From the Booth
Monday, September 30, 2002
By Jeff Charles
Voice of the Pirates
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
We have the opportunity to interview players and those sound
bites we gather on Mondays are aired on our East Carolina Bank Pirate
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
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
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
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.
Send an e-mail message to
Dig into Jeff Charles' Bonesville Archives.
02/23/2007 10:24:23 AM