St. Louis Fan Report, By a Fan, For the Fan and About the Fan.
As the saying goes, fans come in all shapes and sizes, and I would like to add that they appear in all kinds of strange places. Bars in St. Louis are fan zones, of course, and speckled across North America there are pockets of fans who pledge their undying allegiance to the St. Louis Blues.
I cannot imagine, however, there are many Blues fans – or hockey fans for that matter – in sunny Hawaii. I know that it rarely if ever has snowed in Honolulu (going out on a limb here), and ice surely stands no chance against the beating Hawaiian sun.
But Guy Bensing is not just a fan, he’s the “Hawaii Blues Fan” and he’s one of a handful of podcasters, bloggers, and digital talk show hosts dedicated to Blues coverage.
“We Do Have an Ice Rink here,” Guy beamed. “We also have a nice Roller Hockey Facility. And believe it or not. on the Big Island, it snows in the mountains.”
The Show: The BlueNote Fan Report Hosted by the Hawaii Blues Fan
The YouTube Show is promoted as a site that is “By a Fan, For the Fans, and most definitely About the Fans.” It was founded by St. Louis Blues fan Bensing, a military veteran who follows the Blues from Honolulu, Hawaii.
Which would beg the obvious question of, How in the hell does a dude named Guy who lives a billion miles off the mainland on an island in the paradise of Hawaii, start a fan website for the Blues of all teams? The St. Louis Blues too?
“I was born in St. Louis,” Maryland Heights is where he grew up he told me. “My Grandfather followed the Blues and I followed my Grandfather” In more ways than one. Bensing’s Grandfather was a WWII Navy Radioman. “I would be mesmerized by his pictures and stories. He told me about the Kamakaze attack on his escort carrier.” Bensing joined the Navy after high school (Cleveland Naval JROTC … you know, being a St. Louis boy (CBC) I had to ask.)
Guy served for 20 years earning, a combat action ribbon among many other awards.
“When I got to the USS Mobile Bay on Christmas Eve 1990 the only thing I had was my love of hockey and Brett Hull,” Bensing recalled, choking back a memory. “Little did I know how much those days and Hull chasing the goal-scoring record would mean to me.”
“Looking back to those days when we only go a little bit of news here and there,” Guy quietly stated. “Whatever I could read about Hull and Oates and the Blues I devoured it.”
It all started for Bensing in 2018 when he created the Pregame Rant on YouTube. In his earliest shows, he would sit in front of his laptop and just talk about the game that was coming up. he also had the shout-out of the game.
“I had just had a breakdown and needed an outlet.” Guy Said. “I needed to talk about something and the Blues just seemed to be what was helping me. I got some editing software and watch Youtube videos on how to use it.” I was even doing cuts where I talked to a different version of me I called the roving reporter.”
The show has had a few different names: The Pre Game Rant, A view from Afar, the Hawaii Blues Fan show, and it is now the BlueNote Fan Report. Why so many name changes?
“As I grew and got better, I needed a name that told people exactly what the show is about,” he responded. “I used to get comments asking where the Blues music was.” Guy laughed.
The show also spawned a Facebook group “the Hawaii Stl Blues Fan Clan.”
Today, the private group has more than 580 followers.
“This is a group for all ST Louis Blues fans and those that follow the Hawaii Blues fan and want to watch his show centered on the NHL and The St Louis Blues,” the simple description reads.
STLFanReport.com – for Blues fans
The BlueNote Fan report gave birth to the St. Louis Fan Report – a website and companion Facebook page that was broader in nature and by name. It was marketed to a wider swath of Blues fans worldwide. Studio guests were brought on for pregame and intermission shows, including other Blues podcasters and bloggers.
This is my disclaimer: I am one of the writers who contribute Blues analysis to the STLFanReport. Guy suggested I take a look at the growth of the site. Beyond that, he did not give me any further direction. Being as objective as one can be, as fan sites go, Guy’s passion is turning into a go-to place for hockey fans before, during, and after games.
