Fifty: That's 50…
by Carey Meitzler
No, I am not disclosing my good friend Barry Harper's age, my waist size, or how many
Krystal burgers Grubby and Sigler can eat in one sitting. Nor am I counting the hairs on
the top of my broadcasting buddy's head (evidence). Now 50 would be a good guess in all cases.
In this case, fifty, that's 50, happens to be the number of broadcasts generated by local
radio station WRJW 1320 AM of Picayune Maroon Tide sports this past school year.
From August 29th, 2003 , through Thursday, May 6, 2004 , WRJW provided 50 live
broadcasts of Maroon Tide Sports with 27 of those broadcasts available via the internet.
Also, the internet broadcasts are archived to allow a listener to re-live the event for up to
one year via iHigh.com.
Station owner John Pigott states why the involvement from the radio station in local sports
is so important to him.
“Since 1949, the mission of this station has been to serve the community. Whatever it takes
to keep our community informed and hopefully happy, we will do it if at all possible.”
I checked around the state, and no other school, none, zero, even come close to 50 broadcasts .
I found two stations who did 16 and 17 respectively which was all their football games and
playoff games for basketball and baseball. As far as the number broadcasting via the internet,
that's another story all together.
WRJW's station manager Ms. Delores Wood and her sales staff work diligently to offset the
costs associated with broadcasting the games by finding local businesses to sponsor on the broadcast.
In other words, the business gets their spot (usually around 60 seconds) between 4 to 6 times during
a broadcast to promote their business to the listening audience. And on the archived internet
broadcasts, there is the advantage of repeat play over and over again. For instance, 389 people
outside of WRJW's signal coverage listened to the South State Football Championship via the
internet as it happened. Within the first week of the game being played, another 86 listeners
replayed the broadcast on the game.
We sometimes take for granted that we have a local, hometown radio station like WRJW 1320
AM. Furthermore, I think we take for granted that we have someone like John Pigott in our community.
“We had a lot of requests from college kids (recent graduates of Picayune) who couldn't get home
on Friday for football games, but wanted to listen to the games, “ said Pigott , “Also, a lot of grand-
parents who were computer literate inquired about the possibility. I initially got the idea from you
(Carey), but didn't fully understand the impact it could make until we actually got started. I am glad
everyone enjoys it.”
Enjoy it ? It appears that is a major understatement.
Al Ziober , who has grandsons Chris and Jeffrey Stewart playing at Picayune, is one of those grand-
parents. Al lives hundreds of miles away in Texas , but the broadcasts on the internet became a
“happening” on Friday nights during football season and numerous times during baseball.
Al Ziober checking in on the Tide via iHigh.com in Texas
“I was able to go to Mississippi to watch Chris and his team play in the State HS final playoff games
in '02 and '03 but was unable to go this year. Being able to listen to the games via ihigh.com was a
Another Texan, Gerald Whitfield, lives in Hide-Away, Texas , near Tyler, the Rose Capital of the World,
had this to say about the iHigh.com broadcasts.
"First of all, thanks to everyone responsible for bringing the internet broadcast to us. I have thoroughly
enjoyed observing the athletes giving their all and displaying good sportsmanship during the contests.
These broadcasts have allowed many of us to reconnect with the community and to share in the pride
exhibited by the students. I am entirely confident that the future is extremely bright for the school and
for the community".
Gerald is a 1960 graduate of Picayune Memorial High School and enjoys the games in every sport
with his wife Ruth. He also has an eye on the future.
“ Who knows; Maybe, in a few years, we'll be watching and listening to the games
on the net.” Slow down, Gerald. One step at a time.
Chuck Stewart and Ralph Thibodeaux had sons Chris and Dustin playing on the Tide baseball team and
were unable to make all the games due to being out of town on work assignments. But WRJW providing
the games on the net was their way to stay connected. Chuck, who also follows his sons Chris and Jeffery
in football, is worth the price of admission. For him not to be at a game is tough to swallow. But it happened
and his buddy Ralph put it this way.
Chuck Stewart making sure the 'net' is up at The Bounty in Belle Chasse, LA.
“If it had not been for WRJW putting the games on iHigh.com, I would not have been able to listen to any of
the games and would not have known anything about a game until it was over. It's good for the kids because
they know we're listening and supporting them. Plus, family members who live out of town and would never
be able to come to a game have a way to experience the games, “ said Thibodeaux.
Oliver Roberts' son Matt played on the Tide football team and Oliver was able to tune in from offshore when
unable to attend the games in person.
‘I really appreciate the people who sacrificed time, effort, and a lot of hard work into making this happen.
There are a lot of Tide fans who don't know they can catch the games live, on the internet now, who work
away from home, as I did, but it's starting to really catch on. Thanks again to everyone for making this happen
and to WRJW,” stated Roberts.
The people who sacrificed a lot of time were not only John Pigott , but his wife Dot, and daughter-in-law
Marilyn, who time and time again would ensure the internet connection was started and monitored for the games.
It was a major effort on the part of many, particularly, these ladies. Troopers, I tell you, real troopers.
Of the fifty (50) games, twenty-seven (27) are available via the iHigh archives. To easily access the entire list,
just click on the archive list provided on www.maroontide.com (archives).
Oh, yeah, one more thing. Someone had asked me about John's nickname “ McGwyver ”.
Well, it comes from the AllState Insurance Agent by Day turned radio/electronic guru fix-it man by night
reputation he has fostered. He is the best when it come to improvising. When there is a problem with electronic
equipment, you always hope John is around.
John's oldest son Jason says, "If you give Dad a paper clip, masking tape, and bungy cord, he believes he can fix
just about anything."
Well, I have witnessed many of his feats and I always come away with two things after McGwyver does his magic.
Respect and another story of "how did he do that ?" for the long road trips on broadcasting journeys around
So next fall when the Tide gets ready to take the field in August , spread the word. WRJW plans to continue to
have the Tide sports on the internet. And when you see John or Dot Pigott, Marilyn, my ol' pawdner Jason, or
Ms. Delores Wood, thank them. They are truly serving our community, both local and abroad.