It’s a busy February weekend for PSSI live. We’re coming into the home stretch of awards season with the biggest show of them all: the 92nd Academy Awards, live from the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, CA. We’re there with our usual compliment of engineers and project managers for a variety of transmission and production services. Mark Huss, Brian Blomstrom, and project manager, Eric Storlie, have already wrapped the first portion of our work: a satellite media tour for Turner Latin America, live from the red carpet. Starting in the wee hours Friday morning, Mark rode the levels on the audio console while Brian handled transmission duties. Eric was there to ensure the production crew handled their business, and even ran and wrapped a little cable!
Without much sleep under his belt, Brian met up with Jose Sanchez to park and set the CK35 mobile teleport just above the expansive production compound in the Dolby’s loading dock. Brian’s C-band antenna will provide the Academy and ABC with one of several outbound transmission pathways, with extensive testing leading up to the big show on Sunday night. Strategic Television project manager, Logan Schinto, will join Brian on show day to ensure that all the red carpet, fashion, and post-event pool feeds are routed properly out to the world. Once the Oscars wrap, Brian will get a few hours of sleep before coming back to the truck for Monday morning’s 2020 After Oscar Show, Live with Kelly and Ryan. Brian’s been doing these shows for years and has the routine locked down to a science. It’s the biggest show in entertainment, and we’re grateful to be there yet again for our friends at the Academy!
There’s another awards show this weekend that’s also becoming a tradition for PSSI Live: the Film Independent Spirit Awards, live from the Santa Monica beach on Saturday night! Aubrey Plaza will host the 35th annual Indie Spirit Awards, and we have two trucks, two engineers, and a project manager all set and ready for the show. Wes Hill’s engineering the primary path out of the Atlas while Chris Hovden takes care of the Ku-band transmission. General Manager, Clint Bergeson, is also breaking away from the office to ensure everything runs smoothly between production and transmission. STV project manager, Garrett Hunt, dotted all the i’s on the transmission plans before he headed to the UFC PPV (see below), so Clint, Wes, Chris, and our friends at IFC are in good shape for the show on Saturday evening. The stars are bright and the views are great!
The entertainment events keep going as we head into next week in Los Angeles. John Jennings will be setting up at Warner Bros Studios in Burbank starting Sunday for Tuesday’s live broadcast of ABC’s The Conners. Earlier in the week, John was at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, CA for more Golden Boy Thursday Night Fights.
It’s been a busy week for all of our Southern California crew. Jose Sanchez and Alex Mestizo met San Diego resident, Larry Sheets in downtown San Diego on Thursday for a corporate event. These three guys lugged several cases of equipment up to the roof of a skyscraper to receive a feed from Mike Lemieux all the way from Boston.
Let’s stay out east for the next few paragraphs, as it’s quite busy in the Northeast. You might’ve heard a thing or two about the Iowa caucuses this week. Things didn’t go so well with the vote-counting, but we’re pleased to say that our production and transmission services went perfectly! Just like the candidates, our team has been focused on New Hampshire all week. Tracy Michaels and Eric Hall, fresh off a perfectly executed multi-camera production in Des Moines, have descended upon Manchester for the Washington Post’s exclusive coverage of the primary on Tuesday. Tracy is once again the tech manager for the show in New Hampshire, while Eric Hall will oversee production and transmission needs. Dennis Smith is handling the uplink with aplomb, and Marc Sarazin’s in town to provide his skills behind the camera. Looking forward to another great event as the 2020 election cycle heats up.
Of course that’s not all we’re doing in New Hampshire. Mike Lemieux and Steve Hagerty will be somewhere in the state for network news on Tuesday night, and PSSI News Group, as always, will be well-represented. Chris Stewart, Scott Garber, Bill O’Toole, Max Lewis, Charlie Neiswenter, and Todd Anderson will all be in the great state of New Hampshire on behalf of our friends at CNN! Quite a village!
Before Hagerty gets to town, he’ll be in Storrs for UConn basketball on Sunday. The Huskies host the Cincinnati Bearcats on Sunday afternoon, one of several basketball games on our busy schedules.
