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Guy Behind the Guy: My BlackBerry to Your Stereo

Tuesday, 12.9.2008 / 4:01 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
Carolina Hurricanes
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Guy Behind the Guy: My BlackBerry to Your Stereo

Our constant search for ways to improve coverage of our team sometimes involves a little bit of “borrowing” from the best practices of others. Today we started trying something new that we hope will make it a little easier for local sports talk stations to enhance their coverage of the team. It was an idea that we got in November, when we got an email from the Ottawa Senators’ PR department.

Mike Sundheim
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A few years ago, my partner-in-crime Kyle Hanlin started copying our opponents’ media members and team officials on the preview emails that we send to our local media ahead of each Hurricanes game. We’d been sending out the preview emails, which are like miniature versions of the next day’s game notes, to local media since our arrival in North Carolina. The previews are an easy way to promote an upcoming game in the media, by highlighting specific notes of interest. Kyle’s idea to add the opposing team’s media to the distribution lists was a great one – with just a few key strokes he was not only helping our local folks, but making a whole bunch of visiting broadcasters, writers and sports talk radio folks really happy.

The idea of sending preview notes to the opposing market was soon adopted by a number of other public relations departments around the league. And as we found out recently, one of those teams, the Ottawa Senators, found a way to improve on that idea.

The Senators enhanced those previews by attaching mp3 clips of players and coaches talking about the upcoming game. With the proliferation of sports talk radio in markets throughout North America, those audio clips come in awfully handy for program directors looking to attach a voice to any notes that a 20/20 reporter is announcing. So for example, when 99.9 the Fan’s Adam Harris is talking about the Hurricanes’ game against the Senators the next day, he can not only mention the scoring streaks that Eric Staal and Jason Spezza both carry, he can include audio of Spezza talking about Staal after a practice that happened 1,300 miles away.

When I contacted Sens P.R. Director Phil Legault and found out exactly how they do it, it was really a no-brainer that we could give it a try. Phil basically does it all with his BlackBerry, using a program called VR+. So today at practice, I downloaded VR+ to my new BlackBerry Bold (Which I am completely in love with, by the way), and gave it a try.

The sound quality isn’t perfect, but it is good enough for a quick hit on the radio, or to enhance our website with a little daily audio. Here is the audio of Paul Maurice’s media scrum today after practice, in case you didn’t already hear Mr. Harris using it on the radio this afternoon.

I can’t say for sure we will do this every day right away, but it’s certainly at least worth a try. Kyle and I will try to always copy Paul Branecky on the emails when we send out audio clips, whether they are from the RecZone or Madison Square Garden, so that Paul can post them on

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