Soooooo, the Garden…. Westminster Kennel Club members work their collective butts off every year to make this an amazing event. I really, really feel badly for them. I get the impression they were truly blindsided by the failure of the new media package.
Our most visible and treasured annual event was made a mockery by the broadcast. And it made people mad. Like, REALLY mad. And I can’t blame them. From the razor carpet to Beavis & Butthead on the morning show; from “favorite treats” to bimbos backstage; from “unmanned spacecraft” livestream to incompetent commentators, this was a disappointing rollout for FS1.
Now, I know just a handful of the folks at WKC but I’m pretty sure they were as unhappy as we all were… Well, ok, probably more than that. And, I expect they will improve on all of this for next year.
Meanwhile, trash talking the club and the network does none of us any favors. Constructive criticism? Sure, that works. Joining forces to make it more enjoyable for all? Sure, we can do that. BISD crews (ie 3 actual humans) worked WAY overtime to provide a little something for everyone as best we could. Look for ways that YOU can participate in this sort of coverage next year.
Now, here’s a question for you… The BISD Facebook page had more than 6.7 *million* views of it’s handheld, iPhone capability coverage. That isn’t a guess, that’s Google Analytics. The National Dog Show on NBC Thanksgiving Day gets *26* million viewers. How do we, as a sport, translate that world wide audience into creating respect? I’m asking.
Let’s turn this around. Not only do folks in the fancy who couldn’t attend want to watch, Westminster Kennel Club is the single most “known” dog show in the country. In some cases, the only chance John Q Public gets to see and understand what we do.
Our message of Purebred and Proud, Preservation Breeders, Healthy Happy Puppies Start with Me and AKC…. All of these have a tremendous power to reach a worldwide broadcast audience at WKC. So complaining isn’t going to cut it. If we can each offer a thoughtful, constructive idea, perhaps we can use this as a positive …. A wake up call and a place to start.
Public outreach by every individual in the fancy is one goal. Breeder, owner, handler, judge, club member, obedience, agility, conformation and all the rest — keep talking to your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, your schoolmates. WKC does a good job of getting media out to interview local “celebrities” in major markets. Don’t be shy! Jump on the bandwagon and brag about your dog and the good things that purebred dogs are doing in your community. Build excitement and awareness *outside* our little bubble about this event.
My editor and producer had a call from a news radio station in Dallas, TX while I was in New York wanting us to give a three minute schpiel on the “big show” for their drive-time listeners. Say what?? They had no feed from the national affiliate, so they Googled it and wound up with BestInShowDaily and PureDogTalk. Fine, as far as it goes, but how about this idea? Every single club in every single media market, make it a point to provide all of your local media (newspaper, tv, radio) with a smart, savvy, in-touch human contact who will answer questions and do a little dog and pony show about the Garden. Let’s “Pump. It. UP” as old Arnold would say. I guarantee WKC and AKC have media kits that they will be gloriously happy to share with your club.
I am very excited to see what David Frei and NBC/USA Network pull together for Beverly Hills KC next month. In fact, I’ll be speaking with David on PureDogTalk.com next week, so you’ll all be able to listen in and hear what he has to say.
In the Year of Living Together, let’s step back from our frustration, figure out how we can help and what we can do, together, to make the future bright.
As always, this is JMHO.