Likewise, when you're seeking the latest information on college wrestling, you call up Wrestling411.
Wrestling411, launched in the fall of 2008, provides coverage of college wrestling in various forms -- through their Web site www.wrestling411.tv, via a twice-weekly radio show, and, eventually, a weekly highlights TV show. It's a product of Media Sports Productions, which, according to the Wrestling411 website, is "a Minneapolis-based organization whose sole mission is the marketing and promotion of the sport of wrestling. Specifically, we have a team of highly motivated and talented individuals whose sole job is to produce sports highlight shows that educate and entertain the community. These shows will be distributed by way of satellite and cable broadcasts, streamed over the Internet, and heard on radio. Our goal is to make wrestling a front-page sport."
Kyle Klingman and Jason BryantTwo members of the Wrestling411 team are award-winning journalists who are well-known and well-respected within the wrestling community: Jason Bryant, and Kyle Klingman. Before coming to Wrestling411, Bryant was arguably best known for his writing and operating the popular InterMat wrestling Web site; Klingman writes a column for WIN (Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine).
The 411 on Wrestling411
"(Media Sports Productions) was started by J Robinson a couple years ago," according to Jason Bryant. "It's a marketing and promotions company, with the intent of getting wrestling on TV."
J Robinson"We're committed to college wrestling," says Kyle Klingman. "We want to give the sport the coverage it deserves. Rather than depend on others, we decided to take the situation into our own hands."
Bryant continues, "The Wrestling411 website has video and audio clips. We did our first live dual-meet webcasts last week." This is in addition to Wrestling411 Radio Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. Central, and accessible online at Wrestling411.tv live and in the Web site archives.
"Our mission -- we want the website to be relevant in terms of interviews, articles," says Klingman. "If Iowa does something remarkable, we have Tom Brands on. We want to provide current information, and be up-to-date on what's happening in the sport right now. We also address issues like stalling, and the new qualifying procedures."
"We see Wrestling411 as being content-driven, quality-driven."
An all-inclusive package
Another mission of Wrestling411: to incorporate all aspects of collegiate wrestling.
"We want to cover everything -- Division 1, Division II, Division III," according to Kyle Klingman. "We've had every division, along with women's wrestling, California JUCO (junior college)."
Jason Bryant echoes that sentiment: "There's much more to wrestling than Division I, the Big Ten or the Big Twelve."
"As I enter scores, I know there are parents and fans who follow D3 programs. There are over 300 programs that don't get the coverage they should."
Bryant gives a concrete example of Wrestling411's commitment to coverage: "(A couple weekends ago,) I drove six hours, covered the University of Nebraska-Omaha vs. Augsburg dual -- a matchup between the top D2 and D3 programs in the country -- drove back to Minneapolis, then put the story and package together, into the night."
"Initially, some folks thought we were about Minnesota wrestling or just the Big Ten," says Bryant. "It's about getting our sport on TV and radio and in other media."
A fresh approach to covering wrestling
In addition to providing coverage of all levels of college wrestling, Wrestling411 provides fans with the latest information in a variety of ways.
"We want to cover things from different angles," says Klingman. "Our radio shows are available over the air, online, and in our archives. We provide live updates. We have audio and video interviews. We want to offer different forms of content, not just results, but highlight clips and so much more."
"Our goal is to provide fresh content every day. We want to give fans a reason to visit us everyday, to see what's new."
"My goal is to be at as many events as possible," Klingman continues. "We want to be everywhere humanly possible."
Additional goals of Wrestling411
"Another goal of ours is to make mainstream media more aware of college wrestling," says Klingman, citing specific national media outlets that have done a poor job covering major collegiate wrestling events such as the NCAA championships.
Jason Bryant concurs: "Sports coverage is so clip-oriented. Whether it's (ESPN) SportsCenter, or the local TV news, or sports talk radio. We want to be able to provide them with ready-to-use material that helps keep wrestling fans informed, and raises awareness for the sport."
"To help wrestling grow, it needs to grow not just from the top down, but from the bottom up."
Developing and nurturing the existing fan base is yet another goal of Wrestling411, according to Kyle Klingman. "We want to help the fan whose kid is wrestling now to stay with the sport once the kid's out of wrestling… We want to reach fans of specific programs, to broaden their interests, to help them see the bigger picture."
Meet the principals: Bryant the Virginian …
In establishing Media Sports Productions and Wrestling411, promotionally-minded wrestling legends J Robinson and Wade Schalles couldn't have picked two better individuals to develop and sustain this new venture than Jason Bryant and Kyle Klingman.
