Archive | University Affairs RSS for this section

March Madness: America’s Unofficial Event

By Cheval John

I had the opportunity to cover collegiate athletics as a freelance journalist for the Huntsville Item for over two years in Huntsville, Texas.

As for those who might believe that they is nothing much to do in Huntsville, they will have to look deeper.

For starters, Huntsville is located just an hour north of the fourth largest city in the United States, Houston.

In reality, the small town is approximately 20 minutes from the Houston metropolitan area.

So for those who might want to see something different while living in Huntsville, they can just drive down to the Houston area.

Another thing that makes Huntsville unique is Sam Houston State University(SHSU) because a college campus is a “city” within a city.

And in any city or town, sports gives anyone the opportunity to be entertained for two hours or three hours if it is baseball, basketball or football.

The city of Huntsville can never be a home to a professional sports team because of the costs of having a stadium and a strong fan base.

The city of Houston has four professional sports teams because they have the infrastructure to provide the demands of what these organizations are looking for.

Case in point, the professional athlete making millions of dollars.

That is where collegiate athletics comes in for a small town.

The universities has to take care of their own departments.

And since collegiate athletics are under the umbrella of the universities, the places that these universities are based in don’t have to worry about the cost.

Which brings me back to Sam Houston State.

SHSU has 17 sports teams that competes at the NCAA Division I level.

And since the NCAA Division I level is as elite as professional athletes, Huntsville residents can see an elite level of competition that they would see at a major professional sports event.

I was fortunate to have covered the SHSU baseball team while they got three at-large bids to the NCAA tournament after winning three consecutive Southland Conference (SLC) regular season championships.

For any mid-major school, if you don’t win the respective conference post-season tournament, you will not get an at-large bid to any NCAA tournament.

I also had the opportunity to cover SHSU’s 2012-13 women basketball team that won their first ever SLC regular season title and finished as a runner-up in the SLC’s post-season tournament.

From the experience of covering SHSU’s sports teams, I will offer my answer to the question, “Are You Being Exploited By March Madness.”

I will have to say that I am conflicted to a large degree about the NCAA.

Beforehand, I would have disagree completely with the premise that college athletes are getting exploited by the NCAA because of the premise that they are going to school for free based on the scholarships that they are getting to play for their respective universities while the rest of the college student body have to pay a whole lot of money for classes and books in order to attend college.

However, I had a change of heart about the fact that the NCAA has taken advantage of the so-called “student-athlete” because they know that they don’t have to pay these same college students who are athletes due to the fact that they are college students.

I have always wondered why college athletics has been so huge in the United States like the major professional sports growing up.

I mean it is part of the student experience in college to participate in a sporting event.
The history of college sports in America is what makes the United States a unique country to live in.
At the same time, I feel a little disgusted by the fact that the NCAA and college coaches in the major universities are making millions of dollars while the same college athletes are not getting a single cent from the revenue that they are making.

Case in point, the NCAA are currently in their 14 year deal worth about 11 billion dollars with CBS.
The powers that be over the NCAA are being more profitable than ever.

The sad part is that the majority of college athletes come from low income families.

It is true that they get meals and “free tuition” due to scholarship.

But the fact that they can’t receive help from friends who can provide some funds while they are in college due to the fact that they might commit an NCAA violation.

This tells about the garbage rules that the NCAA has instituted and it feels to me at times that they want these college athletes to remain poor while they are attending college.

At the same time, these same college athletes should get a whole lot more compensation for the amount of money that the NCAA are making.

One thing that they can do is not make the scholarship a one year deal, but make it for the entire four years so that the college athlete will not have to feel the extreme pressure of succeeding on the field as well as in the classroom.

The Explosive Growth Of Podcasts

By Cheval John

It was during the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) National Championship matchup between Sam Houston State and North Dakota State that I had a true idea of what podcasting was all about.

I was covering the matchup for the blog of the school newspaper and a colleague who was working for the Huntsville Item at the time chatted about the beginning stages for his podcast.

Before the matchup, we did a podcast along with the sports editor of the school newspaper about the keys that both teams needed to win the national championship.

I did not think more about podcasting for a while until I saw an article by Eventual Millionaire host Jaime Masters on Social Media Examiner about why a person should start a podcast

That was when I realized that I needed to begin a podcast.

The problem was that I did not have enough money for podcast equipment.

Then when I saw about hosting your very own radio show on BlogTalkRadio with just a computer and a phone courtesy of Chelsea Krost‘s show, I knew that was where I was going to launch my podcast.

Since then I have been growing my show steadily and using blab to record my show which later appears on BlogTalkRadio.

And many entrepreneurs are now reaching potential customers via podcast.

This infographic below by CopyBlogger explains the rise of podcasts and why now is the time to have your very own podcast.

From 2003 to 2016: The Astounding Growth of Podcasting [Infographic]

Like this infographic? Get content marketing advice that works from Copyblogger.

