LLike so many other organizations’ media departments, the OTA has been transitioning from print to electronic media releases over the past several years. ONTENNIS magazine has been a staple for over 40 years and is the oldest continuing tennis magazine in Canada. ONTENNIS is still published in print form each summer but is now augmented by a host of other digital communication modes, including ONTENNIS.ca, the OTA’s online magazine, SPIN weekly enewsletter, Tennis Club Connection, a regular online communique aimed at the managers and executives of OTA member clubs, www.tennisontario.com, the OTA’s official website, the Club OTA app, which includes a news push feature, and of course, various social media platforms, including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.
Well, now we can add another medium to the list: the ONTENNIS Podcast!
The brand new addition to our media platform launched in April with a bang – a one-on-one discussion with rising Canadian WTA player Bianca Andreescu! The Mississauga native joined us for our first-ever podcast shortly after she had made Canadian tennis history by winning the prestigious WTA Indian Wells tournament in California. Bianca was a wonderful, engaging guest; talking about a wide range of subjects; from her early days as a junior competitor in Ontario, to her national and international success, to her breakthrough as a pro player. She also gave great insight into the behind the scenes work that she, her family and coaching team had to go through to get her to the top levels of the game. She also talks about her future as a pro player, her inspirations and how she hopes to inspire the next generation of Canadian players.
The OTA followed up it’s first podcast with a one-on-one with Canadian WTA and ATP tennis coach Rob Steckley. Rob is a former ATP touring pro who transitioned to the high performance coaching world after he retired as a player. He coached several prominent WTA players including Eugenie Bouchard, Alexandra Wozniak and Sania Mirza before partnering with Czech tennis player Lucie Safarova. Lucie rose to 5 in the WTA world rankings, made the Wimbledon singles semi finals, the French Open singles final and won several doubles grand slam and Davis Cup titles – all under Rob’s watch. More recently, Rob travelled with and coached Canadian ATP #NextGen star Denis Shapovalov. In this podcast, Rob gives listeners a behind the scenes look at the world of coaching and playing on the WTA and ATP tours and talks about what lies ahead. The OTA did a video with Rob in 2014 which chronicles his playing days and coaching journey up until that time, and serves as a great primer to this podcast.
Future plans for ONTENNIS Podcast include monthly releases featuring players, coaches, commentators and builders, with an emphasis on, but not limited to play and stories with an Ontario angle. There will be a wide variety of interesting, colourful guests and plenty of facts, figures and opinions! The OTA plans to have several interactive podcasts at special tournaments and events, including the Rogers Cup, and will encourage players and listeners to send the guests questions in advance via OTA social media platforms.
So, why did the OTA decide to enter the Podcast space?
There has been a recent resurgence in the popularity of podcast media over the last few years. First introduced in the early 2000’s, podcasts, like any new media, experienced growing pains and resistance from traditional media such as television, newspapers and magazines. Podcasts gained a great deal of traction, particularly amongst younger users, for several reasons. Because podcasts are relatively inexpensive to produce, more and more traditional media have added podcasts to their offering. The low cost of production (and delivery, via an app and the internet) has also encouraged individuals and smaller independent producers to get in the game.
The casual, interactive nature of podcasts and the ability to listen to small chunks at a time is very appealing to the younger, busy listener. As well, with so many specialized topics and production styles, “podcast communities” are formed, allowing people with a particular passion to connect with others with the same interest.
Like most organizations, the OTA needs to stay relevant to young people in order to help attract and keep players engaged, while still serving its long-time supporters. Having multiple lines of communications is essential in this age of fragmented media – the OTA feels that combining its traditional communications tools with a new medium like ONTENNIS Podcast, will allow it to communicate effectively with all its tennis enthusiasts – young and not so young.
To listen to Bianca, Rob and future episodes of ONTENNIS Podcast, search ONTENNIS using your favorite podcast app: