It’s the biggest weekend of the year for football and live TV. PSSI Live is at the center of it all! Rick Ball, John May, and the CK48 mobile teleport are parked just outside Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, in the middle of several days of tests and prep for Super Bowl LIV on Sunday. John and Rick will be providing Fox with transmission services for the big game itself, as well as a full slate of programming that includes the ingest of live remote inserts from team hotels and other locations around the country. We are proud to be working alongside the team at Fox for what is sure to be a groundbreaking weekend of live television, capped off by what we hope will be an exciting game!
That’s not all that’s happening in South Florida, to say the least. PSSI News Group’s Max Lewis and Todd Anderson are also in town for CNN’s coverage of the big game.
Chris Golden is all set up over at the Adrienne Arsht Center for Saturday night’s NFL Honors event, also on Fox. Strategic Television’s VP, Jason Land, is there with Chris to ensure all transmission paths are clean for this exciting event, which will include the introduction of the 2020 class of the NFL Hall of Fame. We do this show every year on the evening before the Big Game, and we’re pleased to be back again.
We also had some big-time boxing in Miami on Thursday night. We’re thrilled to start back up with DAZN boxing in 2020, and it was a great kickoff to the year at Meridian at Island Gardens. Kevin Spangler was there with multiple satellite paths for domestic and international distribution of the co-main events. Jake Paul beat AnEson Gib in a first round TKO, while Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade beat Jake Paul in the 9th. Abi Falcon was there to provide ringside commentary services to international broadcasters, and our team at the PSSI International Teleport in Pittsburgh provided streaming services to FITE TV for their broadcast.
Staying in Florida, on Wednesday Mike Howley was at the Orange County Convention Center and pulled off a landmark transmission – a 2-way talkback between Orlando and South Africa without an intermediary turnaround. Criss-crossing two continents, across an ocean, on the same satellite is quite a feat, and we couldn’t have done it without leveraging our years of experience and close vendor relationships. Globecast was on the other side, near Johannesburg, and Intelsat provided the satellite segment with spot beams. Lead engineer Tracy Michaels, project manager Jennifer Hyder-Michaels, and STV VP Jason Land all worked together for weeks to test and prepare for the event. On the ground in Orlando, Sam Miceli helped Mike with a gnarly cable run across a catwalk. Jennifer made arrangements to ensure that monkeys didn’t eat the video cable in South Africa. And, after all, we had a perfect 2-way transmission so that Gary Player could take questions from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. Great work, everyone!
It was a tough week in Los Angeles, and around the world, with the unexpected death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and their friends in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning. We were there right away on behalf of our friends at CNN, both at the crash site and at the Staples Center for the enormous outpouring of grief. PSSI News Group’s Bob Tweed and David Conwell continue to work around the clock. And Chris Hovden came straight out of a day off to work the night shift in Calabasas early in the week. We’ll continue to be there as funeral arrangements are made, and as the city and the world continue to mourn.
It’s a news-heavy week, to be sure, as we head into the Iowa Caucus on Monday. PSSI News Group is already there in full force for CNN. Bill O’Toole, Lorenzo Dottori, Michael Humphrey, Al Meshberg, David Conwell, and Steve Mills are scattered across the state in multiple trucks to see which candidate is going to emerge on Monday as the frontrunner. Rick Kolinek is also getting into the mix for NBC News. He’ll be set up in Clinton, IA at the Clinton Community College, for day-long coverage of the caucus there.
Meanwhile, in Davenport, the bus is back in action! Kyle Meyer and driver Daniel Savoy have our state-of-the-art (and newly re-branded) production uplink bus set up in Davenport for Bill Maher’s interview with Pete Buttigieg on Friday night, live on Real Time with Bill Maher. We handle the transmission for this show every week at CBS Television City in LA, and we also arrange any remote live inserts. This time senior project manager, Eric Storlie, is in LA on the receive side to ensure that Kyle’s uplink makes its way into the broadcast seamlessly.
