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Live Broadcasting Rural High School Sports

On a recent cross-state trip to Spokane, I was dial twisting the car radio through the AM band and stumbled across a staple of rural radio broadcasting that I'd forgotten about inside my urban bubble: live high school sports.

The station was KMAX-AM (at 840 on the dial) and I'd tuned in just as the Colton Wildcats and the Garfield-Palouse Vikings boys' basketball teams were battling through the final minutes of a game in Colfax, WA that would send one team to the state playoffs, and would end the season for the other.

Sound quality was as expected (as if the play-by-play was being sent from the arena to the station via regular phone line) and the call was a bit uneven and sometimes hard to follow, but it was one of the most exciting live sports broadcasts I'd heard in a long time. The action came right down to the final seconds before Colton took the lead and won the game, heading to the state playoffs for the first time in their history.

Social media is great, but live remote continuous broadcasting is something that radio can still do better than any other medium, transporting a mass audience to the scene of compelling action better and far less expensively than any other format.

A quick web search this morning shows that the Colton boys take on Columbia Adventist as part of the state tournament this Thursday night in Spokane. Next step is to figure out how I can tune in from 300 miles away.

(Posted by Feliks Banel)




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