The Smart Bug Corporation
October 28-30, 2011 - Skate Canada International
MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO - For the fourth consecutive year, figure skating fans in Canada were entertained not only by the action on the ice, but also by in-venue commentary provided by Skate Buzz on "Skate Buzz Radios" at The Hershey Centre.
Fans listening in on the devices during the three-day competition heard not only play-by-play commentary, but also learned more about how each skater's score was compiled during their performances. Additionally, the audience was encouraged to send text messages to the broadcast booth via mobile phones and ask questions about the skaters and their sport as well as join in the conversation with their own observations.
"We continue to have fans come up to our booth or send messages saying how much more they enjoy the events with the addition of "Skate Buzz Radios," said Ted Barton, Skate Canada - British Columbia's Executive Director and technical consultant to both Skate Canada and the International Skating Union. "The interaction between fans and commentators has such a big role in the broadcasts - they (Skate Buzz Radio users) are so much more engaged in the events and have learned equally more about their favorite sport."
Skate Canada branded their Smart Bug radios "Skate Bugs" for the 2008 debut at the same International competition and re-branded the devices as "Skate Buzz Radios" prior to the start of their 2010-2011 season.
Next up will be the 2012 Canadian Figure Skating Championships in Moncton, New Brunswick on January 16-22 at the Moncton Coliseum Complex.
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FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS - VOLUME VI:
Smart Bugs and High School Football Finding Matches Across Half The Continent
JEFFERSON, Texas - While the argument over where the best high school football in the land rages on, one thing is certain - prep gridiron fans in Texas, Louisiana and California are able to pick up their local broadcasts while at the games no matter HOW those games are broadcast or even when.
In Texas, Jefferson Bulldog fans have been bringing their "Bulldog Sport Radios" to games since 2006 when Smart Bugs were first introduced to the Northeast Texas community. In or out of range of Jefferson's KJTX-104.5 FM, fans at the games were getting their steady dose of Dawg football in real-time, including both the pre- and post-game wrap-ups.
Elsewhere in East Texas, high school fans of Gilmer's Buckeyes have been listening to "Buckeye Bugs" since the start of their 2009 state championship season. Buckeye games aren't broadcast over the radio, but instead broadcast tape-delay with video on the local cable access channel. The broadcasts' "live" audience - fans at the game - get everything first, but no instant replay!
New Diana High School's Eagles have similarly found a cable-channel tape-delay home, but when the folks at the game want to hear the inside details of the game they're attending - and the live play-by-play - they tune into their Smart Bug radios. And when the Eagles square off against Jefferson, home-team fans listen in on Channel A of their bugs while the visiting team hears their team's broadcast on Channel B. Two-channel Bugs make it work for both!
The most recent addition to Smart Bug's Friday night line-up in Texas is in the West Texas town of Seminole, where Indian fans are tuning in to what would otherwise be an Internet-only broadcast.
The Bay Area of California has a couple of prep teams utlizing Smart Bugs in harmony with their Internet-only broadcasts - St. Ignatius College Prep and Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep. In Louisiana, the Calvary Christian Academy Cavaliers (Shreveport) have also been using Bugs for the past three seasons.
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May 31, 2011 - Smart Bugs "Sky" At USA Ultimate Collegiate Championships
BOULDER, Colorado - Attendees at the recent USA Ultimate College Championships not only saw the best of the collegiate flying disc-sport world, but also had the opportunity to listen in LIVE to the television broadcast commentary of CBS College Sports via the Smart Bug Broadcast System.
For the first three days, fans listened to live coverage broadcast via the Internet by "SkyD" Magazine, giving them wall-to-wall broadcast content all four days of the event.
"The Smart Bugs worked great," said Andy Lee, director of Marketing & Communications for Boulder-based USA Ultimate. "The value and entertainment factor was awesome. On Monday for the finals, we "rented" them for free, just to get people used to the service for future years. It's an awesome product and as long as we can fill the airtime with intelligent and articulate commentary all event long, these things will take off!"
