Some exciting changes are taking place in the Morton District 709 broadcasting department.
It is now known as MPTV — Morton Potter TV — due to updates that will create expanded accessibility for people across multiple mediums.
"The last two-three years, we've really tried to step up the quality of what we've been doing," said Bill Schock, District 709's coordinator of electronic communication and security.
Programs are available on Comcast Channel 20 and new cable company iTV3's Channel 21.
The broadcast schedule, which is updated every Wednesday, is on the District 709 website, www.morton709.org.
Additionally, programs now will be streamed live on the Internet through IHSA TV. Morton is the only school in the area with that feature.
Viewers also will have the chance to watch events on demand. They will be archived on the same site. There are a variety of programs besides athletic contests.
The link to IHSA TV is www.playonsports.com/channels/morton-morton-illinois. A list of upcoming programs will be available on that site, too.
One of the general tones that came out of the 709Connect meetings, Schock said, was people wanted more accessibility. That desire can now be fulfilled.
"A lot of people enjoy watching it at home," said Schock. "This is a neat thing for those families."
People who have a tough time negotiating bleachers or are out of town have multiple avenues in which they can stay current on district happenings.
The overall product also will be improved.
MPTV was able to purchase new equipment in the beginning of the summer.
With media outlets across the country upgrading to high-definition, MPTV secured some really good used standard-definition equipment at a fair price to replace some of its aging inventory.
On the computer-side, a graphics package was part of the deal.
Those watching on IHSA TV only will get an enhanced experience.
At a basketball game, for instance, the score can constantly be placed on the screen. If a player is fouled while shooting, his name can appear as he takes his first free throw.
The broadcast on channels 20 and 21 will be the same without the added features Internet users see.
Streaming of games started with Morton's varsity boys basketball game Dec. 7 against Pekin.
"Everyone is kind of excited about it," said Schock the day of the matchup with the Dragons. "We're looking forward to getting use out of our equipment."
The goal is to be streaming all the home games. Most will have announcers.
Ron Martin this year joins Craig Wright and Brian Gordon as boys announcers. Lynn Rudin and Deidre Ripka call the girls' games.
MPTV again plans to travel in the postseason when important games arise.
Page 2 of 2 - Community volunteers play a large role in the operation.
"We have a great group of volunteers that really help us out," Schock said.
The list includes: Jeff Stephens, Janet Stephens, Barry Rapp, Seth Ruder and Scott Brown.
MPTV's Lynn Coverstone, a part-time district employee, does video editing for the TV channel. If there is a single-camera event, he probably is the one recording it.
There also is occasional student help.
District 709 encourages viewers to send comments and suggestions for programming to firstname.lastname@example.org.