Stone Freeman (right) produces and stars in his own podcast while also being sports director and broadcaster for WRIU. Photo by Momolu Akoiwala
Stone Freeman is not your typical college student.
The senior journalism major and the sports director at WRIU 90.3 FM has professional-level preparation and what many have described as a voice destined for radio. Freeman’s tireless hard work has made him known not just around the University of Rhode Island, but in the sports industry across the state.
Freeman has also made a name for himself in the realm of sports communication. He is the sports director for WRIU and acontributor to YurView New England, a local TV station and website that features mainly college sports. He also created, produces and stars in a podcast about sports, called The Stone Freeman Podcast.
“The podcast gives me a platform to share my opinions and stories,” said Freeman. “It’s an outlet for people to hear genuine content.”
Freeman had to take a step back from the podcast he created because of academic obligations, though he said he will be back. The podcast usually features one guest a week and can be found on iTunes.
Those who have worked with Freeman commend him for his passion, drive and enthusiasm. Shane Donaldson works in sports communications at URI and helps Freeman coordinate interviews with URI athletics.
“I don’t ever want him to leave URI, to be honest, but his talent is really high,” said Donaldson. “I view him as someone as anyone who knows him is going to tell stories about him. We will someday see him do national broadcasts.”
The thing that makes Freeman stand out from other students, Donaldson believes, is his preparation.
“The work he does to prepare for interviews is not what a lot of students have at this point,” said Donaldson. “His preparation is to an exceptional level.”
When Freeman wants something, he goes after it, which is how he ended up with an internship at ABC6 Providence.
“Stone sent me a tweet saying he’d love to do the job we get to do someday,” said Nick Coit, sports director for ABC6 Providence. “We connected after that in person and a year later, he was working with us.”
Coit said that Freeman is one of the best interns the office has ever seen come through their station.
“There’s no greater Rams ambassador around than [Freeman],” said Coit. “He was a major help in our Patriots coverage at the station, our high school football coverage and has continued aiding us with his coverage of URI basketball.”
Freeman began working in the realm of sports journalism at Bishop Hendricken Catholic high school for the Hawk sports network. He came to URI as a journalism major and began working for The Good Five Cent Cigar during his sophomore year. At the Cigar, Freeman would write about one story a week for the sports section and later became sports editor for the paper.
Freeman no longer works for the Cigar because he said he wanted to focus more on broadcast and on-camera journalism.
“I credit almost everything to print, but I knew that’s what I wasn’t applying to be,” said Freeman.
For Freeman, getting emotion out of his stories is the most important thing to him. He remembers a piece he wrote on URI basketball being well received by the public. “The feedback is more important to me than finding the latest scoop on something,” Freeman said.
With roughly 1,200 followers on Twitter, Freeman is not afraid to admit that he loves his feed.
“I live on Twitter,” said Freeman. “There is a problem with young people on their phones, and I am not afraid to shy away from it.”
According to Freeman, his Twitter took off around his junior and senior year. Freeman credits his large following to the success of the URI sports program as well as his sincerity as a person.
“I’m very transparent,” said Freeman. “The person you see on Twitter is the person you see offline. If I hear something funny, I’ll put it out there.”
URI recently added a sports media minor and hopes to create a similar major in the future. However, Freeman points out that if students want to break in to sports communication they need to work hard.
“I think the program is big for the University as a whole, but I personally don’t have the benefits of getting the minor,” said Freeman. “I think it’s good for the school to take a step, but there should be an emphasis for the students to not cut corners just because they have ‘sports’ in front of their majors.”
Freeman plans to return to URI next year as a graduate assistant. He also plans on pursuing a masters in communication and is considering being a professor in the future.
Coit adds that Freeman is way ahead of his time when it comes to being prepared for the future.
“We’re all looking forward to seeing where his path takes him, and we’re happy we can keep him humble along the way,” Coit said.
Anyone who wants to keep up with Freeman can follow him at @StonePFreeman on Twitter.