Hall of Fame 2007 Ceremony
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years after Bob “Spider” Seiderman lost a battle with cancer, his
legacy lives on in the flying faders of sports-production audio-mixing
rooms across the country.
sports fans can feel as though they are on the field of play, thanks to
Seiderman’s dedication to audio perfection and numerous innovations.
While at Fox Sports, he talked the NFL into allowing him to place a mic
on umpires and talked MLB into letting him mike bases and outfield
walls; at CBS Sports, he redefined Daytona 500 and racing coverage with
mics placed on the retaining walls of the track.
approached audio as if it was the primary function of televised sports
instead of something on the back bench of a production truck,” says
Fred Aldous, Fox Sports senior audio mixer and Seiderman’s protégé.
born Oct. 19, 1947, in New York City, earned accolades as an audio
assistant in Korea during the Vietnam War. When he returned from
Vietnam, he followed his passion and joined CBS as an audio assistant
and soon headed up audio for The Merv Griffin Show.
When the show moved to Los Angeles, Seiderman, a New Yorker at heart,
passed on the offer to go west and stayed behind to continue working on
soap operas, live TV, and live music. “He loved live TV,” says Andrea
Ganz-Seiderman, his widow. “He called it ‘crunch time’ and loved going
to work and planning the events. That made his life.”
to CBS Sports, Seiderman began to revolutionize sports-TV audio one
event at a time. The Daytona 500 was his favorite event (a studio at
the race track named in his honor indicates that the affection was
mutual) as the two weeks of setup for each race gave him the
opportunity to experiment with new techniques and equipment.
year, he went out to the Radio Shack and purchased $19 microphones that
could handle the sound pressure and put them on the walls of the
track,” says NBA VP of Engineering Mike Rokosa, who worked with
Seiderman at CBS Sports. “He didn’t go for the expensive professional
mics, just a $19 mic from Radio Shack.”
Sports audio didn’t just evolve under Seiderman; it skipped complete
evolutionary cycles in a single event. Super Bowl XXI in 1987 was not
only the first sports event televised live in stereo but also the first
to be done in surround sound.
of Spider’s strengths was his ability to inspire confidence from
company higher-ups. For the Super Bowl, he not only sold management on
the idea of taking a gamble with surround sound but got them to roll
the dice during the biggest TV sports event of the year.
began mixing in stereo months earlier on other events, even though the
events were broadcast in mono, so it would be second nature to him by
the time the broadcasts began,” Rokosa explains.
Fox Sports acquired NFL rights in 1994, Seiderman joined that network
and, alongside Jerry Gepner, Fox Sports EVP, began a new chapter in
sports audio. “He was committed to the fact that the sights of TV do
not have the same impact without the sounds,” says Fox Sports director
Artie Kempner. “Bob was able to get the resources to go out and hire a
submixer so the broadcast would have more layers of audio. Bob was our
ears and innovator.” —