“Friday night lights.” That phrase refers to the exciting atmosphere of hometown high school football games, played in communities across the nation on Friday nights.

Three men wearing headsets, Back Roads Broadcasting

Back Roads Broadcasting. Pictured l to r are Eddie Greer, Isaiah Dobbins and Cody Liming

The sights and sounds of those games are part of the fabric of small town life. Today we’ll meet some innovative Kansans who are finding a way to bring the excitement of those Friday night games to many more people, using the tools of technology.

Cody Liming is the co-founder of Back Roads Broadcasting, which he founded with his friend Cody Roche.

Both of them graduated from Rock Creek High School in Pottawatomie County, where Cody Liming had played football, baseball and wrestling. Cody Liming now works for the Kansas Division of Emergency Management and Cody Roche is a systems engineer at K-State.

The two Codys did some video production on the side. Over time, they accumulated more cameras and video production equipment.

“We came to realize that we had an entire set of live video production equipment,” Liming said. “We could use this to benefit the community.”

In the spring of 2020, Covid-19 hit and people were not allowed to gather in person. “The athletic director at Rock Creek reached out to us to see if we could livestream a couple of games so that people could see them,” Liming said. The broadcast was fun and generated positive reaction from the viewers.

When the 2021 football season came around, they decided to livestream the whole season. “Let’s invest in more equipment, get some commentators and go whole hog,” Liming said.

Cody Liming and Cody Roche went together to launch this business to do livestream online broadcasts of Rock Creek football games — home and away — plus boys and girls’ basketball and wrestling. They got sponsorships to pay for equipment and to hire the commentators.

The two Codys decided to name their enterprise Back Roads Broadcasting. Not only did that describe their locations, it used the initials BRB — as in Be Right Back. “It’s kind of corny but one of our announcers likes to use that,” Liming said.

Thanks to WTC Communications of Wamego, there were Internet connections in the press box at the Rock Creek football stadium, as well as in the gym and at the ballfields. Finding Internet connections at away game locations proved to be much more challenging.

Back Roads Broadcasting livestreamed the broadcast and commentary for each regular season game, on Facebook and on YouTube. Fortunately the team did well and advanced to the sectional championships, with Back Roads Broadcasting carrying the game.

“Our last game had 2.4 thousand views,” Liming said. “We reached some 25,000 people for the season.”

This is a tremendous service, allowing family members and friends from far away to view the games online. “We had viewers from as far away as Texas and South Carolina,” Liming said. “There was a guy in the service watching from Bucharest, Romania.” Fans of the opposing teams appreciated the coverage as well.

“We have a wide angle camera to see the whole field, plus one with a zoom lens to get tight action shots and a portable sideline camera,” Liming said.

A computer system controls it all. “We need five people: Two camera operators, a play-by-play announcer, a color analyst, and a producer,” Liming said. “We have students helping too and we’re setting up a mentoring program at Rock Creek where they can learn to do the broadcasts and maybe get class credit in the future.”

“The most rewarding thing is that people are so appreciative of us doing this,” Liming said. Rock Creek school serves the rural communities of Westmoreland, population 778, and St. George, population 639 people.

Now, that’s rural. “There’s a lot of pride there,” Liming said.

For more information, search for Back Roads Broadcasting on Facebook or YouTube.

Friday night lights. That phrase represents the excitement of hometown football, now being shared online by these high-tech Kansans.

We commend Cody Liming, Cody Roche, and all those involved for making a difference with innovative technology and delivery.

On Friday night, it’s now: Lights, camera, action!

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