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Thoughts on Winning My First Emmy Award

Monday, June 29, 2009 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 11:03 AM, under , , , , , , ,

After 29 years of working all kinds of support roles in sports television, I finally won my first Emmy Award this past Friday night.

Pictured left is the Emmy Statue as it sits in FSN South Coordinating Producer Craig Ritchie's office.


OK, technically I did not win it. But the game between Central Michigan and the University of Georgia last fall, produced and televised by FSN South/SportSouth, was recognized for "Outstanding Achievement: Sporting Event/Game-Live/Unedited" at this past weekend's 2009 Southeast Regional Emmy Awards Ceremony.

And yes, I was part of the crew, working as the stage manager for the outstanding talent team of Bob Rathbun and Dave Rowe. And believe it or not, this was the first time Bob and Dave had worked a game together!


"Rookie" Winners: Former Oakland Raider and NBC Sports Analyst
Dave Rowe (right) and FSN South play-by-play man Bob Rathbun
prepare for the 2008 Central Michigan - University of Georgia football
game broadcast, which received the 2009 Southeast Regional Emmy Award
for "Outstanding Achievement: Sporting Event/Game-Live/Unedited."
Photograph Copyright 2008 by Eye on Sports Media/The Cayuga Group, LLC.


And yes, my tongue is somewhat in cheek when I say that I share in the award. I say "somewhat" because when you see a production team win an Emmy award for a sports event, there is so much that goes into the production, and so many people that make it happen. If all cogs are not firing in sync, the show can be a failure and any dreams of an award recognition are pointless.

There are the utility people that do the heavy lifting with the technical specialists, and make sure everything gets positioned and set up properly. There are the audio people who make sure that the audience gets the sound of the game clearly. There are the camera people who have to be constantly on top of the action to make sure they get the best camera shots. There are the people in videotape who not only have to make sure they get all of the action recorded, but are also able to bring it up on demand when called for by the producer. There is the technical director that cannot make a single mistake on the air.


Eye on the Ball: A FSN South/Sportsouth camereman shoots the
Georgia Dawg Walk before the 2008 Central Michigan - University of
Georgia football
game broadcast, which received the 2009
Southeast Regional Emmy Award
for "Outstanding Achievement:
Sporting Event/Game-Live/Unedited."

Photograph Copyright 2008 by Eye on Sports Media/The Cayuga Group, LLC.


You have the graphics operators who have to build on-screen graphics on the fly as the action unfolds. There is the graphics coordinator who works with the operator, and makes sure that information passed from the producer, director, and stats people gets put together correctly.

You have a team of statisticians, one with the talent, one at an official stats position, and perhaps one in the truck (if it is a network game). You have a time-out coordinator on the field (the "red-hat") who makes sure television timeouts are managed with the game officials.

These people are doing what they love, often times at the expense of spending time with their families, or even at the expense of having a family. They do this to bring the games to the fans who cannot be there in person.

Are they perfect all of the time? No. Could the average fan watching on television do it better? Not likely.

And since most games are not broadcast by the national networks, it is always good when a regional broadcast team gets their due. As former Oakland Raider and NBC Sports Analyst Dave Rowe said to me in a message yesterday:

The thing I remember most about the game was the effort of EVERYONE that made it work!!! That includes that GREAT "Stage Manager!!!" CONGRATULATION right back at YOU, CHRIS! As a certain coach named Madden used to tell us... "Today, you will be fired with enthusiasm or tomorrow, YOU WILL be fired with enthusiasm, KNOW WHAT I MEAN? I always knew exactly what he meant!! Great to be a part of a "WINNING TEAM!"
So congratulations to everyone that was part of the team for that game production! Former CBS Sports director Ric LaCivita directed the game, and Joe Vencius produced. Craig Ritchie is the coordinating producer, and Hammond Reynolds the executive producer.

As usual, I had my camera at the game. So here are some pictures of some of the people involved in the award-winning broadcast.


Keeping It Cool: FSN South/Sportsouth Executive Producer Hammond Reynolds keeps his talent cool in the late summer heat before 2008 Central Michigan - University of Georgia football game broadcast, which received the 2009 Southeast Regional Emmy Award for "Outstanding Achievement: Sporting Event/Game-Live/Unedited." Photograph Copyright 2008 by Eye on Sports Media/The Cayuga Group, LLC.

The Producer: Joe Vencius produced the 2008 Central Michigan
- University of Georgia football game broadcast, which received
the 2009 Southeast Regional Emmy Award for "Outstanding
Achievement: Sporting Event/Game-Live/Unedited."
Photograph Copyright 2008 by Eye on Sports Media/The Cayuga Group, LLC.



The Director: Ric LaCivita, who spent many years at CBS Sports,
directed the 2008 Central Michigan - University of Georgia football
game broadcast, which received the 2009 Southeast Regional Emmy
Award for "Outstanding Achievement: Sporting Event/Game-Live/Unedited."
Photograph Copyright 2008 by Eye on Sports Media/The Cayuga Group, LLC.

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