(Middletown, OH) - Middletown Middie fans will be able to listen live to the coverage of many of the remaining basketball games thanks to a local business owner. Java Johnny’s owner, John Ridge, has teamed up with TV Middletown to stream live over the Internet the audio portion of TV Middletown’s coverage of the games beginning this Friday, February 4th as the Middies host the Sycamore Aviators at the Wade E. Miller Gymnasium.
According to Ridge, the recent announcement of the sale of WPFB and the termination of sports coverage was a big topic of conversation he heard at Java Johnny’s. With his business background as well as an innovator with computers and the internet, Ridge contacted Lenny Robinson, play-by-play voice for TV Middletown to discuss the idea of streaming the games live over the web.
“TV Middletown does a wonderful job with their sports coverage and I talked with Lenny to find out if there was interest in doing this and then to see if their technology from a production standpoint could work with streaming their broadcast,” Ridge said. “He told me that TV Middletown has been discussing this idea for a while with their recent gift of some production equipment that made it possible to stream their signal to the internet but that they didn’t have the computer server and some other technology to actually go on-line with their signal.”
Ridge was directed to TV Middletown’s executive director, Ty Thomas, to explore the idea of teaming up his knowledge of computers and the internet with the sports coverage, an idea Thomas was thrilled to receive. “John Ridge is a great example of Middletown people and Middletown business supporting this city. To volunteer his expertise and knowledge to allow Middie fans to continue to get live coverage of the basketball games using our broadcast team is simply fantastic!”
Working in cooperation with the Middletown City Schools, Ridge this past week has been testing the school’s wireless internet system and coordinating TVM’s production equipment with producer/director Brett Dennis to test the streaming capabilities to ensure that fans will be able to log on and listen in. According to Ridge and Dennis, the quality of the audio should be as good as listening to the game on TV. “Fans will hear Lenny and Marty crystal clear as well has pick up the additional background audio we set up for on every game,” said Dennis. This includes the wireless microphones put underneath the backboards to capture the sounds in and around the basket.
For the time being, fans will be able to listen to the games called by Robinson and color commentator Marty Flesher over the internet live, but still watch the games on a tape-delayed basis on TV Middletown (Time Warner Cable Channel 24) as well as on the internet. Ridge offered that the amount of bandwidth necessary to stream video signals is much greater, as is the cost, than just for streaming audio. “I’m excited to have Java Johnny’s step up and participate as the sponsor for making this happen. WPFB had a long history covering the Middies and will be missed. But now we have the opportunity to begin a new chapter, a 21st century chapter in bringing the games to the fans. I’m excited to work with TV Middletown to make this happen now and hopefully for years to come.”
When asked about what games the television station will cover, Thomas said that while he would like to be able to cover all of the remaining Middletown basketball games, TV Middletown just doesn’t have the funds or the personnel to cover the away games. “When you watch our sports coverage, Brett is the only paid staff person we have working the game. The rest of our sports team, from the announcers to the camera operators, the graphics person, they all are volunteers. It
takes multiple hours to set up the cables, cameras and microphones even when we
are doing the home games,” said Thomas. “Going to other venues is very taxing on Brett and the volunteers he can get to assist. If we had the budget to hire some additional staff, it would make doing away games more plausible. But thank goodness for our volunteers and people like John Ridge, who make TV Middletown what we are. ”
Thomas did say that TV Middletown does have a commitment to cover all the post-season games involving Middletown and is hopeful that working with John Ridge that they will be able to provide live audio for those games as well.
Middies fans can listen to the game simply by visiting www.javajohnnys.comand clicking on the Middies link. The site supports streaming audio to Windows Media Player, iTunes (iPod), Winamp, and Real Player.