BJ Rains has been covering Boise State sports in Boise for the last nine years at the Idaho Press. Starting today, for the first time, he’s working for himself.
Rains launched BroncoNationNews.com this morning – a new site he hopes to make a destination for fans of Boise State University sports, with new ideas and concepts along the way.
“My main goal is to make this the new home for Boise State fans,” Rains said. “I’m really excited about this because I can do more things than I could at the paper, in terms of video, and live shows, and the podcast. I’m not hampered by a print deadline. My goal is to make this an online community for fans.”
Rains acquired the assets of fan site BroncoNationNews.com from Drew Vachal, who started a Facebook page in 2011. Across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, Vachal racked up nearly 80,000 social media followers. Rains said Vachal had a baby earlier this year and decided to step back.
“I was at the right place at the right time,” Rains said. “I purchased the social media channels and the brand name from him. I thought about changing the name, (because) this is going to be a credible news and info site and not a fan site or a blog. I’ll have a new logo, new brand but keeping the name and social channels.”
His new site will enter a crowded field for Boise State sports coverage, running the gamut from fan sites like BroncoCountry and OBNUG to traditional players like KTVB, Idaho Statesman, and Rains’ now-former employer Idaho Press, which is hiring to fill his role. Rains hopes the new effort will stand out.
“I hope to provide deeper analysis. Going to get away from straight thousand-word game stories. I hope to get into more of the why and what it means moving forward.”
Bronco Nation News will feature live video pre- and post-game shows before football and basketball games, podcasts, message forums, and other ideas. Tomorrow, Rains will go live with athletic director Jeramiah Dickey, for instance. Rains will continue to travel to men’s basketball and football games.
“The other sites are great. Idaho Press is great and I hope the Statesman does well and KTVB – but I hope my site is a little different.”
The site will be supported by advertising and a paid membership feature. Rains says most stories will be outside of a paywall, but members can get additional features like exclusive stories, breaking news emails, and more.