OMN, LBCC partner for sports broadcasts

Oregon State University senior Cole Keady started his television career at the age of 9 with the adventures of Catman vs. Evil Curious George.

The Eugene resident would borrow his parents’ camcorder and record Chip, his stuffed Beanie Baby cat, saving Keady’s other stuffed animals from a vampire-toothed monkey. He didn’t have any way of removing the material from the camcorder, however, so there it stayed. 

Then Keady’s uncle, who could transfer and edit videos, offered to make a DVD of Catman’s exploits. So Keady got all his cousins and their Beanie Babies together for an epic superhero adventure. 

And when he saw the result on his home “big screen” - complete with title cards and special effects - he saw his future unfold.

“I watched this and thought, oh my God, this is what I want to do,” Keady said.

Keady got more practice as a high school student, becoming the video producer for Sheldon High School’s marching band (he played trumpet). But he said he feels his skills really took off after joining KBVR-TV at Orange Media Network soon after transferring to OSU from Linn-Benton Community College in fall 2021.

He remembers his reaction on seeing the studio and control room during an OMN open house.

“I was blown away by all the stuff they had here. It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before,” he said. “I was really skittish at first. I thought, ‘Those cameras look expensive. I don’t want to touch anything. I don’t want to break anything.’ Monitors and buttons and switches and dials and it’s all lighting up! I was just trying to process.”

Keady started as a crew member for “Geeking Out About It,” a talk show about all things fandom. Now a fourth-year student majoring in media communications, he has moved to producing shows of his own, taking on sports as his subject.

Keady started working on sports last year as part of the volunteer crew for a show called “Amateur Hour,” shooting cornhole and dodgeball competitions. Beginning last summer, he was hired as a full producer and put together a three-event table tennis tournament.

Those were fun, he said, but he was looking to try his hand at a standard sport that plays regularly. That’s when Assistant Director Steven Sandberg, who advises the broadcasting side of OMN, suggested connecting with Linn-Benton Community College this year to broadcast selected volleyball, baseball and men’s and women’s basketball games.

Working with LBCC gives OMN an opportunity to do professional-level sports broadcasts with teams that deserve more exposure, Sandberg explained. Also, he added, “This gives students a chance to flex their muscles and try something they may not have an opportunity to do.”

The community college was delighted to start the partnership, said Mark Majeski, LBCC director of athletics.

“We’ve been livestreaming, but we were struggling to find students who had an interest,” he said. “It just so happened (OMN) reached out with exploring possibilities here. It kind of was serendipitous.”

Baseball broadcasts were April 22 and May 6. Volleyball and basketball games from earlier this year can be found online on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/@KBVRTV, or on the KBVR-TV website at https://kbvrtv.orangemedianetwork.com/category/kbvr-tv/sports/

Majeski said the community college has been livestreaming sports for at least the five years he’s been there, but it’s been limited by having only one or two cameras and a single person running back and forth to switch shots. 

“OMN has several cameras, an engineer, a producer, a director - the operation that OSU students bring is a notch or two above what we can do on our own,” he said. “This raised the level of quality for our livestreamed events.”

For Keady, who’s hoping to parlay his learning at OMN into a production career after graduation, working with sports provides tremendous experience. 

“We’re essentially doing what the PAC-12, the NBA, the NFL, even what the Blazers are doing up there in Portland,” he said.

It’s also a great opportunity for area viewers to get a better look at Roadrunner athletics, Keady said.

“Sports is an institution. It’s a vital part of our culture. It’s been integral to TV and to broadcasting ever since we’ve had the means to do it,” he said. “It highlights individuals who dedicate their time and their lives to show off their skills and talents. They deserve to see that highlighted.”

Also, he added, four-year university athletes tend to monopolize the TV spotlight. LBCC has been excited to claim a share of it.

“LBCC doesn’t necessarily have the infrastructure to show their games. We’ve got the resources to do it,” he said. “They’re stoked to have us, every single time.” 

Photo: Cole Keady, right (with headphones) works with other KBVR-TV staffers on a volleyball game at Linn-Benton Community College. (Photo credit: Orange Media Network)