I like being where there is a big story, or where I can tell a very good story. I like being at a big event where there is excitement to it. I like being at a big event trying to tell the story that no one else does to set myself apart from everyone else. All of that matters to me.
The interview with Arash Madani was conducted via a phone conversation and later transcribed. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.
1Being a National Reporter is a big job in the world of sports media. Knowing this, do you ever get nervous when going on air?
I don't get nervous anymore.
From over so many years, so many reps and so many times doing it, it gets more manageable. The nerves have gone away because of preparation.
I think if you’re very prepared then that is going to reduce the nerve and anxiety.
It's almost like playing football; if you feel prepared and have the game plan down, know the offense inside out as a quarterback, you’re gonna feel a lot more confident, loose and relaxed going into a game rather than the day before the game being like “what is that play call again, what’s everyone responsibility?”
So I’ve been doing this a long time and some people say going to a World Series or Super Bowl must be nerve racking.
It’s funny because those are the assignments that there’s so much information you can research and prepare yourself for.
Some of the most difficult events I've had to do are university sports. This because I get thrown into Dinos vs St FX for example in a bowl game and other than rosters on the team website and some articles here and there in the local papers, there’s not a lot of information out there.
I have learned that if I can prepare myself as well as possible that’s going to put me in the best position to succeed, then it helps reduce nervousness.
2As a National Reporter, you get the chance to cover many different sports. Which are your favourite to cover?
I wouldn't say I have a favourite sport to cover.
I like being where there is a big story, or where I can tell a very good story. I like being at a big event where there is excitement to it. All of that matters to me.
I like going to the Olympics because I can tell a story about an athlete that nobody else can. I like being at a big event trying to tell the story that no one else does to set myself apart from everyone else.
It’s not necessarily about the league or sport, I like being somewhere where it's a big event.
I would rather do a UTECK bowl than Hockey Night In Canada Habs vs Penguins because I get a chance to tell stories and call a game that means a lot to the people and the families of those people competing and I think that is really important.
It's not necessarily a sport, game or league, I like a variety and that is what I do.
3Being a national reporter requires the ability to cover an immense amount of different events, news and sports. How do you keep up with the continual sports news bombarding you (global stories, viral videos)? What is your criteria for determining the legitimacy of the information?
I’m very lucky because my profession, hobby and interest is all the same thing.
So today, I am going to watch Washington vs Pittsburgh then Buffalo San Francisco, not because it's my job but because that’s what I would be doing normally if I had a 9-5 office job. So I am very fortunate in that regard.
There are 10-20 nights a year where I disconnect from sports. My passion, joy and career are all the same thing.
There are some things I follow closer than others. If I know I’m going to be covering the MLB postseason as an example, in September I really start dialling in.
Usually, I do the NL playoffs and Hazel does the AL playoffs. I dial in on the 8 teams that are going to be in the NL playoffs and really start studying them.
I’ll probably pay less attention to what’s going on in the NBA or NHL. I’ll still keep tabs on what’s happening, the more I am able to do that, the better prepared I am to attack.
4You have crafted a big name for yourself with covering the Blue Jays and many other sports during your career, but there must have been some people you have met maybe before or during who you admire. Who are your media personalities and/or journalist role models?
There’s a bunch, it’s crazy.
I work blue jays games with Dan Shulman who I think is the best play by play person on earth, regardless of sport.
He was a finalist for Cooperstown this year, he’s going into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and it’s funny, I think he’s a better college basketball announcer than a baseball announcer.
Every time he comes out of a break or a promo, he’ll say “3-2 Blue Jays here at Yankees stadium, Dan Shulman, Buck Martinez and Arash Madani from the Bronx” EACH time.
Honestly Matias, it’s a pinch-me moment not only that Dan Shulman knows my name, or hanging out post-game with him, but we’re working the same broadcast together.
I did not grow up a huge baseball fan, but I grew up a fan of Dan Shulman and it's amazing that we get to work games together now.
5As a National Reporter, how do you capture different audiences on television?
There are so many layers to that answer/question and ultimately in my opinion is that the live event wins each time.
Look for someone like yourself as a Winnipeg fan, it doesn't matter if Chris Cuthbert was calling the game last November, people in Manitoba were watching the Grey Cup.
To me, it’s the event that ultimately dictates all. The live sport event is what people are into and watching.
So to me, it's about aligning yourself with what the live event is and will be. I think the days of people watching one hour highlight shows are pretty much done.
But we all remember where we were when the Minneapolis Miracle happened. You probably don't remember the post game show but you remember Joe Buck's call and you remember the moment.
To me, it's about aligning yourself with the live event.
6Sports media is starting to evolve and intertwine with social media as the industry shifts into the digital age. How do you capture audiences and utilize social media?
That’s a great question that many people would have a different answer to, it depends on how important that is to you.
Some people have turned it into a popularity contest, some people it's about how much engagement. Maybe I'm living in the stone age Matias but for me it's about credibility.
I’m gonna tweet what I believe, I'm gonna tweet information and facts.
But truthfully and this may be archaic of me, I’m not as interested in a huge social media following as I am interested in doing my job well.
I think social media is a part of what to do, but the logo in the top left corner of my paycheck is from Rogers not from Twitter or Instagram.
So I have to do my job and do it well. So it's about creating the content for the company.
If I'm a sideline reporter for a game it's about doing good content for that game. I’ll put my work up on Twitter but it's not as much of a priority for me as it is for other people.
It's a real balancing act in this stage of the industry.