Broadcast Education Association Reaches Out To Encompass Sports
By Carolyn Braff
The Broadcast Education
Association, a conglomerate of 1,400 college professors, high school
instructors and vocational school teachers who focus on electronic
media, has decided to conquer the sports market with the formation of a
new sports division. The goal? To help broadcast departments develop
sports-related curriculum and create the next generation of sports
production and broadcasting talent.
The BEA encompasses teachers of broadcasting, radio, television, multimedia, Internet and new technologies, and with sports seeping into the agendas of many of the association’s 16 existing divisions, it was a natural progression to branch into sports. Behind the push of a dedicated group of sports media professors, the BEA formed its 17th division during April’s NAB convention, giving BEA’s sports-minded members a central forum for guidance, support and idea generation.
“We noticed that within the media industry, sports is growing,” explains Michael Bruce, chair of the BEA Sports Division and assistant professor of telecommunication at Oklahoma Baptist University. “Particularly among incoming college students, many are interested in pursuing careers in sports media, so we really needed our own division.”
The BEA aims to connect professors in electronic media with professionals who work in the broadcasting industry. Given that the sports division counts among its membership some of the same industry professionals the association aims to woo, this group has the inside track on discovering industry trends and facilitating communication with the professional side of the business.
“I would say that 30-40 percent of these teachers are doing freelance work on a regular basis,” Bruce says. “A lot of guys are doing radio broadcasts for high schools and other colleges in the area. I do a lot of freelance directing for the University of Oklahoma athletic department.”
First on the Sports Division’s agenda is to plan the speakers and panel discussions for next year’s BEA convention, while longer-term initiatives include coming up with publishable research for academic journals and creating a document of best practices. Bruce is also interested in developing a competition of some sort for students and faculty members in a variety of categories, including broadcast, radio, television and new media, which will bring some outside attention to the group.
Bruce’s day job at Oklahoma Baptist gives him plenty of experience to draw on as the chair of the BEA’s newest division. In addition to teaching a sports media class, Bruce supervises a group of 20 students who self-produce five basketball games each semester for a local cable channel.
“I pick a student producer at the beginning of the year and they’re basically in charge of it,” Bruce explains. “I answer questions and help with the technical side, but they choose the crew, they choose their play-by-play and other talent.”
Bruce refers to his team’s four-camera productions as hybrid remote broadcasts. The team sends the video and announcer radio via fiber from the arena to the control room, which is located about a quarter mile away, and switches everything from the control room.
Working with a limited budget, Bruce has tapped into his creative side to find low-cost solutions for the student broadcasts, tricks he shares with the sports division of the BEA.
“We do things like modify FM radios into cheap little IFB systems for the talent, so it costs us $40 instead of $2,000 for a professional one,” Bruce says.
Bruce’s team currently uses a modified Avid instead of an EVS, but he hopes to replace that with a different replay system for next year, undoubtedly pooling the collective knowledge of the BEA Sports Division to help him choose wisely.