For sophomore journalism major Stone Freeman, sports isn’t just something he follows at the University of Rhode Island; it’s also is something he wants to follow toward a career.
Freeman is the Sports Communications Director for URI’s own radio station, WRIU. There, he works to spread news to the public about the existence of WRIU’s sports department. He said that the station is kind of second to the play-by-play professionals at URI, but they are working to make themselves known.
“For me, it’s about getting out to people and students that if they want to listen to the games, [they should] tune into the students calling it,” he said.
Besides the Sports Communications Director position and working to get the sports department known, Freeman does a lot more for the station as well. He helps with play-by-play calls for the sports teams, and really enjoys getting to call football and basketball games. He explained that he loves the atmosphere in the press box at football games. Having professionals around is a learning experience Freeman values and learns from.
“In terms of the actual game itself, [basketball] would be my favorite to do, because there is a ton of hype and a ton of people,” he said. “The atmosphere is great, and it also helps when the team you’re calling games for is pretty good.”
Besides calling games, Freeman hosts his own sports talk show on WRIU’s online sister station, RIU2. He takes a different approach to his show, taking to “Facebook Live” to put his show out there and to gain extra listeners. Broadcasting his shows on “Facebook Live” allows Freeman to interact with his audience more quickly and effectively. He is able to take questions and see who may be tuning in.
Freeman’s show is every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on RIU2.org.
The aspiring broadcaster also contributes on WRIU show, “The Sports Power Half Hour” with fellow commentators Ben Kinch and Sam Murray, where they talk about all different topics within the world of sports. “The Sports Power Half Hour” runs Tuesday through Friday 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. on WRIU.
It was fairly easy for Freeman to become integrated into WRIU’s sports department when he came to URI, having done very similar work for his high school.
“I was never an athlete,” Freeman said. “I loved playing sports but only at a for-fun basis.”
He explained how he wasn’t the one to wake up early for practice or to spend late nights at the batting cages. Therefore, in his sophomore year at Bishop Hendricken, Freeman became part of a new sports network at his school. From there, his passion took off. By his senior year, the network had gained a “pretty big following” and Freeman was even able to follow the basketball team to Florida. When he arrived at URI, he was able to fall right into a similar routine at WRIU.
“On ‘First Night’, I found the radio station’s tent,” he said. “I didn’t know exactly what I was looking to get myself involved in. [I was looking for] what I did in high school, what I was known for. So when I came here, I followed suit.”
He said it goes along with what he wants to do in the future. Being able to be part of the sports department at WRIU gives Freeman a great opportunity to gain the skills he would need to pursue sports as his career. Like, most college students, he isn’t exactly sure what he wants to do.
“Everybody wants to be the voice of Sunday Night Football or Monday Night Baseball, everyone wants their name out there in lights,” he said. “To me, it’s whatever is going to get me around sports.”
He can’t put exactly what he wants to do into words yet, but he has many different ideas. Instead of stressing about the future yet, he said he’d rather just play it by-ear and try to figure it out as he goes.
Freeman also spends time writing for the sports section of The Good 5 Cent Cigar and for a blog, thesportsblaze.com. He is the Celtics writer for the site, writing about six short articles for them every week. He also spent time over the summer writing a few sections for the sports section of his hometown paper. He had never seen himself writing but when he started writing for a purpose, it became something that he enjoyed doing and has since become a hobby for him.