Don’t get me wrong.
I have nothing against
fame and fortune.
But only after I’ve
raked the yard and
swept out the garage.
It’s 3:46am on a Tuesday. You and I had better get together now or it’s not gonna happen. Schedule:
Every year, Dave Kusiak and I announce the Munster at Lake Central basketball game. I don’t know how it started but we’ve been doing it for years. I remember taking Jordan Beasley to Munster-LC years ago. He was 16 years old. The game was at Lake Central and it was packed. Jordan went on to get his broadcasting degree at University of Indianapolis and now he works in the sports broadcasting business. You gotta believe that early exposure to the beauty of broadcasting Indiana high school basketball had something to do with his choice of craft.
Try as you might, you
can never really get away
At least that’s how I feel about it this morning. I’m sitting in the front room where I’ll be sitting a week from now on Christmas morning opening presents with my daughters, wife and dog. It’s almost always one of the best mornings of the year, except of course if the women are moody. It happens. They’re women.
What I mean is that I started watching high school basketball games when I was five years old. My dad took me to the Hammond Civic Center to watch Bootsey White play for Hammond Tech. They must have been playing his alma mater, Hammond Morton.
We sat way up in the rafters of the Civic Center behind a blond woman. There must have been 5,000 people in the Civic Center. They were all cheering and yelling and bitching at the refs. It was great. I was smitten, not altogether unlike Jordan Beasley at a Munster-Lake Central game decades later.
The main thing that I remember from the Tech-Morton game in 1967 is that the blond woman – the really pretty blond woman who had trouble standing up – kept reaching into my popcorn and taking a fistful. She’d reach, spill popcorn all over, smile at me, sit down and eat her take. My dad, who would normally get mad at erratic behavior, smiled too. It’s possible but unspoken, but maybe my dad and I both share a fondness for drunk blond women. I don’t know. I could probably walk around the corner to his house right now and ask him. He may be up.
You think you got it all figured out,
and then a cloud of sunshine
erases any certainty.
Tragedy, horror, lost love
can strike at any time
and rip your
I came off of finals a week ago to go straight into developing Roku, Apple and Amazon channels for the WJOB Network. That’s right. Part of the emphasis of this blog for the three or four of you is to follow my travails as an owner of radio stations, which are dying, and as an innovator in streaming media, which is flourishing. You get to see how I deal with the slow, aching death of something beautiful as well as the many mistakes and missteps I make in building a streaming video network for the Calumet Region. It’s two views in one and I hope you like it.
Debbie, Darya, Mark, Sam and I sat around the TV yesterday. Literally. We browsed dozens of Roku channels to research how they organize their content. We called people and took notes and Googled things. What it comes down to is that we are going to present three rows of content on each of the Roku, Apple and Amazon channels. You can do it a lot of different ways. This is what we chose:
One of the things that we can do is cut out highlights from the many shows that we do. We can do this because we are on the campus of a major university and there’s a lot of talent around at a reasonable price.
For now, we’re doing it with high school games. We stream, as we did with the Calumet at Griffith game on Saturday night, to our own website, WJOBNetwork.com. Since we also have an agreement with the IHSAA, we stream it to their website, too.
That’s two places the game goes. But we’re not finished. Games that go to the IHSAA also make it to their Roku, Amazon and Apple channels. That way you can watch the games on the TV in your living room. Add it up and that’s five outlets for the game.
We’re not done. Often, as was the case with the Calumet at Griffith game, we also run the audio of the game, which was announced by Andrew Garcia, on the radio at WJOB. That’s AM and FM radio, making it seven outlets for the game.
Also, whatever runs on our regular radio also streams on the Tune-in app. That’s an eighth outlet.
We’re not done. After the game, the video producer cuts up a highlight reel of the best plays of the game and posts it on Facebook and YouTube. That’s ten places altogether that the Calumet at Griffith game goes.
This is in direct contrast to the regular shows that we run during the day and in the evenings. We broadcast these shows, for now, on Facebook Live. This is where we broadcasted starting in 2016. It really took off for us and we just haven’t been able to get away from Facebook Live, which is considered a place to start your network but not to finish it.
To really have your own TV network, you have to broadcast somewhere else. Facebook can’t be your main point of distribution. Don’t ask me why at this point. Just trust that I know this.
You can broadcast to cable, Direct TV, over the air or, as we have chosen, to OTT. This is known as Over-the-top broadcasting. You can do OTT in a number of ways. We have chosen to follow the lead of the IHSAA and others that we have studied, including CF Video, to buy Roku, Apple and Amazon channels.
To sum, right now, we broadcast video in this manner:
This is a messy system. People have trouble finding our video on their phones and in their living rooms. And they don’t really know what games are gonna show up on the radio. It’s our fault, not theirs, and it’s something we aim to fix in 2019.
There is a danger here. We have an audience on Facebook Live. As mentioned before to the three or four of you who read this blog, we’ve earned 6,000,000 views on Facebook. We earned several thousand yesterday, when, for the first time, Christina and Darya did live video. They went to Morton High School and filmed the announcement of a 25-thousand dollar scholarship for a young girl. She didn’t know it was coming. They caught the moment and got a bunch of views on Facebook Live.
As we transition to broadcasting on our own OTT network, there is a risk that our audience won’t follow, at least in the short run. They’re used to watching our stuff on their phones and on their computers. What we will soon be offering them is the ability to watch on the TVs in their living rooms. Will they make the transition? That’s the risk of business. It’s beautiful and dangerous all at once.
This stuff may be dry to you. But you gotta realize that at least one of the three or four of you is a radio/broadcasting geek just like me. He or she wants to know the details of the transition process. There is a danger that I’m telegraphing my plans to my competition. I am aware of this. But I know how much work, resources, knowledge and equipment that it would take to get to the point that we are at. I’m not so much worried about my competition as I am about my own decision making. That’s where the real risk is. I have a tendency to make wild business decisions. If I were the competition instead of me, I’d just sit around and wait until I made another one.
That should do it for now. It’s 4:24 and I should go up and take a shower and go do a couple radio shows. It’s cold out. I can tell because the furnace kicked on for the third time since I starting writing to the three or four of you. Can you feel the warmth? I can.