As recruiting strategy unfolds, we continue to develop our Bucknuts site strategy, as well. And we just couldn't wait to save all our formal announcements for this Wednesday!
I am on record (and have been both praised and blasted for it…) for spelling out our long-term intentions in an effort to keep the site nourished and growing; improved and interesting; entertaining and informative. Two years ago, we added Jerry Rudzinski and Duane Long to the collective. Jerry gave us unique insights into team matters and Duane brought aboard his formidable recruiting expertise.
We then affiliated with The Insiders (later that year) so that we could get the technology, national networking, and databases needed to take this program to "the next level".
With that move, I overtly signaled our intentions; we would keep free everything that had always been free (Mr. Bucknuts articles, Ramzy, Kirk features, Jerry Rudzinski editorials, Duane's answering of inquiries on the free message boards, and the free message boards themselves). But to generate some revenues to support our further growth, we formed the Bucknuts Fan Club and solicited those Bucknutters - who had the inclination (and the money) - to join. With those prospective funds, our plan was to add new content that everyone could access, to one degree or another.
And we did. We brought on Dave Biddle, who writes for both the free Bucknuts side and for the Club. We cajoled Duane into going full-time so that he could attend to all of his recruiting missions more completely. We added Evan Mercer, our staff photographer. And we brought on AT Buckeye to cover Ohio State basketball for the first time.
Some of you condemned us for "selling out". Some of you condemned us for selling anything. Some of you understood that the contributors of all this content wanted to be paid something for their time and efforts. And a lot of you joined the Club. And we are very appreciative for that. Some of you cursed us and made bold pronouncements of doom for the site. Most of that group is no longer here to read these observations, so we won't dwell on their problems…
We have achieved a lot of what we set out to do but we still have a long way to go. We need more intimate coverage of the team and the activities surrounding them. We need more updates for Club members. We need more cool merchandise for those so inclined. And we need to keep evolving and improving our recruiting coverage.
To those ends, we are pleased to add yet more staff to the Bucknuts gang of contributors. As we announced in a soft way last week, Charles Babb has joined us here. And we are announcing today the addition of Matt Natali.
First, as to Charles…Many of you know Charles as "Banished Buck". Some of you know him under another name. Anyone who knows Charles knows that he is opinionated, prolific, and loves his Buckeyes dearly. So he should fit in perfectly with the established Bucknuts group.
For the first time, we are bringing you an actual picture of Charles Babb. No, this is not a drawing – it is an unretouched photograph that shows you just how unusual Charles really is:
I tried to come up with all sorts of cute names for his new columns and features. Here is a short list of my initial ideas:
- Biddle and Babble
- Bobble, Biddle and Babble
Well, you see the trend here. How was I to know that Charles hated the "babble" tie-in? He thought about "Babb's Bits". I said, that sounded too old-fashioned, kind of like "Babb's Beat". Why not go with "Charles in Charge" or "Up Chuck's Alley"? He hated that. So, if you have any ideas on what to cal Charles' stuff (hey – try to keep it clean!), let us know and you'll win, well…potential immortality is all we can offer.
As to the important stuff, Charles Babb will cover the Columbus beat, more recruiting, interviews and the like. He will help us grow the magazine and help Duane with Ohio's Future Stars. Half his stuff will be for the overall free board (See? The system works…). And half will be for the Club, so that we can afford to pay him something.
Charles – welcome aboard ("Babb's Boathouse"?)
Matt Natali is a University of Dayton senior. Since UD doesn't produce many big name football players (well, there was Jon Gruden…), he has naturally gravitated toward the Buckeyes. He is a marketing and computer guy who is heavily into sports and loves to write. He will contribute in a variety of ways. And – most importantly – he hasn't insisted on a clever feature name for his work.
In 2003, we plan to greatly enhance our radio offerings. We've contracted with the past producer of the Ohio State football network and the guy who put together ONN – Ed Douglas. Ed will produce our radio offerings and will spruce up the format even if he can't improve the performances (but he swears he's gonna try!). Both the Bucknuts Radio Hour and The JJ and Jerry High School Sports Show are already better off for affiliating with Ed Douglas.
In 2003, we plan to substantially increase the size of our magazine. In what just recently started as a raw idea, we have morphed from "brochure" to "pamphlet" to "skinny magazine". We will keep adding weight this year…
In 2003, we will broaden the coverage of Ohio's Future Stars including more features, earlier coverage of underclassmen and lots more pretty photography. Look for some of that in the March issue, which is about five weeks off.
And in 2003, we plan to re-dedicate ourselves to better and more thorough recruiting coverage. This is a plan that is in motion with the partnership of The Insiders and will include their staff of Jamie Newberg, Max Emfinger, Chris Pool, Greg Biggins, Mike Bakas, and Brentt Eads and the group at Student Sports.
And speaking of recruiting and 2003, what's going on right now? Well, read my thought remnants in tomorrow's Recruiting Report Card review. We'll have our annual Commitment Day extravaganza with Duane Long on the Bucknuts Radio Hour this week and hope to have on a few surprise guests. And next week? We will start covering the Class of 2004! (Hey – we already have two commitments…)
We've planned our work and now we've got to work the plan. It sounds ambitious perhaps, but if there is one thing that Coach Tressel and his 2002 team showed us this year – dare to dream big and go for the gusto!
E-mail Mr. Bucknuts at firstname.lastname@example.org