Southeastern Channel football broadcast named national finalist
Monday, April 26, 2021
by: Tonya Lowentritt
SOUTHEASTERN CHANNEL BROADCAST HONORED - The Southeastern Channel was named a finalist in the “Outstanding Live Game Production” category of the national College Sports Media Awards competition. The channel was honored in the “Collegiate Student” division for its October 12, 2019 broadcast of the Southeastern vs. Incarnate Word football game. Headlining the winning broadcast (from left) were students John Sartori of Mandeville, the play-by-play announcer, and Richie Solares of New Orleans, the color analyst.
HAMMOND – A Southeastern Channel student-produced football broadcast has once
again won national honors.
The channel broadcast of the 2019 Southeastern vs. Incarnate Word football game live streamed on ESPN+ was named a national finalist for the College Sports Media Awards. The production was honored in the “Collegiate Student” division for “Outstanding Live Game Production.” It is the fourth consecutive year the Southeastern Channel won CSMA national finalist recognition.
Other university live game productions named finalists in the “Collegiate Student” division were Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, St. Cloud State, Liberty, Belmont, and Ball State.
“To have a live game broadcast named one of the best in the nation against all of the top schools from across the country is truly an accomplishment and a wonderful honor,” said Southeastern Channel General Manager, Rick Settoon. “What makes it even more special is that our broadcast was the only football broadcast recognized in the national competition, and football is the most difficult type of game to produce well. Our production was the only one that had an entirely student crew- from announcers to director and camera operators. I couldn’t be more proud of our students.”
The Sports Video Group and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics presented the College Sports Media Awards, which honor the best in the nation in collegiate sports broadcast production. Finalists in the “National Network” division this year included ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports and the SEC Network.
For the first time the CSMA awards were announced in a virtual ceremony. Hosts and presenters included national sports network luminaries Rece Davis, Tom Rinaldi and Jen Lada of ESPN, Joel Klatt of FOX Sports, and Andy Katz of NCAA.com and the Big Ten Network.
The game broadcast was produced and directed by Dylan Domangue of Houma.
“Having our broadcast rank at the top nationally is a special feeling because a football game is the most challenging to broadcast,” Domangue said. “There are many elements and advanced camera work involved in a football game, and it is difficult to pull it off successfully. To be the only school to win a national award for a football broadcast means that we are producing the hardest sport at the highest level.”
The winning game broadcast featured John Sartori of Mandeville on play-by-play, Richie Solares of New Orleans as the color analyst, and Gabby Cox of Hammond as sideline reporter.
Other student crew members included Jermaine Kelly of Shreveport on instant replay, Lily Gayle of Greensburg on video playback, Tyler Thomas of Bogalusa on graphics, and Ross Chauvin of Houma and Angela Imbraguglio of Destrehan on audio.
Carson Fryou of Ponchatoula and Lauryn Jackson of Baton Rouge served as production assistants, while Richie Cruz of New Orleans and Logan Graffia of Slidell were the camera grips. Camera operators were John Williams of Denham Springs, Taylor Tabb of Destrehan, Jeremy Gaines of New Orleans and Tyler Guidroz of Ponchatoula.
Settoon said that it is rare for an all-student crew, including announcers, to broadcast Division One collegiate sports contests and gain approval by ESPN for streaming on ESPN-Plus.
“ESPN said the quality of our game broadcasts was the best they’ve seen in the country for an entirely student production,” Settoon said. “They said we easily live up to the professional quality standards and specifications required by ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports.”
“ESPN is the gold standard for kids who want sports careers,” said Domangue, now a TV reporter-anchor for KALB Channel 5 (NBC) in Alexandria, La. “Working for ESPN as a college student was an amazing experience, because that was a dream that each of us on the crew had.”
“Other schools have professionals filling at least some of the positions,” Domangue continued. “That makes it an even greater honor for us to win the top national awards for our productions. The best way to train, learn, and get better is to do those tasks and not just watch others do them. At the Southeastern Channel, we get the opportunity to do that which makes us better and more valuable over time.”
Settoon said that in addition to live game broadcasts of all Southeastern sports, students can work on Southeastern Channel sports productions like the live weekly sportscast, “The Big Game,” modeled after ESPN’s “SportsCenter” and recognized as best in the nation by College Broadcasters, Inc. In addition, students host and produce a bi-weekly coach’s talk show, “Lion Tracks,” which includes coaches from all Southeastern sports. They also produce sports documentaries, promotional spots and programs, and game hype videos for social media.
“We offer students opportunities in television sports broadcasting like no other university,” Settoon said. “We’re attracting students in sports broadcasting from throughout the state and South, and we have a brand new academic degree program in sports broadcasting that is the only one of its kind in the southern region between Texas and Florida.”
The program is a new concentration in Sports Communication in the Communication bachelor’s degree program housed in the Department of Communication and Media Studies, including courses for both live Southeastern game broadcasts for ESPN and for the “Big Game” live weekly sportscast. This spring semester Southeastern Channel students have produced 12 game broadcasts that have streamed live on ESPN+, including football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, soccer, baseball and softball games.
Settoon said that former Southeastern Channel sportscasters have landed jobs at sports networks and large TV markets from New Orleans to San Francisco and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina as play-by-play announcers, color analysts, sideline reporters and sports directors, anchors and reporters for television stations.
“The Southeastern Channel is the ultimate place to grow as a collegiate broadcaster,” said Sartori, now a sports reporter-anchor at KTAL Ch. 6 (NBC) in Shreveport. “Being able to do play-by-play for Division One sports alone is something that only a few schools offer, but to have the ability to do football on ESPN is something that almost no student can have the opportunity to do. It allows for so much feedback, both positive and negative, and allows you to grow as a broadcaster in ways that not many schools, especially in this region, can provide.”
In its 19 years of existence, the Southeastern Channel has won over 400 national, international and regional awards, including 20 awards from the Emmys. The Southeastern Channel can be seen on Spectrum Cable 199 in Tangipahoa, Livingston, St. Tammany and St. Helena parishes and on mthermonwebtv.com for viewers in Washington Parish. In addition, the live 24-7 broadcast can be seen on Roku, Apple TV and the channel’s website at thesoutheasternchannel.com, which also offers programs via video on demand. The Southeastern Channel is also available on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.