CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- When the Carolina Panthers take on the Seattle Seahawks in Charlotte this Sunday, it’ll be just another day at the office for Bill Voth. He’s one of the leading independent authorities on the team and has been covering the Panthers for more than 10 years.
“I go to every game. I go to every place I need to be," he told me during a recent interview.
Voth is the one-man, high-energy, content-generating machine behind the website, “Black and Blue Review.” It’s a news site focused squarely on the Carolina Panthers.
“The idea started in 2010 when the Panthers were 2-14,” he said. “And I saw how still important they were.”
Back then Voth was a sports anchor and reporter for Charlotte ABC affiliate WSOC.
“My former station, unfortunately, they wanted to do just less. Sports didn’t matter. And all I saw was well, this does matter,” he said. “On Sundays, there are 70,000 people going to this one place. To me, that matters.”
So Voth left local television sports and started this website which gets at least a million views a month and growing. The postings feature everything from stats to pictures from fans to team news, even video. Voth insists this is not a traditional “fan” site. In fact, since he’s from Cleveland, he says he’s really more of a Cleveland Browns fan.
So he doesn’t mind posting that occasional negative story about the team. And the Panthers organization doesn’t treat him differently after that happens.
“I think they’re fair because I’m fair,” he told me. “I just want to tell you what’s happening. I rarely get into opinions.”
So Voth treats this job like a traditional sports reporter would. In fact, that’s what he considers himself to be -- a conduit between the team and its fans. Just about all the pictures and video he posts on the website and his social media accounts he shoots himself.
But the platform he uses to “broadcast” his content to his audience is anything but traditional. So many people (especially the younger ones) are getting most of their news and information from the Internet. Even so, Voth has no idea if this will sustain itself because no one likes to pay to read web content.
Voth makes a living via ads on the website, being a regular on a Charlotte sports/talk radio station, and being a contributor to Charlotte Magazine among a few other responsibilities.
But one thing is for certain. The Carolina Panthers are having a great season and Voth says fans need to enjoy it now because there’s no guarantee something like this will happen again.
“Just enjoy the fact that you are in the presence of the best thing that’s ever happened to this franchise,” he said. “And I hope fans are enjoying it.”
To check out Voth’s website, visit blackandbluereview.com.
On the site, you can also sign up for Voth’s e-newsletter.