That is an important fact because it speaks to the authenticity and transparent nature of the BlueNote Fan Report and the STLFanReport. Guy Bensing has no corporate backing and, like every blogger and podcaster in town, content creators have to beg, borrow and steal, to land meaningful interviews. He would welcome sponsors because that allows him to expand the show, improve the production quality and offer more prizes and fun contests to Blues fans.
“Being authentic is very important as a hockey fan site,” Bensing said. “Fans come to sites like mine to enjoy the game with other like-minded fans … We try to keep the comments positive and promote those who move the discussion forward. Too many fan sites are stuck in the past and can be very cruel to star players. We steer the conversation to more meaningful, more fruitful areas for all fans.”
Don’t get him wrong, Guy and his listeners will call players out, but at the same time, they all seem to keep the faith. They will ask Bensing and his guests questions about the action on the ice. Bensing tries to show as many comments as he can but keeps some of the more adult-oriented ones out of the show. “I want it to be for everyone,” he told me. “I was in the Navy for 20 years, trust me I can cuss. I just know there is a time and a place.
GROWING LIKE A WEED
Make no mistake, the STLFanReport is not trying to compete with the big boys at Fox Sports Midwest.
However, the format he offers allows for deep-dive discussions and analysis that goes well beyond a 5-word post on some rando’s newsfeed.
One of his guests last year was Blues broadcaster, Darren Pang, on Guy’s Birthday. The former goaltender is always a lively “get” and provided an extensive analysis of the team and his role in broadcasting the games.
Similarly, Guy interviewed Blues Media personality Ashli Vise, a talented young broadcaster, and he has more interviews planned for the upcoming weeks.
“I love doing the interviews,” Guy said “This is my chance to talk to my heroes and those who are connected to the sport I love. Hockey and the Blues gave me an outlet when I needed it. The Hockey Community takes care of each other. They respect what I am trying to do and they are will to help out.”
His media interviews include Jim Thomas and Tom Timmerman of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Lou Koric and Mike Ziesberger of NHL.com. Tom Ackerman of KMOX radio. Scott Warmann and Chris Kerber form Blues Media productions.
His Alumni Interviews include Grant Fuhr, Garth Butcher, Bruce Affleck, Chris Butler, Chris Thorburn, and Rick Zombo.
Guy’s pregame shows and intermission reports during Blues games have added a new dimension to the website. It has quickly become a place for fans to go to learn about the team. He discusses lineups, scores from around the league, in-game analysis and takes questions and comments through social media.
Guy Bensing definitely does not make a quiet entrance. His live shows on Youtube always start with an idyllic scene – usually a soft star-gazing pattern with a 30-second rundown. When the clock ticks to 00, the fun starts – Loudly
You wouldn’t even have to know Guy arrived. Your ears will tell you.
“These Go To 11”
Q: What’s with the Aloha-aaaa greeting? How did it start?”
“It started with my wife saying I should use it. while I have lived here for 16 years I am not that much into the Hawaiian culture, however, it is starting to grow on me. he shyly remarked.” as for the volume, some people know this but most don’t, I am partially deaf. I work in engine rooms in the Navy and no matter how much I keep my hearing protection in I have lost about 30% of my high range hearing.”
Aside from the schtick – OK, Guy, we get it – you live in a beach area while we are shoveling 27-inches of snow and slushy street ice just to get to a thankless job we hate. Guy is passionate and he brings the heat with opinions, guests, and takeaways all fans can appreciate. this t
Recently, the BlueNote Fan Report netted a huge goal when the show had former Blues standout and all-around good guy Mike Zuke on as the “studio” guest (via videoconferencing, of course). He also just Interviewed Gary Unger for the BlueNote Fan Report. I was able to join him.
I had an Interview with Mr. Zuke after a couple of failed attempts. he was just the nicest guy. So I thought why not bring him on the intermission show? he agreed and the fan ate him up. He shows that it is just not some fan show but a real pregame show.” Bensing gleefully stated.
