Hello DBN Community – Craig Fountain

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As a longtime reader of Dawgs by nature, I’m excited to introduce myself to the community as the newest addition to the writing team. Have the ability to cover Cleveland Browns for a post like this is something I am very grateful for.

My name is Craig Fountain and I’ve been a lifelong Cleveland Browns fan. I’m relatively new to the sportswriting scene, so my list of accomplishments is short, but we may have crossed paths in the past in a number of ways. For those of you who prefer short introductions, I’m a married dad of 4 and my best friend is my adorable Giant Newfoundland Sassy. For those of you who want to get to know me in more depth, I only get one introductory message, so here it is:

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I had not seriously considered pursuing a career in sports media. As a husband and father of four with a demanding career in the automotive industry, I’ve been lucky enough to find 3 hours of free time on only a handful (16) of weekends a year. I’m sure you can guess how I used that time.

It was a hassle for the better part of a decade in the automotive business. I started as a salesperson and gradually moved into other positions including digital marketing, financial management, and sales management. Just two months after receiving the biggest promotion of my life, COVID-19 has turned the world upside down.

I was lucky to stay healthy, but that’s when I lost my job along with many others. My wife, who owns a beauty salon, also found herself aimless when the doors were closed to all non-essential businesses. We were without work and without abundance. Our only abundance? Time.

French Golden was just a name for me. When I was too young to remember, my mother divorced my biological father and eventually remarried. My then-stepfather adopted me and I, in turn, took his surname. He has always been “dad” to me and always will be. My biological father was out of sight and out of mind. He also remarried, lived in another part of the country and had several children. As my interest in who my biological father was faded over time, I felt the need 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 collected the necessary material and interviewed entrepreneurs and businessmen. One day, while browsing social networks, I came across my brother’s Facebook account. French Golden was helping his wife start a sports podcast.

We had never been in contact before and even though I saw him once when he was very young, we were strangers. I felt compelled to reach out to him and saw the common ground: podcasting and sports. I offered to help and we have remained very close ever since. For 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 inch closer to Episode 100, we’re still talking about the NFL on the Gingers Talk Football podcast.

I often see this question. Usually it’s not in a complementary context. The beauty of podcasting is that anyone willing to learn a bit and brave enough to get started can have one. What started as a way to connect with my brother and talk football with him turned into a thirst for more. Although I love the NFL, my true passion was and remains the Cleveland Browns.

When I decided I was going to start 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 I was going to do a video format and wanted the show to air live. Both concepts were different from anything I had done before, but it still wasn’t different enough.

Not everyone needs to have a podcast or wants one for that matter. However, everyone has a voice. Everyone has an opinion. Especially Browns fans. If I could find a way to interact with an audience on a live streamed Cleveland Browns video talk show, I could be quite different.

Beginning in December 2020, “The Browns Table” was uploaded weekly. I was gathering predetermined talking points and inviting guests to the show. The show was simulcast on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Viewers could comment and I could post the comments on screen and legitimately interact with the audience in real time. To go further, I would publicly place a link in the comments of each platform so that anyone can click on it and join the show. If any of you are a Twitter user, this is similar in concept to a feature to be released later called Twitter Spaces.

The project did not take long to grow. My then co-host, Jared Bates, and I logged onto the BIGPLAY network and changed the name of the show. We got some referrals and BIGPLAY put us in touch with a beer company. We took the project mobile and live streamed from Cleveland area sports bars to promote the show and our sponsor. Not only are we connecting digitally, but we’re also connecting with Browns fans at their favorite local watering hole. Finally, I would welcome Ryan Angelo as a new co-host.

The show continued to grow and airs to this day. What I like best about the project is that the show is not designed to speak “to” the audience, it is designed to speak “with” them. The community is important and is clearly one of the cornerstones of this publication. I am thrilled not only to find myself able to post on this platform, but also to be involved in the Dawgs By Nature community.

As I mentioned before, I only get one introductory message. Many wonderful people have influenced me right up to the time of writing this. Some have encouraged me to do something I’m passionate about. Others supported me in even the smallest of ways. This new venture could very well allow me to advance my career in sports media or simply satisfy my desire to write about the Browns. Regardless of what happens next, I am grateful for this opportunity and would like to thank some people.

Thanks for:

My wife (Carolyn) for supporting all my ambitions, projects and hobbies. My kids (Landon, Addie, Houston and Lylah) for keeping quiet while I’m recording or streaming.

Jared Mueller and the DBN team 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 many more!

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