Our congratulations go out to USA Ultimate CEO Tom Crawford and his entire staff for putting on a great event the last weekend in May - AND meeting the challenges on Championship Monday when the 70 mph winds decided to visit from the neighboring Flatiron Range Mountains!
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May 24-28, 2011 - Professional Skaters' Association Annual Conference
DALLAS, Texas - For the second consecutive year, attendees of the Professional Skaters' Association Annual Conference were all given "Skate Bugs" as part of their registration kit, allowing them to better hear and understand the on-ice coaching sessions.
Smart Bugs provided the PSA with a solution to poor acoustics at The Galleria's Ice Center, allowing attendees to hear - at a clear and conversational level - the on-ice instruction from conference speakers as they demonstrated sound coaching methods for the variety of skating disciplines. At the Galleria, attendees were able to watch and listen at ice level or from the second- and third-floor balconies overlooking the ice.
Besides making the coaching sessions easier to understand, Smart Bugs served as a shopping aid too! Attendees showed their Smart Bugs at the checkout counter of participating retail outlets and received discounts on their purchases.
"This has really helped enhance the quality of education during the ice segments," said David Kirby, president of the PSA. "Putting a remote microphone on the instructors and running their instruction through the Smart Bugs to the attendees just made it so much easier to hear every word. The multi-channel radios also made it possible for the attendees to move from one concurrent session to the other with just the flip of a switch."
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May 7, 2011 - SMART BUGS LEND QUIET DELIVERY OF BROADCAST IN HISTORIC CEMETERY TOUR
JEFFERSON, Texas - If anyone wonders where the limits of Smart Bug use are to be found, they can cross cemeteries off their list.
The Marion County Chamber of Commerce in Jefferson, Texas hooked up the Smart Bug Broadcast System at historic Oakwood Cemetery during a candle-lit "Illumination" of the graves of Civil War Veterans. Visitors to the sacred grounds were able to wander during the twilight and early night hours amongst the headstones of the war veterans, listening to a pre-recorded broadcast that provided biographical information about a number of the men and also the units in which they fought.
By using the system, the Chamber was able to add a valuable component to the tour without disturbing the sanctity and quiet of both the cemetery and the surrounding neighborhood. With a broadcast range of around one-half mile, visitors were able to hear every word in crystal-clear sound and without any interruption or static.
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Omaha Storm Chasers Debut "Bugs" In Historic Baseball Season
OMAHA, Nebraska - There was loads of history of made in Omaha's brand-new minor league baseball stadium during the past season and "Storm Chaser" fans were tied to all the excitement at home games like never before.
Among the 2011 "unveilings" at the new home of Omaha Storm Chasers (AAA farm team of the Major League Baseball's Kansas City Royals) was the debut of Smart Bug radios that allowed fans to listen to long-time play-by-play announcer Mark Nasser and Brett Pollock call all the action of the franchise' first championships season since 1990. Omaha "stormed" through the Pacific Coast League playoffs en route to the PCL Championship, all the while providing plenty of excitement for fans new and old that flocked to Werner Park.
Fans were able to listen to Omaha broadcasts without delay in "real-time," keeping them in synch with the action on the field. The Storm Chasers' front office also equipped the new stadium with transmission gear that makes it possible for visiting teams' broadcasts to also be heard by Smart Bug-using fans at the ballpark - and on the same radios - a first for minor league baseball!
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March 4-12, 2011 - Preludes to "March Madness" In Vegas Feature Smart Bugs
LAS VEGAS, Nevada - Six basketball tournaments. Six champions. Six automatic berths in the 2011 NCAA Basketball Championships. And every one of them "Bugged."
The West Coast, Western Athletic and Mountain Conferences all installed Smart Bugs for their championship hoops tournaments, allowing fans closer to the action than ever before! The trio of conference championships - three men's and three women's basketball tournaments - each utilized 2-channel or 3-channel Smart Bugs.
