Sharing sports with the Estacada community
When Estacada sports fans were unable to attend games in-person last spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lane Jensen offered them an alternative.
Jensen, a 2005 graduate of Estacada High School, has covered Ranger athletics since 2015. After working for750 The Game and Oregonprepsports.net, he launched an online radio broadcast in 2018. Jensen's sports broadcasts can be heard at westcoastradio.info.
"I love doing it," said Jensen, who was the team manager for the school's baseball team his senior year. "It allows people who may not be able to make it … figure out what's going on."
Jensen noted that he saw an increase in listeners during spring 2020, which was also the first sports season during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"There was an increase of viewers, especially at away games, because it was all up to the host school to allow visiting fans," he said, adding that he contacted each athletic director to ensure that he would be able to broadcast during the game.
"We want people to be safe, especially in this pandemic, so if they don't feel comfortable going out, they don't have to," he said.
During game broadcasts, Jensen estimated that Westcoastradio.info has between 30 and 40 constant visitors and receives a total of 150 to 200 who will listen for a shorter amount of time.
There have been some occasions where this number has jumped up.
During an Estacada football game against Gladstone High School last spring, the other team's video stream broke.
"The coach's wife asked, 'Are you broadcasting? What's the website?'" Jensen recalled. "Our station website actually stalled out for a few minutes because we had so many people coming. Luckily, our host was watching, so I got on my (and) phone said, 'Increase the capacity.'"
One of Jenson's favorite memories on the job was a football game against Lebanon High School last spring. The teams had been tied for most of the game, but Estacada won in the end.
"We had a great time broadcasting that fourth quarter. I will never forget that," he said.
Estacada School District Athletic Director Andy Mott praised Jensen for his dedication to Estacada sports.
"Lane provides such a great service to our community bringing sports to fans that cannot attend in person. He is a diehard Ranger fan and volunteers his time to help all of our athletics programs to be successful," he said. "One great example was last year in Covid when fans couldn't attend games, he was adamant and worked hard to get all of our sports streaming with video and audio so fans from our community could still watch and support the rangers. This is just one example of the hard work Lane puts in each season supporting Ranger athletics. Lane also travels to all away games near or far (went to La Grande this year) just to make sure our fans can have a radio broadcast of the football game action."
Longtime Estacada resident Dolly Cooper is one of Jensen's regular listeners. Her children and granddaughter are all Estacada High School graduates.
"(Listening to the broadcasts) you feel like you're almost there," she said. "I don't know what I'd do without them. It lets me keep track of our local athletes."
During the Estacada High School 2021 awards ceremony last spring, Jenson received the citizen of the year award for his broadcasting work.
When he found out he was receiving the award prior to the ceremony, he said it came as a surprise.
"I was completely speechless. My wife had to say thank you to (Athletic Director Andy Mott)," he said. "It was so humbling to know that what I do has made an impact. It's a wonderful honor. It definitely was not needed. I do this to make sure that people don't have to travel. Even if we had zero sponsors, we'd still be doing this."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.