One of the best ways to connect with a community was to cover the first week – and the rest of the season – of high school varsity football games.
In pockets of the coverage area, there are some communities where the whole town, even people without kids involved in the football program, will come out for a Thursday, Friday or Saturday game.
It is in that spirit that many of our local radio, television and other media outlets will provide multiple chances to follow high school football -- and you can re-live the times of tying up the laces to take the field, or just wearing your hometown pride for a night in the stands.
Local sports coverage will always hold a special place in my heart, and if it does for you too, here are some items to consider. Here are a few that I found, and if I’m missing any, give me a nudge at email@example.com and I’ll add it to the list.
Between live broadcasts, updates from other games around the season and digital streaming, many area stations will provide a number of listening options:
WOKY-AM 920: Ever since the station went to an all-sports format, prep coverage has been a part of the plan. "The Sendik's High School Game of the Week" live coverage between Wauwatosa East and Wauwatosa West will start at 6:45 p.m. on Friday.
WSSP-AM 1250: Known for its blitz, coverage and mentions on Thursday and Friday nights are on the docket.
If you want the jump on the high school landscape, then the "Varsity Blitz" with Mike McGivern and "The Coaches Show" from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday mornings with Greenfield coach Joe Koch is a must-listen. The broadcast team from WSSP play a key role with "Thursday Night Lights" on WCGV-TV My 24 as well.
WAUK-AM 540: The ESPN Milwaukee crew and WISN-TV Ch. 12 work together on Operation Football. The games they cover are chosen by vote on WISN.com. The first game is Watertown at Waukesha West on Friday night.
WTMJ-AM 620: With covering college and the pros for many years, it has been a long time since the station had prep coverage beyond a mention in passing. With the Journal Sentinel once owning this coverage with the most in-depth information available anywhere, there wasn’t a need for much else.
People living here have great opinions and debates around this for more than a few decades. But, I believe all of us would agree – overall – that the landscape has changed.
Using digital delivery options, WTMJ is in the game.
"Journal Broadcast Group’s WISports.com, powered by 620/WTMJ Radio, announces the launch of ‘Preps Live,’ which will live stream 26 Milwaukee-area high school football games this fall," a release sent out this week stated.
"In addition to the WISports.com stream, a new smartphone app channel has been created under WTMJ’s ‘Radio League’ app. The ‘Preps Live’ channel will allow listeners to listen to the games wherever they go. Playoff games will also be aired this fall."
This first week, the new offering will be covering three games: Franklin at Sussex Hamilton at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Marquette at Wisconsin Lutheran at 7 p.m. on Friday and St. John’s Military Academy at Racine Lutheran at 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.
"As Wisconsin’s Radio Station, WTMJ has a great tradition of sports broadcasting, starting with the Green Bay Packers in 1929. In 2014, we continue to grow in our commitment to play-by-play with the addition of key high school match-ups," said Tom Langmyer, vice president and GM of Journal Broadcast Group’s Milwaukee Radio Operations.
Matt Menzl and Alex Uhan will lead a team of announcers that will be heard on "Preps Live" throughout the football season.
"The Radio League app features 10 unique music formats and we are excited to add this Wisconsin-based preps sports station to our growing line-up of stations," said J. Pat Miller, WTMJ/WLWK-FM’s director of marketing and innovation.
Veteran sportscaster and host Doug Russell will serve as the project’s executive producer.
"The ability to bring these games to friends and families that can’t be in the stands is what WTMJ Sports is all about," he said.
As mentioned before, some local stations have built branded franchises with the help of local sponsors to cover the prep season. One thing is certain, is that each of the local TV news outlets will have highlights and scores online as well as on air in the Thursday, Friday and Saturday newscasts.
Beyond that coverage, here are some other television options:
WCGV-TV: The local station has had its "Thursday Night Lights" coverage for a few years, and again they have a schedule that should make for some exciting games. First one up is Franklin at Sussex Hamilton played at Stan Grove Field. Kickoff is scheduled for a little after 7 p.m. on Thursday.
Time Warner Cable SportsChannel: The largest cable provider in Wisconsin will cover both the Milwaukee and Green Bay markets this season with a number of live and recorded games.
"High School Football Kickoff" preview show for both areas airs at 7 and 7:30 p.m. this evening. Starting Thursday, the exclusive broadcasts will air throughout the weekend.
According to a release, a total of 26 live high school football games will air on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel this fall. In future weeks the alternate market game will run at 2 p.m. on Saturday. But this first weekend is clear with a live broadcast of Green Bay East at Green Bay West at 7 p.m. on Thursday and Marquette and Wisconsin Lutheran at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Bob Brainerd and Dan Brunner will call the games in the Milwaukee area, while Matt Menzl and Bill Scott will take the lead in Appleton / Green Bay broadcasts.
IN THE HOLE: Fox Business Network’s Peter Barnes will interview five standing Federal Reserve Bank Presidents at the annual Jackson Hole Economic Conference on Thursday and Friday this week.
Barnes will interview Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Esther George, Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Plosser, San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams, Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Dennis Lockhart and St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard. Barnes will also talk with FDIC Vice Chairman and Former Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President Thomas Hoenig.
Media is bombarding us everywhere.
Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.
The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.