Woodmen Broadcasting Network Scores With Online Sports Coverage
Parker Irwin, operations manager for Greenwood Community High School’s Woodmen Broadcasting Network (WBN), says many people in the Greenwood community have been grateful that the school’s students have been broadcasting varsity athletic events live via internet.
Fans have been especially happy to watch games online, since attendance options are limited due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“The WBN broadcasts first started my freshman year in 2017,” says Irwin, a senior. “We started the program with a grant from the Greenwood Education Foundation for $1,500, and purchased four iPads, tripod mounts and a Switcher Studio to put out our streams. My freshman year, I basically forced my friends to join, and we went from there.”
The school’s football games are offered via pay-per-view.
“I think the fee for football is new for some people, and they were uneasy about it at first, but as we have moved forward in the season, our numbers have increased, and so have the positive comments,” Irwin says. “People love it so much, in fact, they are somewhat disappointed we are not broadcasting the away football games. Unfortunately at this time, financially, it’s just not a possibility for us, as that comes with a whole other set of equipment.”
Irwin says the WBN has broadcasted volleyball, as well as boys and girls soccer. The network has also broadcasted girls basketball, wrestling matches, baseball and softball on YouTube. Boys basketball will be shown through the IHSAA network via pay-per-view.
“This is the first time WBN has ever charged for our broadcasts, but luckily the community has been very understanding, and willing to pay to watch our Woodmen,” Irwin adds.
Irwin says the school’s administration purchased new equipment for the WBN during the current academic year.
“We’re very lucky to have an administration and support staff that realizes the importance of our program, and are willing to support us in whatever ways they are able,” Irwin says. “WBN also live-streams most of the high school choir events, although this is nothing new. We have clearly seen how this has become more important for this year.”
The WBN team plans to record the school’s fall play, both as an audio recording and a full video recording.
“We will also be recording the Greenwood Middle School’s production of ‘Annie Jr.,’ as I am the artistic director for their drama program,” Irwin says. “We’re also excited for our partnership with the school’s choir and drama department, as it indulges our broadcast students in a new, unique experience besides a sporting event, and also gives more families the opportunity to be involved with our extracurriculars even if they can’t attend in person.”
The WBN is student-operated network at this time.
“We have a broadcast board that helps make most decisions within the program,” Irwin says. “They vote on financial decisions. They also advise the operations managers on important decisions within the group.”
The network currently has 17 students on staff.
“As operations manager, I’m accountable for maintaining the correct operation of the WBN,” Irwin says. “Generally, I perform the hands-on operations work and handle the administrative responsibilities. I’m responsible for developing and implementing engagement and fundraising strategies. This is to enhance and grow revenue, and current and prospective donors. I also do event logistics and donor stewardship efforts.”
Irwin’s responsibilities also include managing daily activities like staffing, scheduling and viewer interactions.
“I train employees and staff,” he says. “I also place orders for equipment, supplies and materials. I monitor, evaluate, and report on budget, costs and income. I also handle routine tasks, viewer problems, and handle unusual or high-priority items.”
Irwin, whose father is Rob Irwin, Greenwood High School’s athletic director, says he receives assistance from his WBN staff, including Assistant Operations Manager Dalton Hockersmith.
“Dalton takes my place when necessary, and is accountable for maintaining the correct operation of the WBN in my absence,” Irwin says. “He generally performs hands-on operations work, and handles the administrative responsibilities of the WBN. He also tries to improve the operations of the WBN by giving effective, actionable feedback to the operations manager. The assistant operations manager must be detail-oriented and stay on task, as well as efficient in scheduling, and able to manage the operations manager’s calendar of events.”
Irwin also credits the WBN Technical Director Stuart Luhigo for his work with the network.
“[Luhigo] is responsible for maintaining the technical equipment, and keeping it stored neatly and safely,” Irwin says. “He is also in charge of technical setup and striking equipment after productions.”
Irwin says the WBN has been so popular that the Greenwood Middle School now has a broadcasting network as well.
For more info, visit woodmenbroadcasting.com.