ESPN has partnered with the Women’s Audio Mission (WAM), a non-profit organization that operates the only female-led recording studio in the world. Twenty-three women and non-binary people were given access to a course that teaches all aspects of responding to a music brief for a network, along with the opportunity to record songs ESPN can ultimately acquire for its library, including content related to our Fifty50 initiative and Black Business Sports Symposium in Atlanta this week.
Over two months, Caitlin DelVillano, senior music coordinator, worked with this talented and driven group of composers by offering honest, constructive feedback in real-time on each song submitted. Every person put their all into learning and growing in this course which made the feedback process much more fruitful.
Front Row caught up with Caitlin to ask about this experience.
How does ESPN benefit from our partnership with Women’s Audio Mission (WAM)?
ESPN benefits from the partnership in so many ways. We have invested in twenty-three composers who we have developed relationships with while expanding our audience and brand reach to more casual sports fans. We also have access to eight new library tracks that will be part of our ESPN library and can be used beyond Title IX programming.
How does it feel to hear the WAM project’s work on ESPN platforms for Fifty50?
It’s surreal to see the work come to life. It took two months of work with the students to build the songs they created. It was a powerful experience to have them sonically tell their own stories through the inspiration of Title IX. Many of the students did not come in as sports fans, but all left excited to tune into ESPN.
What did it mean to be involved in a project like this?
When I was starting my career as an audio engineer, WAM gave me a community and support system, so this class was my way of paying it forward. I wanted to use my platform at ESPN to empower women and non-binary professionals, who like me, needed someone to give them a hand up. We gave an opportunity to many people who wouldn’t have gotten it otherwise. I’m proud of the impact we made and that I was able to do it while representing ESPN.
How important was the collaboration with your teammates in ESPN Creative Studio?
The collaboration with our teammates in CreativeWorks and Edit was vital to telling this story. Chris Mantzaris, Sr., Creative Director, has been a fierce supporter from the start and helped pull together a team — Jeremy Edney, Sr. Producer Editor; Matt Jason, Supervising Producer Editor; Mike Berggren, Supervising Producer Editor; and Jaibee Baxter, Lead Producer Editor — to give additional life to this story. I’m grateful to be surrounded by so many talented and supportive colleagues.