SMJ Interview- Brian Powell, Awful Announcing

I’ve always been intrigued about the work people do to create and maintain their blogs.  Like me, most of these bloggers do this on their spare time.  Juggling work and family many times puts what I do here on the back burner.  Beleive me I wouldn’t want it any other way.

When I visit some of my favorite links (listed in the left sidebar) I am amazed at the number of posts these bloggers log each day.  It’s inspiring and drives me to post more often.

One of those bloggers is Brian Powell, who runs the ever popular Awful Announcing site, which celebrated its first anniversary last month.  Powell is known for his irreverence and his stinging commentary on those who announce and analyze sports.  In between posts Powell was good enough to answer questions about himself and the site.

SMJ- Tell me a little about yourself, where you grew up and how did sports influence your upbringing?

A.A.-That obviously plays into my love for Sports and the idea to start the site, so….good question. I played pretty much every sport there was to play growing up. In high school I think I might have come close to the school record. I dabbled in Basketball, Baseball, Golf, Track, Cross Country, Soccer, Lacrosse, and at one point….Hockey. By my Senior year it was only Cross Country, Basketball, and Track and while I received DIII scholarship offers for bball I went with a DI to run track and Cross Country. So what does that have to do with announcing? I have no idea.

SMJ- What do you do for a living? (If you can say) How does your job help/impede your work on the site? How difficult is it to post because this is not your full time job?

A.A.- You’d never guess what I did for a living, but I do work with a former NBA player. That doesn’t help with the site at all I just wanted to brag.

Basically my job is doing Internet research all day long, so there’s ample time for me to peruse the interwebs.

SMJ- How did you come up with the idea for Awful Announcing? Is there a story about how you came up with the name?

A.A.-The idea for the site had been floating around in my head for about 3 years before I actually took steps to create it (if entering awfulannouncing.blogspot at blogger is a form of creationism). The story goes like this. One of the first memories I have from any Sport is the 1986 Orange Bowl and my father going apes*** after everything the announcer said.

If you go back and watch that game pretty much everything that Charlie Jones predicts plays out the exact opposite. If that was today I’d have a field day. Soooo…..I learned it by watching YOU DAD!

As far as the name…..I got the idea from an awesome site called Basketbawful, and went with alliteration as the hook.

SMJ- What were your goals for the site in the early going? How were you able to promote it?

A.A.- To be completely honest…..I had zero goals. I sucked at writing (still do), and I had never even read a blog besides Deadspin. I randomly emailed Will (from Deadspin) and said I loved his work and to check out my site. He linked it the next day, and I almost passed out. Since then, things have just been snowballing. The USC Cheerleader Incident is obviously what the site is most known for and started it on its roll.

SMJ- How has the site evolved over its first year?

A.A.-I don’t even know how to answer that….that’s a question for the readers. I hate when people say “they found their voice”….that’s crap. I’ve always wrote the same way (crappy)….I’ve just found better material and focused on certain things that the readers enjoy.

I’m basically addicted to the site now, and that dedication is what gets it noticed.

SMJ- Does anyone else help you with the site?

A.A.-God everyone in the whole Blogosphere helps/helped me. Anyone who’s ever linked me I owe a beer too, and thankfully that’s a lot of drinks. The first few were the biggies, so I can’t thank them enough…..Deadspin, The Big Lead, and Mister Irrelevant I owe my blogging career to.

As far as the specific site….I have the best “weekend editor” on the face of the earth. Sorry MJD, but it’s true. Brian from One More Dying Quail has turned weekends at AA into in a event, and comes up with a new Red Sox post every hour to keep it fresh (Just Kidding OMDQ). I also have regular live-blog and special feature contributors that we call the Channel 4 News Team. Extrapolater writes the Press Buffet for the weekend, and Signal to Noise, Run Up The Score, and Marco from Just Call Me Juice fill out the roster.

Without them the site would be a lot worse off. I can’t thank them enough.

SMJ- Where do you get your topics for the site?

A.A.-Anywhere and everywhere. I started out writing very long posts trying to explain how ridiculous certain announcers were. And while that worked, it doesn’t compare to actual video that you can embed and have people verify what you saw. No one besides me is up watching Women’s Softball at 3am, so if some girl loses her top….I have to show someone.