At The Orleans Arena from March 4-7, the West Coast Conference distributed 3-channel Smart Bugs that allowed fans their choice of broadcast feeds - "home" or "visiting" team radio/Internet broadcasts or the WCC's neutral radio and Internet feed in select games. As with any broadcast feed, Smart Bug listeners had access to their choice of commentary in real-time and with crystal-clear sound that was heard even above the roar of the crowd!
For the third time in four years (missing only in 2010 during Smart Bugs' Olympic cycle), the Mountain West Conference provided fans at UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center a chance to listen to "The Mountain" Network's neutral broadcast of every game played during the men's and women's championships. Additionally, the MWC utilized the 2-channel radio's second frequency by allowing fans to listen in on post-game press conferences LIVE - a first for the tourney.
While the MWC was in session at one end of Tropicana Avenue, the Western Athletic Association was kicking off its men's and women's championships tournaments in The Orleans Arena at the other end of the same street. From March 9-12, a total of 16 teams descended upon Vegas to determine who would make it to "The Dance."
The WAC debuted 2-channel Smart Bugs during the tournaments, allowing fans their choice of listening to the "home" or "visiting" team broadcasts in real-time and without any broadcast delay. Out of their seats during the action? Smart Bug radios allowed them to keep up with action elsewhere in the arena, whether they were wandering the concourses for some shopping at the WAC kiosk or grabbing something to eat at any of the several concession stands.
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February 14-15, 2011 - WESTMINSTER KENNEL CLUB DOG SHOW at MADISON SQUARE GARDENS
NEW YORK CITY - Dog fanciers from across the nation descended upon New York City's Madison Square Garden for the 135th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, and for a select portion of the audience, access to the live television broadcast's commentary was made possible via the Smart Bug Broadcast System.
The 2011 event was the third in a row featuring Smart Bugs, which allowed attending fans to hear the commentary of Mr. David Frei (WKC Director of Communications) and guests. Information on each dog, owner and handler in each group - leading to the "Best In Show" finale - kept select guests "in the know" as the show's drama increased.
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January 22-30, 2011 - AT&T U.S. Figue Skating Championships
GREENSBORO, North Carolina - For the second straight year, U.S. figure skating fans had the chance to listen to in-venue commentary at the AT&T Championships via "Skate Bugs" and as well send text messages to the commentators, enhancing their experience while watching America's best skaters and some of the finest in the world.
The U.S. Figure Skating Association again provided the in-venue commentary service with fans able to purchase "Skate Bugs." A number of all-session ticket-holders also received "Skate Bugs" as part of their packages.
"The fans just love them," said David Kirby, who produced and directed the in-venue broadcast for the USFSA. "The text messages came in constantly during the competition - people asking questions not only about on-ice performances, but even about some of the sport's terminology. We're getting to educate a new generation of skating fans with "Skate Bugs." Some of the comments that come in too are great - the fans are really getting into the competition and it's a lot of fun. They're helping to drive our commentary."
The USFSA has already started plans for the in-venue broadcast productions via "Skate Bugs" at the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, California January 22-29, 2012.
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January 20-23, 2011 - BMO Canadian National Figure Skating Championships
VICTORIA, British Columbia - Skate Canada again offered figure skating fans the chance to listen in on exclusive in-venue commentary on "Skate Buzz Radios" at the 2011 BMO Canadians in Victoria on Vancouver Island.
Just a ferry-ride from the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the national championships determined who would represent Canada at the upcoming World Figure Skating Championships in March. Numerous attendees brought their "Skate Bug" radios with them from the previous two years' events and coupled with new purchases, had close to 2,000 members of the audience enjoying the live commentary and even participating in the broadcasts via text-messaging.
"Smart Bugs - whether they're known as "Skate Bugs" from the previous two years or "Skate Buzz Radios" now, have changed the culture of our sport," said Ted Barton, executive director of Skate Canada - British Columbia and the producer and director of the "Skate Buzz" broadcasts. "We have energized a growing segment of our dedicated fans and we're winning over new ones by both educating them and entertaining them."
Skate Canada already has plans to include "Skate Buzz Radios" at their premier events during the coming 2011-2012 season.
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