In June, Longhorn Network conducted a unique learning experience for its employees which combined a development opportunity with a fun and interactive team building event. All the Live Pong Day (a pun on LHN’s brand campaign “All the Live Long Day,” which is a verse from the “Eyes of Texas” – the University of Texas fight song) featured a closed-circuit televised pingpong tournament.
This event would not have been possible without Joe Baker, the director of Remote Production Ops who was instrumental in coordinating the Austin studio logistics that allowed LHN to execute a successful pingpong tournament and simultaneous team build.
The tournament included more than 40 LHN staffers. They went through “TV 101” training, where they learned the different roles needed to produce a live event. All LHN staffers were assigned positions ranging across the production spectrum – audio, graphics, camera operator, director, producer, score-bug, play by play, and analyst. Once trained, employees took part in producing the pingpong tournament as if it were airing live on the air, rotating in and out of different roles while also competing in the tournament.
1. “It is always a humbling experience to do someone else’s job. It all looks so easy from the seat in your living room. I was working on graphics and was responsible for keeping score. Realizing that the entire viewing audience was relying on me was stressful, and, on top of that, a producer who wants graphics now added to the stress. You quickly come to appreciate your fellow workers who can help. I had so much fun.” — SVP, Affiliate Partnerships, Lori LeBas
2. “Operating a TV camera is a skilled art. I learned that the fine folks behind the cameras take a proactive role in pitching shots to the director. That was fun to do during the ping pong tourney – close-ups of my coworkers’ excited reactions.” — Jill Husak, director, Sports Marketing
3. “I learned that there is a genuine interest to understand other people’s roles and how they execute those jobs. I spent most of my time training our play-by-play talents and analysts. When we better understand how we each do our job, it changes our perspective on our own jobs. And we did all through a love of pingpong.” – Lowell Galindo, commentator
4. “The event gave me a greater appreciation for the extremely talented people we work with. As a producer, I’m quick to notice when a shot is a little off-center or out of focus. After running camera during All The Live Pong Day, it’s safe to say all of my shots were off-center and out of focus.” — Andres Alvarez, segment producer
5. “It was great watching people in other departments get out of their comfort zones while learning in a comfortable environment.” – Spencer Chmiel, associate Remote Ops producer
Jordan Sanchez produced the video.