Saline High School athletics is branching out on the web.
Beginning this year, local sports fans will be able to hear Hornets sports action on the Internet.
Chris Schmidbauer is the voice of HornetRadio.com. Schmidbauer, who lives in Toledo, comes to Saline with new varsity football coach Joe Palka. Schmidbauer worked Palka, who turned Toledo Whitmer into an Ohio football power.
Here is our Q&A with Schmidbauer, who lives in Toledo with his wife.
Did you know Coach Palka in Ohio? Coach is still somewhat new to Saline. What can you tell people about the way coach Palka runs the football program?
I got to work with Joe that last few years in Toledo at Whitmer High School. I did color commentary for their games online last year for the previous two seasons. He and I got to know each other well, and when he was hired by Saline, he asked if I would follow him and provide the same great broadcasts for the Hornets.
There will probably be a few things that Joe does that might be different than what some are used to.
First, he is about winning championships. He understands that sports have their place, but Joe dares the kids in his program to dream big. The team breaks every meeting, every practice, and every conditioning session with the same chant: State Champs. This might be a different mindset and it might seem far fetched. But Coach Palka goes about business as though, it is a reality. He believes it is possible and he get the kids to believe it is possible as well.
I think the other thing people will see is his mission is about molding boys into men. Joe preaches accountability in all facets of life and he tells these guys if they put hard work in and give 100 percent, they will walk away as winners. I think his record speaks for itself. His last two teams shattered school records at Whitmer, which was pretty rich in football tradition prior to his arrival. I have no doubts he is going to do the same at Saline.
Tell us about Hornet Radio? What is it? Where can people hear it?
Hornet Radio is an online station that is going to broadcast all of Saline's football games as well as some other athletic events throughout the school year. People will be able to hear it via SalineHornets.com, SalineFootball.com, and HornetRadio.com and via a smart phone app for the iPhone and Droid phones.
Is it just football?
No we will be doing some boys and girls basketball, hockey, baseball, and some other athletic events throughout the school year.
Is there more than game coverage? Will you have interviews, weekly programs, etc?
Yes there will be a bi-weekly coaches show that will be broadcast from a venue in Saline, and people will be able to log on and listen to it. There will also be a pregame show and a post game show that people can hear to keep up to date with all things Saline football.
Do you see it moving to conventional radio eventually?
We explored terrestrial radio at the outset, but the cost was astronomical. The goal of the station is to make the cost affordable to our advertisers, and that would not have been possible with terrestrial radio. Should the cost come down, then we may revisit going to the traditional airwaves.
On the Saline football website, it says you have experience with the Ohio State football team. What did you do there?
I was a student manager for the Buckeyes from 2001-2006. I worked with Coach Tressel and the other assistant coaches while I was there. I know the Buckeyes aren't too popular around these parts, but I will always be proud of my time at Ohio State.
What have you been up to more recently?
I broadcasted Whitmer football and basketball the previous two years for an online station in Toledo. I also co-host a morning sports talk show on Fox Sports Radio 1230 AM WCWA in Toledo, and I also am a proofreader for a secret shopping company.
Is this going to be a full-time deal?
The hope is it will be full time someday, but to start, it will be a part time gig.
When can people first tune in?
The plan for the first broadcast will be on August 21 from 6-7 P.M. for the first installment of the Joe Palka Show.
How many people do you expect will tune into to a webcast?
I can't say how many people I expect to tune in at the outset. Towards the end of our time in Toledo, we were drawing anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 computers being logged in to listen to the games. Winning cures all and I think once the team starts winning, we will draw more ears to our broadcasts.
Will shows be archived?
Yes all games and coaches shows will be archived on the websites mentioned above.
What do you hope Hornet Radio does for Saline football, Saline High School Athletics and the community, in general?
I hope that this station will connect Saline with the community and the rest of world. I have told many people that this station is about bringing awareness about all of the wonderful things that are going on at the school. I want people to be proud of what I do, and I want this station to be a source of pride for the school and the community. I also hope it brings attention to the businesses in the community and especially those that work and support the school as well.