Wednesday, February 15, 2017

As Seen on TV

I am proud to report that Bulls patrons are the demographic gold standard among Triangle consumers. A typical fan family is 35-54, 1-2 kids at home, $100K earners, with college + post grad degree. (Scarborough)

We aggregate their eyeballs for our sponsors within the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, paid attendance averaging 545,000 over the past three seasons. That's competitive with other sports teams in the region: Panthers/590K, Hurricanes/500K, UNC/595K (football + men's hoops)

Because we are in the business of family entertainment, our crowd is almost 50-50 male/female. Precisely, it's 53% male, 47% female.

Those gender stats have generated a couple of marketing epiphanies:
...that our marketing is best aimed at "Mom." She may not be the baseball fan in the family, but she casts the deciding vote on family activities. 
...families are maddeningly busy!!!

And that brings me to our current television campaign, promoting mini-plans. Our Family Plan is nine games (about two per month) on dollar hot dog night, with give-away items included, for $76.50 per seat. This is a meaningful way to prioritize and schedule quality time for your family.

Join us at the DBAP! a ballgame ...visit the playground ...catch a foul ball ...get an autograph at the dugout ...get a hug from Wool E. Bull a hot dog ...and some nachos and a funnel cake and some frozen custard. Indulge your family. Make family memories. With a FAMILY PLAN. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Sports Station Propagation

We have launched yet another sports channel, 95.7 FM, The Ticket

It's the home of Dan Patrick, Jim Rome, Appalachian State University sports and NASCAR. If you live in Raleigh, add this to your car radio pre-sets. 

Read more on the Capitol Broadcasting Co. website.

95.7 FM is the sister station to WCLY, 1550 AM. Located south of downtown Raleigh, WCLY has been accident prone. Its tower was felled by a tornado in 2011 and replaced once again in 2016 after a construction mishap. 

We gave the station a makeover with The Ticket rebranding and added FM coverage in metro Raleigh.

Installing the 95.7 antenna on Capitol's Western Blvd. tower.
Photo from the TV5 drone.

While it can be confusing, The Ticket's programming is now available to your ears on AM, FM and the Internet.

AM... 1550
FM...  95.7
FM HD... 99.3 HD3
Online at & the WSF app

Monday, January 23, 2017

Watching the Radio

Do not attempt this in you car, but you have my permission to try it at work - watching the radio. We are streaming video of our local sports radio talk shows - live from the Highwoods studio - to your phone and television.

On the wralSPORTSfan app, locate the "live" button in the upper right-hand corner. In the morning, you'll find The Sports Shop from Buzz Sports Radio, and in the afternoon it's Adam and Joe from 99.9 The Fan.

Tap the LIVE button for a video feed
from our radio studio.

I'm hard at work "watching the radio" on my phone
as Adam Gold interviews Coach Steve Logan.

On your TV, WRAL has an app for Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire. Our sports programs have been added to that service. Thanks to Santa Claus, this is what it looks like on my new Apple TV...

On the WRAL app, click on "live" for the radio shows. Joe "HD" Ovies will fill your screen...and fill your ear!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

!!! Happy New Year !!!

I've been in holiday hibernation mode - too much snacking and napping - but it's back-to-work now at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Opening Day is a mere 95 days away. (Monday, April 10th, vs. Charlotte Knights) 

Wintertime baseball begins on February 24th when Duke has it's first home series with Army on Goodmon Field. So, baseball is really just 50 days away!

Still, looking back on 2016 is a worthwhile distraction. Our Communications Director Matt Sutor compiled a Top 10 list. Stroll down Memory Lane w/Matt...

Of course, I have my own list...gotta have the last word...

2016 community projects: 
  • The work of Durham's Local Organizing Committee for the ACC Baseball Championship in May led by Casey Steinbacher and Bill Kalkhof.
  • Our sponsorship of the Jackie Robinson documentary by Ken Burns on WUNC-TV.
  • A partnership with The Museum of Durham History on its vintage baseball card exhibit.
  • Formation of the Durham Sports Commission.

 Always tweaking the ballpark:
  • We completed a new clubhouse for Duke's baseball team.
  • Expanded our protective netting.
  • Built the Delta Playground 42 game area on Jackie's Landing.

 Beyond the ball yard:
  • WRAL TV5 covered the Rays' historic MLB game in Cuba and the July 3rd Ft. Bragg game between the Braves and Marlins.
  • Here in the front office, we assisted with Fayetteville's work to land a Minor League team.

 Personal favorites:
  • We were so proud of Bulls broadcaster Patrick Kinas, tapped to work the Rio Olympics.
  • Durham police officers dancing on our diamond.
  • The giant Angus Barn steak sandwich and new summertime ice cream floats.

 A final reflection: 

Twenty seasons ago, the Bulls jumped from Class A Advanced in the Carolina League to Triple A International League baseball. It was a true game changer, another tipping point for our organization and downtown Durham. We will celebrate that anniversary - the ball club's 1998 affiliation with the Tampa Bay Rays - throughout the 2017 season. Join us!

Saturday, December 17, 2016


I have a vocational fascination with the WakeyLeaks brouhaha…where a radio football analyst at WFU is accused of sharing football strategy with opponents.

Radio play-by-play has been a constant in my career. My first job: studio tech for Virginia Squires basketball games at a Richmond radio station. And that morphed into broadcast management spanning college, NFL, NHL, NASCAR and Minor League Baseball. 

40+ years of play-by-play (and lap-by-lap). Nothing resembling the Wake Forest story has ever occurred. The breach of trust is unprecedented. I'm not being overly dramatic. 

