Behind The ScenesCOVID-19ESPN AudioInnovationWho Does That?Working @ ESPN

Home Sweet Work: Remote Audio “Kits” Help Power ESPN Radio Content

"As soon as the COVID-19 virus started impacting sports, we began working together with groups across ESPN, planning for multiple contingencies"

Creativity, ingenuity and flexibility took center stage over the weekend as the ESPN Radio team – like colleagues across them company – jumped into high gear and quickly acted on a plan to allow all shows to emanate from hosts’ homes beginning this week. Golic and Wingo, The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, First Take, Your Take, The Will Cain Show, Spain and Company and Freddie and Fitzsimmons will continue to provide news, opinion and analysis to sports fans across the country.

Justin Craig, senior director, Programming and Operations for ESPN Radio, spoke with Front Row about the teamwork, collaboration and planning that made this a reality:

“As soon as the COVID-19 virus started impacting sports, we began working together with groups across ESPN, planning for multiple contingencies,” he said. “Paramount was keeping our teams safe and healthy while fulfilling our mission to serve fans.

“We made sure the production teams around each show and every commentator were all healthy and in a position to keep ESPN Radio on the air. The management team (Amanda Gifford, Pete Ciccone, Liam Chapman and Mike Urrunaga) created a plan to minimize control room staffing to one producer and one board operator,” he said.

Coordination and collaboration among show teams was paramount to make sure everyone had all they needed. – Justin Craig, senior director, Programming and Operations, ESPN Radio

“With all the uncertainty of what could happen, we sat down and determined how many remote “kits” we had, lined them up and started allocating to each commentator,” Craig said. “The number of colleagues in screening was also reduced. All other show personnel will continue to contribute from home setups, utilizing video conferencing and instant messaging so all participants remain a critical piece to each show unit, regardless of their physical location.”

“The kits allow hosts to get on the air from just about anywhere and include microphones and headphones. The unit can either set up through a home router or through WiFi/cell service,” he said. “Coordination and collaboration among show teams was paramount to make sure everyone had all they needed. The strong teamwork of everyone involved to handle all the possible scenarios and moving parts was what made this option possible when the time came. All of our ‘just in case’ planning turned in to a communal preparedness to handle a difficult situation.”

Close