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'Painting 'em Purple'

From the Booth
Monday, October 28, 2002
By Jeff Charles
Voice of the Pirates

TV venture nurtures next generation of Pirates


Listen to FROM THE BOOTH with Jeff Charles live on Thursday nights at 7 p.m. on WCZI 98.3 FM, or play the audio archive the next day on Bonesville Internet Radio.





The Pirate Sports Television Network is in its eleventh year of providing live play-by-play telecasts of East Carolina football and basketball games.

The PSTVN started with humble beginnings. The year was 1992, and following the Peach Bowl season, interest in Pirate football skyrocketed.

Those, of course, were the days of the independent Pirates and television was beginning to really be a serious factor in college football.

ECU was very rarely on television in those days, and without a league and a guaranteed television contract, the Pirates were not getting much exposure.

We decided to take matters into our own hands and jump into the television business. In 1989 the coach’s shows were restructured, and through the generosity and support of the business community, a good corps of advertisers was being developed.

That support became very important when we decided to launch the PSTVN, because it’s not cheap when you get into the live television business.

We started slowly with one game in 1992 at Virginia Tech on September the twelfth. I’ll never forget that contest, a 30-27 win for the Pirates at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg.

Tech's decision makers said they would grant us permission to televise the game if we would split the net profits 50-50. We paid the bills and split about five thousand dollars with the Hokes and that was the birth of the PSTVN. A $2,500.00 profit.

Those were the days too when you could go out and put together a network of stations to carry your product. We had a great station lineup for that Virginia Tech game of eleven television stations in North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee on board. It was great exposure for both schools in their respective markets because, as you may remember, Virginia Tech was an independent in 1992 as well.

Our partner in this venture has been what’s now known as ESPN Regional, formerly known as Creative Sports Marketing based out of Huntington, WV.

This company provides the production truck, satellite uplink and crew to televise the games. We’ve worked with many of these same folks for years now and it’s become a cohesive unit.

Many of the people who work on the crew on game days are freelance personnel from the market you are televising the game from. For instance, when we televise the Houston game on November 9th, most of those folks will be from Houston.

The producer and perhaps the director are usually the only constant people on our telecasts and we’ve had guys like Tom Lundy, Doug Tutt, Tom Domer and Dan Shoemaker in that role over the years.

I’ve worked with a variety of analysts, too. Remember when Willie Lanier worked with me on the telecasts? The pro football Hall of Famer lives in Richmond and still dabbles in television work.
Cliff Stoudt worked with me seven years on the telecasts and did a find job. I was sorry that work and family obligations ended his tenure this year.

Former Redskin Jeff Bostick has worked with us. Brian Bailey of WNCT-TV 9 helped us out on an Army telecast years ago. Billy Weaver of WITN-TV 7 is now alongside in the booth after manning the sideline in the past, and we’ve added Amanda Ross this year as our third person on the air.

WNCT aired the package in the early history of the network and now, of course, WITN carries the games and coaches shows.

The television exposure over the years has been a big part of why this program has grown.

I think as kids we all adopt our favorite teams based a lot on who we saw on television growing up. That’s why the ACC has such a strong influence in this area. Now that the Pirates have consistently been on television for the last eleven years, hopefully, a new generation of young people become Pirate fans in much larger numbers than in the past.

Kids today watch the games and then head out to the backyard to emulate David Garrard and Leonard Henry. That’s a real healthy thing.

So sit back, relax and have a Sarsaparilla on us. We enjoy bringing you the games, hopefully, as much as you enjoy watching them.

Till next time, “Keep painting’em purple.”

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02/23/2007 10:24:10 AM

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