YSU’s Earnheardt talks social media with Curbstone Coaches

Guest speaker was Dr. Adam Earnheardt of Youngstown St.

By Greg Gulas



At 6 feet, 8 inches tall, YSU communications department chair Dr. Adam Earnheardt realizes that his basketball career is but a fading memory.

His zest for researching sports fans, their behaviors and attitudes toward players and their favorite teams however, remains at fever pitch.

The author of four sports books, including one to be released this summer entitled “The ESPN Effect,” Earnheardt is considered the area’s foremost social media and sports fandom expert and someone who is kept busy almost daily as he gathers new and vital research information.

Speaking to the Curbstone Coaches during Monday’s weekly luncheon meeting at Lucianno’s Restaurant, he added there isn’t a day that goes by that he doesn’t find something new to include in his data base.

A three-year basketball letterwinner at Roberts Wesleyan College; a Division II school in Rochester, N.Y., he earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in communication studies from Clarion University, later earning his Ph.D. in communications from Kent State University.

A member of the YSU faculty since 2005, he said his love for athletics began as a kid when he would talk and ultimately debate teams and their superstars with his friends.

“They say the biggest sports day of the year is the Super Bowl. I would argue then that the second-biggest sports day of the year was this past Saturday,” he said.

“You had things like the Kentucky Derby, the annual NFL Draft, a big Game 7 in the NBA, NHL play-offs, baseball and the much-hyped Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight. If you had any interest in social media, then all you had to do was pick up a mobile device or go on-line to Twitter, Facebook and anything else and it was blowing up with discussions of sports all day long. And who was driving that conversation? The sports fans.”

Under Earnheardt’s direction and implemented last fall after two years of study, YSU now offers a sports broadcasting curriculum.

Incoming freshmen interested in sports broadcasting, are opened up to a whole new world both in front of and behind the camera during their very first semester on campus.

“Input was solicited from local media, which included television sports anchors Dana Balash and Chad Krispinsky, and Sure Shot’s Denny Koontz among others,” Earnheardt said. “They gave us input regarding courses that we should be considering and what we would need to do in order to prepare a student to enter the sports media field. Included would be writing, producing, technology and software and other related areas so they could gain valuable experience they could use later for an internship. We then came up with coursework.”

Students begin their first semester with a sports field production course.

“Students are working with the sports media, either in front of or behind the camera. They’re shadowing that camera at YSU during volleyball and soccer season in the fall and during a multitude of Horizon League games that we do,” he added. “We then place them on the internet and the stream goes to audiences all over the world.”

John Raidel is a 2011 YSU communications graduate who is currently employed by the NFL Network while ESPN football analyst and former Penguin quarterback great Ron Jaworski returned this winter lend a helping hand to students in the program.

Earnheardt, who writes a weekly social media column for The Vindicator, has also contributed sports fan stories that have appeared in Parade Magazine, Men’s Health, Playboy, Psychology Today and Vancouver Magazine, and in newspapers including the Baltimore Sun and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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