Industry Profile: FUEL TV Director of PR John Stouffer
26 Sep, 2008
Industry Profile: Fuel TV Director of PR and Endemic Relations John Stouffer
John: I was a Navy Brat growing up and moved around a lot, and got to travel a ton. I lived mostly on the East Coast, I went to high school in Virginia Beach, Virginia, learned to surf, and became a big fan of skateboarding and punk rock music. I still remember seeing the Ramones and being decked in the mosh pit!
Then I went to Dartmouth College and studied Chinese Language and Culture. Went to Taiwan for a summer studying Chinese. Back at College, I picked up skiing and almost failed out one winter because I spend so much time at the Dartmouth Skiway. I also was a radio DJ at college for 4 years. Classic stuff.
Moved to San Diego in 1990 after graduation to work as an intern at Transworld Snowboarding and Transworld Skateboarding magazines. Worked directly on the newly launched Snowboarding and Skateboarding Business Magazines. Worked my way up to an editor position, moved to ASR working for their business magazine and trade show group for almost 3 years, then went back to Transworld as the editor of Snowboarding Business. While there, I helped launch the Surf Business magazine, and oversaw Snowboard Life for a year as well. After almost 10 years, I got to tour almost every snowboard factory in the world, knew somebody at every snowboard company, and had visited a ton of ski resorts.
I left in 2004 and got a job at FUEL TV launching and writing its Weekly Update news show. Wrote the show for the first two years it was around. From there I moved into the marketing manager role, and then was promoted to director of PR.
I’ve had a great run, getting to travel all around the world, snowboarding in Europe, Japan, Canada, and Alaska, as well as Chile. I’ve visited more than 90 different ski resorts, 6 heli operations, and several catboarding ops. I’ve also surfed from Maine to Florida, and from Cabo to Washington on the West Coast. My biggest surf trip was a boat trip to the Maldives, where we got skunked for surf. I’ve also been to Bali, and the surf was too big. It was flat in France on another trip. At least it’s always interesting!
Shay: What is your job title?
John: FUEL TV Director of PR and Endemic Relations
John: It means I work on building the relationships with the companies within the industry. I’m always trying to let them know when their athletes are on shows on FUEL TV, or when their contests appear on FUEL TV.
Shay: Did your parents question your job choice?
John: Of course. I went to an Ivy League college, Dartmouth, and they probably thought I’d be a lot richer than I am, but I’m rich with friends and experiences.
Shay: What was your first set up?
John: Kemper 165 Freestyle with Sorel boots and Airwalk liners.
Shay: What is your current set up?
John: Lib Tech Skate Banana Magna-traction 159, Burton bindings, and ThirtyTwo or Vans boots.
Shay: What was your first job?
John: My first job was washing dishes at a seafood restaurant in Virginia Beach, VA. My first industry job was working at 17th Street Surf Show in Virginia Beach when I was 19 and in college. I was home for the summer. I also lifeguarded that year. The summer after college I moved to San Diego and started working as an intern at TransWorld Skateboarding Business and TransWorld Snowboarding Business.
Shay: What’s a great day of snowboarding to you?
John: Heliboarding in Canada with a bunch of friends, riding steep and deep.
Shay: Who are your influences?
John: Jake Burton, Bob McKnight from Quiksilver, Rich Woolcott from Volcom, and CJ Olivares at FUEL TV.
Shay: How long have you been snowboarding?
John: I started in 1989.
Shay: How many days do you get to ride a year?
John: As many as I can, usually over 40, and closer to 50 or 60.
Shay: What is your role at FUEL TV as the Director of PR
John: I try to let the world know what is going on at FUEL TV. The more information I can get out there the better. I use press releases, tune in releases, e-mails, phone calls, our own web site, and anything else I can.
Shay: Did you work with other TV networks becoming coming onto Fuel TV?
Shay: Do you travel a lot for FUEL TV?
John: I try to. I love to travel. I was just in Salt Lake City for the AST Dew Tour doing publicity for our Dew Underground show. If you haven’t seen it, it’s an amazingly cool show.
Shay: Anything new from FUEL TV to look forward to?
John: We have so many great shows coming up in the fall. You have to check out “The Adventures of Danny & The Dingo,” which is better than “Rob and Big” but with Danny Kass and the Dingo. We also have “Built To Shred” which features Jeff King building some of the sickest obstacles for skaters, surfers and BMX guys to ride. If you saw Transworld SURF’s feature on The Rail Of Death, that was for “Built To Shred.” Watching it on TV is even more amazing than reading about it in the magazine.
We’ve also got new seasons of “The Great Ride Open” and “The Captain And Casey” coming up.
Shay: With more cable networks allowing full episodes online, will that be a possibility for FUEL TV in the future?
John: The future is here now. You can download full episodes of FUEL TV shows from iTunes for $1.99. You can also watch full episodes on www.hulu.com. And you can watch segments of many of the shows on www.fuel.tv in the video section, or download podcasts of them on iTunes.
Shay: What’s the most popular show for FUEL TV?
John: Probably our skate show “The Captain And Casey Show.” It’s the longest running show on FUEL TV and the Captain and Casey are awesome. “The Daily Habit” is really gaining popularity. They’ve had some awesome bands on, and pretty much every action sports athlete has been on now — from Kelly Slater to Tony Hawk to Ryan Sheckler to Rob Dyrdek and Travis Pastrana.
Shay: Do you see action sports reality shows becoming more popular?
John: People seem to like watching them.
Shay: I noticed you helped EXPN with the history of snowboarding timeline, what are your thoughts on snowboarding’s past?
John: That timeline was something that Lee Crane, the former editor of TransWorld Snowboarding, began. I helped fill it in while at TransWorld, and it’s been updated a number of times by myself and several other editors and writers. It was on the TransWorld site, and has been borrowed by many, many people since then. I haven’t looked but I bet it’s on Wikipedia
Shay: Do you have a college degree? What is your degree in?
John: Yes, my degree was in Asian Studies with a Chinese language and culture emphasis. I studied Chinese in Taiwan during college, but didn’t go visit China until 2002. Needless to say, I didn’t really do anything directly with my degree.
Shay: Do you think college prepared you for your job in PR?
John: I learned how to think, how to write, and how to communicate and analyze things at college. Those are skills that will help me in any job I have.
Shay: What’s the best perk you’ve gotten from your job?
John: The pay isn’t great. I have friends who are doctors and lawyers and work on Wall Street. All of them make a lot more money than I do, and own nicer cars and homes than I have. But they’re all still jealous every time I tell them I went on a work trip surfing, snowboarding, or anywhere. They’re jealous I can work in shorts a sandals every day if I want to.
Shay: Since you started in the industry, what’s been the biggest change?
John: It’s so much bigger now than when I started. There are so many more people involved and a lot more risk, but there are a lot more opportunities as well.
Shay: What’s the busiest time of year for you?
John: It’s always busy, but any time we’re launching a lot of shows in the same season makes it a bit busier for me!
Shay: Education vs. Experience…which do you think is more important?
John: Both are very important. Get an education, but get out and experience the world as much as you can.
*Photos courtesy of John Stouffer
*Photos courtesy of John Stouffer