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Thursday, July 9, 2020
Connecting Our Communities

Talking sports, and then some

Group of teens parlay their love of professional sports into a podcast, complete with merchandizing opportunities

If you’re looking for an in-depth analysis of major sports leagues, the On the Rise podcast has got you covered.

Since its beginnings back in mid-August, the audio show has quickly picked up traction, and drawn the attention of a local digital radio station, Midtown Radio, to be featured every Saturday at 10 a.m.

“It’s so great to see youth leaders of today going out and building something they love and being so successful in it,” said David Harmes, producer of Midtown Radio.

On the Rise was formed by St. Jacobs and Waterloo-based group of long-time friends: co-hosts Sam Donsig and Evan Brown, head of production Jake Durrer, head of public relations Hudson Trask, and head of IT Liam Jewer.

Just 16 and 17 years of age, they’re all students at St. David Catholic Secondary School in Waterloo. Most plan to pursue a sports-related degree in the future, including sports media, sports medicine, and sports management.

“Evan and I were always talking on the bus about sports after school,” explained Donsig of the inspiration behind the podcast. “We thought that maybe, instead of just talking on the bus, we could put it on an online platform.”

“I got a message on my phone one day that said ‘We’re making a podcast and you’re helping,’” said Trask with a laugh.

The group developed a professional recording studio at Donsig’s house, complete with a soundproof room. The group also has access to the Heffner Studio, a state-of-the-art audio and digital media lab at the Kitchener Public Library.

They cover the most up-to-date news on National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Hockey League (NHL), and National Basketball Association (NBA). Co-hosts may offer a prediction, analysis, and the occasional event preview.

“Our main goal is to develop our skills in business and media broadcasting. That’s what it’s all about as young entrepreneurs,” said Trask.

The audio is then mixed using Adobe software by Durrer. This helps the students grow their skills in a variety of fields, including on-air broadcast performance, editing in Adobe Audition, coding for the website, photography, and the like.

The group also runs a merchandising company from St. Jacobs. Black hoodies with a large white logo, gray shirts with a small white logo, and logoimprinted mugs are all on offer. They are aiming to add hats, track pants, blue shirts, and polo shirts in the future.

Trask said that the group is currently focused on short-term targets, such as increasing their following, before shifting their attention to more long-term goals.

Those long-term goals might include expanding to covering soccer or National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) college football, but the group is in the early stages of looking at expanding their repertoire.

“I think the plan is to grow our following. Right now, we’re mostly based in Waterloo but if we can get outside to Elmira, Kitchener, or even Cambridge in regards to getting out there and selling merchandise, that would be ideal,” said Trask.

Episodes average about half an hour in length and can be streamed on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Anchor and a video podcast on YouTube. For more information, visit On The Rise Podcasts’s website.

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