CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CHARLOTTE SPORTS LIVE) – Shannon Spake always has the scoop.
Be it in a sideline report during a football game or with what really goes on behind the scenes of a FOX NFL broadcast.
“We’re like ducks,” she said without a hint of humor. “Kicking like hell underneath the surface of the water. There’s a lot that goes into it.”
That’s not an understatement.
If you tune in at any given point during a telecast, you might see Spake on the field or Kenny Albert and Jonathan Vilma in the booth. But behind the scenes, about 50 other people are doing their best to make them, as well as the entire show, look good.
“Camera guys, replay guys, utilities, so many people, audio people,” listed Fran Morison. “There’s so many people, and everyone is talented.”
And it’s Morison’s job to ensure everyone’s on the same page.
“As a producer, I call myself the head coach of the group.”
Like Panthers Interim head coach Steve Wilks, Morison designs the game plan.
He’s done the homework on all the key players and all the big storylines, but it’s his responsibility to make sure the crew is also ready to pivot on a moment’s notice.
“It’s unscripted,” he explained. “There’s no rehearsal. It’s go time. When the ball is kicked, there’s a not greater rush because you’re in the moment.”
Director Bryan Lilley definitely is.
He’s got a wall full of monitors in front of him, yet somehow, in a split second, he’s tasked with picking the right one.
“I’ll make more decisions on a game day than most people make in a week,” he said without a hint of humor.
If the environment sounds stressful, you’re right.
However, like the guys in the truck, the announcers upstairs wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I never feel like I’m working,” said Kenny Albert. “I guess that’s a great feeling to have.”
Despite their best efforts, pretty much everyone on the crew says there’s no such thing as a perfect game, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to get it right next week.
“I have been in this industry for 20 years, and like I said, I still walk away from a broadcast saying I could have done that better,” said Spake.
Another broadcast is in the books, meaning there’s another chance to get it right next week.