtney Davis, I think to host Red Raider Weekly, which is Texas Tech's weekly program on FoxSports, and before last season, hired Travis Cram, who was previously employed by Raider Power, to be in charge of womens' basketball and multimedia. It is clear that Texas Tech is stepping up it's own internal media footprint, but it's been over time. I think that needed to happen. Gone are the days when an athletic program could just rely on interns to churn out content. I think it's safe to say that we are in an age when the media content needs to be professionally created and distributed.

This somewhat leads me to my next thought, which is the competition that has developed with the media coverage. Competition is better for you as a consumer. As I try to place the media in certain categories, here's how I think of the media in Lubbock.

The Lubbock Avalanche Journal: The old guard and the only print media in Lubbock (except for the Daily Toreador). The most consistent producer of free content for Texas Tech. You can say that they are biased and all of that, and I honestly don't know. What I do know is that this is the most consistent and free producer of news content. I like Don Williams, David Just (now at the DMN), Nick Kosmider, George Watson and anyone else. I think I'm in the minority, but I also understand that no matter who is doing the reporting, there is always going to be bias. The media situation in Lubbock is expanding, but it has always been small. RRS and RP have employees and/or owners that are employed by Texas Tech in some form or fashion so you could say that they're biased too, but even if they are, it doesn't bother me. I think that they have their beliefs and those beliefs may align a certain way, but again, every news organization has some sort of bias or at least the perception of bias. I still like the LAJ and I think they do a good job.

Red Raider Sports: No one has the insight that they have, but 90% of their content is behind a paywall. So unless you're willing to pay for content, I am not, it's not accessible. From what I can tell, having never viewed any of their subscription material, they understand that they need to be informative as well as visually pleasing and the free stuff they have released this spring emphasizes that theory of mine. These are not just guys dumping stuff from a word processing program, they are working on coding and HTML and trying to make it as pleasing and interesting as possible. I try to do the same thing and it's time consuming, but better for you as an end-user. Still, I think you get more inside information by subscribing to RRS than anywhere else and it's not even close.

Raider Power: I don't know how anyone can prove this, but they say that they are the most visited football board on the net. I don't know how you prove that, although there is no doubt that their message board is very active, but it's also a visual mess (the board and the website). Of course the entire Scout system is a visual mess. The writers don't really get into formatting their own content so it's not pleasing to read. The content can be good, but it also needs to be nice to look at and that's incredibly superficial, but it's true. They have some free content, but they are woefully behind on any and all recruiting. They still don't list 3 current Texas Tech commits. They have hired Josh Koch, Joe Yeager and Scott Fitzgerald to cover football this year, but I think people go there because this was the first place to go for Texas Tech athletics.

Daily Toreador: I actually like the fact that the DT has remained fairly independent and can speak their voice. The whole parking garage story was impressive and they did that all by themselves. They consistently do a good job of covering all of the sports. It's not perfect (no one is), but I like what they do.

KCBD, Fox34 and KLBK: I'm lumping all three of these together. I don't live in Lubbock so I don't see the local news or sports casts. I assume it's personal preference although I'm partial to Pete Christy and I'm not joking. The one bit of advice I'd give all three stations and their technical support is that none of their stories are ever in any Google News search for 'texas tech". Go ahead and do it yourself, but you will almost never see a story from these television stations in Google News and that's why I don't link to them all that much. So I find it fascinating that three news organizations have all been able to completely miss the Google News boat and I'm not sure how that happened.

The Williams and Hyatt Show: I don't know how long they've been on the radio, but I think it has been a long time. Ryan Hyatt is an independent thinker and he's not afraid of opinions. That usually leads to people liking him or not liking him because of that. I like that, even if I disagree with those opinions. Plus, he's really the only media member that regularly links to DTN and he gets $1,000,000 DTN bucks for doing that. And Hyatt gets his own entry even though I have an entry for 1340 The Fan as detailed below.

Double-T 104.3: This is the official station for Texas Tech and probably have the most local programming for Texas Tech athletics. I believe they have morning drive, mid-morning, and afternoon drive covered. Plus they have a good weekend show. I dislike how they post their show content in that it's only on their front page for a period of time. Maybe they should think about creating a Tumblr or Blogger account so that Tumblr and/or Google can host their shows for them or at least the segments that they highlight so that it's always available to review and listen to when you want. They have all of the major time periods filled other than Cowherd and Van Pelt.

1340 The Fan: I think this is a relative up-start for content. They have Hyatt for afternoon drive as well as morning drive with the Sports Shack. They've been doing a much better job of producing original content, although they need to get rid of the girls and stuff. People will visit your site if you have a lot of content. They can go see girls and/or pron (intentional misspelling) anywhere on the internets.

Texas Tech: As mentioned above, they are obviously stepping up their content. They are incredibly hamstrung by having to post certain video to the CBS portion of their website (I don't know how or why) and the pausing is absolutely awful and makes me leave that website almost immediately because it also causes my browser to crash consistently. I'm sure they know that, but if they can ever get away from that distribution deal it would be a blessing. The official site is doing a better job of utilizing their own YouTube channel, but I say they're not doing enough and can do more. They could fully utilize that YouTube channel and if you want some ideas, here's a great article with ideas as to why the official site needs to leverage the YouTube channel even more. Be revolutionary.

This is significantly more content that just a handful of years ago and if I missed anyone, then leave a comment. Each one of these platforms have increased their online presence so that helps for you, as a consumer because there is more content and more opinions for you to consume. That's a good thing. And the more competitive they are, the better for you and I because they will have to keep upping their content. The only bad thing is that they all think they are in competition with each other and I suppose that they are. They all know that they aren't the only voice, but they rarely link to or credit any other website with news, information, or opinions, but then again, they are all pulling the information themselves so I guess they don't need to refer back to anyone else.

I try my best to produce quality content, but I've always thought that there is really only one place that consistently looks for information all over the internets and that's DTN, although alternatively, DTN is the only place where we don't have any sort of access, so all of those places listed above have that on DTN. But still, I think that's DTN's niche, which is that if you want to read everything, then go to DTN.

The Lubbock market's competition to be the only voice is my niche.

Not only that, I think that this is the best community, mostly because of the absolutely incredible software that SB Nation has, something I have nothing to do with, but take full advantage of on a daily basis. I can honestly say that the software for SB Nation is miles ahead of any other platform, which makes commenting on game threads second to none. For no other reason, you don't have to re-fresh a page for new comments to appear in any sort of game thread. That's SBN's internet magic.

Although I have shoe-horned two completely different topics into one post, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the hiring of Rawe to be that lead-anchor that he'll most likely fill for a Texas Tech channel and the current state of media for Texas Tech. This should be fun.

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