This has been a theme in Luke Ruot's life in broadcast and it may be even more of a mantra now as he enters this year's high school sports season as the founder and owner of Stream TV, a Titusville based broadcast network using the internet to get stories out. With virtually spectator - less school sports about to kick into gear it would seem business would be booming for Stream TV, which provides a professional viewing experience for high school sports with play-by-play and color commentary, but that doesn't appear to be true.
Though Ruot says he is doing fine, he has actually lost a little business after a national company was suggested to local schools by the PIAA for their no attendance policy solution. One school that Stream TV covered last year has opted for the national chain option leaving Ruot with a closet full of gear.
"I thought about selling it," he said but wasn't sure what this national company was offering. So he said he'll hold on to it for now to see what might come down the pike. Ruot says he tries to give an NFL style program but understands his limitations. But with multiple camera angles and the broadcasters talking about the game offering insights, the experience is much more than a camera from the press box simply just pointing at the field.
To him, the community deserves the best he can offer.
Ruot was a kid really, working in radio, when he got started. He had a voice, a gift for gab and a love for the community. But radio was changing. TV was changing. Newspapers were changing. This thing called the internet was... well... no one really knew what it was.
Ruot recalls someone mentioning a Sony camera and the internet and he should learn what the hell it is and how to use it. And then own it. He listened to this advice.
That was a long time ago, but it was a game changer for him. And Rout is still finding a way to keep this notion afloat and moving down stream (pun intended) as he grows a little more each year.
Ruot is growing his local presence from his hometown of Titusville to Oil City, Meadville and hopefully soon, Franklin. He covers local government news, feature stories and high school sports. Ruot and the Stream TV broadcasts are reaching into local homes by the thousands.
"We have fun," he says about covering local high school sports while watching a recording of last year's Tiusville versus Girard game in his office. All the broadcasts can be watched over and over again.
Currently Titusville is the only school on board with Stream TV this season. This service he provides to the school's for free because he does the leg work to get advertisers and sponsors which pay for the service. He produces commercials and pops logos of local businesses on the screen during the broadcasts just like any TV station does. It's been a source local businesses to get their word out as well.
During this pandemic and the governor's limits on crowd size, Ruot is also cognizant of his production crew's presence at the games. "Every person I have [on my crew], one less person can go to the game," he said. And he gets that. He is a community guy who wants the community to thrive through its experiences and sense of family. He is thinking about the crew size this year and what he needs to cover the games appropriately. He also knows if he is there, everyone has the ability to see games live on-line.
The tough part for him right now is he can be considered a mom and pop type operation with some of the rug pulled out from under him. After seeing his operation beginning to grow before COVID-19 hit and a national company swoops in is a bit tough as he looks at equipment sitting dormant. He says he doesn't blame any schools for this, knowing too they have been put in a tough spot to think of how to keep their kids on the field or courts this year.
As for this week, Titusville High School will have a crew and a live stream experience from Stream TV as the Rockets take on Meadville at home to start the football season. The local advertisers will get their spotlights on the broadcast and the color commentators will compare and contrast this years program to those in the past. They have an 80-year-old announcer who has a sharp memory of the school's program over the years.
He says they will be covering other sports for Titusville as well all year and get to as many of the Rockets football games as they can. Some away coverage may depend on what the opposing team rules are. He said he is excited about the modified schedule that resembles the old local rivalries of the past. So even though this is uncharted territory and not quite what he hoped for, Ruot is still excited about this upcoming season.
"We love the fact we are promoting the kids," he said.