Public broadcasting is not where folks normally think of sports. But Georgia Public Broadcasting is launching an upgraded weekly high school sports show co-hosted by two former CBS Atlanta broadcasters who lost their jobs when the station outsourced its sports department to 790/The Zone.
“GPB Sports Central” starts tonight at 7:30 p.m. hosted by four people, including former CBS Atlanta hosts Gil Tyree (right) and Mark Harmon. It replaces “Prep Sports Plus” and is a major step up. “This is a total studio deal, ESPN quality,” said I.J. Rosenberg, executive producer and sports director at GPB. It encores on Fridays at 11 p.m. and Saturday at noon with final scores.
He runs Score Atlanta, a sports marketing company which also covers high school sports. (He also helps out the AJC.) “It’s the last horizon,” he said. College and pro sports are covered much more extensively but “high school is wide open.”
Rosenberg, whose kids attend Centennial High School and participate in sports there, disagrees with the notion that high school draws a very narrow audience . “People care about the whoever they play. And you draw tremendous recruiting interest.”
This is part of a major expansion in GPB’s commitment to high school sports after record ratings airing last year’s High School Championship football games. It will also continue its 17-year broadcast partnership with the Georgia High School Association for coverage of the Football, Cheerleading and Basketball state championship games on GPB Television and online at gpb.org.
There will also be a live chat show each Wednesday at 8 p.m. at gpb.org/sports featuring Georgia High School coaches mixing it up with bloggers, writers and fans. The Website will also air a weekly high school football game on Friday nights.