Internet play-by-play brings small town staple to city

12:01 PM, Feb 20, 2007   |    comments
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All the elements are in place at Lakeville North for a big time high school basketball game – plus one thing distinctively small town: a broadcast play-by-play team. The broadcast of high school sports is a staple of small town radio stations, but you'll hear barely a peep in the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs. “KDWB is not going to go to a high school sports game on Friday night,” says Jon Wekkin. The former small town kid from Hayward, Wisconsin is out to change that – doing play-by-play not on the radio, but over the internet. Wekkin’s year-old Minnesota Sports Broadcasting Network has eight play-by-play crews working two suburban conferences. Between football and basketball, MSBN has already webcast more than 200 games. Listeners will need a computer to listen, but in some ways internet beats radio. Where radio is good for 50 miles or so, on the internet an Arizona grandma could be listening live to her grandson's game in Minnesota. MSBN also keeps an archive of past games for players and families to download. “They can go back and get a delayed broadcast, put it on file, save it for their memoirs, so it's been a great tool for us,” says Byron Olson, Lakeville North Athletic Director. Commercials pay the bills just like radio, so listening is free. Jon Wekkin has yet to turn a profit, but is convinced his future is nothing but net.

By Boyd Huppert, KARE 11 News

(Copyright 2007 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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