Temple Athletics brings Owls sports coverage to TUTV

TUTV began airing coverage of Temple's Olympic-level sports this fall, starting with women's volleyball.
TUTV began airing coverage of Temple’s Olympic-level sports this fall, starting with women’s volleyball.

By Sofiya Ballin
SMC Communications

The kinetic back and forth of volleyball is exhilarating to watch, rigorous to play and, as a group of students from the School of Media and Communication has learned, takes an immense amount of skill and poise to broadcast to the masses. The students were given the challenging task of covering these games to produce engaging coverage for TUTV-Temple University Television.

George Cummings, TUTV programming and production manager and media studies and production adjunct faculty member, is the architect behind the television production workshop “Temple Sports.” Thus far, they’ve covered six volleyball games and air a weekly sports talk show, during which student interview a coach and two athletes.

The show, entitled Temple Athletics, has served up a new programming to satisfy any Owl fan’s needs.

“It’s been more successful than I could’ve imagined,” says Cummings. “It’s caught interest. It’s good for those in production because it’s offering an area of production that wasn’t here before.”

The show features Temple’s Olympic-level sports, which include field hockey, gymnastics, fencing and volleyball.

“TUTV is the university’s cable channel and website, so it is important that our channel reflects the full dimension of life at Temple,” says Paul Gluck, general manager of TUTV.  “Athletics play such a vital and vibrant role in the Temple experience that we feel compelled to offer our viewers the chance to meet Owl players, coaches and fans in a wide range of programs.”

Ahead of the action
Though the station has always had a sports talk program, this is the first time it has covered a live sporting event. Students learn to do a “three camera switch,” switching from three different cameras to capture the action live as opposed to editing it together afterward. Games are streamed live on the athletics website and recorded for later playback on TUTV.

“If you think sports are difficult to play, it’s very complicated to cover for television because you almost have to be in front of the action,” says Cummings.

While being on the frontline of the serves and spikes, students were given the opportunity to fine tune their skills behind the camera, the anchor desk and the microphone.

Kevin Otte, a junior media studies and production major, has found that the course is improving the technical skills he will need in and on the field.

“We had to make sure cables were taped down, graphics were built and everything was connected correctly. Since we had to cover a lot of home games, we were able to rotate positions and have everyone try out new jobs,” says Otte. “It was my responsibility to not only switch between cameras, but also update the score graphic and make sure there’s continuity throughout. At some points, George and I scrambled to solve some technical issues prior to game-time, keeping the course challenging, yet fun.”

Increased exposure
The interdepartmental collaboration has proven successful for both Temple Athletics and the School of Media and Communication.

“Not only does it highlight our athletic programs, many of which do not get much exposure, but it gives our incredibly gifted students a way to showcase their talents,” says Larry Dougherty, the senior associate athletic director for communications. “It is a win-win situation.”

The course is also beginning to gain popularity as aspiring sports journalists look to diversify their skill set.

“I’m happy to say we’re offering the course again in the spring,” says Cummings.

In fact, there is a budding waitlist. Temple Athletics has provided a platform for new opportunities and exposure.

“A couple of coaches have talked to me about using this experience and programs our students produce as a recruiting tool to attract athletes from all over the country,” says Cummings.

TUTV can be seen within the city of Philadelphia on Comcast channel 50 and Verizon channel 45 and worldwide at templetv.net.