Before I start this article, I just want to say how proud I am of both FHSU basketball teams. Anytime a team makes it to postseason play or the official MIAA tournament is an accomplishment. These two teams have shown that they are champions, whether that be an official championship title or not.
But I am writing this article mostly to point out the third team that showed up to the MIAA tournament this year – the media team. For those of you that did not know, the championship games for the tournament were broadcast through Spectrum – a national telecommunications company that also associates with Time Warner, Cox Communications, and other cable companies. Now that in part is not new, every year the finals are broadcast live on TV. But this year, instead of hiring a professional team to do the broadcast, they used only student volunteers.
For the first time in MIAA history, students replaced professionals and broadcast their own content to a national audience.
If you need some background information, the MIAA is streamed solely through each school’s athletic programs. Every basketball, football and most soccer games are broadcast in some way through internet streaming. But when it comes to games of the week, championship games, or some kind of special exhibition games – the MIAA hires a professional production company to broadcast those games; the biggest being the MIAA Championship games.
Every year since the tournament has been in Kansas City, there has been some kind of student media presence at those games. Mostly the coverage is for the students own schools teams for individual radio and TV broadcasts. But in the last several years, students from Pittsburg State University, University of Central Missouri, and Fort Hays State University have come together and combined their shows to become the official broadcast for the MIAA.
The broadcast is cut into three components: Packages (pre-made videos that take up on air time), Studio Broadcasts (Pre/Half/Post-Game Shows) and the Game Broadcasts. PSU students are the main crew for the Game Broadcasts, while FHSU and UCM really worry about the rest of the show. This year is the 2nd year FHSU has been responsible for the Studio Broadcasts, and it shows the potential of our media department.
We have a professional setup, students who rival professionals, and the knowledge to achieve greatness. With that being said, we are still college students. We mess up, we get into fights, and we enjoyed the Kansas City Power and Light District. But in all, by the end of the tournament: we broadcast 14 (16 if you count our two home games prior to the tournament) shows in one week. The final two games were broadcast on live TV, to a potential audience of a million people.
We had a lot of great times during the tournament (see gallery below), but we didn’t forget why we were there. Neither did the MIAA, who was constantly checking into our control rooms and other productions to see if we were ready to do live television. That made the broadcasts very stressful; but when it came time to be on live TV, it was all worth it. So much so, that Cooper Slough and I were invited to be on a panel to talk about our contributions to the broadcast at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas in April. I cannot speak for the whole crew, but I can say without a doubt that I was glad to not only be a part of this crew but to be a part of this program.
Here is some of the pictures from the MIAA Tournament this year: http://albumizr.com/a/hjC5
Or for a better look at this gallery, check out: http://albumizr.com/a/hjC5
And with that, this ego stroking article is done. If you’re interested in joining our sports production team (it is a paid job), search for video positions on JobX or contact the FHSU Informatics Department for more details. We are always looking for new people to help produce, tape, and broadcast games.
For TMN and the Department of Informatics’ Advanced Production Unit, I am Tim Abrams.