Behind the Scenes

by Published: Jan 22, 2014

Roughly 56.8 miles of US-131 connect Big Rapids to its southern neighbor, Grand Rapids.

It takes around 50 minutes of driving by small towns and rural areas. Conversation is a necessity to avoid falling asleep at the wheel, and in this case, it was essential for the birth of a webshow.

The 80’s Retro Mix airs on Classic Hits 98.7 WFGR every Saturday from 10 p.m. — 2 a.m. Its host, Michael Corn, is a senior in applied speech communication.

One night in October, he was driving back from running his radio show in Grand Rapids with Athletics Communications Director and hockey play-by-play voice Dominic Hennig, who was his guest that night.

“On the way back I said, ‘What about doing an all-access on the hockey team?’” Hennig said. “That’s just stuff fans care about. You can’t see the behind-the-scenes stuff in the highlights. We started bouncing off ideas and names and I said, ‘What about Bulldogs Unleashed?’ and Corn said, ‘That’s the one, let’s run with it.’”

The last two seasons, Corn worked as a social media intern for the 2012–13 Grand Rapids Griffins, where the team produced a similar series called, “Between the Benches,” for the Calder Cup Champions.

Before games, Corn can be found strategically mounting his GoPro camera in inconspicuous spots for wild camera angles. One night, he mounted it on top of the goal lights and captured a breakaway goal from above and behind the net.

The addition of the GoPro camera was a welcome one for Corn and the rest of the Bulldog’s Unleashed crew.

“If I had to choose just one element (of the show), it would be the addition of the GoPro,” Corn said. “It allows me to have more than one source of video without the need of having an extra body covering that camera.”

Corn gets HBO comparable access to the stadium, which allows for wild views in the video.

The athletic department has upped their emphasis on social media this season as well, which helped them sell out games right at the end of Christmas break.

The team’s switch to the Western Collegiate Hockey Assoiciation has forced the athletic department to market new opponents to the fan base.

In a new conference, Ferris is selling old foes as “rivals” to attract fans. After all, rivals build hockey fan bases.

“In September, we sat down for our annual hockey operations meeting where we talk hockey and how we’re going to market the season,” Hennig said. “We wanted to make sure Bowling Green was a rival and Michigan Tech was our in-state rival.”

It allows for the creation of story lines before fans enter the stadium. BGSU and Tech came over from the CCHA with Ferris, and their familiarity builds fan interest.

BGSU and Tech have become natural rivals with the meticulous strategic work of the athletic department’s marketing program.