UCSB women’s basketball fans hoping to follow this year’s games on KCSB may be disappointed.
The student-staffed radio station will only air 11 live broadcasts of women’s basketball games this year, instead of the 17 games it aired last year. KCSB Sports Director Danny MacLeith said the station reduced its coverage because of the recent bid by Clear Channel Communications to cover and broadcast both the men’s and women’s basketball games. Of the 11 games it plans to air, only four will be exclusively available at KCSB.
“It’s a question of ‘are we wasting our time,'” he said. “It’s going to take more work that we can give as a student staff.”
Before it was sold to Ventura-based Lazer Broadcasting in October, KEYT-AM 1250 aired live broadcasts of men’s basketball games. Because the men’s basketball games and the women’s basketball games were often played at the same time, KCSB would air live broadcasts of women’s basketball games.
Lazer Broadcasting has since converted KEYT to all-Spanish programming and dropped UCSB sports coverage from its schedule. Clear Channel stepped in and opted to cover both men and women’s games. Since Clear Channel owns multiple stations on the South Coast, one station can air the men’s game and another can air the women’s game. KCSB would no longer be the sole local radio to offer live broadcasts of women’s basketball games.
MacLeith said the radio station will double-broadcast – airing the game at the same time that another radio station is broadcasting it – seven games this year, and it will have four games that will only be available on KCSB.
The staff was disappointed by the loss of exclusive coverage, MacLeith said. Royce Anderson, a KCSB sports reporter and second year communication major, called the loss “a bummer.”
“Obviously it’s a blow that we won’t have exclusive coverage of the women’s team,” said Anderson said.
Mike Lipka, another KCSB sports reporter and second-year psychology major, said he had high hopes when Lazer bought out KEYT.
“I was really hoping that when KEYT lost the coverage, KCSB would pick it up,” he said.
Even though they are no longer the sole station airing women’s basketball games, MacLeith said he sees this as an opportunity to give coverage to other sports at UCSB that have received little to no coverage in the past, such as softball, baseball and men’s volleyball.
“The goal [of KCSB] has always been to cover sports that have no coverage,” he said. “The staff is very excited.”