And to finish this article, here are a couple of podcast episodes from What’s The Word? featuring guests Janette Speyer of Web Success Team and Natasha Davis of Impact Branding Consulting.

Janette Speyer

Natasha Davis

Have you thought about podcasting? If so, how has podcasting helped your business? You can leave a comment below.

Celebrating 3 Years In Podcasting

By Cheval John

Courtesy of www.hfmatretrony.org

Courtesy of www.hfmatretrony.org

As SuperBowl 50 is about to begin in about two hours, national media outlets from CBS, the NFL Network, ESPN, USA Today, the New York Times, the Houston Chronicle etc. are providing a whole lot of attention and buzz around the different strategies that lead either the Carolina Panthers or the Denver Broncos to winning the championship.

A new wave of media is making the national media to take notice and even adapt to how they broadcast events like the SuperBowl.

Live streaming applications like Periscope and Blab have allowed people who are not with the official media to broadcast their expertise in entrepreneuership, social media and even sports.

In the case of blab, their application makes it easier for someone who is a podcaster to record their shows in front of a “live audience” and overtime build their fanbase for their shows.

I can say that I am one of the podcasters who have started to record my show, What’s The Word? on blab from September of 2015 and have been putting the show’s recordings on BlogTalkRadio to come out at a later time.

BlogTalkRadio was where I started my show three years ago on this very day.

I never thought I would still be podcasting even now because most podcasters don’t make it past the seventh episode because they don’t see the immediate results of getting rich from their podcasts in the same way that John Lee Dumas has become rich from his “Entrepreneur On Fire” podcast.

Dumas is the exception because he was the first to have a 7-day a week podcast and that is the reason why he is extremely successful with his podcast.

Many don’t understand that podcasting takes hard work and dedication and that you will not achieve a million downloads overnight according to this article on Libsyn’s blog.

I know that I was blessed to have begun my podcast which is an extension of Vallano Media from Huntsville, Texas, a small city which is an hour north of Houston and that the guests from the early episodes of my show were faculty and sports coaches from my alma mater, Sam Houston State University.

The very first guest for my show was Peter Roussel, former White House spokesperson and current adjunct professor in the Mass Communication Department.

Even though my first episode did not start out well, I have learned how to become a better podcaster over time.


I am still learning to this day of how to be a great podcaster for the better.

Plus, I am not going after the A-listers as much to be on my show as I did before (even though my intention was to lift them up to another level of success) because I want to treat everyone the same and not give special treatment just because they are a well-known name for the better.

Also, you will get a whole lot of value from a guest who is not a well-known celebrity and will uplift your audience and even yourself to be better people.

A couple of my favorite episodes showcases that example of not too well known guests who have uplifted me and my audience for the better.

Christin Kardos, who is now a community manager for Convince and Convert

Kelly Hungerford, Digital Strategist

Greg Walker, Author And Entrepreneur

Jackie Bernardi: Entrepreneur And Beauty Industry Business Catalyst

Tamara McCleary, Creator of RelationShift

So the most important message that you can take away from this post is to always be consistent with putting out uplifting messages on your podcasts, blogs, YouTube videos, etc. and don’t ever look for the “overnight success” because overtime, you will achieve important milestones that will make you appreciate the hard work that you put into creating quality shows for the better.

Five Years And Counting As A Blogger

By Cheval John

Photo courtesy of Forbes via BigStock.com

Photo courtesy of Forbes via BigStock.com


I still remembered the day I first started blogging five years ago.

I was about to start graduate school and was at an on-campus job fair at my alma mater, Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.

There were many university departments ranging from the career services to the athletic department looking for people who would fill their positions as an intern or part-time work.

I first approached the athletic department about the possibility of working with their marketing team.

I felt that I was qualified because in the previous semester, I interned at an on-campus public relations agency called Priority One.

The public relations agency is part of the class where students form a company and do real work for clients with the SHSU university departments and in the process gain class credit towards their Mass Communications degree.

In my case, I was auditing the class (which mean I got no class credit, but payed less money for the class)

I took that route because I knew that I would have the opportunity to gain actual public relations experience that would give me an opportunity to compete with other graduates for work at a marketing/public relations company.

So I applied for the marketing position at the athletic department’s booth and got rejected because I was overqualified.

A couple of minutes later, I saw the booth of the college’s newspaper of record, “The Houstonian”

I went up to the booth and the editor-of-chief of the newspaper had asked me if I had wanted to be their blogger.

Prior to her asking me about becoming their blogger, I had a vague idea of what a blog was.

That idea of a blog probably came about from an NCIS episode when the main character, Gibbs, asked the forensic scientist, Abby, what a blog was since the sister of special agent McGee, who was portrayed by Trioan Bellasario, had a blog.

And since I did not had any prior blogging experience, I could have told her, “No, I don’t want to work as a blogger.”

However, I said yes to the opportunity of becoming a blogger because I knew that it would allow me to become part of the college newspaper and gain experience as a journalist.

