SCRTC Teams up with WQDY to Stream Basketball Games Online

By Lura Jackson

In a basketball community, few things help to chase the winter doldrums away like watching or playing a good rousing ballgame. Not everyone is able to make it to the games, however, leaving them bereft of the sensation of supporting their hometown alongside the community. A viable solution has come forward thanks to the students of St. Croix Regional Technical Center [SCRTC] and WQDY. When the first basketball game takes place between Calais and Woodland on Saturday, December 15th, the match will be streaming through all-new equipment online – complete with WQDY’s live audio broadcast.

The efforts to stream basketball games and other events through the Calais School System’s website began mid-season last year, recalls student Shane DelMonaco, who has been taking point on the initiative. To accomplish the task, they used a barebones setup, utilizing a freeware app, an iPad, and a mount built by Mr. Townsend in the maintenance department.

“[Shane] very creatively cobbled together a professional system out of stuff he was able to find,” said Jon Bragdon, DelMonaco’s computer technology instructor at SCRTC. “It was perfectly good equipment, but none of it was intended to be a streaming TV station.”

“It was pretty successful for the most part,” DelMonaco said of the attempt, noting that the setup’s biggest drawback was its lack of an audio feature. “There was a lot of interest in it.” One of the games – the Pink game, held in support of breast cancer awareness – had 500 simultaneous viewers at its high point.

The success of their attempt to stream the games helped DelMonaco and his fellow classmates, including Kale Sapiel, realize that they had something on their hands that was more than just a fun class project. Working together with Mr. Bragdon, the students moved forward with a plan to write a grant and obtain funding to expand the school’s streaming potential.

At Mr. Bragdon’s recommendation, the students purchased a switcher device that will enable the controller to switch between cameras at any given time. The grant also provided funds for three wireless cameras.

“It allows you to film from multiple camera angles,” summarized DelMonaco. “If you want to have it moving in a fast-paced way, getting really up-close action shots, you can do that. Or, if you just want to hang at one angle for a period of time, you can do that, or go back and forth.”

The switcher also has an audio input option, enabling an audio stream to be manually connected using a basic headphone plug. The students contacted Bill McVicar of WQDY to run their audio stream over the school’s video stream.

“When Shane approached Bill, he said he’d be glad to share the audio,” said Jeff Demmons of WQDY. “Shane’s a great kid, he’s been doing good work. We’re more than happy to do it. We’re confident that the product he will put out will be great.”

WQDY has been running live audio broadcasts of local ballgames for the past fifty years, Demmons estimates. In the past two to three years, they’ve been streamlining their audio live online, but they didn’t have a video component. Demmons recalled that in the past they used to record video of the ballgames to be played later, but said it was never live.

“It’s going to be great, especially for people who can’t make it to the games,” Demmons said.

 

Basketball games for the upcoming season will be broadcast live at the school’s website, https://calaisschools.org.