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'Painting 'em Purple'

From the Booth
Monday, September 30, 2002
By Jeff Charles
Voice of the Pirates


Game day broadcast just tip of high-tech iceberg



Listen to FROM THE
BOOTH with Jeff Charles
live on Thursday nights on
WCZI 98.3 FM or play the archive later on Bonesville.




The Pirate Sports Radio Network is on the air! It’s time now for a behind the scenes look at how the network operates. Everything you always wanted to know about the Pirate Sports Radio Network.

To begin with, there’s a lot that goes into that Saturday football broadcast each week.

It all starts on Mondays with Steve Logan’s press conference in which the coach briefs the media on the upcoming opponent and the Pirates.

We have the opportunity to interview players and those sound bites we gather on Mondays are aired on our East Carolina Bank Pirate Pre-Game Show.

You may hear as many as four players during that segment, hosted by Henry Hinton with Carlester Crumpler and me.

We try to keep the format of the show moving quickly with a sense of urgency as we build up to kickoff of the game.

You’ll hear scores from other college games on the Wendy’s Scoreboard, comments form Logan, and always Crump’s interviews with the opposing coach, plus defensive coordinator Tim Rose and offensive coordinator Doug Martin.

The maestro? Pulling all of this mayhem together is engineer-producer Paul Rogers. There’s a lot going on during this time as Paul has to keep all the elements of the broadcast running smoothly. During that first fifty minutes of the broadcast each week, Rogers resembles a one armed paper hanger. Keep in mind, too, that Rogers’ arrives about three hours prior to air-time to set up all the equipment for the broadcast.

Speaking of equipment, I’ve seen quite a revolution over the years. Today we are using all digital equipment and that has simplified our operation considerably.

The machines we now use contain all of our commercials, billboards (the opening and closing to the broadcast) interviews, bumper music (the music you hear going into and out of commercial breaks) and virtually everything you hear with the exception of the four of us who are live on the air.

We are now using ISDN telephone lines. ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network. Those lines have been a radical breakthrough in remote broadcasting. The signal we send out is studio quality and that signal goes directly from the broadcast booth to the Capitol Radio Network in Raleigh, our satellite distribution partner.

Rusty Helser and his crew uplink the signal to a satellite, in our case, GE-8, Transponder 3, and that signal can be heard in all fifty states.

Capitol has been our partner for sixteen years and they do a great job of distributing our product. It gets hectic in the Capitol control room on game days because East Carolina is not the only broadcast originating from the Raleigh studio. Once the signal is uplinked it is then downlinked to the radio stations on the network. The downlinking equipment is the dish you see as you go by your favorite radio station.

Radio stations employ board operators to monitor levels and insert local commercials during the broadcast. The technology is so advanced these days that some stations don’t even have a real life human being pressing the buttons at the radio stations. We are now activating tones at the game site and sending those tones down the line to the radio stations, and that automatically triggers the local commercials. Don’t ask me how it works. It’s another marvel of the technology age we are now living in.

If everything is up and running smoothly it’s time for our on-air guys to take over.

Crumpler has now worked with me fifteen years and he’s doing his best work ever this year. Crump is a very humble class guy who represents The University so very well. He’s in both the East Carolina Hall of Fame and the State of North Carolina’s Hall of Fame. There are those who say he is the best high school player they’ve ever seen in this state.

Marty Feurer has been with the network for ten years and patrols the sidelines for us. Marty is a Temple graduate and was a television sportscaster in Delaware where he was honored as the Delaware Sportscaster of the Year. He’s an experienced broadcaster who adds a lot to our games with his keen insight and the great job he does in the locker room on the post-game show.

Henry Hinton is a valuable member of our team and brings a real Pirate perspective to the broadcast. Hinton writes the pre-game show and handles our anchoring duties, including the Domino’s Pizza Pirate Halftime Huddle. He also keeps track of scores on the Wendy’s Scoreboard and offers tidbits throughout the play-by-play coverage.

Aaron Beaulieu is someone you don’t hear but he’s been my spotter for a long time and does a great job.

We now have computerized stats in the booth which the University Book Exchange sponsors. There’s that technology again, supplanting the stat guy who used to be glued to a seat beside you in the old days.

I’ve always wanted the Pirate Sports Radio Network to have a distinctive sound. A sound that when you turn on the radio you say: “Yes, that’s the Pirate broadcast.”

I don’t like networks that have a “vanilla sound” to them. That’s why we try to capture the excitement of what a Pirate game sounds like, complete with Marty’s new segment this year, “Fans in the Stands.” The fans are such a huge part of this program.

You know it’s us when you hear: “Left to right across your Pirate Sports Radio Network dial,”; “Paul Rogers is twisting the dials,”; and of course, “You can paint this one purple.”

It’s the Pirate broadcast on the Pirate Sports Radio Network. Thanks for listening.

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02/23/2007 10:24:23 AM

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