Published on January 25th, 2018 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
ESPN San Antonio’s Ari Temkin On San Antonio & The Sports Fan Of The Future
As co-host of The Hardline with Ari & Chance, Ari Temkin is heard on ESPN San Antonio on weekdays from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM CST. Temkin not only covers the latest in San Antonio sports — beyond news related to local teams like the Cowboys, Texans, Longhorns, Aggies, Rangers and Astros — but also weaves in commentary on music, film and literature. Temkin is also Head of Content at Fantom, which aims to be the voice of the next generation of sports fans. The Chicago native is also notably ESPN San Antonio’s Program Director and a freelance writer. Yes, that is a lot of “also.”
I had the pleasure of doing some Q&A with Ari Temkin about his career in sports broadcasting and also where he sees sports fandom going. Temkin can be followed on Twitter via @AriSports.
Was it always the plan for you work in the sports world? Or did you have another passion that you almost pursued?
Ari Temkin: When I was younger, I always wanted to be as close as I could possibly get to sports. I was enamored with sports in every capacity, so I always knew I wanted to get into sports. The theme of my bar mitzvah was sports broadcasters so I guess you could say it’s a passion I’ve always pursued.
What sort of preparation is needed to go on-air with The Hardline? Is a lot of the show planned in advance?
Ari Temkin: When you host a sports talk show, preparation is constant, perpetual and ongoing. My belief is sports talk should be as much about sports as it is about life, politics, pop culture and multifaceted in general. If the audience cares about the personalities of the individuals involved in the show, then they’ll listen, and they care what you have to say about all different topics, not just sports. The market is oversaturated with sports content, a personality that connects with the audience is a defining characteristic.
So with all that being said, you are constantly observing, watching games, reading, but not just about sports and games, but other disciplines too. Every morning I’ll survey Twitter and find some of the most pressing topics. Since I’m in San Antonio, I’m mostly trying to talk about the Dallas Cowboys or the San Antonio Spurs, and I always want to find good national topics that myself or my cohost are passionate about. Topics derived from passion are obviously the most successful.
Beyond your work with ESPN Radio, you are also the Head of Content at Fantom. Given that you have multiple creative outlets, how do you know which outlet to place which creative idea with?
Ari Temkin: Ultimately, Fantom is a complement to other media outlets. That’s where I see the most growth potential. It shouldn’t be viewed as competition with traditional media, but a complement. Since Facebook is best used as a virtual reality, Fantom will be a place where known radio or TV hosts can connect and widen their fans in a more intimate setting.
Is there a piece of content for Fantom that you are most proud of?
Ari Temkin: With Fantom, it’s not just the content I’m creating individually, but the web of content we’re creating over multiple topics. From a broad perspective, Fantom has brought fans onto the field of Game Seven of the World Series, the NBA Finals, the NFL in London. We’ve also had over 20 live games, dozens of contributors from brand names, and partnered with over 10 leagues.
What is coming up for Fantom?
Ari Temkin: Up until now, TV has decided what you get to watch. But because of the advanced targeting of Facebook, sports that otherwise would not have seen the light of day can reach millions of people. It’s not that these communities didn’t exist, it’s that they didn’t have a place to congregate. And that’s what Fantom has done. Whether it’s Ultimate Frisbee or Indoor Football, there is an audience for these sports. We believe the “one show for one million people” model is dead, and that a hundred shows for 10,000 people each is the future.
When not busy with work, how do you like to spend your free time?
Ari Temkin: I really enjoy hanging out with my wife and our two-year-old son. We all seem to have a lot of fun together. My kid is really into basketball, and he’s only two, so we’ll see where it goes. I’m part of the 100% of adult males with children that at some point think their kid can be a professional athlete, even if that point is very short.