ESPN’s rapidly expanding array of home studios has been invaluable during the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis and even caught the eye of our home state governor, Ned Lamont.
His staff asked ESPN to lend its expertise and create a temporary studio for Connecticut’s governor to fulfill the need to be visible to residents and deliver key messages. In addition, Lamont must meet a growing demand for local and national media interviews while modeling his “Stay Safe. Stay Home” initiative.
Gov. Lamont said: “Social distancing is critically important during this public health emergency, and that means coming up with new ways to be connected to our residents and members of the press. We are fortunate to have some of the best engineers in the media world right here in Connecticut who are able to provide this kind of support. ESPN is a homegrown company providing a helping hand.”
ESPN’s remote operations crew embraced the challenge and chose the ideal location in “The Cottage” at the historic Governor’s Residence in Hartford.
Shea Byram, senior manager, remote operations; Nick D’Angelo, senior lighting specialist; Leah Morgenstern, remote ops coordinator; and Ryan Bastek, senior remote operations coordinator are part of a team that has been installing home studios every day during the crisis.
They have worked installing studios in the Connecticut homes of ESPN commentators Dan Orlovsky, Jeremy Schaap, Mike Greenberg, Hannah Storm, and others.
Byram, D’Angelo, and Morgenstern worked at the residence Thursday, with Bristol support from Bastek – who created the camera system, Byram says – and Kevin Gauthier, coordinating director, Remote Production Operations.
The studio debuted Friday morning when Gov. Lamont appeared on CNN. It has been used for live shots with WFSB (CBS affiliate), WTNH (ABC affiliate) and MSNBC as well. The studio is temporary and will be returned to ESPN.
Byram said: “We have established more than 40 new home studios since the initial stay-at-home orders and have dozens more scheduled for install. ESPN Transmission and the Assignment Desk are vital to this process as they will provide ongoing support for all live appearances from this location. It was an honor to assist with the Governor’s request for a dedicated broadcast quality system. We know it’s a high priority for him to inform residents like us, and local and national news viewers, and he now has the ability to do that, from the safety of the Governor’s Residence. It was wonderful to have a chance to support our local community’s needs in this unprecedented situation.”