Campbellsville University athletics to broadcast many away events remotely from new Mass Communication Center

By Jordan Alves, Sports Information Director

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. — The familiar voices of Jim Freeman and Matt Payton will be on the radio air waves Friday afternoon as Campbellsville University Football travels to the University of Pikeville for the second game of the season. To the listeners around the world, it will sound just like any game but to the broadcast duo entering their 8th year together on the CU Sports Network it’ll have a different feel.

Freeman enters his 15th year broadcasting Tiger football, while Payton joined him in 2013. The two have called 71 games together including Campbellsville’s run to consecutive NAIA Playoff appearances and the last two Mid-South Conference Championships in 2014 and 2015, and the NCCAA Victory Bowl Championship in 2017.

During those runs, Freeman, Payton and long-time statistician Kevin Burkhead — who has kept stats for the Tigers for 342 straight games – were all at the stadium bringing the game to radios, smart phones, and computers across the world. In a COVID-19 pandemic year, that is changing this season as the duo will be housed in the newest addition of Campbellsville University’s academic buildings, the new Mass Communication Center.

“The new Mass Communication Center is a facility that brings real-life experiences to our students, with the ability to do broadcasts such as football games. It is exciting to have a place to teach and put those teachings into practice under a roof that houses state-of-the-art equipment,” Jeannie Clark, general manager, WLCU-TV FM and assistant professor of broadcasting and director of broadcast services, said.

Payton and Freeman both remember their first game together at Lindsey Wilson College. The two had to take on their first broadcast with a three-hour lightening delay added in. Both men said, “If we can make it through that then this will be a piece of cake.”

“It’s great to be back on the call with Jim Freeman, even if the circumstances are vastly different than the norm. We’re not entirely sure what to expect, but we’ll do our level best to bring the energy and excitement to Tiger Football fans that they’ve grown accustom to hearing. Jim and I have spoken many times over the last few weeks and we always come back to our first game as a tandem. We feel like a remote call will be no problem, but we’re crossing our fingers to be safe,” Payton said.

“This has been a year of firsts for all of us and broadcasting Campbellsville football in this unique way is among them.  I must say, I generally have butterflies before a broadcast, but I’m a tad nervous about this first broadcast. Having a veteran broadcaster in Matt on the air with me is a bonus,” Freeman said.

Freeman and Payton will broadcast the Tiger football game from the AutoSmart Studio at 88.7 The Tiger and fans will be able to tune in by searching WLCU on the TuneIn App or also on www.CampbellsvilleTigers.com/watch. We encourage all Tiger football fans to watch the video feed provided by UPIKE but pause the game on your DVR and match the CU Sports Network audio with the video. Best of both worlds!!

Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET and pregame coverage will begin at 2:45 p.m. ET.

Over the last few years, Campbellsville University’s administration has invested heavily into the infrastructure and upgrades needed as focus turned to multimedia and production, but especially due to empty stadiums across the country, online streaming.

“We have been very fortunate at Campbellsville University to receive funding for projects across our campus when it comes to video streaming, multimedia, and production,” said Jordan Alves, Sports Information Director. “Not only do we have a brand-new mass communication building that is state-of-the-art, but upgrades have been made around campus at Ransdell Chapel, Gheens Recital Hall, Winter’s Dining Hall, the School of Music and the new press box.

“In addition to the academic buildings, upgrades have been made around many of the athletic facilities as well so all home games can be streamed online via the Campbellsville University Sports Network. The resources needed to make this happen have been substantial, but it proves that our administration really understands this new world of multimedia and has set us up for the future of broadcast production,” Alves said.

In addition to all road games of Tiger football being broadcasted from the Mass Communication Center, the CU Sports Network has also had multiple basketball and softball games air remotely on radio and online. Road baseball games will also have the opportunity to air remotely online as the Tigers get their season underway on Thursday, Feb. 25 — a few weeks late due to weather throughout the central part of Kentucky.

To say Campbellsville University has come a long way in multimedia production and broadcasting is an understatement. We can say the same for Freeman and Payton as the duo will join forces once again to provide the best quality coverage to the Tiger fans across the world. And for those wondering about Kevin Burkhead, he will actually be in Pikeville as the official statistician covering his 343rd straight game for Tiger football.

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