Rick Grammond taking ‘voice of Pioneers’ to new Web site

Grammond leaving Little Falls Radio after 24 years to launch Youaretheresports.com 

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Longtime Pierz radio announcer Rick Grammond called his first game for his newly-launched Web site youaretheresports.com during Tuesday’s Pierz girls basketball game against Pequot Lakes. Grammond, who previously had worked for Little Falls Radio since 1988, plans to cover upward of 100 games the remainder of the school year in the winter and spring seasons and continue to regularly broadcast Victory League amateur baseball games.

Rick Grammond has been the voice of Pierz sports since 1988.

That isn’t about to change.

However, where listeners can hear him has.

After working with Little Falls Radio since it originally aired on FM 94.1, Grammond has launched a Web site, www.youaretheresports.com, which is the new home of the Pioneers.

For Grammond, the desire to make the move was simple: the more coverage the better.

“The motivation behind the move is simply to give more kids and more programs more exposure,” Grammond said. “To reach out to programs that aren’t getting covered.

“I’ve talked to Karla Jensen about ‘How can we do tennis?’ I’ve asked about making a cross country meet work,” he said. “These kids are every bit as deserving of coverage, put in just as much time. The driving force behind it is the programs, the kids and the listeners.”

Grammond’s work load at the radio had been trimmed to about 50 games per school year in fall, winter and spring.

Already, he has close to 100 events scheduled for winter and spring alone, with the possibility of more being added along the way.

“As I launch, I’ve scheduled mainly Pierz events because that’s where I’m most comfortable and have built relationships,” Grammond said. “But there are nights on the schedule when Pierz doesn’t play where I would like to do a Little Falls event or go to Upsala. I’ve never done hockey and would like to try that.”

“I have the freedom to go where I want now,” he said. “It’s exciting to pick games, look and see, ‘Gee, I could do that Saturday wrestling tournament in South St. Paul or Brainerd.’”

Grammond will also continue to cover a Victory League amateur baseball game of the week during the summer and Saturday night games at Pierz Legion Park.

Without the support of Pierz Healy High School, though, the venture wouldn’t have taken place.

“Pierz couldn’t have been more supportive,” Grammond said. “I wouldn’t have thought about doing this if I didn’t have that backing. This is their event.”

Grammond didn’t seriously begin considering the move until the past year, but the thought originated at the 2009 state amateur baseball tournament.

“The Victory League had two teams that were both beat out the first Friday night of the tournament,” Grammond said. “I thought, ‘Why not see if there’s interest in other areas?’ I was doing other games just to do it. That kind of made me aware of how far reaching it could be.”

“In years past, I’ve always been the only radio station at conference games,” he said. “Now I can say to coaches, your games against Pierz are going to be on. All communities have supportive businesses.”

And whereas local radio stations are restricted to listeners within a limited geographic area, the new Web site will have no boundaries.

“There were college kids in places where FM94 didn’t stream,” Grammond said. “Now on a Friday night, they can tune into a football game. There will be no geographical limit. Grandma and grandpa in Arizona can tune in.”

“I had people that couldn’t or didn’t want to go to the games because they said, ‘When I listen it’s like I’m there.’ That’s the meaning behind the name of the site,” he said.

Grammond doesn’t expect it to take too long before listeners find their way to where games are being streamed.

“Hopefully people will be talking about it and people turning on their radio will say, ‘We don’t hear Rick,’ and it will lead to different conversations. It’s no different clicking on a Web site, just a different device. It’s still going to be the same product, just the avenue in which it is delivered is different.”

One thing that is different for Grammond, however, has been selling advertising spots himself.

“I’m totally out of my comfort zone,” Grammond said. “The sales thing is different for me. The advertisers are very positive.”

“Once the head sets are on, then I’m in my element,” he said.

The ability to take games beyond audio also exists.

“The technology is there to expand into video,” Grammond said. “I’ve talked with the school about teaming up for a video partnership with iHigh.”

For now, Grammond will try to make sure the technical aspects of streaming online are down as quickly as possible.

“I fully expect growing pains,” Grammond said. “I just hope people are patient enough. Some people are resistant to change, but the vast majority are very comfortable.”

After getting his start primarily because his in was “knowing the names and being local,” it’s an exciting new beginning for Grammond.

“I haven’t been nervous before a game for 20 years until tonight,” Grammond said prior to the tip-off of Tuesday’s Pierz girls basketball game against Pequot Lakes before taking the air for the first time  on youaretheresports.com.

“I don’t look at (parting with Little Falls Radio) as a negative, I look at it as a positive,” Grammond said. “It’s the ability to give more kids more publicity.”