Rick Kolinek’s in DeKalb, IL for some MAC hoops. There Northern Illinois hosts the Kent State Golden Flashes on Friday night. Down day for Rick on Saturday before he heads to Peoria for more college hoops on CBS Sports Network. Bradley hosts Evansville in a Missouri Valley Conference matchup.
Steve Toth’s in the basketball mix, this time in our nation’s Capital. He’ll be getting up early for the noon tipoff between George Washington and the University of Rhode Island, also live on CBS Sports Network, from the Charles E. Smith Center in Washington, DC.
And all the way back West, Jonathan Ayala was in Spokane for a Thursday night matchup at Gonzaga, live from the McCarthey Athletic Center. The Zags beat the LMU Lions handily.
Sticking in the Pacific Northwest, David Meyer continues a steady run of rock solid transmission services. Earlier in the week, he was at T-Mobile headquarters in Bellevue for an earnings report. Then he hopped into a C-band truck for this weekend’s International Tennis Federation’s Fed Cup, live from the Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett. Next up for David: more winter events in Calgary! Hang in there, David: spring’s just around the corner!
We weren’t quite done with the east coast. More Showtime boxing on Saturday night, this one from the PPL Center in Allentown, PA. This is the first ever boxing event from venue, and it’s going to be a good one. Ben Bradshaw is handling the C-band transmission, while Dave “Mitch” Mitchell is there for the Ku-band path plus the international feed. Strategic Television project manager, Victor Verno, is there to ensure all goes as planned, while STV PM, Michael Hollander, will monitor a stream remotely from the PSSI International Teleport to ensure the world feed is clean to boxing fans around the world.
Just up I-95, Mike Howley’s taking a break from his regularly scheduled sporting events to work with Fox and the Westminster Kennel Club all week. That’s right, it’s a dog show! Mike’s at the Chelsea Piers in NYC for five days’ worth of WKC events, including the Agility and Obedience contests. It should be an exciting, and occasionally hilarious, few days of uplinks.
And we are back in Daytona, which means the 2020 NASCAR season is in full swing. Director of broadcast sports, Rick Ball, is working closely with seasoned engineers, Rick Varney and Justin Roszak, to provide two weeks’ worth of extensive transmission services for our friends at NASCAR at the Daytona International Speedway. Multiple inbound and outbound feeds via satellite and AT&T GVS fiber will run through our truck and through the PSSI International Teleport, as our team at the track and at PIT give shape to a full offseason of planning. All this hard work will culminate in the Daytona 500 on February 16th, live on Fox and around the world. Great work, guys!
Let’s finish up with a little fighting. Nick Ray fought pretty hard to get himself to San Jose as he dealt with extensive travel delays due to weather this week. But he’s there with CK30 at the SAP Center for Friday Night SmackDown, and he’ll be down in Ontario, CA for Monday Night RAW at the Toyota Arena. Driver Joe Kelderhouse didn’t have to deal with any flight delays, but he’s plenty busy putting 10s of 1000s of miles on the CK30 without a scratch. Keep it up, guys!
And last, but never least, we have another pay-per-view to handle on Saturday. It’s UFC 247 in Houston, TX, and our team has been in town since Wednesday providing extensive production and transmission services alongside our friends at UFC and Concom. Tracy Michaels, Jim Flowers, and Ron Ford pulled off a rock-solid multi-camera production for a press conference on Wednesday before moving over to the Toyota Center to get ready for the PPV. Dominick Reyes will take on Jon Jones in the main event on Saturday night, but there’s a weigh-in and a bunch of undercards before that kicks off. Strategic Television project manager, Garrett Hunt, is there to ensure it all works perfectly, while Mike Sheehan joins Ron and Jim to handle multiple inbound and outbound feeds from three trucks. As usual, the PSSI International Teleport will provide key turnaround services for international distribution. We’ve done hundreds of shows as big as this one, but each one is unique and handled with an unparalleled attention to detail. Tune in on Saturday night!
And that’s that for the week! We told you it was busy…