FISCHER — As the voice of the Hawks, Canyon Lake Broadcasting has called some of the most memorable moments in Canyon Lake High School history.
During the past several years, the organization, which was founded by Cory Martelli, has expanded its reach within the school itself in order to bring even more news and information to the Hawk faithful.
Martelli, who is the ISS coordinator at CLHS, began putting together broadcasts of Canyon Lake athletics back in 2015 after learning the ropes from Chuck Licata of KMAC Sports in San Antonio. Once the proper equipment was purchased, Canyon Lake Broadcasting hit the airwaves to begin bringing live sports to Hawk fans everywhere.
“I didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” Martelli said of the early days. “I had no idea. I figured I’d ask for forgiveness later.”
Martelli’s plan was to bring Hawk athletics and events to parents, students, administrators and enthusiasts free of charge, and he and Deron LeSturgeon quickly expanded to around 40 broadcasts in 2016.
Since then, it’s taken off — and not even the COVID-altered spring of 2020 could slow the growth. In fact, when CLHS resumed classes in the summer of 2020, the Canyon Lake Broadcasting Club was formed to give students firsthand experience with all aspects of a live stream broadcast — in addition to the social media and print media skills that go hand-in-hand with sports coverage.
“It was getting better every year,” Martelli said. “I asked if I could get a broadcasting club for students to teach them what we do, because I’m not going to be here forever. I asked for some volunteers and we made it to some of the basketball games and started doing the baseball and softball games as Canyon Lake Broadcasting Club. We kept doing that, and all of the kids came back — we had 26 kids this year and they were ready to go and excited.”
Recent graduate Hannah Harrison was was one of the founding members of the Canyon Lake Broadcasting Club, as well as a part of the Canyon Lake varsity volleyball team. Harrison said she offered to help with baseball broadcasts back in 2020 without knowing it would lead to the first and only club of its kind in Comal ISD.
“I told Cory, ‘I think we need to expand this and make a club out of it for others to be able to have this opportunity — because there’s nothing like it around here,’” Harrison said. “After that, we got it approved to be a club and we’ve been riding with it ever since and we love it.”
Students in the Canyon Lake Broadcasting Club run cameras and help produce live streams as well as take photos and manage social media accounts during the games.
Recent graduate Luana Sampaio stepped in this past year to help handle the photography duties and said her tenure with the club was very rewarding.
“It’s literally become one of the biggest things in my high school career that I’m most proud of,” Sampaio said. “I’m not quite ready to change my major yet, but I think I might change my minor to photo journalism just because I love it so much and I never would have even considered that without this club. You don’t get those experiences anywhere else. You don’t get to sit in the dugout. You have to pay for that or have certain connections, but here it’s right there for you and it really opens your horizons.”
Ethan Brown, who just finished his junior year at CLHS, said he asked Martelli about the club one day and has been a camera operator ever since.
“It’s been a really fun and great experience,” Brown said. “Mostly my job is to run the camera, whether it be broad or close-ups — I do whatever they tell me and point it where they want me to point it.”
Martelli said there have now been 331 total broadcasts since he began back in 2015, but one in particular stands out most thanks to Lt. Col. Patrick B. Almond, whose sons Caleb and Josh both played football for the Hawks.
“He was with the 25th Transportation Battalion in South Korea and the Army deployed to the forward areas along the demilitarized zone,” Martelli said. “He comes in next season, and now he’s retired. He goes, ‘I couldn’t tell you then, but I can tell you now — when we got deployed to the DMZ, I got my comms guy to bring you up and I broadcast to the DMZ loudspeakers for about two and a half miles.’ That’s where his people were. The North Koreans and the South Koreans — all the hundreds of soldiers — would listen to Friday night football in the DMZ. I like to have that badge of honor to say we’re the only people to be broadcast into a communist country.”
In the years since, the Canyon Lake Broadcasting Club has continued to bring Hawk athletics to its viewers and listeners via YouTube.
“This school and this district is behind it, and it is remarkable,” Martelli said. “We do it organically here and that is a big banner for us.”
Sampaio said that type of support has allowed the students in the Canyon Lake Broadcasting Club to take ownership and make it a source of pride.
“It’s awesome to be able to create it into something that we want it to be, and something we’re proud of and we can say we did it,” Sampaio said.
Harrison sees the club continuing to expand, and she promises she’ll remain invested in the future even while attending college in another state.
“We had so many more members the second semester than the first semester, and we’re confident in our abilities,” Harrison said. “I’ll be in Colorado next year, but I’ll be watching the broadcasts and giving feedback — and I will be calling Ethan if his shots are too close.”