I don’t know if the three or four of you care or not, but we made history last night. We broadcasted high school basketball around here live in video on the internet. It marks a change. What used to be radio (high school basketball) is now video (Facebook Live.)
Things change. And if high school basketball going from WJOB radio to WJOB video isn’t a sign of this, then nothing is. According to our records, we broadcasted our first live basketball game on the radio sometime around 1930. The oldest tape I have is a vinyl album of the 1940 Hammond Tech state championship.
I apologize to the radio purists, of which there are a few, and to Indiana high school basketball purists, of which there are many. I personally took it upon myself to go to a conference in New York a year and a half ago to learn about Facebook Live. Here we are 19 months later and you’re watching a game on your phone.
Our numbers last night for all five games – 30,000 views and rising.
That’s kind of a lot, I guess. But I don’t really have anything to compare it to. We’ll know more by the end of the week. Here’s how it went down last night.
Whiting class 2A
Announcers Ryan Walsh and Dan Repay
Production leader – Jimmy Mullaney.
Bishop Noll beat River Forest
Gary Roosevelt beat Lake Station
Hammond Civic Center class 3A
Announcers Ryan Walsh and John Pigati
Production leader – Christina Cortez
Clark beat Gavit
Griffith beat Gary Lighthouse
Lake Central class 4A
Announcers Jim Dedelow and Dave Kusiak
Production leader – Ben Cowert
Morton beat Highland 49-45.
I’m getting ready to head out to Lake Central to announce two games.
Crown Point vs. Lake Central
Munster vs. Lowell
I am not prepared to do this. I have only seen Munster play. And that was for a short time when my niece the cheerleader got her flowers for being a senior. I could be bouncing around the internet to learn more about the teams, but I’d rather write to the three or four of you. We made history last night and if I don’t write it down, broadcasting students in 50 years won’t know how radio died. I contributed to it. That’s part of the story.
Since I’m now a student and instructor at Purdue Northwest, I get access to professors who really know their stuff. One of them stopped by my office today at WJOB. He’s a well-known marketing prof, and he’s a Region Rat. He knows all about the experimental crap I’m putting out at WJOB. We reviewed my Facebook Live numbers. Then he stopped me.
“There is no doubt that you have something to market and sell. You just have to get out there and tell your story.”
This is the same thing that my Marketing 620 prof, Minoo, told me. I don’t know how to tell our story. I just know how to:
That’s about it. And I don’t see a story in there. I do write to the three or four of you on a regular basis, but that’s more for historical purposes than anything else. I don’t know what story I’m supposed to tell and who I’m supposed to tell it to.
I will tell you this. For 13 years, I’ve owned radio stations, and every year when the Indiana high school basketball tournament comes around, it’s hard as hell to get businesses to write us checks to broadcast it on the radio.
Not this time. Everyone I called to sponsor this year’s tournament – everyone – bought it. I told them a quick version of the story:
“I cut a deal with Bobby Cox and the IHSAA to broadcast most of the local sectional and regional games in video on Facebook Live. You in?”
Our three main sponsors for this are:
The marketing prof and I talked about the next step. He’s gonna help me with it. I’ll let you know as that part of this meandering story develops. For now, I gotta take a shower and drive down US 41 to Lake Central. Athletic director Keith Enyeart has been outstanding. I don’t know how the world changed so quickly, but just last year we were getting static all over the place when we tried to Facebook Live a basketball game. This year, everybody welcomes us. I don’t get it.
I don’t get a lot of things in life. I don’t get how my wife puts up with me. It’s sectionals week. I work 16 hours a day. Last night, I fell to sleep in the middle of listening about her day. After my show this morning, she called me.
“Oh my god. You were snoring so loudly at 2:30 in the morning, I had to leave the bed. You never do that.”
True. I snore like a truckdriver for half an hour then it dies down, or so I’m told. I am exhausted to the core, but in a good way. It’s Hoosier Hysteria. We are making history.
“You love this shit,” Matt Reardon said this morning as he walked in to the studio. “You can see it on your face. High school basketball rocks your world.”
True that. I don’t know what else to say. I’m laying here in bed taking phone calls about things that don’t have anything to do with high school basketball. This annoys me.
Here’s one. Today we learned that we haven’t been transmitting our Nielsen signal for a long time. This is important to a radio station. If you don’t send this little pulse out that you can’t hear on your radio but the Nielsen ppm can pick up, then you don’t get rated. I don’t really care if we get rated on Nielsen or not… or, better yet, I haven’t cared in the past.
Our sponsors are local people. They buy advertising on WJOB radio because we put out quality content, we’re good people, and our listeners are absurdly loyal to our advertisers. Businesses get results. They don’t give two shits about ratings.
In our 94 years, WJOB has not purchased the Nielsen/Arbitron numbers. It just hasn’t been necessary.
But a couple of things are happening. We are starting to get enough numbers with Facebook Live video, Twitter video, YouTube and on the Tune-in app for radio that it might be time to add up all of the different categories. If it adds up to a high enough number, then maybe agencies will just fax us orders for thousands of dollars.
Yes. Some agencies still fax. I’m not kidding.
In other words, if you spend enough money, you can add up the numbers from your:
You can add these together, or so I’m told, to come up with a rating system for the content that you put out. Right now, we don’t even use the Nielsen machine. I keep getting emails from them –
“Are you sure that you turned our equipment on?”
I ignore the emails until I don’t. Life goes on and then one day a bunch of sponsors step forward to support Facebook Live. Last night, they got all that they paid for in one night. The rest of the nights are gravy.
“We sold this way too cheap,” Ryan Walsh texted me halfway through the first game. “Look how many people are watching.”
It was 160 at the time. Those numbers went up. The Griffith vs. Gary Lighthouse game got 12,000 views by itself. I’m just trying to put out something that is good and pure and beautiful. Hope it works.
One thing that was good and pure and beautiful yesterday was a walk with my daughter and the dog. We walked around Centennial Park in Munster on a 60-degree day in February. My daughter has a boyfriend, so she rarely asks me to do anything. When she asked me to go for a walk with the dog, I dropped everything. I like moments when it all comes together. You know that you don’t deserve it, but you go ahead with the activity anyways. Halfway through the walk, my eyes watered.
My eyes also watered this morning, but for a different reason. Here’s what happened yesterday. It came out that, allegedly:
These are things that I have to talk about. It wasn’t too long ago that a shooter killed 17 at the high school in Parkland, Florida. The world is afraid. Kids are afraid to go to school. Whenever I tell stories like the threats in Portage, Griffith and Crown Point, people call in. They’re afraid, like Becky this morning. Or angry, like caller John yesterday. Nice tirade. Good for radio. Bad for America. I’d much rather do high school basketball games. Let’s go make more history.