Montclair State University’s School of Communication and Media recently announced the launch of a brand new sports network, dubbed the “Red Hawk Sports Network.” The program will be in coordination with the athletic department and is anticipated to broadcast Montclair State athletic events on the network via YouTube beginning in January 2020.
The network will be covering men’s and women’s basketball as well as men’s and women’s lacrosse teams for the spring semester. The dates of what games will be covered are to be announced soon.
The inaugural Red Hawk Sports Network team will consist of two sports commentators: a play-by-play and color commentator. There will also be a small production team that will assist in producing the live stream for the games.
Social media interns will also help provide video and other content for the network this coming semester. There are also currently plans to bring in sideline reporters, sports analysts and other positions in later months.
Sophomore Jack Barteck, a sports media and journalism major, is currently a play-by-play commentator for the WMSC radio station and sees this network as an opportunity to expand on his knowledge and experience.
“In this field, you can never stop improving,” Barteck said. “The more experience and knowledge I can get, the better off I will be in the future.”
Montclair State professor Kelly Whiteside, one of the head coordinators for the network, is extremely excited to see the impact this program will have on the students.
“I always tell my students to never leave this school with just a degree,” Whiteside said. “For those who want to go into any area of sports media, this will only enhance their reels and bodies of work.”
Whiteside believes that the launch of the network will ultimately help students with other life skills they will need in the long run.
“[The network] will help students learn storytelling and public speaking skills,” Whiteside said. “Even for those who don’t want to go into broadcasting, this will still be a great experience for them.”
The network will use state of the art equipment for their games. The school recently reached a deal with Pixellot, a sports production company, to use its automated camera system to air the games.
Pixellot’s innovative cameras have the unique ability to follow the action of the game using advanced auto production algorithms without the need of a camera operator. This allows for the cameras to automatically identify highlights, create replays and much more. It also automatically saves games to the cloud and can stream it live or on demand.
This system of sports production is typically only seen in Division I schools and professional sports. However, the school has decided that this automated system would work for a smaller Division III school like Montclair State, who in recent years has been expanding the sports media and journalism program.
Barteck spoke very highly of Pixellot and believes this system will only make the live streams more innovative.
“You aren’t going to find this at many other Division III schools,” Barteck said. “The fact that I’ll be able to work with this kind of technology is an incredible tool to have at your disposal.”
Along with cutting edge technology, the school plans on expanding the network immensely in the Fall of 2020. By then, Whiteside hopes to cover all Montclair State athletics through the network, with the exception of a few spring sports.
Interviews, highlight packages, halftime shows and much more are expected to be apart featured on the network as well. According to Whiteside, this will be fully run by students, giving them experience in all aspects of sports journalism.
It can be difficult for many fans of Montclair State athletics to come out and support Red Hawks athletes due to the lack of local television coverage of the games. With the launch of the Red Hawk Network, this will no longer be an issue as fans will be able to watch Red Hawk sports through their YouTube channel.
Robert Chesney, who was recently pronounced as the athletic director for Montclair State Athletics this past June, hopes that the network can help grow the brand.
“It’s a way to expand our outreach through the community, our region and ultimately on a national level,” Chesney said. “[Kelly Whiteside and Keith Strudler] have been outstanding to work with in creating this and we are very excited about the launch of this network.
Athletes are also excited about the launch of the network. Players such as Jesse James West, a sophomore attackman for the Montclair State men’s lacrosse team, is excited for the prospect of his team having more exposure through the network.
“The more content that is put out through YouTube, the more people outside of the student body can watch our games,” West said. “Ultimately, the goal is to get more eyes on Montclair State Athletics.”