Bryant says, "I've always been interested in broadcasting. As a kid, I'd miss the bus because I was watching SportsCenter."
Jason BryantThe Virginia native continues, "We moved to Poquoson, which is a real wrestling school. Sophomore year, I saw my first wrestling meet, and, my first pin. I was hooked right there."
Even back in high school, Jason Bryant was adept at multi-tasking. "I was writing for the school paper, doing announcing eight sports. I went out for wrestling; got the piss beat out of me."
As a senior in high school, Bryant started the Mat Talk radio show, which covered wrestling on the Virginia Peninsula. He was also sports editor for his school yearbook, and writing a column for a monthly paper.
When it was time for college, Bryant chose Old Dominion University -- "It let me keep my local contacts and knowledge of wrestling." He was working at the Daily Press in Newport News, covering wrestling. ("It's important for wrestling journalists to write quickly, and do it well. You get that from writing for a daily newspaper.") And, if that weren't enough, in 1997, Bryant launched the Mat Talk On-Line Web site.
In 2001, Jason Bryant stepped onto a larger stage by working as a freelance writer for TheMat.com, website for USA Wrestling, covering major events such as Fargo, and the 2003 World Championships in New York City. He then took the reins at InterMat, which had been purchased in 2004 by the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA). In addition to covering all aspects of wrestling, Bryant was also the NWCA's Director of Media Relations. In his three years at InterMat, Bryant earned Journalist of the Year honors from WIN and the Dellinger Award for Wrestling Writer of the Year from Amateur Wrestling News.
In August 2008, Bryant said goodbye to the NWCA, InterMat, and Amish Country, Pennsylvania and moved north to Minnesota, to join Wrestling411 as Production Manager/Writer.
"My favorite thing is being behind the microphone, but I enjoy writing," says Bryant. "But I don't think I'm different than a typical wrestling fan."
… and Klingman the Iowan
Kyle Klingman is also a long-time wrestling fan. As the native of Cedar Falls, Iowa, describes it, "My mom went to Oklahoma State in the 1960s. We'd go to meets in Stillwater. Dad went to Northern Iowa, so we'd go to wrestling at the West Gym, too."
"I went out for wrestling in junior high, but realized my body-build was better suited to track and cross country … I continued to go to events at Cedar Falls High, and had a blast."
"I went to my first NCAAs at Iowa City in 1995."
"Wrestlers were my heroes," Klingman continues. "But, unlike most sports, my heroes were accessible. For instance, Keith Young (three-time NCAA champ at Northern Iowa 1949-51, and long-time high school wrestling coach) was my substitute driver's ed teacher."
Kyle Klingman and Dan Hodge"I was always around wrestling. I got my first break in 2001-2002, working for Scott Casber and Scott McLinn's radio show, Saturday Night Slam. They had an amateur wrestling segment, and I'd arrange for guests."
"I started working for the (Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute &) Museum in October 2002, working both in Newton, and Waterloo (Iowa) … It was a great experience. I got to emcee pro and amateur wrestling events. I learned so much working with Mike Chapman. He does a great job preserving and promoting the sport."
While at the museum, Kyle Klingman met Mike Finn, editor of WIN, and started writing a regular column for the wrestling magazine. "Mike believed in me early on," says Klingman, who continues to write for the publication. In fact, Klingman earned Journalist of the Year honors from WIN in 2008.
"On September 1, 2008, I came to work for Wrestling411."
"It's fun to do your job when you have a passion for it," says Klingman.
"Jason and I are polar opposites. We have different backgrounds and skills, but we complement each other. I'm learning so much from Jason."
Jason Bryant weighs in: "J Rob brought in Kyle and I because wrestling fans know who we are. We're fans ourselves. We know wrestling, and we're passionate about it."
Contributing to the future
The Wrestling411 website is supported in two ways -- by traditional advertising sponsors, and from contributions from individuals.
"We have show sponsors, but we don't base our coverage on who the sponsors are," says Jason Bryant.
"If we get 1,000 fans to each contribute $5, that would be great," Bryant continues. "These funds make it possible for us to cover events."
When asked in separate interviews about future plans for Wrestling411, both Jason Bryant and Kyle Klingman mentioned their expectations to cover the 2009 NJCAA and NCAA Division I, II and III championships.
"People are already recognizing the Wrestling411 brand," says Bryant. "We plan to continue to give wrestling the showcase it deserves."
To learn more about Wrestling411 – and make a contribution to this venture -- visit their Web site at www.Wrestling411.tv.