Newport News Public Schools TV and the Telecommunications Center

TV crew working with laptops and cameras
The Telecom team works the NNPS School Board meeting and a basketball game on Tuesday, February 15.

The Telecom team has been pulling double duty lately, doing two livestreams at once, covering back-to-back basketball games, and recording two "Sports Highlights" shows in one day.

Two livestreams at once

Led by Telecom Supervisor Ray Price, the team has streamlined production by utilizing livestreaming on the internet, which is great for high school - and middle school - sports.

On February 15, when the School Board was meeting at 6:30 p.m. and there were also high school basketball games at Menchville High School, the NNPS Telecom team took a chance and accomplished something they've been wanting to do: livestream two events at the same time.

For years, Telecom has done live broadcasts of School Board meetings on NNPS-TV (Cox Channel 47 and Verizon Fios 17, and available on nnpstv.com via webstream).

Recently, the team started livestreaming the meetings on the Telecom student YouTube channel, such that the replay is available just a short time after the meeting adjourns.

The Telecom team hadn't tried adding a second live feed on YouTube before, but Price wanted to give it a try.

The plan was for Telecom Instructor Carl Daniels, Jr. and NNPS-TV Broadcast Engineer Mansoor Ahmed to be at Telecom to handle the live TV broadcast and livestream of the School Board meeting, while Price and Telecom Intern Brandon Hedgepeth were at Menchville High School livestreaming two basketball games.

At Menchville, Hedgepeth ran the laptop with the feed to YouTube and Price served as camera operator. The School Board meeting crew included Telecom grads and students in addition to Daniels and Ahmed.

The two livestreams were a success: both events could be viewed live on the Telecom student YouTube channel, and are available on demand as well.


TV crew and announcer with headset
The Telecom team covering two basketball playoff games live on YouTube.
Photo: Telecom staff

Back-to-back basketball playoff games

The Telecom team had their hands full covering two high school basketball playoff games on February 18 at Heritage High School.

The games featured Deep Creek vs Heritage and Churchland vs Great Bridge.

Telecom used their ATEM remote switcher and two cameras. The crew included Telecom Supervisor Ray Price, Intern Brandon Hedgepeth, and graduates Collin Smalls and Muriel Gamble.

Additionally, Telecom Instructor Carl Daniels, Jr. announced both games, handling the play-by-play and commentary.

"That in itself is impressive," said Price, noting the difficulty of announcing on air for two games back-to-back.

"Announcing two games can be challenging," said Daniels, "but I felt like I was up to the challenge."

"It can be difficult on your voice," he added.

Being prepared is the key, and Daniels was armed with rosters from each school and notes on their records and who coached each team.

"You just need to do your homework," he said. "It is the same principles you would use for journalism when gathering the facts."

The students on the crew noted that Daniels, who is usually very even-keeled and calm, got excited when the game was very close and went into double overtime.

"The students said they'd never seen him so excited before," said Price.


Recording two 'Sports Highlights' shows in one day

"Sports Highlights" has been airing on NNPS-TV for three decades.

Telecom Supervisor Ray Price is Producer/Director of the show, and Greg Bicouvaris serves as host. In the 30 years that the two of them have been producing the show, they have learned tricks and "best practices" that make the show a success.

Usually, the "Sports Highlights" production team records two guests for a show, and does one half-hour show at a time. But occasionally they double up on recording guest interviews so that they have two shows ready for editing. This is helpful as far as putting up the set and getting the crew scheduled, although it makes for a long afternoon of recording.

In February, in the midst of School Board meetings and basketball games to cover, the crew recorded two shows - episodes for March and April - in one day in the studio at Telecom.

The March show features lacrosse and the April show has interviews with coaches from Warwick High School.

Price was thrilled to have some first-year Telecom students join the crew for the double session. During the COVID-19 pandemic, most crew jobs have gone to recent Telecom grad for safety and because they already had training for live and recorded video productions.

"Sports Highlights" airs on NNPS-TV (Cox Channel 47 and Verizon Fios 17) and is available on-demand on YouTube.