It's out with Rocket Replay and in with Rocket Insider for the University of Toledo athletic program starting this fall.
In other words, UT's half-hour football and basketball coaches shows, which have been a Sunday morning staple on local television for more than a decade, are a thing of the past.
There's no more waking up to UT football coach Tom Amstutz or UT men's basketball coach Stan Joplin on Sundays for the loyal viewers who watched the recap/preview/ highlights show. However, Amstutz's and Joplin's presence on TV isn't expected to diminish with the dismantling of one of the longest-running shows involving Mid-American Conference coaches.
Rocket Insider is a multi-media effort to help promote what's happening with UT athletics.
UT associate athletic director Mike Karabin believes Rocket Insider will guarantee more “exposure” for UT athletics than Rocket Replay had accomplished.
A series of 60-second spots highlighting UT athletic events each week will air on WTVG-ABC, Channel 13, throughout the year along with 60-second spots on radio station WSPD, 1370-AM. Mark Beier, the voice of the Rockets' football and men's basketball teams the past seven years, will provide the sound bites on the TV and radio spots.
Rocket Insider will also promote UT athletics by way of additional advertisements in The Blade and a beefed-up presence on UT's web pages.
“The bottom line is, we're trying to do something entirely different from a marketing side,” Karabin said. “Over the years I thought we did a quality job [with Rocket Replay], but most coaches shows have poor ratings.”
At its best, Karabin said, Rocket Replay pulled in a 1 share of viewers on Sunday mornings. That means 1 percent of the viewing audience was watching.
“We just think it's more important for us to try and hit a larger audience,” he said. “The big thing is, we're going right to the audience instead of hoping the audience comes to us.”
Apparently, the deals Amstutz and Joplin have with UT concerning television and radio are not affected by pulling the plug on Rocket Replay. Neither could be reached for comment.
However, in a press release revealing the Rockets' new approach to “mass marketing,” the two most prominent coaches on the campus expressed supportive thoughts about Rocket Insider.
“Even though we won't have a Sunday coaches' show anymore I see this as a positive move on our part,” Amstutz said. “I feel like we are at the cutting edge in the use of media to reach as many Rocket fans as possible and I'm happy to be a part of it.”
Joplin shared a similar feeling.
“I really like the concept of the Rocket Insider,” he said. “I think it's going to give us a lot more visibility in the Toledo area.”
The debut of Rocket Insider is scheduled for Monday.
Unfortunately, the annual Hall of Fame Game, which traditionally followed the induction ceremonies and signified the kickoff to another season, will not take place until Monday night. The expansion Houston Texans will debut against the New York Giants in an exhibition set for 8 on Channel 13.
However, there is NFL on TV today. The San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins will play tonight at 10 on ESPN.
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