WRITTEN BY BRYAN FONSECA
The Sports Hit List is the brainchild of St. Francis College alumnus Carl Coulanges, who created the show after gradating in 2008. The Hit List, which promotes a ‘by the fans, for the fans’ mantra, is an interactive sports show that incorporates students of St. Francis College as part of its staff to go along with the regulars brought on board by Coulanges.
Coulanges, who used to analyze St. Francis basketball from 2006-08 on the radio, says he created the Hit List after realizing his goal of getting to ESPN was tougher than he ever imagined. He still wanted to utilize his media skills, which he developed while attending SFC, on some type of sports broadcasting platform, and thus came the Hit List.
“I said to myself I learned all the tools of media – editing, producing, writing, I had experience being on air calling the games on radio, and I wanted to keep my production skills fresh,” Coulanges said. “I just decided to shoot two segments with fellow sports fans, communication majors Daron ‘Ziggy’ Cummings and Chris Castellanos. We uploaded the segments to YouTube in 2008 and The Sports Hit List was born.”
Now a digital media professor at SFC, a big part of the Hit List has been Coulanges’ push to include students on each of his shows. He sees this as a way of giving back to students who may struggle to land internships, entry level jobs, or just get in the door of their field.
“Student involvement is everything to me because when I started teaching at St. Francis, multiple students told me they couldn’t find internships and or gain experience in the field of video broadcasting and media,” he said. “The Sports Hit List provides students with the opportunity to gain video production experience by directing, producing, writing blogs, editing blogs, hosting segments, (etc). If you can’t get a job right after college, work with the hit list to build your resume.”
One of those students who is reaping the benefits of what the Hit List can provide is senior Julia Giammona, who is an editor of the Sports Hit List blog, and an Associate Producer of the show itself.
“I really enjoy assisting in the production of the Sports Hit List. I work different positions for every taping so I can get experience working with everything,” she said. “It has helped me perfect my skills and build up my resume. Everyone involved is really close and basically like a family, so overall it’s been really fun.”
Jennelle Alfred, another senior, who serves as the director of the Hit List, is also building her resume by being an integral part of the show. She described her initial experience as ‘nerve-wracking,’ but has since settled in and found a home as part of the team.
“Once I got the hang of it, I realized that I really enjoyed it. I asked Carl if I could volunteer on set for other tapings and he encouraged me to do so, then I directed another episode and I’ve been directing ever since,” Alfred said. “I love being behind the cameras. I’m responsible for translating Carl’s (and the rest of the production crew’s) creative ideas and creative visions into an informative program.”
As a brand, the Hit List has grown over time, and continues to do so with seemingly every new edition. Coulanges is aware of the difficulties that come with promoting a project from the ground up, which requires a great deal of determination.
“The one thing I’ve learned by starting a sports brand is I have to have patience,” he said of growing the show. “It’s a slow process and can’t happen over night. Our numbers across the board are increasing and I believe with more help from students and fans, it will continue to grow.”
Not only has the Hit List has served as a mainstay at SFC, but Coulanges says that he’s also expanded the brand to St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School in West Islip, New York, where he works as a Video Broadcaster Director and teacher. Along with getting high schoolers to partake in the action, the Hit List has also been trying to work with other sport brands to build along the way.”
“The (high school) students created us a trailer for the YouTube channel, they produced a segment for Super Bowl 50, and one student blogged for the blog site,” Coulanges said. “We are also working on doing more WWE segments and lastly cross branding with other sports companies and other platforms will continue to grow the brand.”
Coulanges also touched on a new segment called ‘Fun with the Fans,’ where fans come on the show and pose a question they would like to discuss with the rest of the panel. The questions poses for an enticing discussion that may get heated every now and again, which is typical of the nature within sport debates.
Sports Hit List Contact“The goal is – a cool brand by the fans for the fans for students to build their resumes, gain experience, a chance to be the voice of sports fans, and hopefully get picked up by a network,” Coulanges said. “I truly believe if we continue to push, someone will notice and we will get signed, bought, who knows.”
Coulanges also issued the following statement in regards to the Hit List and everyone involved:
“I can’t thank my production staff enough from on air to crew. My wife, creative director Debora Coulanges, my brother, graphics designer Marvin Coulanges, my producers Daron “Ziggy” Cummings, whose been with the show since the very beginning in 2008, my other producers and cast fellow members; Greg Polius, Anthony Mullen and Kenny Irby. Thank You to CW post for podcasting our radio show. Thank you to my directors Antonio Connolly, Julia Giammona, and Jennelle Alfred for sticking with the show and helping out. Thanks to Julia and Jennelle for editing our blogs. Thanks to Bella Giammona our lovely floor manager for keeping us in line. I couldn’t do it alone without this people always pushing me to strive for the best and help expand my concept and vision. Thank you to St. Francis College Communications Arts Department. They gave me the opportunity as a students I learn the tools and now professor to create something that can help students.”
Visit the Hit List’s blog at https://hitlist08.wordpress.com/ and its SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/heportsitist.