Sports and Catholic culture combined in new network


The Baron Broadcast, a sports network run by Franciscan students, seeks to instill a greater appreciation for intercollegiate athletics amongst the student body.

Sports Information Director Mary Raskob likened the Baron Broadcast to “the ESPN of Franciscan athletics.”  She mentioned that all indoor home games and events are live streamed. When there are outdoor home games, Raskob’s team assembles highlight packages and conducts interviews with coaches.

Once a month, the Baron Broadcast runs a feature called the Seb Report.  According to the broadcast’s page on the university website, “Seb” is derived from St. Sebastian, patron of athletes, highlighting Franciscan student-athletes’ accomplishments in faith and virtue.

Raskob said that specific accomplishments mentioned are service projects and community events. Alongside the weekly BaronCenter feature, which is a general athletic highlights show, Raskob stated that the Seb Report helps “put faces to names and give a little insight to Franciscan athletics.”

Raskob mentioned that she has “quite the crew this year.”  Besides her producer, Christopher McGurn, she mentioned co-editors Annie Niemaszyk and Martin Jernberg (head camera operator) and lead graphic designer Leo Munday.

McGurn is the Baron Broadcast’s most critical member since he is, in Raskob’s words, in charge of “getting everything organized.”

This includes, but is not limited to, interviews and hiring, ensuring that forms are filled out and turned in, scheduling the staff underneath him, and, in Raskob’s words, “making sure (staff) are at every meet and every game so that everything is showcased.”

“I feel like I’m a (household) coordinator, but I’m dealing with hours and scheduling (rather than) with spiritual lives,” said McGurn.

McGurn especially enjoys “bringing a sports atmosphere to Franciscan through the Baron Broadcast,” because he feels that “athletics here have been overlooked.”

He noted that “a lot of people simply don’t know about (the Baron Broadcast).” To counteract this, he and Raskob have hired a larger crew this year, boosting the number of staff to 30, a healthy mix of novices and veterans.

McGurn also remarked that what makes the Baron Broadcast unique is that it places “an emphasis on sports, but still connects (them) with the integrity of Catholic culture.”

Besides McGurn, of note of the Baron Broadcast team is anchor Christian Kleb, who, according to Raskob and McGurn, has “been there since day one.”  Since the Baron Broadcast was founded last academic year, he has been an indispensable asset to the crew.

He, in Raskob’s words, has anchored “most of (the) highlight videos so far.”

McGurn and Raskob cited Joe Duran and John Gallagher as other notable anchors. Besides mentioning Duran as “one of the funniest people I know,” McGurn remarked that Duran and Gallagher “literally are the same person” since they complement each other so well, on and off air.

Both producer and director believe that Duran and Gallagher’s direct involvement in athletics (as captain of the soccer team and tennis player, respectively) only increases the broadcast’s quality.

Future, but not immediate, plans for the Baron Broadcast include streaming away games.  However, Raskob noted that she “could foresee that happening in a year or two,” provided that there are “close contests and extra bodies (from staff).”

Through the Baron Broadcast, Raskob hopes to “help push Franciscan athletics to a new media age.”