UBS broadcasts live sports, brings action home to fans

By Tyler Strong

Mark Campbell (left), head women's basketball coach, is interviewed by Steve Beverly, associate professor of communication arts, after the Lady Bulldogs beat Vanguard University on the last day of the Jackson Rotary Classic. Cameron Puckett films the interview that broadcasted live on television. | Photo by Deanna Santangelo

Union basketball tips off every year in early November, bringing avid Bulldog fans onto campus to cheer them on. Unfortunately, not every fan can make the journey to the Fred Delay Gymnasium to see the game, but this does not mean they have to miss it.

The Union Broadcasting Society broadcasts the majority of the Bulldog’s basketball games on TV-6 for people at home to enjoy.  From the couch, the production may seem simple, but from the scene of the action, it is a different story.

Crew members show up hours before games and may stay for six hours at a time working the games and helping out afterward as well.  Before any action takes place on the court, cameras need to be set up, cables are wired into the production trailer outside and audio feeds need to be checked. This is organized chaos at its finest, but it is planned out much further in advance than some may think.

Steve Beverly, associate professor of communication arts, begins planning television schedules for the upcoming season as early as July. He tries to compile a lineup that builds not only on conference games, but also on any potentially competitive ones.

When a major tournament comes to Union, such as the recent Rotary Classic, Beverly will begin preparation days beforehand, trying to make sure the right personnel are lined up to make the operation run smoothly. Some personnel have to be at the court, ready to go at 4:30 p.m. and will not leave the gym for six and a half hours.

When working hours of this length, fatigue is definitely a huge factor that Beverly takes into account, and he acknowledges it as one of the major challenges.

“I don’t want someone carrying a floor camera around for three consecutive games because it wears on you,” Beverly said. “So endurance and stamina is one thing that you need for these games.”

Luckily, Beverly is not alone when it comes to figuring out who will work the games and deciding where they will be working.

Philip Tang, a junior broadcast journalism major and president of the Union Broadcasting Society, assists Beverly on organizing crew assignments and directing basketball games. Just like Beverly, Tang also puts in extra work and time for major tournaments.

“You have to research and look at each team individually,” Tang said.

“We’ll interview opposing coaches and even talk about their personal lives.”

Tang said the production  team has to take in everything and one cannot simply look at the X’s and O’s, but he has to look deeper into the statistics when more people will be tuning into a broadcast. Tang also said there is always one challenging part to his job to overcome.

“The hardest part is getting enough personnel to work each game,” Tang said. “We have 10 positions we need to fill and once they are filled, we give people different assignments so they’re not doing the same thing for multiple games.”

There will always be a need for people to help with putting the basketball games on the air, and the good thing is a person does not have to have experience or be in the Department of Communication Arts to volunteer.

“If (helping out with games) is something they have always wanted to do, we will train them,” Beverly said.

He added that it is a great experience for teamwork because everybody has a job that is essential. He said it is like watching a giant puzzle coming together when you watch the participants start to mesh and click.

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The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.