By AARON MANAGHAN
Sports on the Kitsap Peninsula have been a labor of love for Kevin Mac.
Mac, the voice of the Kitsap BlueJackets and Olympic College Rangers, has long boomed out local sports action from the aforementioned teams down to the high schools. But after seven years of terrestrial broadcasts, Mac is taking his voice — and Kitsap-area sports — to cyberspace.
Last Saturday, Mac debuted the Internet Sports Network, or ISPN Sports, an Internet-based weekly radio show centered around local sports.
“This is just an opportunity I wanted to do for a long time,” Mac said. “I’m just happy I can do it for the community. It’s something we need.”
Known as K-Mac to his listeners, Mac has been the public address announcer for the Kitsap BlueJackets for four years and for the Olympic College Rangers for seven. A 1980 graduate of North Mason High School in Belfair, Mac began his broadcasting career with KKFX doing Metro League football games in Seattle. From 1999 to 2001, he hosted a local sports show on KITZ before spending 2002 as the play-by-play broadcaster for The Evergreen State College in Olympia.
In starting up the Internet-based show, Mac said he’d hopes to fill a void in terms of radio sports coverage in Kitsap County.
“I’ve heard a lot about the good old days,” he said, referring to local stations that used to broadcast area sports. “If it wasn’t OC stuff, it was high school stuff. I’ve heard that from a lot of people.”
The only constant coverage of area sports currently comes from newspapers. Mac said while the papers in Kitsap County do a good job covering sports, radio as a medium allows for a more intimate telling of games, athletes, coaches and more, as broadcasting is not confined to a finite space like its print counterparts.
“It’s good to read it in the paper, but you don’t always get that live stuff, or even just talking to the coach,” he said. “Now they can rattle it all off.”
With both live streaming and on-demand options, Mac said he wanted to give fans an opportunity to either catch games they couldn’t attend, catch moments they missed the first time around or relive favorite moments.
“A lot of people are busy,” he said. “They might miss it. They may not catch the live broadcast. This gives them a chance if they want to hear it. If you miss (a specific moment), this is a great way to listen to it without having to listen to the whole broadcast again.”
Another advantage is it gives fans listening to games an alternative when the inevitable occurs.
“There might be a rain delay during the game,” Mac said. “They can sit there and go, ‘Hey, I’ll listen to last night’s game, or (former Kitsap BlueJacket Brandon) Kuykendall’s home run.’”
When he goes live today beginning at 8 a.m. at www.ispnsports.com, he’ll fill the airwaves with interviews, insights as well as live action between the OC and Green River baseball teams, which kicks off the season at 1 p.m. at Legion Field in Bremerton. He hopes to have broadcasting partner Kevin Chambers with him as well, something that didn’t work out for the first show.
“I was nervous,” Mac said of flying solo for the opener. “It’s certainly a lot different than broadcasting baseball or football to jump in behind the mic to blab on for five hours.”
The show, which airs live from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., is replayed throughout the day and is available on demand 24/7. Despite not advertising or widely publicizing the show yet, allowing him to work out the kinks, Mac reached double-digit listeners in his first show.
“We had double-digit numbers,” he said. “I’m going, ‘Wow! This is cool!’ I haven’t advertised yet. That was just by telling people what I have going on.”
The range has been wide so far, as Mac said he’s received e-mails from fans as far away as New York and Japan.
In conceiving the idea three years ago, Mac said he’s researched numerous Web sites to get ideas on how to make ISPN Sports strong out of the gates. But he said he has Randy Chafé, of shoplocalbiz.com, to thank for helping him physically bring the site to fruition.
“Getting the Web site up was a a big hurdle,” Mac said. “And having someone to get the Web site done was a big hurdle.”
But Mac said once Chafé stepped in, the process became much less worrisome.
“He’s been fantastic,” Mac said. “Once that was ready to roll, we had the other stuff lined up and the equipment to make it happen.”
While he said he’s encountered various small problems since, nothing was as difficult as getting the site itself up and running.
“There might have been some other hurdles, but getting over this one was like getting to the other side of the mountain,” Mac said. “It’s been a lot of work, but it’s also been a lot of fun.”
While his coverage will provide a service to the Kitsap Peninsula community directly, his work also will provide a window for fans of teams who travel to Kitsap, something he believes can particularly benefit Olympic College and the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC). OC agreed to let Mac broadcast each of its games on ISPN.
“I didn’t just want to cover the Rangers exclusively,” Mac said. “I wanted to cover the NWAACC. It’s good for their communities as well.
“I want to thank OC for jumping on board,” Mac added. “It’s something they didn’t really have to do but they did.”
With sponsorships helping keep the site afloat, Mac said he hopes to add more as time goes on, eventually growing the program with aspirations of making it daily.
For more information on becoming a sponsor or advertising on ISPN, contact Mac via the Web site at either (360) 373-3003 or (360) 627-7823.
And while it’s the sponsors and advertisers that Mac hopes will keep ISPN running long term, it’s his passion for area sports that will keep it going strong in its infancy.
“I want to bring the sports to the people that they’ve been deprived of,” Mac said. “It’s giving back to the community.”
• ISPN Sports is a new Internet-based radio program focused on Kitsap peninsula-area sports.
• Broadcasts are each Saturday at www.ispnsports.com and also are available on demand.