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Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by crusoes, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. crusoes

    crusoes Active Member

    We've dipped our toes into play-by-play on the Internet. It presents some problems with covering stories (keeping stats is challenging while you're trying to keep a broadcast going) and we aren't having a lot of success in getting people to tune in, I think because it's so new.

    We're a fairly small paper, with five schools to cover, but I was wondering if any of you were, or knew of, other papers doing this.

    I have a background in radio, with a short 22-year sabbatical in between PBP assignments. We're doing football right now. I don't know about basketball or other sports. Right now, I'm not so sure we do them. We have a 15-minute pregame and then launch into the game with a taped segment at halftime. So I'm talking for about 2 1/2 hours, along with my color guy, since we have no commercials.

    We got involved after the radio station in town stopped doing game broadcasts a couple of years ago.

    The game is on www.livingstondaily.com. I don't have a direct link. As of now (1 pm Friday) I don't know if it's up yet.

    Anyway, I'd like to hear your thoughts on the concept.
  2. prezclinton

    prezclinton Active Member

    Might you be better served by throwing a podcast together after deadline and promoting it in the Sat. edition? Maybe do that and live-blog it so you have in-game updates.
  3. Blue_Water

    Blue_Water Member

    I would think high school sports on the Internet would be a tough sell. Most of the people that have an interest would already live locally, so they'd probably go to the game. If they couldn't go to the game - work or something - they're probably not in a position to listen on the Internet. Their obviously would be exceptions, but I can't imagine it's a very big market...if it was, the local radio station would probably still be doing the games and streaming them.

    I'd imagine your print product suffers from you having to broadcast the games as well. Sounds like a lose-lose proposition.
  4. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    did color on hs football for 3 1/2 years while also keeping stats and wasn't really difficult. now if i was doing play-by-play, that could be a problem.
  5. crusoes

    crusoes Active Member

    Update: We likely won't be on the air tonight due to some problem with a server in Sweden.
  6. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    So does anyone else do these webcasts? I'd be interested in seeing what a major metro gets in terms of viewers. Obviously the results are different at a mid size.
  7. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    What type of Internet connection are you using? We're thinking of doing a video Webcast using Mogulus or ustream, with play-by-play duties likely falling on me.

    I see the value of doing this for road games, but I don't think the ad staff at my shop can sell it to make it worth the companies while since it would be overtime for me to work games.
  8. crimsonace

    crimsonace Active Member

    This is my business, now ...

    First off, I think it's good convergence for the newspaper to push webcasts -- drives traffic to the paper's site, plus is extra advertising, plus is good PR. We produce our own broadcasts, but we've entered into a partnership with the local newspaper where they give us a link off their site & an ad in the newspaper and we give them sponsorship. It's been a really nice partnership for us and provides the local paper an extra way to reach its readers.

    If you're trying to write AND do pxp, it's almost impossible. I've done it, but I'm a stats wonk and my color guy is pretty good (and then, you have to sign off and THEN get your coach/player interviews). My job when I write is to make sure I have correct stats, that I'm thinking of angles, figuring out who to interview. My job when I'm doing pxp is to describe what the heck is happening in the game and let my color guy do all of the analysis. If you're trying to do both, make sure the writer is doing color, try to hire a pxp guy (for a stringer rate) that can do it and doesn't sound like a total homer or hack (uhhh ... number 29 has it .... uhhhh ... nice play .... uhhh ... touchdown).

    We use these guys for hosting: www.audiosportsonline.com. They're cheap, they're phone-based instead of 'Net based, but they can handle both phone and net streams.

    PROMOTE the webcasts on your newspaper website. Make sure the webcasts can be archived -- a lot of your listeners are going to be at the game.

    Your basic cost is going to probably run about $100-150 a game (if you have unlimited cell minutes or a free phone line), so it's fairly cheap, and you can wrap it into advertisers' ad packages. It's usually $30-50 for "airtime" and then whatever you want to pay announcers. Football is fine for a cell signal ... for basketball, you're going to need an active phone line, because cell signals aren't often good inside schools (the gym is usually inside too many walls).

    We usually average 500 listeners a game live and a couple hundred more on the archive. Those are really good numbers for a HS game on Internet (to be honest, I don't think a lot of on-radio HS games get a whole lot more listeners). A lot of our listeners live in other states -- so we likely have a lot of alumni, et al. Also, the visiting team's fans (especially if they have to travel at all) can be a good source of listeners. Make sure you mention to the local newspaper of the opposing school ... they'll likely mention it in their football columns.

  9. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    What is the circ of your rag?
  10. crimsonace

    crimsonace Active Member

    The rag I used to work (which is our sponsor/partner ... I'm not affiliated with them directly anymore) is about an 11K local daily.

    We also promote very heavily on a very popular HS football fan board in our state.

    500 listeners is pretty good for an upstart.
  11. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    You must be in the heart of Texas or something, because in my parts, even the major metro wouldn't get those numbers.
  12. crimsonace

    crimsonace Active Member

    Indiana. Not exactly the middle of football country, either.

    The market is out there. You just have to know how/where to go find it and get it roped in.

    With the development of the iPhone/mobile wireless Web browsers, we'll see podcasting/webcasting as the wave of the future.

    We've been really pleased. Unfortunately, it's hard to find advertising, but we've been really pleased with the results.
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