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Catamount Athletics Announces 2011-12 Coverage Plans

Aug. 26, 2011

Cullowhee, N.C. - With Western Carolina opening its home schedule of athletic events Thursday night with a 3-1 women's soccer victory over North Florida at the Catamount Athletic Complex, WCU Athletics today unveiled a myriad of ways to follow the Purple & Gold throughout 2011-12 - many of which that were in use during the soccer match.

As has been customary, WCU will provide live GameTracker free-of-charge for all home men's and women's basketball, baseball, football, softball, women's soccer and volleyball contests. This can be accessed through www.CatamountSports.com. WCU's media relations staff will also provide live "Cover It" game-time blogs for select events, beginning with Thursday night's women's soccer match that experienced over 50 individuals following the match and chatting.

Through partnerships with the Western Carolina Communications Department as well as the on-campus, student-run TV-62, Catamount Athletics plans to make live streaming of home athletic contests available through Catamount All-Access, presented by O'Malley's of Sylva. Currently, free audio/video content is available, but watching live events will require a subscription which can be secured at either a low monthly ($6.95) or yearly ($49.95) cost.

Utilizing video captured for "PurpleVision" at all Catamount home football games by Communication students, a live production stream featuring on-site student commentators will be available for all six home dates in 2011. In addition, throughout the fall - and continuing with Catamount basketball and into the spring - Catamount All-Access, will provide a select number of produced online broadcasts with the assistance of the on-campus TV-62 staff.

All other home dates will be available with video streams of the event.

In addition to providing audio and video coverage of Catamount Athletics, the radio broadcasting of the Catamount Sports Network (CSN) plans improvements for the 2011-12 season. Five radio stations - Flagship station WWCU-FM, Power 90dot5 in Cullowhee; 680 AM WRGC in Sylva; 920 AM WPTL in Canton; 1600 WTZQ in Hendersonville; and most recently added, 1050 AM WFSC in Franklin. Live streaming audio is also available online through www.CatamountSports.com.

"As an alumnus of Western Carolina and one of the individuals responsible for the Catamount Sports Network, I want the very best product on the air waves with it available on as many outlets as possible," said Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations - and 2001 WCU graduate - Daniel Hooker. "One of the goals not only I - but many involved with our network - believe in is to have a radio affiliate in every county from Asheville - west."

He added, "Over the past couple of years, we have worked to improve the quality of our broadcasts through the purchase of upgraded equipment. Although our number of network affiliates is scaled back this year, we continue to improve the infrastructure of our network to make it more viable for future planned expansion."

This year, the Catamount Sports Network has furthered its partnership with Stretch Internet in providing a higher-bandwidth, web-based network audio feed to the affiliate stations. Each affiliate will have the ability to log into a secure website to obtain the broadcast signal through the Internet as opposed to depending strictly on POTS telephone dial-in.

"Distributing our broadcast signal at a higher bandwidth and in a more reliable fashion to our affiliates will do three-fold; it will increase the quality of the air signal broadcast while also allowing us to better serve the affiliate stations that have remained loyal to WCU over the years. And thirdly, it will allow the athletic department to approach more affiliates with higher-quality programming as we look to expand the Catamount Sports Network," Hooker added.

Veteran voice Gary Ayers returns for his 26th season of play-by-play behind the microphone and will again be joined by Jeff Bryson on color commentary. WCU alum Greg McLamb will again patrol the sidelines as the Frontier Communications Sideline Reporter.

Coverage of Catamount Football will once again be bolstered with the locally-produced, "The Dennis Wagner Show" that airs exclusively online at www.WNCTelevision.com. Recorded in the Waynesville, N.C., studios of Stress Free Productions, the weekly internet-only show provides reflection on the previous week's game with Wagner, player of the week highlights, as well as a look ahead and preview of the upcoming week's game.

The first broadcast of the Catamount Sports Network is next Thursday, Sept. 1 when WCU opens its 2011 fall schedule at Georgia Tech. Air time is 6:30 pm for the 7:30 pm kickoff.

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