Working when it’s a lot like playing

Last night, I had the opportunity to do something that I have never done before, but it was only a matter of time before it was going to happen. I mean, this is Canada. If you read between the lines enough, you know that I’m back to doing the radio thing in and around Vancouver, all on the technical back end. I’m the guy making things work and the people on the air sound good.

So when I was going through the setup for Friday night on Wednesday afternoon, it struck me. I’m working my first ever sports broadcast, and on top of that, it was a Vancouver Giants hockey game.

View from press row

That might not sound incredible or awesome to some, but that’s the point where I realized how far I’ve come in my radio career. From those early, blood shot eye, 4AM Saturday mornings at a tiny, 100 watt college radio station to a group of commercial radio stations in the #2 market in Canada, it hit me as I was getting everything in place for the guys doing play by play for the game.

When I saw a semi-professional hockey game for the first time, it was for the UHL Quad City Mallards[wiki], now known as the Quad City Flames (and recently an AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames). I kinda thought that it would be cool to do radio stuff for them, but it always seemed like I might be doing something for the Hawkeyes basketball or football team before something like minor league hockey would come my way. I came close once, but it never panned out.

Giants Post-Game Show In all actuality, my first days doing any sort of sports broadcasts was being board operator for Iowa Women’s Softball games at KRUI. That’s when I developed my affinity for good music during sporting events, and you can believe that I took some pleasure in parsing the library to find some killer tracks to play as beds and bumpers. These days, it’s a boarder line obsession with restraint.

The Giants game was simple setup and tear down with some minor sweating as we got the broadcast on the air. There is always that moment where you second guess everything you just setup and pray that when the show goes live, you can breathe again once you’re sure it works.

Crazy thing is, the only fire to creep up on us last night was an actual fire. I usually refer to having problems as “putting out fires” or “having a complete flame out”, but there was an actual fire in the rafters of Pacific Coliseum, just above the goalie on north end of the rink.

At least my night wasn’t that bad, and when it seemed like it might not be all that serious, the flames gave a nice pop and some flaming debris fell to the ice. They had to stop the game to get it all cleaned up and repair the ice for about ten minutes, but it made for an interesting first period. Never worked a hockey broadcast before, and I certainly have never seen a fire like that either.

Fire in Pacific Coliseum
Best shot I could get with my cellphone.
That small, orange spec near the middle of the shot is the fire.

No damage to really be seen, and it was too high up to see what it actually was. Some guy ran to the location to first see what it was, and then ran back to, presumably, find something to put it out with. Instead, he came back to stomp on it, but then another few guys ran up with a fire extinguisher to kill it.

Giants lost to the Chilliwack Bruins in OT, 5-4, but still a pretty good night.


One Reply to “Working when it’s a lot like playing”

  1. You shoulda climbed up there with an extinguisher! Can I just say…I’m a bit jealous. And, I can say that I know someone who is doing what they truly love too…ain’t working fun?!

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