off-season lounge: pj kwong

Pj Kwong, commentator --

As a commentator, how do you prepare?
I try and stay current throughout the year. Even in the off-season I try and read about changes and talk to people. It is too much to try and learn on the eve of a competition. I try and do my own work where the skaters are concerned which is why I try and get to a few summer competitions to figure out the lay of the land so to speak. When the skaters end up at grand prix events, it's nice to have already seen them and to be able to offer a personal perspective on what they are looking to achieve during the season and on the ice.

How do you know when to say something and when to stay silent?
That is a very good question. I don't. In my mind, I am trying to find the balance between offering information and allowing the program to 'breathe'. I know that I miss the mark from time to time. The good news is that I am easily reachable and will hear from fans if I am off-track. The most difficult emails are the ones from fans who would prefer that there was no talking whatsoever and can be quite harsh about it. The truth is, I am being paid to offer comments -- so I can't ever be too quiet. Being on my own makes it easier than it would be to try and balance 2 or 3 people's need to offer comments.

What's the best part of doing commentary?
What I love most is finding out about new talent. I remember seeing Denis Ten as an example at Worlds before he was on the international radar. That can be very exciting.

I am person who loves to multi-task -- so being able to watch a program and share the experience with fans who are doing the same thing is a blast. It feels like I am working 'inside' a community and not playing 'to' a community. It's a great feeling and I appreciate the support of all of the skating fans who are in touch with me.

What's the most challenging?
I think the biggest challenge is keeping things fresh. I recently heard from a fan that there is a drinking game based on my repetitive comments about skaters who make up the lower end of competition at an event. This news made me chuckle to say the least -- but it has also given me some incentive to try and figure out different comments to make about lesser-known skaters. Stay tuned!

What has helped you the most in doing commentary?

I think that practice has helped the most -- which can be said for everything that a person does. As I mentioned before the fact that fans are in touch with me with feedback has also helped a lot. I am also helped greatly by the skaters who are very generous with their time and perspective.

One more thing would have to be my coaching. I have been coaching skating for 25+ years and I think that offers me a unique point of view as far as the relationships in skating as well as the experience of competition for everybody on the field of play.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I am excited about the fact that skating still has legions of fans. I started my blog on before the 2010 Olympics to see for myself if there was an appetite for figure skating. The numbers tell me (300,000 hits in the last 12 months) that lots of people are still interested even though there aren't as many 'bums in seats' at events as before. We are becoming more aware that sports are being delivered differently to the fans and that the internet is largely responsible. It's exciting to be on the cutting edge and I am sure as soon as somebody figures out how to harness the live streaming fans, the popularity of the sport will become clear again. 

source: original interview


Anonymous said...

Great interview!

iggie said...