Shaw looking to boost local sports coverage

Sports and television have been inextricably linked since the days of Willie Mays and Stan Musial and now, thanks to a new mobile studio, Fort Frances will have an increased capability to explore this connection.
“I think the community has come to expect that events should be televised when possible,” said Lyndon Hughes of Shaw Cable here. “Right now, the plan is to broadcast every Muskie football home game.”
Hughes is easily recognizable at sporting and community events around town, with his Sony DSR-250 slung over his shoulder and his trusty pair of earphones.
In short, he’s a one-man broadcast team.
This “team” was put to the test last month at the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship. For Hughes, who was hired by Shaw in February after experience with CBC and CTV, it was his first time covering the popular fishing derby.
“I was definitely learning the ropes this year,” he admitted. “I depended on the volunteers who had done it in the past to help out.”
What made this year’s broadcast more efficient for Shaw was the use of its new mobile studio truck. The square blue vehicle might look like a delivery truck, but inside is a fully-complemented studio with broadcast capability.
The FFCBC was the first major event Shaw covered with the mobile studio and the result was not only a more efficient broadcast for them, but also a more professional one for viewers at home.
“We used to have to literally tear [the studio] down and build it up again [at an event],” Hughes said. “But now we have the truck and we’re excited about using it to its full potential.”
Just what this full potential is still has to be worked out. Besides Muskie football games, there are a few other opportunities for sports broadcasts.
“I think, hopefully, we will be doing Muskie hockey, as well,” Hughes said. “Basketball, volleyball, we want to try to cover everything.”
But a mobile truck and one paid employee are not enough to create a full sports broadcast. What Hughes needs is help.
“The biggest challenge is to get enough volunteers,” he said, adding the bass tournament coverage was successful thanks to the help of students who were willing to donate their time.
“It’s definitely good experience to see how television really works,” he noted. “It’s a great way to get out and try something new.”
As for other innovations, Hughes is hopeful next year’s FFCBC will be a ground-breaking local broadcast.
“Down the road if the technology comes together, and we think it should, we would like to do the event live to air,” he enthused.