• Apr

    Q&A w/ Brett Hollander, WBAL Radio

    On a regular basis throughout this 2011 season, Orioles Hangout will be reaching out to different local outlets who cover the O’s. These interviews will be crafted not only to gain the subject’s views on the Orioles, but to gain further insight on the subject .

    Our first installment in this series is Brett Hollander, the Monday-to-Friday host of Sportsline on WBAL Radio. (http://www.wbal.com/shows/hollander/) During the O’s season, he will be hosting the “On Deck” pre-game show before Orioles broadcasts and appearing every 90 minutes from the ballpark during afternoon drive time from 3 to 6pm on game days.

    You can also find Hollander on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/bretthollander

    Orioles Hangout: “After a 4 year run on 105.7 FM, the Baltimore Orioles have returned to WBAL Radio. I have heard you state how proud (and understandably happy) you are with this development. I’m curious of hearing more about your “On Deck” pre-game show. How do you see that evolving during the course of the year? How do you think your show will differ vs. the planned M-F pre-game show on 105.7?”

    Brett Hollander: “Well, I’m only obviously going to talk about what’s on our airwaves. I see “On Deck” as place to hear exclusive interviews with players, coaches, and front office personnel. We will go beyond the day to day stats, and do a lot of features from players on the Orioles 25 man roster, to the minor leagues, to behind the scenes at Camden Yards… We will cover a lot. I also see the show as an extension of the pregame show with Joe Angel and Fred Manfra. Angel might wind up in Cooperstown one day as a broadcaster. And Manfra, is a Baltimore broadcasting icon. He grew up less than 2 miles from Camden Yards, and has probably witnessed more Oriole games than anyone else at the ball park. And on the Network pregame show – listeners will hear more exclusive interviews, and of course Buck Showalter.”

    Orioles Hangout: “There was a time when WBAL was the unquestioned leader in local sports talk. I spent many hours listening to Rex Barney, Ken Rosenthal, Jeff Rimer, Josh Lewin, Stan White, Peter Schmuck, etc. Clearly being the Flagship of both the Ravens, and Orioles has again elevated the station among Baltimore sports fans. Still, 1090 faces sports-talk competition from four local stations (105.7, ESPN 1300, FOX 1370, & WNST 1570) where sports is their sole programming. Are their enough ears to go around? What are your thoughts on the maturation of the Baltimore sports-radio market, and where you see things going?”

    Brett Hollander: “The landscape of media has changed – sports, news, everything. There are more outlets for information from websites to blogs, to tweets, it’s a brand new ball game. It’s an interesting sports media world we live in and it’s changing almost every hour it seems. WBAL has done a great job of moving along and setting the standard with some of these movements in media. But, I don’t root against other media outlets, I just do my job. We put our efforts into making each and every broadcast the best it can be. I am happy our market has so many sports media job now. I was certainly the beneficiary of that not long ago. But, as far as what we are… I do believe we are the Local sports leader. We have the Baltimore Orioles and the Baltimore Ravens. We have Keith Mills, Gerry Sandusky, Qadry Ismail, Pete Gilbert, among others, plus the biggest news room in the state.

    But it goes even beyond the names and pro teams that we are the home of. We are entrenched in the community… authentically local to the core – from the Preakness Stakes, to Towson Basketball, to Navy Football… But are there enough ears to go around…? Well there are 2.3 million people in our market, a good number love the O’s, Ravens, Terps, Horse Racing, Lax, etc… I guess there are, it depends what each outlet’s expectations are.”

    Orioles Hangout: “Will supplemental coverage via blogging become a regular feature of WBAL this year?”

    Brett Hollander: “We will be adding different Orioles components to our website.”

    Orioles Hangout: “My understanding is that as the Flagship of the Baltimore Orioles, only WBAL is allowed to do live interviews with personnel (players, management) of the O’s, but that your competitors can do interviews to tape. Is this accurate? If so, you can understand that after paying the rights-fees you want all the benefits of that. However, do you think it would improve game ratings for 1090, if Orioles players and management were found all over the dial actively discussing the O’s?”

    Brett Hollander: “That question is above my day to day operation, and probably better suited for the club.”

    Orioles Hangout: “On Twitter, you and I discussed the idea of providing credentialed access to sites like Bloguin, SB Nation, Fansided, Yard Barker etc. You stated that it is a tough question, but a slippery slope to deny access. You also stated that you would provide the credentials, but reminded a club can deny access at any time. If you had no access, how would your show differ?”

    Brett Hollander: “I think the Orioles are bold for allowing certain outlets access, and it is the right thing to do. But, they certainly have the right to deny anyone – at anytime.It would be impossible for me to do my Orioles Pregame show, if I was not allowed in the stadium. But, that’s fairly obvious I would think.”

    Orioles Hangout: “I’ve seen you interact with large portions of the Baltimore media, so presumably you are regularly reading their works. When you are looking for information outside of local sources, what are your go to sites?”

    Brett Hollander: “Well, if you host a three hour a day radio show- it’s your job is to be informed. That said, I don’t read “everybody” locally. I think it’s also important to have fresh thought. I don’t listen to competitors either, not personal, but I don’t want to be accused of taking someone else’s idea, thought, opinion, or topic. As for national websites… I am a regular at the common ones (ESPN, CNNSI, FOXSports). I like going coast to coast with newspapers, and finding an interesting and compelling story or two. I have my routine.”

    Orioles Hangout: “We recently interviewed Dan Szymborski (http://www.orioleshangout.com/blog/chris-corner/168/april-qa-w-dan-szymborski), the Editor-in-Chief of Baseball Think Factory (http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/) and a contributing writer for ESPN. Szymborski was not in favor of Britton’s promotion. Were you?”

    Brett Hollander: “I think it’s a serious risk on a couple of different levels. For one thing, he has made 12 AAA starts. And everyone is concerned about his arbitration/super two status. Real concerns… But, he is going to be a good one for a long time. And as concerned as I maybe, it is thrilling to see him toe the rubber.”

    Orioles Hangout: “Going into the 2011 season, my basic thoughts on the O’s were that they played .500 ball for the last 74 games of 2010, and had upgraded at 1st, SS, 3rd, and LF. My prediction has been 83-79, and 4th place. What has been your prediction for the Orioles?”

    Brett Hollander: “Same number… 83 wins. I think it’s a vastly improved club, with a couple of variables. A big one is… if they are at or just above .500 at the deadline, what will Andy MacPhail do with Lee and Vlad? Bottom line… the team is heading in the right direction. And I see a legit run from around now – maybe more realistically next year (based on the age of the starters) to 2016 where they can make an annual run for a pennant.”

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Michael Williams

Lifelong. Down by the river.