A new era is born with East Idaho Sports Network (EISN). This brainstorm is on its way to fame as the ground floor business in webcasting high school athletics.
The notion that grandma and grandpa can watch their grandson make a record 3-point basket live in the Idaho Falls High School while they are wintering in Florida is a nice suggestion. And in reality it now happens.
Behind the controls and brains of the webcast idea and equipment is Bruce Herker, owner of EISN, where the sky has become the limit.
With more and more restrictions on radio and broadcasting high school games, Herker sought out a way to get around the boundaries. Webcasting was the answer.
Broadcasting this way exposes more players to more scouts and may result in a scholarship or more. And will it help benefit the school and the kids that are playing? Yes, however, Herker had a more family friendly notion about this inspiration.
“It is always amazing to me how much people enjoy the broadcasts. We have the opportunity for people to see little brothers or sisters play in games that they wouldn’t otherwise. It is all about the kids. But it is about grandpa and grandma being able to see Johnny play while they live in Virginia or wherever,” says Herker.
One of the more heart-warming stories Herker has heard is from a family in Salmon who wrote to thank him for webcasting a particular game.
“The mother was very sick and could not get out of bed under doctors orders but was able to see her daughter play in the District Games for Salmon. She would not have been able to see her daughter play her last games had we not been there.”
Adam Johnson, broadcaster, says, “I work at getting the local athletes recognized. What a better way to get more of the local student athletes an opportunity to move on to the next level of competition. We do this to give the families and the local community the ability to be part of something bigger.”
Johnson enjoys the broadcasting. He is known for comical commentary while holding the camera on the game. It’s entertaining at its best from a former Shelley High School athlete who knows how to capture the attention of an audience.
While Herker exclaims the sky is the limit with this idea he currently broadcasts games from 12 local schools: Madison, North & South Fremont, Sugar-Salem, Rigby, Hillcrest, Bonneville, Idaho Falls, Skyline, Firth, Shelley and Blackfoot.
Beginning in August of 2006 with audio streaming, Herker moved to include video in the summer of 2007. He has been a sports broadcaster since 1984 and a part of the radio business for 25 years.
Exciting things are in the air as webcasts are scheduled for the Rocky Mountain Football League and the Idaho Falls Chukars may become another client this summer.
Although the athletics are very popular and Herker has received a great response, he is not limited to ball games. Dance competitions are in demand as well, especially when he webcast the “Dancing with the Local Stars” competition held in Idaho Falls this past spring.
Because there is no limit to the events, games, competitions and entertainment taking place in this community, Herker is confident he will be a busy man.
He is constantly hearing about the benefits from webcasting games. “I guess one of the most interesting comments I have heard was when one of the player’s moms came up to me and said: I wish you had been doing this sooner, my father (whom I had known from when I lived in Iowa) passed away and never had the opportunity to see his grandson play. If you had been doing this sooner, he could have watched from home and been able to see him play.”
Although Herker has busted through the bounds that radio has set, he has also set a precedent that high school students can use as an example as well. Even with bounds that seem unnecessary, if there is a will there is a way. Just as long as it is the right way and with the right intention.
“I hope we are a large player in this business and are working towards adding more all the time. I just think this is something that is going to sweep the nation,” says Herker.
To learn more and see the East Idaho Sports Network in action, go to EISNlive.com.