The University of La Verne athletic department created the La Verne Athletics Podcast in early February, to help the La Verne community stay connected to sports despite the extended suspension of in-person sports in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The podcast airs every Tuesday on Apple Podcast and Spotify and has two segments that are aired every week : “Know Your Leos” with host Billy Lopez, sports information graduate assistant, and “Leos on the Spot” with host Anthony Avila, athletics spokesman.
“Especially for recruits who can’t meet our coaches in person, it’s another way for them to get to know them a little bit more,” Avila said.
Lopez, a graduate student in the teacher and education program, was the play-by-play announcer for all ULV sporting events.
But COVID made that impossible, so the two created the podcast to highlight coaches, and players, and – they hope – athletes this spring.
“The ‘Know Your Leos’ segment for the podcast … highlights these players on and off the court to show them that they’re more than just athletes,” Lopez said.
The first episode of “Know Your Leos” aired on Feb. 15 with guest Paul Antonis, shooting guard for the men’s basketball team. This podcast is available on Apple Podcast and Spotify.
One challenge for Lopez was creating a professional sound environment in the virtual setting and checking the audio for the podcast.
“Pre-COVID, I was able to get people inside of the Leo FM studio and have a good microphone set up for them, adjust the levels so that I knew it sounded (good),” Lopez said. “Having to record it on Zoom, and trying to fix the audio after to make clips, definitely makes it a challenge.”
Junior business administration major Mason Ferrari is a sports fan and started listening to the La Verne Athletics Podcast when the first episode aired in early February.
“The podcast is … fun, but I would like to hear the athletes’ thoughts on not being able to play,” Ferrari said.
Junior music major Danielle Hernandez has also listened to the podcast.
“I think it’s interesting and also a good way to reel in all of the sports fans to hear from different coaches and student-athletes, because it’s not only their experience with how they are doing with COVID. But also hearing how they got into their sport, or how they got into coaching,” Hernandez said.
Avila stressed how networking and promoting the podcast is his challenge.
“We really want people, if they like it, to spread the word to tell their teammates, their alumni, people they go to school with, their family members about it,” Avila said.
The next episode of “Know Your Leos” will be aired on Tuesday with another episode of “Leos on the Spot” following a week later.
“The goal right now is to put out an episode every Tuesday to switch off between ‘Leos on the Spot’ and ‘Know Your Leos’,” Avila said.
“Please tell as many people as possible and if people like it, we will do it more often and keep doing it once things go back to normal as well,” Avila said.
Jaydelle Herbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.