Best Broadcast Location (Holty’s Blog)

I like to give the people what they want. Since I said a long time ago (three blogs ago in fact) that this space would be interactive, I’m responding to the people. Over the course of the last week, I got e-mails and tweets from #Condorstown and #ECHL fans alike commenting on food and suggesting possible blog topics for this week.

One I found interesting came from an Aces season ticket holder of all people, Dean Hinther, who informed me that the meal served at Sullivan Arena (read here) is for corporate sponsors, not season ticket holders as I had imagined. Tough break for the STH’s in the Great White North. Maybe we can get Bowtie George to change this.

Anyways, Dean-O wanted me to rank the actual broadcast locations at the seven arenas in the west (next season I can add THREE Eastern Conference cities to the list, BOOM, SCHEDULE SPOILER ALERT, you’re welcome) as it related to location, sightlines, relation to fans seat locations etc.

This will be my toughest ranking yet and since it’s tough, I’m not going to list them in any particular order, but by number. 1 is the best, 7 is the worst. Feel me? As always, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want.

#3 Colorado Eagles – The not-so-new members of the ECHL anymore have their press box in the corner of the arena. It’s not the best sightline as players are moving away from you and towards you, depending on the period. That’s why I always use the description of left-wing/right-wing and not “near side/far side.” (that’s free advice young broadcasters, write it down) But the booth itself is awesome, complete with cable television, ample space, coffee, and water. I can even lock the door. Just look out for the guy who sits in front of the booth as he enjoys trying to scream into the crowd mic. Buddy, I have an on/off switch, this isn’t my first rodeo.

#6 Stockton Thunder – Friend of the blog, Will Hoenike (Idaho radio guy, @WillHoenike) thinks that the ledge you broadcast from in Stockton should have its structural integrity checked. Having spent a summer in the construction business building three-story decks, I have to agree with him. It’s cramped up there and you’re next to the goal horn. It’s away from fans though, and a good sightline, but let’s be honest, I hate going there (I’ve said that before right?). It would be numero seven on my list, but one location takes the cake for that as you’ll read about a little later.

#5 Alaska Aces – You’re so on top of the action at the second smallest rink in the Western Conference that you can’t stand up when you broadcast for fear of obstructing the view of paying customers. The visiting radio guy shares a nightstand sized table with Woody (The Aces version of Mike Griffith) and has to sit down the entire game. I’m not as animated as Mike Benton (Thunder radio guy, @Benton_Mike) is during the game, but I enjoy the ability to move a little bit when broadcasting. Sitting down doesn’t do it for me. Stick to the sushi, Aces.

#2 Utah Grizzlies – The Utah location is fantastic. Yes, it’s in the crowd, and you’re essentially in a dugout, but you’re about as close to the glass as you can possibly get. Plus, they put crowd mics on the doors of both penalty boxes which make the broadcast sound like a NBC broadcast. Nice work @DennyOnSports. Now, if only we could do something about people leaning over trying to read game notes or swiping rosters from my table, the Grizzlies may take the number one spot.

#4 Las Vegas Wranglers – This is another “open-air” broadcast location at the top of one section inside Orleans Arena. After you walk through the casino to the wafting stench of cigarettes and pick up some Fuddruckers, you get ample table space and a good location. However, I can’t get over the fans turning around and looking at you while you broadcast, because it’s so quiet in there, I think you can hear me across the rink. I’m a little self-conscious, ok? I did have two fathers and their sons come over and sit in front of me one game though. Afterwards, they said that they enjoyed listening. Thanks Wrangler nation.

#1 Idaho Steelheads – It’s not even close, in my opinion. You’re right at center ice, at a great height, and separated from the fans. #Winning. Plus, there is a media banner, used as a TV backdrop in Boise, which divides the booth in two with Will. I like that. It’s like the Wizard of Oz “Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain.” Nice job Steelies.

#7 Ontario Reign – @KevinBartl says Stockton’s is worse because of the lack of room, but I disagree. Ontario decided to encase the broadcast location behind a plexiglass window. Yes, there’s a TV and you get your own room, but there is no ambient crowd sound. They’ll hook up an external crowd mic for you, but all you hear is the Reign’s broadcaster in the background. It’s the box of doom. I could say whatever I wanted to in there and you’d have to believe me because you can’t hear anything else going on around the arena. It’s a great location (albeit on the other side of the TV cameras, again use LW and RW, not near/far side for the viewing audience young radio guys), but the box of doom gives me a headache and is normally set to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Until next Thursday #Condorstown…

Have an idea for #HoltysBlog? Tweet him @BroadcastHolt or e-mail

Ryan Holt a.k.a. ‘Holty’, is the younger half of the Condors broadcast duo, and recently completed his first season in #Condorstown. He dares you to find anyone who drinks more Pepsi than he does. Follow him on Twitter @BroadcastHolt for random stuff confined to 140 characters.