The rest come from Newspapers, Advertising/Industry Pubs, and the Blogosphere.

SMJ- You rely on a lot of video clips. Do you surf You Tube for them, get some referred to you, or both?

A.A.-I’d love to give away my secret, but I wouldn’t want to give someone a leg up. Just kidding. I watch about 4 TV programs that aren’t sports…..every other second of the day I’m up to my eyes in athletics. I watch more games than anyone on the face of the earth. Hell, I watch the WNBA if it’s the only thing on. Probably 60% of the videos you see are the ones I stole….or, uhh…..pulled.

If Michael Jordan comes out of retirement, and drops 50 on Lebron, I can have the video up in 20 minutes while you’re still watching the postgame interview. It all goes back to the point above. You can tell people all day long about what you saw and they can call b.s. But if you show them….they can only sometime(s) call b.s.

SMJ- How much sports do you watch in a given week?

A.A.-I couldn’t even begin to count. I probably don’t watch about 4 hours of the total week’s schedule.

SMJ- From where do you get your sports information? What are some of your favorite websites?

A.A.-I always love this question in interviews. It always seems like people rub each other’s backs and just mention the same sites over and over. That bothers me. Of course you read Deadspin…..my dad reads Deadspin.

Everyone on my “Friends of AA” section I’ve been in contact with, and more than likely got something from.

Here’s a short list of “not gigantic” sites I go to everyday. Ballhype, Babes Love Baseball, Bullets Forever, Deuce of Davenport, Digital Headbutt, Flash Warner, Gheorghe The Blog, Girls Gone Sports, Golden State of Mind, If I Ran, Joe Sports Fan, Just Call Me Juice, La Revolucion, Ladies…, Larry Brown Sports, Leave the Man Alone, Mondesi’s House, One More Dying Quail, Run Up The Score, Signal To Noise, Sports Gone South, The 700 Level, The Big Picture, The Hog Blogger, Thunder Matt’s Saloon, and WBRS Sports

Okay, not a short list, but every one of those sites is awesome so you have to check them out.

SMJ- Do you feel some sports bloggers should have access to team press boxes and locker rooms? Why?

A.A.-I think that’s an obvious yes, but only for the sites that cover actual teams. Would I love to sit in a Press Box and rag on the writers for 3 hours? Of course. Do I expect it to happen? Not a chance.

SMJ- Quick shots…

A.A.-I’m going with word association with these names….I hope you don’t mind me taking over the question.

SMJ- Best Play-by-Play Announcer? Why?

A.A.- Marv Albert: Class

SMJ- Worst Play-by Play Announcer? Why?

A.A.-Joe Buck: Ego

SMJ- Best Color Analyst? Why?

A.A.- Bill Raftery: Energy

SMJ- Worst Color Analyst? Why?

A.A.- Joe Morgan: Asinine

SMJ- Best Studio Host? Why?

A.A.- Ernie Johnson: In-Control

SMJ- Worst Studio Host? Why?

A.A.- Dan Patrick (NBA on ABC): Overwhelmed

SMJ- Best Studio Analyst? Why?

A.A.- Charles Barkley: Honest

SMJ- Worst Studio Analyst? Why?

A.A.- Steve Phillips: Clueless

SMJ- Now that you are in year two, what are your plans for the site going forward?

A.A.- Just more of the same. It gets frustrating when someone like CNNSI links you….you get 30,000 hits in a day…..and then none of them come back. My goal is to keep those people coming back.

Look, 9 times out of 10 I give you something you haven’t seen anywhere else. I purposely skip most stories that have already been covered by the larger sites, but I always find the thing that will make you chuckle. Seriously, how many NCAA Tournament Previews can you read before you go numb? 10….15??? Come to my site and find out which announcer will be calling your favorite team, and why it will make your day when you find out it’s Gus Johnson.

__________________________________________________________

Powell has the right attitude when it comes to his site…sports is supposed to be fun, and sometimes it needs to made fun of.  Awful Announcing is a great place for that release.

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