What a week! We’ve been slammed from coast to coast as we squeeze in some last-minute bookings around some big events and contract work with our loyal customers.
We are happy to announce that we have added yet another C-band truck to our fleet. We’ve converted the Frontline from Ku-band to C-band, and what a group effort it has been to make her into one of the top trucks in our fleet.
Months ago we brought the truck down to our Van Nuys shop from the Pacific Northwest, where David Meyer and the Ku Frontline spend quite a few years working for Microsoft, Fox, Pac 12, CBS and countless other customers. Our team in LA went through the truck from head to toe to ensure the engine and body were in perfect condition before sending it over to our engineering team in Las Vegas.
In Vegas, our guys stripped the inside of the truck down to do a full rewire to accommodate up to 14 encoders, adding extensive monitoring systems and other bells and whistles to make the truck capable of a full-blown at-home transmission while keeping a small physical footprint in any TV compound or breaking news location.
Once the work was done in Vegas, she took a trip to Orlando, where our Satcom division did some heavy lifting — including swapping the Ku-band antenna system for a C-band system — along with extensive QC testing and further RF upgrades.
Steve Toth now has the new and improved Frontline down at Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, for the CrossFit Games, and we’re pleased to report that she’s performing perfectly. Chris Golden is right beside him with the C32 truck for another path out of the venue. The CrossFit Games include three stages of fitness competition that will eventually identify the “world’s fittest workout warriors,” and we are happy to be there with two top engineers on two great trucks. What a journey!
We’ve got another multi-truck show in Utica, New York, where Steve Hagerty, Mike Lemieux, Jim Flowers and project manager Victor Verno are on hand at the Adirondack Bank Center for a UFC Fight Night on Friday night. Jimmie Rivera takes on Marlon Moraes in the bantamweight main event. The co-main event will feature Gregor Gillespie facing Vinc Pichel in a lightweight bout and Walt Harris fighting Daniel Spitz in the heavyweight match.
Another big fight this weekend is happening a couple thousand miles away in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and it’s a huge show for PSSI Global Services. Engineer in charge (EIC) Rick Varney is joining forces with Todd Harvey and John May on the C47 and CK48 trucks for the first legal and sanctioned bare-knuckle fighting event in the U.S. since the 1880s. The Beginning, as it’s being called, will feature a 12-bout fight card of all-stars from all over the globe. What makes this event even more special is that we are providing extensive 4K encoding and transmission services for pay-per-view customers around the world. Mr. Varney, with some help from senior engineer Rick Ball, has assembled a state-of-the-art 4K encoding and monitoring system that is second to none in the industry.
After assisting the guys in Cheyenne, Rick Ball got himself to Belle Isle Park in Michigan for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear. Justin Roszak was already rocking and rolling in C12 by the time Rick got there, and the two of them are sending an extraordinary amount of data via satellite to our friends at NASCAR.
Kyle Meyer and Jonathan Ayala are on-site at Poconos Raceway (aka the “Tricky Triangle”) in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, this week with C27 for the Pocono 400 on Sunday. Mike Howley joined the guys earlier in the week to get a look at the Saber technology we have in C27, which turns our truck into a mobile pop for AT&T’s global video services. Several of our top guys will be joining our NASCAR team throughout the season to learn this groundbreaking transmission setup as we prepare to outfit our nationwide fleet with the Saber setup.
We’re also doing an uplink for our friends at AT&T in Las Vegas Friday night. Joe Cox will be at Mandalay Bay Events Center on Friday for WNBA action when the Las Vegas Aces take on the Washington Mystics. Our team at PSSI International Teleport (PIT) will take in Joe’s signal to distribute across AT&T’s global video services network.
Also in Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Videotech Center manager Shelby Schmidt is finishing up yet another busy week at the PIT studio in beautiful downtown Pittsburgh. Shelby oversaw live shots for Fox News, CNBC, CNN and the University of Pennsylvania, along with videoconferencing and closed captioning services for corporate customers.
The 2018 NBA Finals kicked off in Oakland earlier this week, and we are there in full force for NBA TV’s extensive coverage of all the press conferences, coach and player interviews, game coverage, and pretty much any possible television you can imagine related to the series between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. Due to some complex logistics — we were ready to be in Houston or Oakland Tuesday morning, and that’s quite a mileage swing — we kicked off our production and transmission services in Oakland with K34. Our Atlas truck, fully loaded for a high-end three-camera production, will be in place for the games later in the series. John Bright and Dan Patin have been putting in some long hours at the Oracle Arena, and they were joined today by Steve Chaisson and Dave Brin for off-site satellite media tours at the two team hotels. It’s a busy time in the Bay Area!
With so much of our California team up north, here in Southern California things are little quiet. Chris Hovden’s spending another Friday night at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles for LA Fight club boxing action when former Olympic boxer and super lightweight contender Javier “El Intocable” Molina will face Jessie Roman.
Special thanks to Atlanta-based Benny Griffis, who got himself into his truck and on the road in a matter of minutes when our friends at ESPN called needing a truck in Conway, South Carolina, for some exciting college baseball action. Benny’s spending the weekend at Brooks Stadium at Coastal Carolina University where the Chanticleers are playing in the regional NCAA tournament. This is the first step in what the Chanticleers hope will be a return to the College World Series, and PSSI Global Services hopes to be there, as well!
Just up I-95 from Benny, Marty Smitherman’s setting up in Wilmington, North Carolina, this weekend for another live insert into MTV’s live “Teen Mom” show on Sunday night.
Blake Blomstrom and C31 are in Dublin, Ohio, at Muirfield Village Golf Club this week for the Memorial Tournament. Started in 1976 by Jack Nicklaus, who also designed the course, this PGA Tour event is 42 years young and has a total purse of $8.9 million.
Craig Henry just came off two weeks of NCAA golf coverage in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Craig dealt with extreme heat and long hours to provide our friends at Golf Channel with an extraordinary amount of transmission and production services. After some well-deserved time off, the next stop for Craig (and Golf Channel stalwart Kevin Spangler) is the U.S. Open in Southampton, New York, next week. That will be one of six Golf Channel events on our schedules next week, which is keeping project manager Jennifer Hyder-Michaels plenty busy as she assembles all the necessary materials for our guys in the field.
Our WWE truck, the CK30, with engineer Nick Ray at the helm, was at Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Virginia, on Monday for WWE Raw. Some of the highlights from the Memorial Day show include Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt defeating The Ascension, Kevin Owens defeating Bobby Roode, Drew McIntyre defeating Chad Gable, and Sasha Banks winning the women’s Gauntlet Match.
The fun continued when Nick and CK30 arrived at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina, for WWE SmackDown on Tuesday night. Highlights of Tuesday’s match included The Miz and The Bar being defeated by The New Day, Shinsuke Nakamura defeating Tye Dillinger, Mandy Rose being defeated by Asuka, and Samoa Joe defeating Big Cass and Daniel Bryan.
Ray Loyko and K33 were at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Monday for the start of the NHL Stanley Cup between the Las Vegas Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals. Then on Wednesday Ray and K33 were back at T-Mobile Arena for Game 2 of the series. Ray is all set for Game 5 next week, and the excitement in Vegas is palpable as the Knights continue to rewrite NHL history as the first expansion team to play in the Stanley Cup Finals in their inaugural season.
We’ve certainly started June off strong, and we can’t wait to see what kinds of excitement the rest of the month will bring.