High School Football America LLC (“HSFA”) is a multi-platform media company creating original content — text, video and audio. Founders Jeff Fisher and Trish Hoffman, who have won numerous awards for journalism and public relations, have captured thousands of high school sports stories that serve as a lightning rod for promoting positive stories about student-athletes. In essence, these stories highlight how high school sports serve as a bond for community togetherness.
HSFA’s mission is to promote student-athletes, coaches, schools and communities.
High School Football America grew out of The Big Ticket that Fisher created, produced and hosted originally in 1993 on WFMTZ-TV in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Big Ticket was America’s first-ever, hour-long Friday night high school football show that will enter its 22nd year on the air during the 2015 season. Under Fisher’s leadership, The Big Ticket was named by the Associated Press as The Best Sports Television Show in Pennsylvania in 2000.
HSFA currently produces two internet high school sports radio shows — High School Football America and NHSCA Sports Hour — that average a combined 150,000 downloads per show. In 2012, Fisher and Hoffman produced the highly-acclaimed High School Football America/SoCal radio show on KLAC AM 570 Fox Sports LA.
It all began in 1993 when Jeff helped create and co-hosted the award-winning high school football highlights show called The Big Ticket in Allentown, Pennsylvania where he worked as WFMZ-TV’s sports director anchoring five-shows a day; performing play-by-play in several sports; was the voice of the Lehigh University men’s basketball team, plus the host of the Lehigh Sports Forum.
Jeff & Trish actually met on the 10:00 news. Literally! Trish was the 10:00 PM Anchor and 5:00, 5:30 and 6:00 P.M. Live Reporter for all three shows. We left the station in Allentown to move to Chicago where Trish was named the first-ever anchor at Morningstar.com. Jeff anchored and reported at Fox Sports Net doing nightly shows in the Bay Area, Chicago and Ohio.
It was in Chicago where Trish and Jeff re-ignited the idea to do a high school sports multi-media project that would place a premium on great storytelling.
In 2003, we met with a web developer to help develop the daunting task of this one-of-a-kind website. Trish emptied out her 401K to invest in the site…making her the first angel investor of this project.
As with any entrepreneurial endeavor, we needed to pay the bills while chasing the dream. Luckily, a friend needed a public relations firm to work with his multi-billion dollar company. In 2003, Blitz Group was born as a boutique media firm that specialized in placing experts in the media.
Blitz, as we like to call it, has won numerous awards for placing clients in/on most major national and international media outlets. Since 2005, Blitz has garnered approximately $75 million in editorial media placements for its clients.
In 2008, on a visit to Laguna Beach, California we were discussing possible names for the high school sports project that had picked-up steam over the previous year from Jeff’s writing of 52 blogs on high school football. That’s when Trish blurted out, “Hey, why don’t we call it High School Football America?”
Jeff loved it and bolted for the computer to see if the domain name/URL was available and it was! So with that, High School Football America was born!
Naming the website High School Football America gave us such a lift of excitement. However, bliss doesn’t last forever! We quickly realized the need for more funding to fuel the newly-named passion, plus some assumptions on who would visit our website.
In the first season we had more than a million page views on our 52 blog blogs. Those page views very quickly gave us the assumptions to begin writing our business plan…that by the way, is a real pain…but truly gave us a road map for the future.
We began defining the project further with a goal of becoming a multi-media company with a bigger goal of being a national high school football radio show that would serve as a marketing tool to drive people to our website.
With the goal of launching a national radio show, we developed two internet radio shows: one for the National High School Coaches Association and the other called High School Football America. You can listen to both shows, on the ArtistFirst Worldwide Radio Network, plus this website. Both are highly successful; averaging a combined 150,000 downloads for each episode.
With great numbers, we decided to go to the top of the media food-chain to look for a national media partner. That partner was Fox Sports Radio, led by Don Martin in Los Angeles.
Don, who is a huge high school sports fan having done some very creative high school sports coverage in Denver, said he liked the concept of a national high school football radio show, but wasn’t sure how to pull it off, since the book on such a huge undertaking hadn’t been written.
For the next two years, High School Football America kept chugging along with its blogs and traveling the country to make videos that told the story of how high school football is an integral part of the American fabric. It was to make sure that High School Football America kept proving itself to Don, who kept in constant contact, while scoring big deals like his LA affiliate KLAC-AM becoming the flagship station for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Paydirt came on February 13, 2012 when Don said let’s start the journey with a radio show on KLAC AM 570 Fox Sports LA called High School Football America So-Cal.
With a mere six-months to raise capital, sign sponsors and get a show on the air, we worked 18-hour days to achieve their dream.
On October 10, 2012, Steve Fryer of the Orange County Register wrote — “Give a listen to the High School Football America radio program on KLAC/570 on Fridays from 10 p.m. to midnight. It is the smoothest and most complete Southern California high school football radio show that has been on the air these past 22 years.”
During our nearly three years in Los Angeles, High School Football America has evolved into one of the country’s most respected sources for high school football news and information with the addition of a state-by-state news section and our daily podcast called the High School Football America 2 Minute Drill.
In January 2015 we added the Coaches Job Board to our site that, in two months, has quadrupled our number of daily page views during the off-season! Yes, the off season!
As far as what the future holds?
We continue to follow our mission statement, which is to tell the stories of America’s student-athletes, coaches, schools and communities.