St. John's Athletics Unveils H.D. Mobile Unit For Live Television Production

Oct. 9, 2013

QUEENS, N.Y. - Combining cutting-edge digital technology with crews of New York City television professionals and Red Storm undergraduate students, St. John's University Athletics has already earned high marks with its eight-year old video production arm.

Included in the impressive list of St. John's Television Network (SJU-TV) successes is a national-leading 61 games produced for ESPN3 in 2012-13, and the enrollment of the 50th student in its production practicum course through the St. John's College of Professional Studies. Beginning this fall, however, SJU-TV set the bar even higher when it rolled out a 20-foot, state-of-the-art H.D. mobile unit to augment the quality of live and on-demand content while providing SJU students with an even-more professional, live production environment.

"We have a video production operation that benefits our entire University, and when combined with the current BIG EAST-FOX Sports agreement, gives St. John's Athletics a real competitive advantage when it comes to broadcast media," said St. John's Director of Athletics Chris Monasch. "The St. John's Television Network gives our teams unparalleled exposure on a national broadcast platform, particularly those sports which don't traditionally receive a great deal of television exposure. Academically, SJU-TV provides undergraduate students a chance to learn and contribute to actual telecasts by experiencing hands-on H.D. sports production."

SJU-TV is able to produce four- and five-camera H.D. broadcasts with full graphics integration, replay, announcers and sponsored features. SJU-TV, built around and powered by the NewTek TriCaster, includes equipment and support from partners like Canon, Ross Video, ChyronHego, Fujitsu, Miller, Varto Technologies and others to ensure the ability to give sports fans a high-quality viewing experience.

Each SJU-TV production is crewed by a 15-person team, a combination of local television professionals and St. John's undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in TVF 4206: the Television Program Development video production course at the University. A record 19 undergraduate students are enrolled in the Fall 2013 semester, meaning a total of 56 students will have completed the course by December.

"I am particularly excited for this rather unique opportunity being available to our TV & Film students. It is a `win-win,'" stated Dr. Kathleen Voute MacDonald, Dean of the College of Professional Studies. "Students gain practical experience with state-of-the-art technology and develop a new level of professionalism. Under Professor Susan Weber's guidance they reap enormous academic benefits such as critical thinking and analysis, professional integrity, and judgment, to mention only a few. Students develop a portfolio that can be used immediately or in the future when seeking career opportunities."

Weber agrees. In fact, three students from the course's first three semesters have found full-time media production positions, due in part to the practical experiences afforded to them through SJU-TV. That total includes a pair of former students now employed on the digital side of The New York Times.

"With this course, students gain true television work experience without leaving campus. It is invaluable for students to have the opportunity to do hands-on work, not available in an internship, for live television that is going out to an actual, national audience," said Weber. "The experience of this course results in student resumes that stand out from those of their peers. The experience opens doors to freelance and even full-time jobs at organizations such as The New York Times."

The St. John's Television Network (SJU-TV) has current agreements in place calling for as many as 80 Red Storm sporting events to be carried live in H.D. on third-party outlets like ESPN3 and FOX Sports GO in 2013-14. The broadcast plans come one year after St. John's produced 61 games for an audience of 85 million households via ESPN3, the most to date for any school in a single academic year.

The agreements bring St. John's University Athletics events to a national audience via the multi-screen authenticated networks of ESPN3 and FOX Sports. By way of providers like Time Warner Cable, Cablevision and Verizon, all of New York and much of the Tri-State area now has access to ESPN3 programming online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app, and streamed on televisions through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members and Apple TV. Original content will also be available in the near future with the recently launched FOX Sports GO app rolling out across multiple distributors. FOX Sports GO will simulcast 30 St. John's men's basketball games and more than 100 BIG EAST men's basketball games in 2013-14.

Sports fans throughout the country that receive their Internet or video subscription from an affiliated service provider can currently catch live Red Storm men's basketball exhibition contests and women's basketball regular-season games. SJU-TV regularly produces St. John's Basketball Media Day, all men's and women's basketball exhibition contests, and live men's and women's soccer, volleyball, baseball, softball, lacrosse and men's and women's fencing events.

Executive producer Neil Gallow and Director of Multimedia Services Sean McCluskey are in their third year guiding SJU-TV. SJU-TV games are called by professional announcers, many of whom have longstanding ties to St. John's University and the New York area. Eamon McAnaney, Jon Yardley, Vin Parise and former St. John's backcourt standout Tarik Turner anchor SJU-TV men's basketball coverage, while Ralph Bednarczyk and former Marist star Julianne Viani bring fans each women's basketball home game. Sportscaster Siddique Farooqi, long-time New York Institute of Technology head baseball coach Bob Hirshfield, former Lafayette lacrosse head coach Terry Mangan, former Syracuse University assistant softball coach Michael Bosch, assistant coach for the New York Cosmos Alecko Eskandarian, former professional soccer player Norm Wingert, MLSsoccer.com contributor David Gass, New York Daily News reporter Frank Isola, and Red Storm women's soccer coach Ian Stone, the 2006 BIG EAST Coach of the Year, are frequent contributors to SJU-TV broadcasts, among others.

National New York-based commentator Brandon Tierney will host his third season of the Red Storm Report men's and women's basketball magazine show, a SJU-TV production scheduled to appear for a sixth-straight season on SNY-TV in 2013-14.

About The St. John's Television Network (SJU-TV)
The St. John's Television Network (SJU-TV) is St. John's University's newly-established broadcast platform, which generates live and on-demand St. John's Athletics video content for third-party national sports outlets and RedStormSports.com - the official athletics website of St. John's University. SJU-TV produced 13 live events during the 2011-12 season, all in full H.D., for outlets such as CBS Sports Network, SNY and ESPN3. A total of 110 live events were produced by SJU-TV in 2012-13 with an individual-school record 61 distributed by ESPN3. SJU-TV will produce 110 live events in 2013-14, with approximately 80 for third-party national distribution in H.D. The Red Storm Report basketball magazine show on SNY-TV is also a product of SJU-TV.