Thursday, July 9, 2020

My New Best Friend, Zoom

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

When it comes to technology, I feel like I’m in the majority when it comes to the 55 and older club.

I’m tremendously challenged.

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has changed our lives forever.

Enter social distancing, wearing face masks in public, staying at home like a bunch of caged lions, cooking at home much to the dismay of going out to restaurants and not being able to have face-to-face meetings.

When will the time come when we’re comfortable enough to meet in person?

Who knows?

If I had the answers, My wife and I would be comfortably retired in Maui, Hawaii.

But there is perception and there is reality.

If you would have asked me what the word “Zoom” means, I would have told you since I’m an adrenaline rush junky that it’s driving fast.

Another life-time ago, I might have pursued a career in motor sports. I’ve taken rides at race tracks around the country. Every time we go on the interstate, we travel speeds of greater than 70 miles per hour.

Today, “Zoom” has a new meaning to me.

I belong to a few networking groups and since face-to-face has been eliminated, the only way I can stay in touch and grow my business is by attending these meetings remotely. I have to admit, it’s grown on me.

I broadcast an average of four to five days a week.

I don’t finish until around midnight.

It would be quite difficult to get to a meeting at 7:30 am at an office setting.

Warren Drucker, the head of one of our groups is seriously considering implementing them permanently and down the road setting up mixers because he’s pleased that his attendance is reaching between 30-40 people per-meeting. I told him that I would attend those gatherings if they’re on Friday nights or over the weekend.

He figures that these Zoom Meetings will lead to a one-one meeting.

The way things are going, it’s hard to debate with his thinking.

Zoom has been quite handy with spending time with family members around the country as we celebrate birthday parties, and get weekly updates with how things are going with my in-laws.

Face-time has been very helpful as my wife and I communicate with my terminally ill mother.

Covid-19 has made it impossible for me to visit her in Michigan and the way the virus is spreading especially living in a hotspot like Florida, there is no trip planned. But at least I can see her and I’m fine with that considering what the alternative would be without the technology.

But if you really want to get me psyched up about “Zoom” then the easiest way to do it is by me doing these calls with a team or perhaps teams that I cover.

These past couple of days have made me feel like a kid in a candy store.

I’ve been involved in two Zoom calls with the Miami Marlins.

I’m as old school as it gets.

I’ve been covering sports for 40 years and I’m used to interviewing the newsmakers in the arenas, stadiums, etc... and because of these unprecedented times, that’s not happening in 2020.

On Wednesday Night’s Edition of “No Limits,” I couldn’t stop talking about this to my Co-Hosts Candy Ebling and Ron Renzy.

To be able to do my job and get the same information with taking risks of getting COVID-19 and saving money on expenses was neat.

I’m fine with it until I’m able to return to the way that I cover events.

The Marlins Public Relations Staff is fantastic and I’m getting to know my fellow members of the media since this is our first year covering the team.

Manager Don Mattingly has been great to work with!

He was an excellent player and seems like an outstanding person!

The Marlins have told me that it appears that there will be very few people allowed in the stadium because they want to conform with large gatherings.

So for the foreseeable future the regular media will just work from the friendly confines.

Hopefully, we’ll go back to normal in 2021.

You can rest assure that around the country, announcers are doing games remotely in all sports. We don’t have the pre-game routine of talking to the newsmakers.

This season it looks like the teams announcers won’t be traveling to road games.

Therefore, MLB Clubs are doing what the Marlins are doing and we’re making Zoom our best friend.

So if you’re a retired writer and don’t like this, you got out just in time. Keep living off that retirement and chill out. This is what you’re missing or not missing.

I actually did a Zoom Broadcast with Rudy Reyes on our show Motor Man and RudeDog and it’s on the company You Tube Channel.

I really enjoyed because he’s living in California and I’m in Florida but it seemed like we were in the studio. A much smoother broadcast. That I can get used to.

I haven’t figured out how to utilize Zoom when doing broadcasts as Rudy supplied me with the feed. But I’m determined to figure it out.

I will not use Zoom to cut corners on local broadcasts because I will not wear a mask sitting across the microphone from another person so I have to do additional editing to get the sound right.

Thus, I’d rather keep doing these broadcasts by phone until someone is comfortable to come in the studio.

But in the end, I make no bones about it that while I’m technologically challenged with the way things are changing, I’m fine with it.

This is one old dog that will gladly learn some new tricks since I view technology as my new toy!

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Social Media, but I’m smart enough to know these days, that’s the only way that will last in the crazy society.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at southfloridatribune@gmail.com.

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