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Where’d It Go?

November 29, 2016
by Dan Voigt , Emmetsburg News

For fans of high school football in Iowa, there's a little withdrawal anxiety going on right now. The season officially came to a close on Friday, Nov. 18, with the final Championship games at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls.

Normally, that fact wouldn't garner much attention unless a local team that you have interest in following is in the championships. If you were able to attend a championship game at the UNI Dome, you experienced first-hand the excitement of competition, fan loyalty and school and community pride.

If you were unable to make the trip to Cedar Falls to see the game in person, you could watch the games in the comfort of your home on television. In fact, the televised versions were almost better that being there, because of the close up shots and replays of big plays.

Anyhow, for the 2016 State Championship playoff teams from Bishop Garrigan in Algona, and Harris-Lake Park, as well as Western Christian of Hull and Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley, all played in championship games on the 17th and 18th of the month, a great representation of Northwest Iowa football programs.

But unless you made the trek to Cedar Falls, you weren't able to see those games.

Instead of statewide television coverage of one of Iowa's traditional favorites, roughly only the eastern third of the state was able to view the games live on television.

Were technical issues to blame?


The answer to this question, in a nutshell, is this: Money talks, and the rest walk.

We in Northwest Iowa were among the walkers, or else we apparently aren't important enough to be considered when it comes to the broadcasting of high school boys sports anymore.

But wait, there is an exception to that previous statement - if you view your television through a satellite service, such as Dish Network or Dish TV, then you are among the chosen few. Otherwise, to be a member of the chosen few, you must receive your television programming through the services of ComCast Cable.

Confused? You and the western third of the state are in the same boat.

Apparently, this past Spring, the Iowa High School Athletic Association entered into a new agreement for television rights with the Iowa High School Sports Network, a privately-owned entity owned by Ken Krogman of Des Moines. Krogman is no stranger to television high school sports, as his production company has broadcast such boys state athletic events as the football championships, state wrestling and boys basketball state tournaments in past years.

A few years back, Krogman created the Iowa High School Sports Network, which marketed those boys athletic events to a network of television stations across the state, including stations in Sioux City (Northwest Iowa), allowing all Iowans to see the excitement of state tournament events.

But after Krogman re-negotiated his exclusive broadcast rights agreement with the IHSAA this year, he went out and marketed the package.

He didn't market it in state - no, he marketed the package to ComCast Cable in Chicago, as well as the previously mentioned satellite providers. ComCast is a major cable provider in the eastern third of the state, but is not found west of Interstate 35 and north of Highway 20, the northwest edge of the state, as far as some in the central part of the state seem to believe.

The upshot is no local cable companies could get the football playoffs, and they took a lot of heat from viewers for something out of their control. The calls and complaints need to be directed to Mr. Ken Krogman at the Iowa High School Sports Network in Des Moines. It was his decision to ignore our part of the state.

This topic was discussed thoroughly last weekend at the Iowa Newspaper Association's All State meetings. For the most part, it was generally agreed that the IHSSN policy was doing a tremendous disservice to high school athletics and the young people involved in this situation.

We can only hope that cable television providers in this part of the state will make their voices and the voices of their subscribers heard and that they will contact Mr. Krogman on this issue.

It seems shameful that one person is able to determine what can and can't be shown over the public airwaves - especially when it's the public's youth that he is broadcasting.



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