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SU Responds to ND Tragedy: Changes WAER’s Broadcast Position

WAER Sports and the athletics department have decided to move the station’s broadcast position for the start of the 2010 basketball season.

The “Original Home of the Orange” will now broadcast from center court, in the second row of seats on the floor. WAER had been broadcasting from a scissor lift located behind the bleachers on the eastern side of the court for the last five years.

“We appreciate the support of SU Athletics and we’re excited about the new broadcast position,” said WAER Sports director (and Sporcle genius) Kevin Brown.”It gives us a great perspective of the action.”

The university reviewed it’s safety protocols following the death of Notre Dame student Declan Sullivan, and came to the conclusion that there were alternatives to broadcasting from a scissor lift.

While the lift was still considered a safe utility for broadcasting games, the group found that there was another option; a row of seats located on the court that fit the criteria perfectly.

The new position was tested as a pilot in Tuesday’s smackdown of Lemoyne. The sight lines were great, according to Brown and his fellow broadcaster for the game, Team Fizz roommate, and friend of D.A., Alex Perlman.

“It was an intimate view of the court, which is what you need to call a good basketball game,” said Perlman.

The tragic events of Sullivan’s death seem have resonated on the Syracuse University campus. The Fizz has to give the athletics department and WAER some props here. They found a potential safety problem, came up with an alternative solution, and ran with it. Seems like in-house problem solving at it’s finest.

Both Mike Couzens and I work for WAER. It’s also where D.A. got his start. As for me? I’m just glad when I’m calling games, I’ll be able to keep an eye out on which walk-on is headed into the game before anyone else. I’ll be that close.

Posted: Ted Conroy

Editor’s Note: Proud that WAER and athletics got back to the roots. I worked at AER from ’97-’01 and closely with the athletic department when I was Sports Director there.  The station has produced some of the greatest names in sportscasting: Marv, Costas, McDonough, Tirico, Eagle, Greenwald, Stockton. Guess what? They didn’t call games from a scissor lift. We’ve always had a position on the floor, three tables down from midcourt. When Darryl Gross took over the athletic department, his decision to monetize those seats, push the WAER broadcast position into the proverbial broom closet and limit its online reach to push hits toward SUathletics.com was met with overwhelming cynicism from the station alumni I spoke with. Finding new revenue streams are part of Gross’ job description and he’s been successful in doing so. However, WAER’s experience forges a different, tighter bond than one would expect. And when a dude from SoCal drops in and immediately ignores the tradition that was built before him, there’s a serious sense of resentment. That’s why I originally nicknamed him Dr. Doom. The constant tinkering with the unis, the hire of Groobers, the big-timing of a student station. Everything he touched felt out-of-touch. I’m glad to see the circle of ‘Cuse starting to close. Gross has learned from his mistakes. Look at the solutions to these last three problems: Doug Marrone hired, jerseys retreated back to a traditional look and WAER is back on the court. In the wake of the tragedy at Notre Dame, what safety and legal sense did it make to elevate a student 18-feet in the air on a robotic lift for two hours? Nod of the cap to Gross and the athletics department. They’re fixing mistakes.

Posted: D.A.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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