Frequent guests include Lance Descotte of the Drop Podcast, Mason the irate Blues fan @BluesFanReact, myself, Brock Banner @RealBrockBanne1, producer Jeremy Miller of the SlyFoxPodcast, as well as other Blues bloggers and fans. The list seems to keep growing.
GUY’S MOVING TRIBUTE
For those who are not familiar with this worthy effort, Warriors Hockey is led by the USA Hockey for disabled military vets to participate in the game of hockey. The Warriors program recently went to Dallas to play against the veteran’s hockey program there. To be eligible, you must be a military veteran with a documented VA disability rating of at least 10 percent or more.
I remember the day before the story was to be released. Guy’s stomach was in knots. He felt so much pressure to deliver a great piece for these veterans because he himself is a veteran who suffered during his time of service.
You didn’t have to read into it too deeply before you realized this was so much more than a story, blog, video interview, and podcast. This was Guy’s best and perhaps proudest moment to date.
Why spend so much time on this story?
“From the time I first read about this I wanted to be involved.” his face turning to stone as he spoke. “This is something a lot of people don’t understand. the guys that join the military do it for different reasons and the last one of those is to be a hero.”
“Many of us were 18 or 19 when we first joined.” he continued. “None of us could ever predict what would happen in the world. We don’t come back the same.” he stopped. “I am lucky I am still here” as he stopped talking.
I knew it was best to just let the subject pass.
The Facebook group spawned a pick ’em contest that Bensing wrote about. “It started with the show,” he said. “I had a string of 4 or 5 games where I picked the score and winner of the game.” John Hefner one of the Admins of the group suggested the contest and it has just grown from there. The group had given away small prizes to the winner each month. “Hef had some stuff that had been given to him and he wanted to help the show and group grow,” Bensing stated.
This season the contest has grown. So has the prizes. He has given away a Jersey signed by Brett Hull and a mini goalie mask signed by Jorden Binnington.
“We are sponsored for the rest of the season,” he almost shouted “Forrest Crump Enterprises, a St. Louis Construction company, bought the prizes for the final months of the season.” They are giving away a Justin Faulk signed locker nameplate, Mystery pucks, posters, and more. There will be prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, along with what he calls Door prizes.
The contest runs from April 2nd till the end of the season. If you enter just once you will have a chance to win a prize. the more you play the better your chances. For every five points, you earn you will get a bonus entry for the door prizes. Play once your name is entered, earn five points you now have two chances, 10 points, 3 chances, and so on.
The Members who play the contest love it. They say it adds to the game and you see that during the intermissions chats. “I got two points”, “That empty netter screwed me”, I got a perfect game” are just some of the comments I have seen. The show has had up to 50 viewers at one time. “I would love to hit the 100 mark,” Bensing quipped.
“The Intermission show are tough, you only have 20 mins and I watch on a 30-sec delay or so.” But when you watch you know he is having fun either with guests or by himself. His energy is infectious.
Clearly what Guy Bensing has started is so much more than a mere fan site; he’s created a fan monster so to speak. this is a place that should continue to grow and give the fan a voice that might be missing on other sites.
If you are a fan of the game this is something I suggest you check out. I don’t think there is anything else like it out there.
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YouTube Links BlueNote Fan Report
“I always want to extend an invitation to Blues fans to check us out,” Bensing stated with pride. ” We try to bring news and notes that fans can appreciate, but we have some fun in the process. We encourage more people to join so that their voices can be added to our discussions about our favorite team – the St. Louis Blues.”
He is always looking for writers and he is ready to expand to the Cardinals, The St Louis City Soccer club, The Chiefs, and Mizzou. if you want to join in and be a part of the “By the Fans, For the Fans and About the Fans, you can contact Bensing at Guy@stlfanreport.com
Thanks for reading
Now back to full strength …
A St. Louis Blues blogger, NHL podcaster, and writer for the STL Fan Report.
Visit him online at brockbanner.com