Throwing into double coverage

Buoyed by donations and tradition, QTV and CFRC promote divergent Gaels broadcasts

Melanie Burton and Travis Rhee (left) have presided over QTV’s expanded football coverage this year, while Ben Stern (right) leads CFRC’s historic broadcast.
Melanie Burton and Travis Rhee (left) have presided over QTV’s expanded football coverage this year, while Ben Stern (right) leads CFRC’s historic broadcast.
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As Queen’s pushes for a Yates Cup on the football field, campus broadcasters are expanding their coverage on the sidelines.

Queen’s TV (QTV) signed an $8,000 contract with Queen’s Athletics over the summer, giving them exclusive webcast access to all home football games.

It’s an expansion of QTV’s original deal with Athletics, signed in 2011, to stream the CIS men’s volleyball national championships. QTV also began broadcasting Gaels home basketball and volleyball games that year.

At the end of last year, Athletics approached QTV with the idea to cover all home football games.

“We decided to take it on because it was a challenge,” said Travis Rhee, QTV’s executive director.

With such a big project, funding and new equipment was necessary. Queen’s University Alumni Association handed out a $4,000 grant to QTV, making the deal a three-way partnership.

QTV will be streaming all Gaels home football games except for the regular season finale on Oct. 19 against Guelph, which will be broadcast on Sportsnet 360.

“Right now, we need to just secure financing for the future,” Rhee said. “QTV was in a bit of a rut, like three years ago. After we introduced live broadcasting, the interest in QTV definitely went up.”

QTV is currently streaming online at gogaelsgo.com, on televisions in the ARC and at Queen’s Pub on Saturdays. Ale House Canteen and the Mansion also display short video clips downtown.

While QTV’s coverage burgeons, Queen’s radio station is looking to keep pace with tradition.

In 1922, CFRC was the first media station on campus to broadcast Queen’s football game and has a longstanding tradition of live broadcasting all home and away games.

“We’re friendly with CFRC — we have no animosity,” Rhee said. “I don’t view them as competition.”

Rhee said the only advantage CFRC has over QTV is their ability to cover away games.

“They’re on the radio — we’re more visual if anything,” he said. “Not many people listen to football on the radio.” Ben Stern, CFRC’s sports coordinator, believes there’s still a market for radio to prosper, whether it’s tuning in while driving or gathering with friends.

He said that after a few years of lower quality and low-budget productions, CFRC’s sports broadcasts are back on par and keeping up with tradition.

“CFRC has been there through everything, for all the Vanier Cups, for 90 years,” he said.

The station has also invested in new equipment this year.

“This year’s important to reestablish our credibility and legitimacy,” he said. “I think we’re definitely doing that, and we still have some way to go.

“In terms of our budget, it is very limited.”

To broadcast each Gaels road game, CFRC relies on a travel budget of $300.

Fortunately, Stern said committed volunteers and some outside funding have helped with the broadcast, including a donation from TSN.

One such volunteer is retired Kingston policeman Guy Dine, who does football commentary for the station. Dine returns all his traveling expenses to CFRC.

“In terms of our quality, we haven’t found the budget has affected us too much,” Stern said.

In terms of inter-station competition, Stern said that CFRC is not trying to outgun QTV.

“In the future, we maybe want to have some kind of partnership with them,” he said.

While QTV only covers Queen’s home games, Stern believes that one of CFRC’s strengths is the fact they cover all away tilts.

Melanie Burton, QTV’s executive producer of live content, said the station hopes to obtain a van within the next five years to stream road games.

They also hope to eventually take on more sports coverage on campus, provided they get the funding for the necessary equipment.

“I’m sure that there has to be alumni in other communities that couldn’t make it back for Homecoming,” Burton said. “I’m sure they contacted each other in the city they’re living in and if they know it’s streaming, they can stream it together.”

Lana Unsworth, manager of marketing, communications and events at Queen’s Athletics, said she’s been pleased with QTV’s football coverage so far.

QTV’s first broadcast — Queen’s Sept. 2 home game against McMaster — drew an average viewership of 800 to 1000 at any given time, while 400 to 500 viewers was the average for the Sept. 7 game against Windsor.

Approximately 600 total listeners tune into CFRC per game, according to Stern.

“For us, I think [football] is where our biggest fan base is,” Unsworth said. “We definitely are interested in doing ... as much as we can with [QTV].”

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