Behind The Scenes

ESPN’s ‘Audio Avenue II’ takes
a village to become a village

It’s not quite Woodstock — and hopefully there will be no rain or mud — but Wednesday’s second edition of ESPN’s “Audio Avenue” will have a communal feel. Like that event held 43 years ago, it promises to offer audio to delight the ears.

With 16 affiliates descending upon the Bristol, Conn. campus and four national network shows also emanating from the “quad,” the logistical wrangling that goes into a full day of radio broadcasts is, like Woodstock, a monstrous undertaking.

Front Row caught up with Justine DeLuco, ESPN Director, Events & Marketing and Brian Janes, Senior Engineer, Media Systems to glimpse the amount of coordination needed to pull off #ESPNAudioAve2012.

What did you learn from the first Audio Avenue that will help you this year?
Justine: We wanted to make this year bigger, so we decided to include a “main stage” to broadcast Mike & Mike in the Morning, The Herd with Colin Cowherd, The Scott Van Pelt Show and Jorge Ramos y Su Banda.
Brian: From a technical side, getting to “remotely” broadcast our network shows from campus gives us a chance to show team members that do not get a chance to travel to events how we do things on the road. Taking our shows on the road requires a significant amount of equipment and technology to pull off, and it will be useful to get to show that off to the campus.

Hate to bring it up, but what’s the rain contingency plan?
Justine: Our event layout and rain plan, created by [ESPN Audio producer] Mike Urrunaga, consists of us moving all shows in house, if necessary.
Brian: Of course, we’re going to have perfect weather for the event, but if it were to rain, we’re going to be using every bit of available radio broadcast space in Buildings 2 and 5 to host the stations. Last year, the event outside was cut short in the late afternoon because of tornado warnings. The rain plan was put into action and worked perfectly.

Brian, this one’s for you: Give us a sense of the technical aspects needed for #ESPNAudioAve2012.
Last year we had fiber installed under the lawn to connect a panel in the lawn to Building 2 which allows us to install the 32 phone circuits as well as the Internet connectivity needed to accommodate the live broadcasts. We have a team of seven engineers working to support the 13 broadcast positions on the lawn, capable of putting 52 hosts on the air at once. This year we have a Deportes Radio Affiliate coming from the Dominican Republic that will be utilizing one of our satellite uplink channels to transmit their audio home.

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