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ECU News, Notes and Commentary

The Bradsher Beat
Wednesday, August 31, 2005

By Bethany Bradsher

CSTV in two-minute drill on 'Total Access'

Internet package opens new possibilities for Pirate fans


There was a time when a fan stayed in touch with his team only through radio broadcasts, newspaper stories and the occasional televised game on a major network. The limitations of those outlets meant that fans of many college programs had to be satisfied with a trickle of information.

As the Internet comes into its own, that trickle has turned into something like a drink of water from a fire hose. College Sports Television and East Carolina hope that fans will pony up $5 a month for, to use their own term, “total access.”

The ECU athletic department announced last week that ECUPirates Total Access is available for purchase for $4.95 a month or an annual payment of $44.95. If all goes as planned, a revamped website will appear at late this week complete with a variety of audio and video offerings.

“The website appetite is insatiable,” said Jayne Wallace, the vice president of corporate communications for CSTV. “It’s certainly more accessible to fans than the cable network is, even though we're trying to rectify that.”

Subscribers to Total Access will be able to listen to live broadcasts of games, weekly coach’s shows, press conferences and other events in addition to video highlights. And CSTV, which is responsible for creating the Total Access package with the information it receives from the university, will reproduce all of the sound and pictures via an enhanced broadcast-quality platform.

Dan Rains lives in Greenville and can listen to the games on local radio stations, but he plans to subscribe to Total Access for the extra information it promises and the highlights from other Pirate sports, he said.

“I’ll just be able to keep up with the Pirates,” Rains said. “It will be nice to be able to have it whenever you want it.”

A release on the ECU website responds to frequently asked questions about the service, including concerns about paying for Internet streaming services that have been free in the past.

“The primary reason for the decision is the need to deliver more programming at a better quality,” said the release, which reported that 200 other universities also require subscriptions for their Internet audio and video. “Streaming broadcasts and hosting multi-media are expensive endeavors on the scale required to support the many ECU alums and fans desiring access to this content.”

With Thursday as the target startup date for Total Access, Malcolm Gray of the ECU sports information department plans to work long hours gathering and sending the relevant information to CSTV. Early September is the target date, but CSTV has not given the university any ironclad guarantees.

Sometime soon, Pirate fans will log onto the athletics website and notice that it has a new look and a place to log onto to Total Access. But the exact timetable for that change is dependent on CSTV’s speed in putting the new web platform together, Gray said.

“With any luck, and I’m knocking on wood as I’m saying this, our target date is Sept. 1,” Gray said.

If the service is not operational by kickoff time on Saturday, fans outside of the range of the Pirate Sports Radio Network could conceivably be out of luck. Even though it is a simple flip of a virtual switch for and its radio station partner, WNCT-AM Talk 1070, to offer streaming of the game as they have in the past, CSTV and ECU control the Internet broadcast rights and would have to grant Bonesville permission before the site could relay the game feed over the Web, Bonesville owner Danny Whitford said.

Whitford,'s editor, authored a recent column endorsing the Total Access concept, citing the cutting-edge multimedia features it will offer and the potential for subscriptions to provide a new source of revenue for ECU athletics.

In the television realm, CSTV is in the final stages of negotiations with Dish Network to include the fledgling network on the satellite system, Jayne Wallace of CSTV said.

Fans without a satellite dish in the Greenville area will still have the chance to watch at least four games this season. ECU director of electronic media Jeff Charles said that the university, CSTV and WITN-TV 7 have reached an agreement that will allow WITN to broadcast road games against West Virginia, SMU and Marshall and the Pirates' final regular season contest, a Nov. 26 home game against UAB.

Discipline, Part II

A week after the suspension of starting free safety Jamar Flournoy was made public, Skip Holtz announced that another player has been banned from competition this season because of a team rules violation.

Mike Williams, a freshman offensive lineman from Orlando, FL, was suspended due to an internal coaching decision, Holtz said, and his suspension is already underway.

“We’re trying to build a program,” Holtz said at his media luncheon on Monday. “Allowing student-athletes to do things that don’t represent this university and not take any action is going to defeat what we’re trying to do. That’s why I’ve taken some pretty strong stances.”

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02/23/2007 01:11:37 AM

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