BOB WEINER COMMENTS ON MASTERS MEDIA SUBCOMMITTEE:

USATF NATIONAL CONVENTION, December 3-4, 2003, Greensboro, NC

 

        THANKS TO GEORGE AND THE COMMITTEE FOR THIS TIME. AM THRILLED TO BE JOINED BY HARRY BROOKS, PHIL RASCHKER, OTHER FRIENDS INCLUDING YOU ON COMMITTEE, AND ESPECIALLY DAVE CLINGAN, WHO OFFERED THIS MOTION.

 

        AS A MASTERS COMPETITOR FOR MANY YEARS WHO HAS COORDINATED MEDIA FOR OVER 20 YEARS AT THE WHITE HOUSE, CONGRESS, AND YES IN MY RUNNING CLUBS, IT’S MADE ME SAD TO SEE THAT WE HAVE NOT MAXIMIZED PRESS FOR OUR OWN SPORT AND THE CAUSE WE LOVE. 

 

        WE NEED AN ACTIVE MASTERS MEDIA SUBCOMMITTEE TO HELP INCREASE RADIO, TV, AND PRINT COVERAGE OF MASTERS TRACK AND FIELD. WE CANNOT ALLOW OURSELVES TO BE CONTINUALLY ECLIPSED BY THE SENIOR GAMES AND OTHER SPORTS, OR EVEN BY COMPARABLE RUNNING AND FIELD EVENTS.  WE ARE JUST AS GOOD IF NOT MORE SO, AND WE ARE THE OFFICIAL ORGAN OF TRACK AND FIELD. 

 

        SEE NATIONAL MASTERS NEWS ARTICLE, “MAXIMIZING NATIONAL MASTERS PRESS” –THANKS TO AL SHEAHAN, JERRY WOCJIK, AND SUZY HESS’S INVITATION FOR OVER A YEAR TO CONTRIBUTE.

 

        AT THE INDOOR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS IN BOSTON, WE RAN AN EXPERIMENT RAMPING UP THE PRESS.  BOY DID IT WORK.  BY EXTENSIVE CALLING OF THE PRESS AND GENERATING RELEASES WHICH FEATURED COMPETITORS INTERESTING TO THE MEDIA AND AGAIN FOLLOWING UP BY PHONE, WE WERE ABLE TO OBTAIN A HUGE FLURRY OF MEDIA -- SIX TV STATIONS COVERING THE RODGERS AND BENOIT RACES – AND DOZENS OF MAJOR NATIONAL ARTICLES ON THE MEET -- IN FACT HUNDREDS BY GETTING AP, PLUS DAILY BOSTON GLOBE AND HERALD STORIES AND PHOTOS, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, RUNNERS WORLD, WASHINGTON TIMES, SAN DIEGO TRIBUNE, LA TIMES, WASHINGTON POST, … (GO THROUGH PACKET).  THIS WAS DONE IN CONJUNCTION WITH USATF-NE VP HARRY BROOKS’ MOTION AND ALL NEW ENGLAND’S HELP (JOHN OLESKI) AND THEIR SUPPORT IN IDENTIFYING KEY ATHLETES AND EVENTS.

 

        WE MADE A POINT OF DOING A PRES BUILD-UP OF COVERAGE BEFORE THE MEET, THEN DAILY AT THE MEET, AND THEN AFTER THE MEET (CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, AND JUST OUT THIS MONTH, RUNNERS WORLD “MASTERS BLASTER” (SHOW), FROM MONTHS OF WORK AND CONTACTS WITH AMBY BURFOOT AND HIS STAFF.

 

        AND WHILE THE STARS WERE COVERED, THE REST OF THE FIELD OF ATHLETES WAS LIFTED INTO GREAT COVERAGE IN THE PROCESS – LOTS OF COMPETITORS IN STORIES WHO WOULD HAVE GOTTEN NO COVERAGE BUT NOW ARE ENTHUSIASTIC EMISSARIES.  THAT JOY FOR ALL OF US --ATHLETES, ORGANIZERS, AND CRITICALLY,  SPONSORS – IS WHAT MEDIA CAN AND DOES ACCOMPLISH.

 

        IN EUGENE, PHIL RASCHKER AND I WE WERE ABLE TO CONDUCT A PRESS WORKSHOP AND IN SO DOING, PROVIDED ANOTHER AND ADDED APPROACH: ATHLETES THEMSELVES CALLING THEIR PRESS.  BRUCE MCBARNETTE TOLD ME HE USED OUR APPROACH AND MODEL CALL SHEET AND GOT A STORY INTO SPORTS ILLUSTRATED!  WE’VE OFFFERED THE CALL SHEET, NOW ON OUR WEBSITE, AND TOM FROM USATF HQ CALLED ME AND ASKED FOR IT THIS MONTH AND I GAVE THE LINK TO HIM TOO.

 

        THE MASTERS MEDIA SUBCOMMITTEE WILL HELP MEET DIRECTORS BY OFFERING THEM -- AND ALWAYS WORKING COORPERATIVELY WITH THEM – DRAFT PRESS RELEASES, CALL PITCHES, AND CALL AND FAX AND EMAIL LISTS FOR REGIONAL AND CHAMPIONSHIP MEETS, AND ANY OTHER COACHING THEY WANT.  WE’LL ALSO KEEP USATF HEADQUARTERS MEDIA STAFF INFORMED AND ASK THEIR HELP AND GUIDANCE – BUT WE DO HAVE TO KEEP IN MIND THEY RIGHTLY HAVE THEIR OWN PRIORITIES WITH DRUG SCANDALS AND QUALIFYING FOR ATHENS AND THEN ATHENS ITSELF COMING UP.  IF WE WANT MASTERS TO SUCCEED, WE MASTERS HAVE TO MAKE IT SUCCEED.

 

        WE NEED TO BEGIN WORK RIGHT AWAY FOR THE UPCOMING WINTER REGIONAL AND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP MEETS.  I ASK YOU NOT ONLY TO APPROVE DAVE CLINGAN’S GREAT RESOLUTION BUT ALSO TO LET US GET TO WORK RIGHT AWAY.  WITH OUR CRITICAL MISSION IN WHICH WE ALL BELIEVE, LIFETIME FITNESS AND FRIENDLY COMPETITION, AND WITH MILLIONS OF AMERICANS HAPPILY BECOMING MORE AND MORE AWARE OF THE IMPORTANCE OF EXERCISE AND FITNESS THROUGHOUT LIFE, USATF MASTERS CAN ONLY WIN WITH THIS APPROACH.