We’re having quite an exciting run-up to a holiday week, with big projects around the world. Before we get into the big time sporting events on our schedule, let’s talk politics and entertainment. It was a busy work week in Los Angeles, with another live sitcom and the Democratic presidential debate.
John Jennings was down at Sony Studios in Culver City on Tuesday and Wednesday for “Live, In Front of a Studio Audience” on ABC. The team there did back-to-back live broadcasts of All in the Family and Good Times, and John was there to make sure the show made it to televisions across the nation without a hitch.
Just down the road, we had a big crew on hand for PBS NewsHour and Politico’s co-production of the 6th Democratic presidential debate. PSSI News Group was there in full force. David Conwell had multiple feeds leaving his truck, both from CNN’s set in the Spin Room as well as the debate itself, which was simulcast on CNN. Bob Tweed and Todd Anderson split shifts in the LA Sprinter for various live shots outside LMU’s Gersten Pavilion before, during, and after the debate.
The Global Services side of the house was working with WETA and our friends at NEP to provide a small at-home transmission of NewsHour’s desk show as well as the main event itself. With two-way, multiplexed transmissions via satellite and fiber between LMU and WETA’s control room in Arlington, VA, our team had their hands full coordinating with production in both locations. EIC Jim Flowers worked closely with NEP’s crew to make sure everything coming and going from LA was clean and as-designed, while Blake Blomstrom and Mike Lemieux had their truck and encoding/decoding kit working at capacity to provide WETA with redundant, two-way video and comms. Wes Hill and Chris Hovden handled satellite and fiber transmissions respectively, while Strategic Television project manager, Michael Hollander, and GM, Clint Bergeson, worked to keep the train on track on a complicated, but ultimately flawless, event. Special thanks to senior engineer, Tracy Michaels, for assembling a couple big stacks of equipment to cover both sites in advance of the show. It was another great team effort!
Now let’s take a trip around the world!
Chris Golden and Abisai Falcon are outside the Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas with a flyaway antenna and a stack of gear for ESPN’s broadcast of the Bahamas Bowl. The Charlotte 49ers and the Buffalo Bulls are facing off on Friday afternoon and, having braved a torrential downpour on test day, Abi and Chris are doing great with a clean transmission back to the mainland.
On another island in another ocean, Rick Ball, David Meyer, and Mike Sheehan are also dealing with a little rain in paradise. We are there for Bellator 235, live on DAZN from the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena on Saturday night. Before that event, we have the Bellator Salutes the Troops event another exciting card full of MMA on Friday night. Our guys have C-band and Ku-band transmissions out of our Hawaii-based Ku truck and 5.5m C-band antenna. David and Mike will pack up on Sunday while Rick stays in town and meets up with Steve Chaisson at the Stan Sheriff Center for ESPN’s broadcast of the Diamondhead Classic basketball tournament. Steve and Rick will be sending back seven multiplexed paths all the way back to ESPN headquarters in Connecticut, where the production team there will get the show ready for broadcast. This tournament is a Christmas tradition for us, and we’re grateful to our friends at ESPN for including us once again.
From Honolulu, let’s keep on heading West…
UFC veterans Keith Valeri and Tracy Michaels find themselves in Busan, South Korea, where we will work with our good friends at Concom to put together the final UFC event of 2019. The live broadcast is pretty late on ESPN+ – really early Saturday morning – and will feature Frankie Edgar taking on Chan Sung Jung, the “Korean Zombie.” Keith and Tracy are working with local vendor, KT Sat, for the origination transmissions, and of course the PSSI International Teleport is part of the distribution crew, handling turnaround services in this hemisphere. It has been a flawless year for our UFC crew, which has been around the world and back to provide extensive transmission and project management services to our partners at Concom. Congratulations to Tracy Michaels, Jim Flowers, Keith Valeri, and Garrett Hunt for their skill, persistence, and endurance in yet another successful year of service.
Speaking of great skill and great service, let’s get back to the States and talk about our WWE team. We’re not quite done for the year with this client (in fact, we’re never really done). 2019 was Nick Ray’s first full year on the WWE circuit, and he has done a stellar job servicing this demanding client. He’s at the helm of the CK30 mobile teleport at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY for another Friday Night SmackDown. The WWE crew will take a brief Christmas break, and driver, Joe Kelderhouse, will keep his prized truck in a safe place in New Jersey for a few days before heading to Detroit for the next SmackDown.
Earlier in the week, Mike Howley put another successful WWE NXT event under his belt on Wednesday night at Full Sail University in Orlando. Howley stayed in town for some testing for upcoming events (stay tuned) and will be in town on Saturday, as well, for CBS Sports Net’s coverage of the FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl, live from Orlando City Stadium. The Liberty Flames take on the Georgia Southern Eagles on Saturday afternoon.
Let’s stick with the college football bowls, which always keep us on our toes this time of year. Kevin Spangler is in Albuquerque, New Mexico getting ready for Saturday’s New Mexico Bowl, live on ESPN. Kevin will be providing an “at-home” transmission from Dreamstyle Stadium, where the San Diego State Aztecs will take on the Central Michigan Chippewas.
And we’re back at Bridgeforth Stadium in Harrisonburg, VA for more FCS playoff action. This time Dennis Smith is at the helm of the Frontline truck for ESPNU’s broadcast of the game between the Weber State Wildcats and the James Madison Dukes.
And how about some hoops? Mati’s Kerpen’s heading up to Uncasville, CT for Sunday’s game between the UConn Huskies and the Oklahoma Sooners at Mohegan Sun. This is another early game in what will be a busy winter of basketball for our friends at CBS Sports Network.
We’ve got college and NBA hoops going on in Vegas this weekend. Brian Blomstrom’s our guy at the T-Mobile Arena, where CBS will broadcast the Sports Classic on Saturday. It’s a doubleheader featuring four of college basketball’s powerhouse programs: the University of North Carolina takes on UCLA in the first game. Then Kentucky versus Ohio State rounds out the afternoon. Should be a great couple of games!
Not too far up the street from Brian, Joe Cox is in the middle of multiple days of transmissions for ESPN. It’s the annual NBA G-League Winter Showcase, which includes all 28 G-League teams in a four day tournament in front of NBA executives, scouts, and coaches. This is a great opportunity for up-and-coming basketball players to make the jump into the NBA, and it’s a lot of fun to watch.
Mark Huss is down in Phoenix, AZ to provide ringside commentary services at DAZN’s broadcast of the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. versus Daniel Jacobs fight on Friday night. Mark drove down with a pile of our proprietary audio gear to help Latin American broadcasters put together a unilateral broadcast of the event at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
We’ll finish up in Ontario, CA, where the CK35 mobile teleport, fresh off the success of the debate, will be providing multiple inbound and outbound feeds for the Premier Boxing Champions event at the Toyota Arena on Saturday night. Wes Hill is handling Fox’s multiplexed transmission, which includes separate feeds for international and domestic distribution. And Chris Hovden will be working alongside Wes to provide the origination feed for the promoter’s international distribution. Michael Hollander will take a streamed feed from the PSSI International Teleport to monitor the show while checking in with licensees around the world. Hugo “The Boss” Centeno, Jr. takes on Mexico’s Juan Macias Montiel in the main card, following a series of exciting undercard bouts.
And that takes us into Christmas and Hanukkah! From all of us at PSSI Global Services, happy holidays to you and yours. We have plenty to look forward to before the year’s out, and 2020 is already chock full of exciting transmission projects and major events. Stay tuned!