BANGOR, Maine — The parties involved agreed it is a win-win situation for all of them.
WVII ABC 7 and WFVX Fox 22 of Bangor have entered into a two-year partnership with Bangor’s Husson University to televise five games next season: one football game and two men’s and two women’s basketball contests.
Staff and students from the New England School of Communications on the Husson campus will handle the production of the telecasts and personnel from WVII ABC 7-WFVX Fox 22 sports.
Sports director Aaron Jackson will be also be involved and likely to handle the play-by-play.
“We don’t know all the details yet. I’ll be a part of it, and there will be NESCOM students who will want to be a part of it and we’re more than happy to have them. They do a great job,” said Jackson. “In the past, we always had a three-man booth and a sideline reporter. Brian [Sullivan] and I were in the booth along with a NESCOM student and a NESCOM student was the sideline reporter. That’s the mindset that I have.”
Sullivan is now a producer at WVII-WFVX as well as being the sports director of Fandom Sports, a Bangor-based radio and website company..
“It’s always great working with [NESCOM students]. I’m a NESCOM/Husson alum. I love this school and what they do here. It’s going to be fun,” said Jackson.
The games to be shown will be the Homecoming football game against rival Castleton State (Vt.) on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 1 p.m.; and the basketball doubleheaders will be against New England College (N.H.) on Saturday, Jan. 18 (men at 1 p.m., women at 3 p.m.) and Green Mountain (Vt.) on Saturday, Feb. 1 (women 1 p.m., men 3 p.m.).
“We’re very excited to be working with our friends at Husson,” said Michael Palmer, vice president and general manager of WVII-WFVX. “I’ve known [NESCOM President Tom Johnston] for a while, and we’ve hired more of their graduates than I can count. We’re committed to serving the local community. We’ve hired the best anchor in the state of Maine [Craig Colson], we added high-definition broadcasts and now we’re adding some local college sports.
“We’re committed to serving the local community, and we see this as another brick in the wall,” added Palmer.
Palmer said there isn’t a financial arrangement in place.
“It’s an exchange of value,” said Palmer. “They provide us with a value, and we provide them with a value. Men of good will can always come to an agreement.”
Palmer added that they hope to do more games in the second year of the agreement.
Warren Caruso, interim athletic director and men’s basketball coach at Husson, said, “We’re very excited about this opportunity. We’ve had a very good relationship with WVII-WFVX and with NESCOM.
“This will give us very good exposure. To have professionally produced games televised adds an element of exposure that really should help recruiting as well,” said Caruso.
“It’s awesome,” said women’s basketball coach Kissy Walker. “I’ve had people come up to me five years later and say they saw us on TV.”
Football coach Gabby Price called it a “huge benefit” and said he was happy for his players and the exposure they will receive.
Johnston said the NESCOM students will receive valuable experience.
“It will give our students an opportunity to do a live broadcast with real pressure and expectations,” said Johnston. “They’ll get to work alongside professionals at Fox and Channel 7. It will be very good for our students to show Maine and the nation what we at NESCOM and Husson can do.”
He said up to 40 staff and students will be involved in the football broadcast, but basketball is “easier and will only require about half as many.”
“In football, it involves setting up scaffolding, dragging cable everywhere, managing the cameras and the weather and all those things. When you watch a football game, you realize that the cart that runs up and down the sidelines has a camera person, a cart operator and at least one person handling the cable,” said Johnston. “We have seven HD cameras attached to a local production unit and we’ll probably use all seven.”
They will also be involved with producing pregame, in-game and postgame packages.
“They won’t only be involved on the technical side, they’ll also be involved with statistics [and player profiles],” said Johnston.