As a long-time reader of Dawgs By Nature, I’m delighted to introduce myself to the community as the latest addition to the writing staff. To be afforded the opportunity to cover the Cleveland Browns for a publication such as this one is something I am very grateful for.
My name is Craig Fountain and I’m a lifelong Cleveland Browns fan. I’m relatively new to the sports writing scene so my list of accomplishments is short but we may have crossed paths in the past a number of ways. For those of you that prefer short introductions, I’m a married father of 4 and my best friend is my lovable giant Newfoundland dog Sassy. For those of you interested in getting to know me on a deeper level, I only get one introduction post so here it is:
How did I get here?
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I hadn’t seriously considered pursuing a career in sports media. As a husband and father of four with a demanding career in the automotive business, I was fortunate to find 3 hours of free time on just a handful (16) of weekends out of the year. I’m sure you can guess how I used that time.
It was a grind for the better part of a decade in the car business. I started as a salesperson and slowly graduated to other positions including digital marketing, finance management, and sales management. Only two months after receiving the biggest promotion of my life, COVID-19 flipped the world upside down.
I was fortunate enough to stay healthy but it was at this point that I lost my job along with many others. My wife, who owns a beauty salon, found herself without purpose as well when the doors were shut on all non-essential businesses. We were without jobs and without abundance. Our only abundance? Time.
My Golden Opportunity
French Golden was just a name to me. When I was too young to remember, my mother divorced my biological father and eventually remarried. My then step-father adopted me and in turn, I took his last name. He was always “dad” to me and always will be. My biological father was out of sight and out of mind. He remarried as well, lived in a different part of the country, and had a number of children. While my interest in who my biological father was faded over time, I felt the urge to connect with my siblings. They were strangers and shouldn’t be.
With the abundance of time I had at home during the pandemic, I became interested in podcasting. I assembled the necessary equipment and would interview entrepreneurs and businessmen. While browsing social media one day, I came across my brother’s Facebook account. French Golden was helping his wife launch a sports podcast.
We hadn’t connected before and though I saw him once when he was a toddler, we were strangers. I felt compelled to reach out to him and I saw the common ground: podcasting and sports. I offered my assistance and we’ve been very close ever since. To some, football is just a sport. For me, it was a passion that sparked the initiation of one of my most treasured relationships. To this day, as we close in on episode 100, we still talk about the NFL on the Gingers Talk Football podcast.
Does everybody need to have a podcast?
I see this question often. Usually, it’s not in a complimentary context. The beauty of podcasting is that anyone willing to do a little bit of learning and musters the courage to put themselves out there can have one. What started out as a way to connect with my brother and talk football with him turned into a thirst for more. While I love the NFL, my true passion was and is the Cleveland Browns.
When I decided I was going to launch a new podcast, I knew I wanted to focus specifically on the Cleveland Browns. There are a number of Cleveland sports podcasts and I wanted mine to be different. I decided that I was going to do a video format and that I wanted the show to be broadcast live. Both concepts were different than anything I had done before, but it still wasn’t different enough.
Not everybody needs to have a podcast or wants one for that matter. However, everybody has a voice. Everybody has an opinion. Especially Browns fans. If I could find a way to interact with an audience on a live broadcasted video Cleveland Browns talk show, I could be different enough.
The Browns Table
Beginning in December of 2020, “The Browns Table” went live weekly. I would gather pre-determined talking points and invite guests onto the show. The show broadcasted simultaneously to YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Viewers could comment and I could display the comments on the screen and legitimately interact with the audience in real-time. To take things a step further, I would publicly place a link in the comments on each platform so that anybody could click it and join the show. If any of you are Twitter users, it’s a similar concept to a feature that would later be released called Twitter Spaces.
The Dawgs Table
It wasn’t long before the project grew. My then co-host, Jared Bates, and I signed on with the BIGPLAY network and changed the name of the show. We garnered some sponsorships and BIGPLAY connected us with a beer company. We took the project mobile and would broadcast live from Cleveland area sports bars to promote the show and our sponsor. Not only were we connecting digitally, but we were also connecting with Browns fans at their favorite local watering hole. Eventually, I would welcome Ryan Angelo as my new co-host.
The show continued to grow and is broadcasting to this day. My favorite part about the project is that the show isn’t designed to talk “at” the audience, it’s designed to talk “with” them. Community is important and is clearly one of the cornerstones of this publication. I’m excited to not only find myself in a position to publish on this platform but also get to be involved with the Dawgs By Nature community.
Gratitude is powerful.
As I mentioned before, I only get one introductory post. Many wonderful individuals have influenced me up until the very point I’m writing this. Some offered encouragement to do something I’m passionate about. Others supported me in even the smallest of ways. This new venture could very well provide me with the ability to advance my career in sports media or simply satisfy my desire to write about the Browns. Regardless of what happens next, I’m grateful for the opportunity and would love to acknowledge some folks.
Thank you to:
My wife (Carolyn) for supporting all of my ambitions, projects, and hobbies. My children (Landon, Addie, Houston, and Lylah) for keeping quiet while I’m recording or broadcasting.
Jared Mueller and the DBN Staff for welcoming me to the team.
The following people in no particular order or context: French Golden, Barry Schroeder Jr., Tim Unkefer, Peter Fountain, Erin Fountain, Ryan Angelo, Brad Ward, Brent Melton, Alwasy Positive J, Dave McAllester, and so many more!