Strategic Television’s Eric Hall is usually our guy down at Real Time, but this week he’s in Des Moines for a remote production and uplink for the Washington Post. Joe Cox and Eric just arrived at the Iowa Events Center with the NT30, a powerhouse production uplink vehicle that was once part of CNN’s fleet before going through extensive upgrades with our teams in Vegas and Orlando. Tracy Michaels will be tech managing the entire event, which will include a multi-path uplink to the PSSI International Teleport, where the signals will be ingested and delivered to Washington Post’s production facilities in DC via AT&T Global Video Services fiber. We’ll also have a return feed and a teleprompter going back to Iowa via PIT for the talent on the ground. PSSI Live built the production and transmission plan from the ground up, including crewing services and onsite production and tech management. We’ll do much the same for our friends at WaPo in New Hampshire the following week. Very exciting stuff!
Even with all of these special, one-off events going on, we’re just as busy as always with our mid-winter bread-and-butter: basketball! Here’s a quick rundown of all the NCAA action on our schedules this weekend.
Steve Hagerty’s a stone’s throw away from our facility in Worcester, MA for Saturday’s game between Holy Cross and the Colgate Raiders. Steve’s in town because local favorite, Mike Lemieux, is working late on Friday night down at the Ryan Center in Kingston, RI, where the University of Rhode Island hosts VCU. Mike’s doing a 7-path “at-home” transmission for our friends at ESPN, who will produce the show in Connecticut using Mike’s feeds from URI. Mike’s back there on Tuesday of next week for a “normal” uplink when UMass is in town.
Working our way down the coast, Dave Buckman’s at the Charles E. Smith Center in Washington, DC, for CBS Sports Network’s broadcast of the game between George Washington and St. Louis University on Sunday afternoon.
Just up the street from Dave, Blake Blomstrom has a C-band truck at Georgetown’s McDonough Arena for Fox’s broadcast of the game between the Hoyas and Seton Hall on Friday night.
Continuing down I-95, Dennis Smith is at Richmond on Saturday, where Virginia Commonwealth will host the Duquesne Dukes on Saturday afternoon, also live on CBS Sports Network.
Let’s keep on truckin’ to Davidson’s John M. Belk Arena in North Carolina, where Steve Toth will have his truck for the game between Davidson and UMass on Saturday night.
We almost forgot about Dave “Mitch” Mitchell, who will be at Bucknell in Lewisburg, PA on Monday, when the Bison host the Lafayette Leopards. The day before that, in the wee hours of the morning, Mitch will be in Punxsutawney for yet another Groundhog Day broadcast. Mitch is there every year to see whether or not Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow. I’m pretty sure all of our engineers are hoping to see the end of winter just as soon as possible.
Let’s finish up with a couple of fights.
Ron “Roadrunner” Ford is in Shreveport, LA for Showtime Boxing on Friday night. Ron’s all set at George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum, where the main event will feature Ruben Villa fighting Alexei Collado in this latest installment of Shobox: The Next Generation.
Big thanks to Mike Howley for another busy week, as he heads to Biloxi, MS for Saturday night’s PBC on FS1 broadcast. Mike’s there at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino to give Fox a three-path multiplexed transmission of the fight between Yordenis Ugas and Mike Dallas, Jr., as well as all the undercards leading up to the main event. Strategic Television project manager, Michael Hollander, will ensure that one of those paths goes from the PSSI International Teleport to licensees around the world.
And the WWE train keeps on rolling. Zane Michaels is on the CK30 mobile teleport for Friday Night SmackDown at the BOK Center in downtown Tulsa, OK. From there Joe Kelderhouse drives the tractor-trailer over the mountains to Salt Lake City, where WWE RAW will be live on Monday night at the Vivint Smart Home Arena, again with Zane at the controls. So begins a west coast swing for us and our friends at WWE, including a quick stop at the home base in Southern California. Welcome home!
And that’s just about it for the weekend! Plenty more to come next week, so please check out next week’s roundup!