The radio broadcast crew is embedded with the team they cover. They are with the players and coaches day in, day out. Unlike TV announcers, who typically fly in for the game, the radio guys are insiders, often traveling with the team. They are privy to confidential information. It informs their perspective. They don't function with the freedom of reporters/journalists. Loyalty and discretion is owed the team they cover. In that department, Wake suffered an epic fail. 

~  ~  ~  ~

PxP: In my opinion, radio play-by-play is an art form. The best announcers, painting pictures with their words, place the listener in the stadium or arena. The color commentator, usually a former athlete, offers unique insight. It's a specialized skill set. And I fear it's taken for granted now that almost every game is on television.

It's been a privilege to work with Bob Harris, retiring after this season as the voice of the Blue Devils. You're crystal clear on Bob's loyalty to Duke University. And the indefatigable Chuck Kaiton, Hall of Fame broadcaster for the Carolina Hurricanes, his cadence can exceed the velocity of a hockey puck. At the Bulls we have Patrick Kinas behind the mic, renowned for his preparation and versatility. Bulls baseball, high school championships, women's hoops - even the Rio Olympics - are on his resume.

Gary Hahn, Tony Haynes and Johnny Evans of the Wolfpack radio network top my list. They had my undivided attention for the NC State-UNC game. Driving to Virginia on the Friday after a Thanksgiving, I began with the broadcast on MIX 101.5, switched to the Triad affiliate, and in the Virginia mountains, I listened to the stream on my phone via On that 200 mile trip from Raleigh to Blacksburg, it seemed like we were in Chapel Hill for the Pack's victory.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Sports Radio Leader

...another honor and compliment for our sports radio group - 99.9 The Fan/ESPN Radio, Buzz Sports Radio and The Ticket.

General Manager Brian Maloney has been ranked among the best managers in radio by a leading industry publication, Radio Ink, in the Oct/Nov issue.

We were fortunate to recruit Brian to Capitol in 2009 when we acquired the two AM sports stations in our market, The Buzz and The Bull. He was their GM. We had premiered 99.9 The Fan in 2007, and it was now Brian's job, two years later, to consolidate this local sports "empire" of FM, AM and

Brian pioneered the sports talk format in RDU beginning with The Buzz in 1998. He's an accomplished sales exec with an even greater knack for programming. He paired Adam Gold with Joe Ovies. He put lawyer/sports writer David Glenn on the radio and propelled Coach Steve Logan to sports talk celebrity. Ditto Bomani Jones, now at ESPN. 

In the Radio Ink profile he talks about staying ahead of the curve and generating new ideas as a manager's biggest challenge. His mantra: Think. Explore. Create. Fail. Try. Succeed. I believe there's a top selling business book in that.

Under Brian's leadership, CBC's sports radio group has moved to the top of the ratings in RDU, social media chatter and web traffic. Advertisers find that to be an effective combination. Indeed, Brian is one of the best managers in radio...make that The Best!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Baseball U

Everyone understands that Minor League Baseball exists for the purpose of player development. We are a training ground, and that rings true for our entire operation. The DBAP is a launching pad for careers in the sports industry.

My advice to young people interested in the sports biz: Get a degree in business (or another major aligned with your interests) and it must be paired with a couple of years of part-time work experience in a ballpark or an arena. One internship at the end of your college career doesn't confer a competitive advantage. You need more than that! Here's what we offer at the Durham Bulls:

Seasonal employment. About 50 local college students are on our game day staff ranging from picnic hosts to fan ambassadors to the on-field promotions crew. Another 20 are in food and beverage jobs with Bull City Hospitality. 

Trainee program. In addition to hourly seasonal employment, we had 23 college students or recent grads in our trainee program and two interns. They were working in the ballpark operations, ticketing, retail and marketing departments. We even added accounting trainees this past season.

News flash!!! Some of these jobs begin in Jan-Feb and the rest commence in April. Students who start looking for that summer job in May will miss out. Bulls job postings can be found on the Capitol Broadcasting Company website.

Explorer Post 50. The Bulls and Fox50 sponsor a unique training program for video production. Remarkably, our in-stadium and TV broadcasts are produced by high school students! We have about 75 participants. The young people in this program probably get more hands-on experience in Post 50 than a university communications major provides.

Through the Triangle Community Foundation we offer an annual scholarship program for our matriculating Post 50 members. These are our 2016 recipients, recognized on Labor Day during our last game of the season...

Scholarship winners: 

Bruklyn Miller (3rd from right) – This is Bruklyn’s first season with the Durham Bulls Explorer Post 50 program. She attends Meredith College with a GPA of 3.1 where she is studying Mass Communications with a minor in Marketing. 

Rachel McKinney (2nd from right) – Rachel has been a member of WRAL Explorer Post 5 for 3 years and Durham Bulls Explorer Post 50 for 2 years. She is a graduate of Apex High School with a GPA of 4.8 and is attending UNC at Chapel Hill, studying Media and Journalism.

Austin Edwards (far right)  – Austin has been a member of Durham Bulls Explorer Post 50 for 3 years, and he has taken on a leadership role. Austin is on the PIT (Producer In Training) Crew. He is a graduate of Green Hope High School with a GPA of 4.4 and is attending North Carolina State University, majoring in English with a concentration in film.

Molly Sobb (not pictured) – Molly has been a member of Durham Bulls Explorer Post 50 for 2 years. She is a graduate of Riverside High School with a GPA of 3.8 and is attending High Point University, studying Strategic Communications.

To the right of Wool E. Bull: GM Mike Birling, Post 50 sponsor/volunteer Ken Bland, and volunteer/Post alum Rob Rowe.