ScoresBroadcast.com set to cover 1,500th game on Aug. 25
Jack Kramer, left, and Chuck McBee talk during a broadcast at Springfield High School in 2021. ScoresBroadcast.com will produce its 1,500th broadcast later this month. The online service was founded in 2006 by Kramer and Jeff Bray. McBee has been Kramer’s on-air partner since 2010.
John Hemp | Sidney Daily News
Fort Loramie’s Caleb Maurer is tackled by Versailles’ Jared Lyons during a game on Aug. 26, 2022 in Versailles. When the teams face off this year on Aug. 25, ScoresBroadcast.com will be on site and produce its 1,500th broadcast.
Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News
ScoresBroadcast.com could easily have fallen on deaf ears and never been conceived.
For sure, it would not have emerged in December 2006 had Jeff Bray and Jack Kramer not attempted to make the switch from radio to the little known Internet, only a few weeks after WMVR-FM in Sidney ended 50 years of sports programming.
Bray and Kramer had freelanced on the station for several years.
But not only did the announcing duo require a new media platform, they needed a fresh name for the audio streaming service that would catch on with upper Miami Valley sports fans, and especially those in Shelby County. So, the first portion of the title — SCORES — which stands for the Shelby County Online Radio Entertainment System— was successfully coupled with the word, Broadcast, in consultation with GoDaddy.com on a Saturday before the first basketball broadcast a week later.
Still, the service lacked the financial push it needed to get out of the gate and up and running.
To broadcast postseason playoff and tournament contests sponsored by the Ohio High School Athletic Association, SCORES had to commit several thousand dollars. Christian NetCast in Virgina was identified to provide hosting and serving functions. Verizon was then chosen as the most universal service to connect with the World Wide Web and send voice data to NetCast’s server. Although not exorbitant, the costs skied upward.
However, down from the heavens in the nick of time came Lacal Equipment in Jackson Center, the founding sponsor for ScoresBroadcast.com and still the most important one today, nearly 18 years later.
And almost 1,500 broadcasts later, too. In fact, ScoresBroacast.com reaches this plateau on Friday night, Aug. 25, when Fort Loramie hosts Versailles in high school football.
“What a great run of so many broadcasts and remarkable service to Shelby County and the region,” said Mary Lee Smock, Lacal vice president. “Lacal is a strong supporter of ScoresBroadcast.com and the Shelby County Athletic League.”
She explained that the SCAL provides opportunities for students to learn leadership, responsibility and teamwork as vital parts of their educational experiences.
“Through our scholarship programs and our messaging on ScoresBroadcast, we recognize those student athletes who excel in the classroom and in athletic competition,” Smock detailed.
Kramer and Bray took about 200 listeners with them from the final radio broadcast on the gridiron to the service’s initial online webcast from the crow’s nest in the Jackson Center gymnasium 21 days later. With Lacal Equipment, the originating sponsor, on the air, it was fitting Jackson Center hosted the very first event on ScoresBroadcast.com.
“We can’t thank enough Mary Lee Smock, Roger Detrick and all the staff and associates at Lacal,” Kramer said. “Lacal has been our lead anchor since day one. It showed so much interest in our plan.”
He continued, “No question about it. We would not be on the microphones today without Lacal. We were very lucky. And we are so grateful.”
Named for its first-ever location — Los Angeles, California — Lacal moved to Shelby County in the early 1980’s. Situated on West Pike Street on the west edge of Jackson Center, Lacal is best described as “a manufacturer and distributor of quality replacement parts for road and highway maintenance equipment used by cities, counties, states and individual contractors all over the world.”
Obviously, Lacal didn’t expect to sell more of its product line by working closely with SCORES. But, as Lacal officials pointed out, online promotion of the outstanding academic and athletic options in the county helps spread the word that the region is “a great place to live, work, raise families and, also, receive a quality education.”
Barker Insurance on Route 25-A, just north of I-75, has been on the air with SCORES nearly as long as Lacal. During game broadcasts, SCORES announces, “Serving the region since 1972 and celebrating over 50 years in business, Barker Insurance has earned a stellar reputation and is one of the most valued agencies in west central Ohio.”
As an independent insurance agent, Barker was a great fit for ScoresBroadcast. Kramer noted, “In part, because of its long-term, solid relationships with top insurance carriers in the industry.”
Plus, year after year, back when the Sidney Daily News was publishing five or six days per week, its surveys often ranked Barker Insurance as the most popular insurance business in the area, Kramer recalled.
A couple cross-town competitors, you might say — Clancy’s and Frisch’s — have been supporters of the online high school broadcasts for 29 years total.
