Sunday, December 08, 2013

Sunday in the Park with Ken

This is a photo essay to accompany my travelogue on going to San Diego to see the Chargers-Bengals game.  I spent the game in the pres box and took a lot of photos.  Since it's another big NFL Sunday I thought I'd share a bunch of them.  You don't have to be a football fan.  This is more of a behind-the-scenes of broadcasting post (along with some hopefully fun commentary).
View from the booth.  Pretty nice seats, huh?   I wanted to say to the players, hey could you move down to the hash marks closer to my side?
Tailgating in the parking lot.
By the end of the game with all the grease it looked like this.
Dan Hoard (voice of the Bengals), Josh Lewin (voice of the Chargers), and some blogger photo bombing.
Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts doing their live stand up.
Like I said, great view, but where's the yellow line?
National radio was also on the scene.  I'm sure there was tremendous interest in Omaha and Norfolk for the San Diego-Cincinnati game.  Mark Malone and Dave Sims from Westwood One called the action.  Dave was one of my partners in Seattle.  When I had the chance I should have asked him more questions about the intricacies of football besides which team had the hottest cheerleaders?
Each announcer has his own system.  Here are Dave Sims' spotting boards.  I think orange means they're Jewish.
Josh Lewin calling the Chargers game.  The guy behind him is a spotter helping him identify players.  Either that or he is checking out the Chargers girls.
Dan Hoard calling the game for Bengals radio.  The gentleman to his right is a stat man.  In each booth you have the broadcasters, a spotter, stat man, producer, and audio engineer.   And that's nothing compared to television.
There's Ian calling the game.  Note all the monitors and screens, not to mention lights.  Not included in the picture are all the assistant directors, camera people, and support staff.  And that's just in the booth.  There's a trailer with producers, directors, engineers, graphics guys, stat men, instant replay editors, sound men, and the guy who lays in the yellow line.
Throughout the game, announcers read promos and drop in commercials.  After awhile you become a trained seal and just read whatever card anybody hands you.  I do believe that if a producer handed an announcer a card that said, "Miley Cyrus blows sailors" they would be so focused on the game that they would read it live on the air. 
After the game I joined Dan down in the Bengals' locker room.  I don't know why the announcers need spotters.  The players' names are on their uniforms.
You could easily read their names from here.
The players get interviewed after the game.  Am I the only one who noticed that this guy is just wearing a towel?
Okay.  Just had to include this.  Me and  Hall of Famer Dan Fouts.

Thanks to Dan Hoard, Josh Lewin, Dave Sims, and Ian Eagle for being such gracious hosts and tolerating a total geek with an iPhone camera. 


VP81955 said...

Nice pics...I'm guessing the "63" on the huge Chargers helmet at midfield commemorates the 50th anniversary of San Diego's AFL championship team.

Was it your first time at San Diego Stadium since the Padres moved downtown to Petco? I attended a Dodgers-Padres game there in June 1989 on my first trip to the West Coast, and recall it took forever to get out of that parking lot despite it being a Tuesday night game that didn't have an unusually charge crowd.

VP81955 said...

"unusually large crowd." It's still early in the East, too.

Michael said...

I remember Lindsey Nelson saying that he wanted no one between him and the color man because he wanted to be able to look at him directly. Then I thought of his story of the play-by-play man who literally would put his hand over the color commentator's mouth when he didn't want him to talk. I don't think that's a bad idea at times.

Johnny Walker said...

I have a Friday question, if you'd be so kind, Ken:

On the rare occasions that shows are cancelled, but then resurrected on other networks (e.g. Taxi moving from ABC to NBC, Buffy moving from The WB to UPN, etc.) do the cast and crew get to renegotiate their contracts? Or are they still bound by the original contracts?


VP81955 said...

Watching some of the East Coast games today...they are being played in heavy snowstorms. The network yellow first-down marker looks like a movable stream of urine.

Breadbaker said...

I think I've said this before but it bears repeating: Dave Sims is the best football radio play-by-play guy I've ever heard. Much like Dave Niehaus's voice could sense a rally in baseball, Sims's voice changes (whether by instinct or on purpose) when a play is likely to sustain or stop a drive, rather than just be part of a series of three-and-outs. I like Sims on the Mariners, but I totally adore him when he does football. Even Cincinnati-San Diego.

Bill Jones said...

Thanks, Ken--very cool pictures. I have always wondered how radio/TV announcers in sports, especially football, manage to stay on top of everything. Maybe on a slow day/week, you could do a post or two about how announcers prepare, what they do during the game, how they interact with all the other behind-the-scenes people, and so forth. (I've always wondered -- how do they know which replay is going to be shown? Do they choose the replay? The producer?) It all seems so seamless when you listen/watch, but obviously there's an extraordinary amount of work that we never know about.

And maybe a related Friday question: have you ever wanted to do TV announcing, as opposed to radio? Do you think you could transition to it pretty easily, or is it an entirely different skill set?

Anonymous said...

FQ on the business of TV/Radio. How are newscasters/DJs/weathermen/etc. generally paid? Not just local. And I know that there is no absolute, just looking for generalities. For instance - does someone like Herman Edwards (ESPN) get paid a salary and is expected to go from Sportscenter to Mike & Mike to whatever else is going on at the time? Or is he going to be paid ala carte? What about news/weather/sports reporters? Do they get paid "overtime" for filling in for someone else? Do they get paid time off, or do they have to take the time without pay? I know this is probably not very interesting to a lot of people, but I'm curious. Thanks
John in Ohio
PS - Longtime weatherman Dick Goddard does the stats for the Browns. He's in his 80s and has been doing the stats for almost 50 years.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and about announcers. We in NE Ohio were blessed for many years to have Joe Tait doing the Cavs. Most years he was better than the team, always called it as he saw it, and you could see the game when he called it. He mostly didn't work with a color man, and hated it when he did.
John in Ohio

Cap'n Bob said...

I hadn't realized the Dave Sims of the M's was moonlighting, so to speak, in football. He's darn good at what he does and I'd like to hear him announce a football game sometime.

Liggie said...

Cap'n Bob, you can hear Dave Sims call football on either 1090 The Fan or 950 KJR in Seattle. IIRC he calls the late games.

Saw a feature with the late Harry Calas calling a football game. The spotter would lean over Calas' shoulder and point to a player's number on a chart when something happened, even while the play was still going. That would drive me crazy.

Charles H. Bryan said...

I listened to part of that San Diego-Cincinnati game (my local ESPN radio affiliate carried the Westwood One football broadcasts)when I was outside walking/loafing with the dog.
They indeed do good work.

Fun with football graphics: yesterday during the Lions-Eagles Toro Snowblower Bowl, there were ghostly apparitions of the yard markers and numbers during the game on Fox. It looked like dirty street melt had arranged itself perfectly in the shapes of yardage numbers. It was sort of creepy, because the players got grayed out, too.

(The second half included a ghostly apparition of the Lions run defense. Not so much creepy as it was just typical Lions football.)

Mike said...

Your photo really brings out how truly bad Ian Eagle's wig is.

Hcarvalho said...

American Football is an ok sport, but too regional to be of influence