I was then connected with the person who was in charge of their social media to set up an account for the blog.

She had “recommended” using WordPress to set up the blog.

It was at that time, I came up with the name, “What’s The Word?” and created the blog with the free WordPress.com account.

After that, the social media editor linked the blog to the school’s newspaper account.

Then, I written my very first blog post on January 27th, 2011 entitled, “Hello Everyone,” which for some reason, the blog date is 6 hours ahead of central time.

It was awesome to realize that I was simultaneously blogging for the school newspaper and myself because I was the only one who had access to this blog.

I also knew that I had the platform to share my opinions of what is happening on my college’s campus, the sports world, etc.

It was also cool that blogging led me to become a sportswriter because of my curiousity to see what it would be like to cover a sporting event.

And the opportunity came about when the SHSU baseball and softball team was hosting a weekend series during spring break.

I decided to attend the softball double-header matchup on Saturday and then the baseball matchup on Sunday.

This blog post, “A Weekend Not To Remember” came about from covering both athletic teams that weekend.

Also, that spring break weekend of covering those sporting events got me hooked on being a sports writer.

As a sportwriter for the college newspaper, I was able to cover the SHSU Volleyball team and simultaneously covered the SHSU Football Team run toward the national championship for the blog.

Eventually, I “left” the school newspaper after I took a semester off from graduate school and converted this blog into my media company, “Vallano Media.”

At the same time, I became a freelance sportswriter for the Huntsville Item in addition to running this company and covered teams that won conference championships in their respective sports.

I have also written two books and hosted a podcast called, “What’s The Word?” on BlogTalkRadio (now recording the show on the live streaming platform called blab first).

The reason why I will continue to blog is because I still have the desire to make a positive impact in the world for the better.

Plus, I know that I am apart of a crowd who are setting themselves up for success for the better because of their blogs, podcasts, YouTube channel, etc.

The people above will thrive for the better despite the continued layoffs due to companies shutting down or merging to become a giant corporation.

College Football Playoff’s Impact on Phoenix

By Cheval John January 11th, 2016

Tonight, the nation will see who will win the College Football Playoff National Championship matchup between No.1 Clemson Tigers and the No.2 Alabama Crimson Tide in Glendale, Arizona on ESPN.

Everyone will expect Alabama to win their 11th national championship in the sport of football and fourth in seven years because they have a tradition of winning.

Many can almost compare Alabama to an NFL powerhouse because of the way their head coach, Nick Saban run the program.

No one would expect Clemson, who is seeking their second ever national title, to beat Alabama despite being the lone undefeated team in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

History have a way of repeating itself.

Clemson’s last national title in 1981 has some similarities.

In that year, they opened the season against Wofford, an Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) opponent en route to their first championship.

In the 2015 season, the Tigers opened their matchup against Wofford.

Just maybe, Clemson will pull off the shocking upset.

What is really interesting is the way the coverage of the national championship game has been displayed leading up to the matchup.

ESPN, the world wide leader in sports, have been broadcasting the events and interviews with the football players and the coaches today.

You can at times have a sense of the atmosphere that the fans of both Clemson and Alabama are experiencing at the pre-championship football matchup events.

You might come to a conclusion that the events is almost like the Super Bowl.

And you can expect to see major corporations and non-profits capitalizing on the opportunities to promote their uplifting services and products during the national championship game.

Looking at these tweets below:

And even some are using this matchup to promote their causes.

Like this tweet from the U.S. Fish and Wild Life

And let’s not leave out the SEC Network:

And this tweet from the College Football Playoff

Now with all of the media attention that the national championship is getting, you can expect the Phoenix metropolitan area to benefit financially from this.

In a lot of ways, Phoenix is benefiting tremendously from the media exposure that they are receiving.

But from an insider’s perspective, the media attention that they receive is only when a major event like the Super Bowl or in this case, the national championship, happens in their surrounding area.

Monique Hoffmann, a.k.a. Q The Brand, shared with me on the live streaming platform called Blab, that many people don’t know about the positive offerings that the Phoenix area gives to businesses.

She also brought a bigger perspective on the fact that many large businesses are not taking advantage of social media to promote their businesses for the better.

She also mentioned that if they do use social media, they are looking for the quick return on investment (ROI) and not looking at the long term positive results due to their efforts from being on social media.

It is like they miss the boat on the fact that they have to build trust with their customers and fans if they want to be successful.

And the most interesting thing that was mentioned in the blab show about the College Football Playoff by Clair Wyant, a fellow Phoenix resident as Q The Brand, is that Clemson Athletics have been utilizing social media the correct way to build further trust and engagement with their students, faculty and alumni base.

So in essence, Clemson understands the true value of social media.

So if you can continue to use social media correctly to build a loyal audience, you can succeed in your business as an small business owner or solopreneur for the better.

As for my predictions regarding the national championship matchup, my intuition says that Clemson will pull off the shocking upset and win their second national championship.