OPINION: JUMP IN!
ARLINGTON – The motto of FishBowl Radio Network is “Jump In!”
And, well, we sure did!
Fishbowl is described as the largest personality-driven Internet radio station in the world.
Their vision of excellence has inspired us to conceive one of our own – one solid hour of Burleson-area local news, business and sports for our readers and listeners.
The story behind the Burleson Star’s current foray into radio journalism began a few months ago, when I was a guest on the multiple award-winning "The Queen Silvy Show " on the Fishbowl Radio Network L.L.C.
This network, by the way, was founded in 2009 by Sylvia “Sammi G.” St.John-Martinez, a 30-plus year industry veteran and major market radio personality. Her vision is to create the “New Radio.”
I quickly learned that Fishbowl Radio Network streams audio content on the Internet for over 120 shows. The company broadcasts over four streams to a global audience of 1.9 million listeners.
As she was telling me this, Sammi extended the invitation to start my own radio show on her network.
I agreed and started such a show. “The Texas Newsroom” is a news-based night journalism talk radio show I host alongside my lifelong friend Shane Clendening.
The idea of a radio show for someone such as myself – with over 25 years of print news experience – never got old for me. So I decided to share it.
With my bosses.
After numerous weeks and much satisfaction as to the results, I brought the idea to the Burleson Star’s new owners, David C. Martin and Dianne Egan.
My idea for the setup of “Burleson Star Live” was the same as the Texas Newsroom: News, features, business, exclusive interviews and sports in the Burleson area.
To my astonishment and eternal wonder, Martin and Egan agreed to allow us to create the show.
Because radio is such a departure from our usual newspaper venue, this one-hour, 2 p.m. Thursday show became a bit of a hallmark in the Burleson Star’s 50-year plus journalism history.
By starting BSL, we are hoping to expand our reach as a print newspaper, impress our current and future advertising clients with our versatility, and, frankly, just get the necessary news stories OUT THERE where they belong.
Our very first guest on “Burleson Star Live” was Dr. Bret Jimerson, superintendent of the Burleson ISD.
Dr. Jimerson is a brave, bold soul and a bit of a visionary.
In what was probably the coolest leap of faith I have ever seen from someone so high up the local food chain, the forward-looking Dr. Jimerson agreed to be on our show in record time.
His presence on the inaugural episode on Thursday, May 4, 2017, on the Fishbowl Network’s Red Stream was invaluable.
He was there to discuss his “State of The District” column that we had just published. He answered some bond election related questions as well.
We all had a blast with Dr. Jimerson in the studio,
It was obvious to us Dr. J was having fun being on the radio – providing some personality and perspective to viewers who might only have known him from his words in the newspaper.
There is so much more to Bret Jimerson than just facts and figures, ties and suits, A,B,C and 1-2-3.
Dr. J’s connection with his students, and love for education and people in general, just shines through when he’s speaking.
I already knew this from previous interviews and I was delighted that our listeners would be able to experience and savor the “Jimerson Experience.”
Having the BISD superintendent as a primary guest didn’t hurt the number of viewers who saw us on Facebook Live, either. Final count of Facebook Live views: 2,189.
As far as our bosses are concerned, starting “Burleson Star Live” is something along the lines of an experiment as part of our mission to keep news coverage as interesting and hyper-local as possible.
By putting our stories on the air as well as in print, we are kind of increasing the stakes.
As the managing editor and senior staff writer, I will be the producer and primary host of the show.
Our rotating Burleson Star staff of Ricky Moore, Tana Howell and Jon Lewis, as well as special expert guests such as longtime reporter Paul Gnadt, who has an amazing radio voice, will stay hard at work to keep our audience informed and entertained.
As the experiment progresses, “Burleson Star Live” will act as a kind of “stepsister” show to my Thursday night program “The Texas Newsroom with Ben Tinsley and Shane Clendening.”
There will be times when Burleson guests cannot make our 2 p.m. Thursday air time. They will be offered the chance to come on the 10 p.m. Texas Newsroom to make their interviews.
In addition to videotaping each episode on Facebook Live, we also archive the audio version on our respective FBRN pages.
These pages are as follows:
We hope that our readers will join us Thursdays as we try to take our journalism to the next level. Please call or email with any questions or suggestions.
Join us as we – like Fishbowl Network officials say – JUMP IN!
Ben Tinsley is a veteran Texas news reporter with over 25 years experience in the industry. He is the Burleson Star’s managing editor and senior reporter. He can be reached by cell phone, (702) 524-3773 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at @BenTinsley on Twitter, www.facebook.com/ben.tinsley.12 on Facebook, or https://plus.google.com/+BenTinsley on Google.