I don't know if you've ever forgotten somebody's birthday before, but it's not a good feeling. Now imagine when you forget that it's your OWN birthday, and the only reason you remembered is because you wrote it on your page-a-day calendar a few weeks back.
Yes, that's right, The Bucky Channel turned one year old on Tuesday.
As I reflect on what has been a year of writing about Wisconsin sports, it's a wonder how this blog even started in the first place. I guess you could say the roots of this blog go all the way back to my freshman year of college, when I updated my AIM profile with my "Packers News of the Day".
After AIM stopped being popular, I started to write recaps about 24 on my MySpace page. For some reason, I decided I wanted to write more about sports, and had the goal of updating my MySpace blog once a day, speaking about something either sports or television related.
Sometime in December of 2007, my brother told me that if I was really serious about blogging, I should move to Blogger. I did so not only because it was a better format, but I found out I could also make money of Google Adsense. Although anyone with Google Adsense knows, it takes awhile to actually make money.
So I started a blog at Blogger using under the URL http://www.bartwinkler.blogspot.com/, which is still accessible. Check out it once. Look familiar? The name of my blog though was called "Winks Thinks" and it had some stupid logo with three gears inside a silhouette of a head. This was the focus of my blog, as described in one of my first posts:
So I'm deciding to throw my hat into the ring, and not just because I've been on a quest to copy everything my friend and future roomate Mark does (he's writing a blog on his myspace as well, only his has a focus. He describes it as going beyond the headlines of the news you see on tv.) And while his does have a focus, mine so far, does not. Sure, once a week I'll write about my true love, primetime television, which I'll label as a "TV Winks Thinks". And if it ever returns, I'll start up the 24 blog I did during season six last year. But other than that, somedays it will could be sports related, politically related, news related, entertainment related, whatever is on my mind that day.
After awhile, I thought that format was kind of stupid. I decided I wanted to actually be a part of the large blogosphere that was out there, and decided I was going to change the name of my blog to "The Bucky Channel".
It called it this because I wanted to have two focuses - a) Wisconsin sports and b) primetime television. Sort of a weird mix, but that's what I liked to write about. I actually was initially going to name this thing "Bucky Tube", but thankfully that name was taken.
The announcement from that fateful day was as follows:
Well I've made a few (slash a ton) of changes to the site. I'm going forward as "The Bucky Channel", with the focus on Wisconsin sports and TV news, just like always. I'm not happy with the way everything looks still, but I think I'm going to stick with the red font on the white background. I'm intending to put more time into the site than ever before, with it being your go to place for Wisconsin sports news. I've changed the title to reflect that.
Things got off to a decent start at first. I was blogging as much as I could, whenever my free-time would allow me to. I also got in the bad habit of blogging while at work, but which blogger doesn't do that nowadays?
I doubled my staff to two sometime in February, adding my friend Bear to the mix. The main reason why I added him is because he was unemployed and I wanted someone to be able to update things while I was away from the computer.
One of the first posts Bear wrote was about the Pau Gasol trade to the Lakers, and his post was picked up by a Lakers message board (a.k.a. I created an account and posted it as spam).
One of their readers commented here about his dislike for the article, something to the tune of "The Buckey Channel? Wisconsin TV? I've never even heard of these guys?"
That sole comment was the day I decided to drop the television aspect to this writing and focus mainly on Wisconsin sports.
So we chugged along, posting updates, adding analysis, and doing live blogs. We've never really "broke" a story, something my friends like to remind me of all the time (although we did interview Jon Ryan!) But I've always thought of this site as a reaction and commentary site rather than a news site.
But I still like to make this a place for people to get their news, so I won't stop doing that. And somewhere along the line I started doing game recaps, a habit I've never been able to break, and hope not to.
One year later, we've come a long way from those start-up days, but are still just a relative blip on the sports blog scene. However, we have made a ton of friends a long the way, which I still find amazing.
There are a handful of people in my life I have met only because of this blog, something that still seems weird to me. I won't be able to directly thank everyone that has helped the building of this site, but anyone who ever has is listed in the blogroll on the right of this page.
I hope not to offend anyone by doing this, but I have to single out the Sports Bubbler for really giving this site a bigger stage for Wisconsin sports readers. Thanks again for all the publicity, t-shirts, and free lunches.
And thanks to Bear as well, who continues to write for me. And he's no longer unemployed, so that's good.
I still like to think we've had a lot of success though in this short year. This site has allowed "Winks Thinks" to be reborn as a column on the Sports Bubbler. We've been linked on a whole host of sites, including the big ones like Deadspin and Awful Announcing, as well as The Bleacher Report, SI's Extra Mustard, and even a shout out from Bill Simmons, which we are quite proud of.
Still though, this site remains a small fish in the blog pool. I like to think of us as a bigger small fish, in that we can still help up-and-coming blogs get some attention. That's something I'll always be willing to do. It's hard work starting a blog, and even though I would consider this blog a success, it's nowhere near what I want it to be.
Sometimes I wonder what needs to be done to take this site to the next level. It could be large-scale things like changing the focus to all sports, but enough people try to do that. Or it could be the little things, like making this buckychannel.com rather than thebuckychannel.com. That "the" makes a huge difference, I feel.
Sometimes I wonder if my success in the blog world hurts my success in the real world. I've kind of been trying to find a new, better job for the past year, and I wonder if prospective employers come across this site and say, "Um, next."
I'm never sure. Actually, one time I used this blog as the main reason why I should be hired for a job at a television station, one where I would basically run their sports website. I was actually told that because of this blog I was the better candidate, but they hired someone else instead (sigh... to be truthful, that's only part of the story.
But it's the part of the story that makes me look good, so that's what you get).
But that in itself has kind of been the great thing about this blog. This site has always been my kind of release from the real world, from the few crummy jobs I've held in the past year. It's been a place where I'm my own boss. I like that.
I know I'm getting a little too reflective here, but this site really means a lot to me for just being some site known as "The Buckey Channel? Wisconsin TV?". What means even more to me is the readers that for some reason or another decide to come back here more than once.
Especially the people that make this a daily stop on their Web site rotation. Some of you I know personally, some of you I don't, but believe me when I tell you I thank you for reading what I write. I know that seems tacky, but it's true.
I even want to thank the people that criticize my work. It helps make me a better writer, and helps me develop a thicker skin, a quality I think is so important in a person. But don't criticize too much, ok?
But to reiterate, I would not be doing this if people didn't read it, and I want to keep doing this. So each day, I'll continue to try to do my best to make you keep coming back.
Thank each of anyone of you for being a part of our birthday. Next year, we'll try to throw a party or something.
Assuming I don't forget.