Ten years ago, athletic events at Lewis & Clark were mainly in-person. Some games were recorded as audio files and posted to the LC Pioneers website, and some were filmed with a laptop web-camera, but by and large, the only way to watch an LC athletic event was to physically be present at the game.
In 2010, current Director of Athletic Communications and Play-by-Play Broadcaster Ryan Goff changed that by pitching the idea for Pio Stream to the LC athletics department, a new way for students and alumni to feel like they are present at sporting events even when they are unable to physically attend.
“(We wanted to) try to make it available to parents and alumni and the community to watch,” Goff said. “The goal in 2010 was just to try to make it a little bit more like the experience of watching sports on TV, as opposed to just a single camera.”
Since 2010, Pio Stream has expanded to provide live, high-quality multi-camera footage largely shot by student employees of every LC home game for all 19 varsity sports.
However, the Northwest Conference’s decision to suspend all conference play until at least January 2021 put a hitch in Goff’s plans for Pio Stream.
“Pio Stream was always primarily competition-based. But in March with the pandemic, the Northwest Conference suspended and then ultimately canceled the rest of the season. So we tried to find a way to continue to put the focus on our student-athletes, and our alumni,” Goff said.
Goff found this focus by launching LCPioneers.com Live, a show that broadcasts live Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to noon on the LC Pioneers Facebook page. The show’s first post was on Mar. 31. LCPioneers.com Live gave the LC community a chance to stay connected with athletics amidst a mostly virtual world.
“It’s a chance for us to spotlight an interview with athletes, coaches and alumni, or even the general Lewis & Clark College community,” Goff said.
As the host of the show, Goff has interviewed guests ranging from golf student-athlete Matt Siemer ’22 to Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students Robin Holmes-Sullivan.
On Oct. 1, Goff interviewed Head Women’s Volleyball Coach Emily Hayes. “(The show is) making us all better,” Hayes said. “It’s a virtual way to be in touch with people. You think about all the things that we’re missing out on in person right now. Obviously, we would be competing, we’d be having alumni events in person, I’d be able to be connecting with our alums face to face. And so having this structured way that anyone can log on, and get a sense more of what Lewis & Clark is … that’s why it’s special and unique.”
During her interview, Hayes discussed additions to her staff as well as returning assistant coaches, COVID-19 protocols for practicing in the gym and highlighted some of her players, both returners and first-year student-athletes. She also took the opportunity to promote what she sees as her team’s greatest strength.
“I think the culture of the volleyball team is pretty unique and just a special culture to be a part of … the mindset that our team takes on is one of gratitude all the time,” Hayes said.
Goff said that he plans to continue airing Pio Stream once sports seasons resume in the spring, in addition to regular broadcasts of all home sporting events.
“We’re trying to make Pio Stream one of the best possible broadcasts that anyone can watch at the NCAA Division III level,” Go said.
At its heart, Pio Stream and LCPioneers.com Live are both meant to serve as avenues for connection within the LC community by bringing sports to virtually every corner of the world.
“It is an amazing morale boost and source of connectivity for the institution, much less the athletic department,” Hayes said. “It gives the chance for our student-athletes and coaches to have a voice, our alumni have a voice, as well as Lewis & Clark staff and faculty and so I feel like it is an awesome, stellar, amazing thing that brings us together every week.”