Tuesday, October 14, 2014



WTIP is an innovative and successful community station that serves folks on the northern shore of Lake Superior – an area Minnesotans call “the Arrowhead.” Based in the tourist town of Grand Marias (county population: 5,200), WTIP competes with local repeaters of Minnesota Public Radio’s News and Classical networks. So, WTIP needs to do things differently.

WTIP has lots of groovy local shows, news and weather plus a few well-chosen national programs.  Also features coverage of high school football and other sports. 

According to WTIP’s website:

Since 1998, WTIP has aired a variety of live local sports throughout the year, showing support for area teams and bringing games to those who otherwise may not have access.  Sports broadcasts on WTIP have grown into a service that is depended upon and greatly appreciated throughout WTIP's listening area and beyond.

The Cook County High School Vikings prepare for the season
Most noncommercial stations avoid covering sports because it isn’t “hip” and it displaces other programming. They overlook the fact that local team sports are an important shared experience within many communities, both rural and urban.

Plus, sports broadcasting can be lucrative, even for noncoms.  WTIP has over a dozen paid sponsors – many of whom would not ordinarily purchase underwriting credits on the station.  You can see more about how WTIP does it at http://www.wtip.org/drupal/content/school-sports-broadcasts .

One of the things I like the most about WTIP’s approach is that much of the coverage, such as interviews with coaches and players, is done online and via podcast.  Only the games are broadcast.

1 comment:

  1. I know the Finger Lakes Radio Group (a small commercial cluster in Geneva NY and surrounding towns) does a lot of local sports for the various high schools around the area: football, ice hockey, and lacrosse mostly. It's a moneymaker for them, although many of the schools have very poor pressboxes...if any pressbox at all. Also, one caveat is that many schools are getting into the habit of CHARGING the radio station for the privilege of broadcasting the games...a concept I find vaguely offensive albeit somewhat understandable.

    FWIW, *high school* sports can work well on local radio. But a lot of *college* sports (besides the big boys at the D1 level) usually don't...they're much better on the web. The reason is that by its nature, most of the people who care most about high school sports are the people who are local to the high school. Whereas most of the people who care about college sports are alums who can be scattered all over the country.