WRPR hosts sports panel featuring Don La Greca

Photo by Hope Patti

WRPR Ramapo Radio was gracious enough to contact several professionals within sports media to partake in their Media & Sports Panel on Thursday, April 19th in Friends Hall. The panel was designed to enlighten communications majors about the journey of handling jobs and situations within the sports industry.

The event was headlined by co-host of “The Michael Kay Show” Ramapo alumnus Don La Greca. Also present were ESPN reporter Jordan Raanan, former New York Giant and now Giants media correspondent Brandon London and CBS and 247Sports Editor Rick Laughland. WRPR E-board members Jaqueline Hermes and Kyle Bandilla helped organize the event through the assistance of Ramapo alumnus Randy Zellea and Ramapo College Alumni Association.

The panel was moderated by Zellea, as each question sparked a thorough conversation about social media usage, how journalists have to be versatile within their field and many other relevant exchanges about the ever-changing platform of online journalism.

All four members of the panel told young college students to take their social media usage very seriously in the effect that something they posted online could possibly come back to haunt them later in their career. London said, “Try to have a personal and a professional account whether you’re using Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. On my personal Twitter I like to follow various soccer commentary pages and even tweet about it, whereas on my professional account it’s usually strictly Giants content.“

In a case like this, media personalities can keep their work and personal views separate in order to prevent any unwanted publicity. Raanan also leaned toward using one social media site as a work platform and another as a personal outlet. For example, his Twitter page is mostly filled with reports and news about the team he covers, the New York Giants. His Instagram on the other hand might feature less Giants news and more of his personal interests.

Even though they are all experienced media members, the panel discussed that the first time being filmed in front of a camera was a disaster. Laughland mentioned on one occasion that he had to do a pre-recorded shoot about NFL news, but still struggled with what he had to say. “Even though it wasn’t even live, we needed to do a couple takes before I could get it right,” said Laughland. London and Raanan also explained how their first attempts of “on-air action” didn’t go as planned whether they struggled with a teleprompter or even sweat too much.

La Greca also made it a point that his success stems from his time at Ramapo College and that graduating from college was the “proudest thing I’ve ever done.”

When asked about why he goes out of his way to mention his alma mater on “The Michael Kay Show,” La Greca said, “I would not have made it in this business without Ramapo and working at the radio station with my advisor Andre Perry. You can be proud of Fordham or Syracuse or some other big-name schools that have big sports programs, but I like to mention Ramapo on my show because I’m proud of it.”

He also explained how his rants and long epilogues of frustration have attracted different audiences over time and shaped his image on radio.

“They wanted me to stop back in the day, they thought it was too much. Now they’re asking me to do it more. None of my rants are fabricated, I don’t make them up. They just happen when they happen, which is a reason that we go so long between each one. If I can manufacture it, I’d be doing it every day. But that’s why you have to be yourself because even if it fails you can say, ‘At least I did what I wanted to do.’”

Regarding the turnout of the event, Hermes said, “More people showed up than originally expected and the panelists kept the audience engaged. Overall it was a great experience for Ramapo as a whole and I hope to make it an annual event, the first of many.”