Thanks to SCORES’ on-air commercials, the local Clancy’s has earned the pitch line, “Nothing fancy, just fantastic food.” Based in Noblesville, Indiana, Clancy’s first opened its doors in that state in 1965 with an innovative double drive-through and a 35-seat dining room. Interestingly, its second location in 1966 was the Sidney store on Wapakoneta Avenue, which today offers a booming food-to-go business at the drive-up window.
The Frisch’s corporate office in Cincinnati promotes its Sidney, Troy and Tipp City restaurants on SCORES. Founded in Cincinnati in 1939, Frisch’s began serving Big Boy sandwiches in 1946. More than 50 Frisch’s locations operate in Ohio. On the air, SCORES promotes the return of the chain’s “egg-cellent” breakfast bar and popular seasonal menu items.
Dickman Supply, which ScoresBroadcast has touted for nearly 15 years as “the number one resource for electrical, industrial and energy efficient products,” represents yet another industry that participates with the high school sports audio streaming service. “Hundreds of brands, four locations, one solution,” SCORES messages conclude. “DickmanSupply.com in Sidney, Celina, Greenville and Marysville.”
The support from 25 to 30 organizations enables ScoresBroadcast Inc. to offer, free of charge, its website and access to live and archived broadcasts. There are no user subscription costs.
“This special feature helps make SCORES distinctive and sends its listenership numbers through the roof,” remarked Todd VanTasel, the chief executive at Christian NetCast, whose servers emanate the game broadcasts over the Internet. “What a way to market your product or service.”
He added that only a few of the online programs with which his company partners gain enough backing from business and industry to make the streaming accessible at no cost to the customer.
SCORES listeners hear the broadcasts from virtually everywhere. Texts and emails have documented online users who were sunbathers at Myrtle Beach, vacationers in the Poconos, extended family members who had moved to the warm climate of Arizona, and Honda employees who had completed work travel to London, England, where they set their alarms for 2 a.m. to hear the game broadcasts.
Listeners since 2010 have heard Chuck McBee, who has worked with Kramer on the air after Bray moved away. Both Jack and Chuck have officiated a few different sports, coached several high school teams or high school-age players, and been behind the microphones for more than 60 years combined.
In recent years, Bryant Billing has provided valuable play-by-play, color and technical assistance. Mike Wick has assisted, too. The late Matt Zircher also played a very significant role in the growth of ScoresBroadcast.
Kramer, in fact, has amassed more than 3,500 play-by-play broadcasts. He served as the television announcer for Ohio State football from 1980 to 1991. He also freelanced at several radio stations, including WTGR-FM in Greenville. He covered the Versailles Tigers’ journeys to state football championships in 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1998.
McBee and Kramer, who possess great passion for providing the broadcasts and filling the void left by the Sidney radio station, have been lifted up over the years by the terrific games and photo finishes; by helpful sponsors which provide support season after season; and by the coaches, staff and officials at schools who assist and make the announcers’ jobs easier.
This past spring, the “red carpet” was rolled out for SCORES at Houston High School’s fantastic baseball complex by coach Dan Barker, athletic director Craig Knouff, and superintendent Ryan Maier.
“It was so much fun and really enjoyable to be a part of Shelby County’s own ‘Field of Dreams’ tucked in the little valley below the beautiful school complex in Houston,” Kramer said.
Kramer had become familiar with numerous school officials in the region during his 25 years of rewarding marketing and public relations work at Edison Community College.
“Without the friendship and encouragement of many people tied to academics and athletics in the area, ScoresBroadcast could not have been born and sustained for so long,” he stated.
Kramer also recalled how the fans in the stands were hooked by ScoresBroadcast pretty quickly. In 2008, he said, the SCORES banner from above brushed the bald heads of a few grandfathers in the top row of Anna’s lower bleachers. At that time, the guys were dumbfounded about the acronym S-C-O-R-E-S and inquired, “What’s that all about?”
A couple years later, Kramer recalled, the same noggins felt the same banner grazing their heads. Only this time, the men remarked, “Hey, Jack. We’ve got you on favorites, buddy!”
SCORES covered 99 contests, primarily in the SCAL and Midwest Athletic Conference, during the 2022-23 high school year. Broadcast number 1,500 is right around the corner on Aug. 25.
“Very hard to believe,” McBee questioned. “Seems impossible.”
When told by Bray in 2006 that he and Jack could take their gig to the Internet, Kramer responded, “Huh? I-n-n-e-r- What?”
The rest, as they say, is history.