KESA seeking exclusive sports broadcast rights
EUREKA SPRINGS -- Giving a local radio station exclusive rights to broadcast high school sports was the main subject of discussion at the Eureka Springs School Board meeting Thursday.
Larry Hestand of KESA Radio submitted a proposal at a prior board meeting to sign an exclusive contract to broadcast high school sports, mainly basketball, he said.
He said KESA wants to cover senior high games, both home and away, for both boys and girls.
He asked for a table and two chairs at court level, along with a telephone jack connection not hooked into the school's PBX system. KESA will bear the expense of setting up such broadcasts.
He is also asking that no other radio stations be allowed to broadcast or sell sponsorships.
The contract states broadcasts will contain no criticism of officials or announcers during broadcasts, no unnecessary explanations of injuries, accidents or other incidents "which could cause anxiety on the part of the listening audience," no discussion of state or local athletic policies of a controversial nature during the broadcast, except "new (sic) items" and no advertising promoting alcohol, tobacco or related products.
The broadcast will have a "pre-game show, half-time show, post-game show and full coverage of the game and/or the event itself."
Hestand said he has the same agreement with schools in Oak Grove and Miami, Okla.
Superintendent Wayne Carr said there had been some concern about the exclusivity of the contract. He said KTHS Radio had sent him notes asking to talk but hadn't done so yet.
"We want to know we don't have to fight over the telephone outlet," Hestand said. "We don't want anyone else airing Eureka Springs basketball but us. It's exclusive to represent Eureka. We don't want someone else cross-selling. It would prevent KTHS or some others from going out and selling Eureka Springs."
Some board members pointed out that KTHS had broadcast games in the past and had not asked for exclusivity.
Board member Rudy Sanchez said he would feel better about the exclusivity clause if KESA agreed to cover other sports besides basketball, mentioning track and soccer.
Hestand replied it is difficult to cover some sports over the radio because of the length of the game and problems with how to "describe it well."
He said it was his goal to "own this community, in the sense, 'KESA is our radio station.'"
With two of the seven board members absent, some board members were in favor of approval, but board member Tom Freehling said he felt he didn't have enough information to vote.
The board tabled the matter until the next meeting, based on the absence of two members.
In other business, the board:
* Heard an update on the new high school project. The state has approved the schematic drawings, and the next submission will be the final drawings. Carr said state stimulus funds can be spent on non-construction items such as furniture.
* Approved revisions to the elementary, middle and high school handbooks, including the drug and alcohol policy and a technology policy. The drug policy adds a prohibition against "unauthorized inhalants and K-2" and defines possession as "any amount found on a student, in a student's locker, book bag, purse or vehicle." Students are also advised to keep their lockers and vehicles locked. A copy of this and other changes can be obtained at the school. Tabled for further discussion is the athletic policy.
* Approved the transfer of $62,000 from the operating budget to the cafeteria budget.
* Heard Carr report the district has ordered 40 Promethean interactive white boards for all classrooms, at a cost of $96,000. Training sessions will be scheduled.
* Heard Carr report that although the district did receive its 98 percent tax collection money, the state is asking for the attorney general's opinion.
* Returned from executive session to accept the resignation of Todd Brown as a middle school science teacher and approve the hiring of Lisa Plagge as a high school counselor, Ellen Engler as a middle school science teacher, Kimberly Clements as a special education teacher and James Spears as a bus driver.