(SAVANNAH) The final regular season WSAV Thursday Night Blitz Game of the Week will feature the are County Gators hosting the Pirates of Brunswick High School from Glynn County. Broadcasting live, high school football action on TV takes real teamwork. WSAV Sports Director, Ken Slats, says many know him as the face of the Blitz Game of the Week, but there’s much more to it than his role in the live broadcast. “I’m only a small part of it, calling the play-by-play action, but I think it’s the cameramen that bring those videos and bring the action is what really makes the games.” said Slats.
The line of scrimmage for the WSAV production crew that gets the game of the week on the air is a loading dock behind the studios on Victory Drive in Savannah. That’s where pre-game preparations come to a head, as a rental truck is loaded with the broadcast gear needed to get a signal out of high school football stadiums across the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry. ” We’re 120 miles away this week, you can’t forget anything, uh, you can’t, you certainly can’t go to the store and buy a very special cable in Waycross, Georgia, can’t even do it in Savannah, so it’s important that we take everything with us.” said Jerry Pearlman, Production Manager at WSAV-TV. He laughs about the idea that there’s a small army behind the weekly broadcast effort. ” Definition of what your army is. It may be a little insurgency group on our part.” Pearlman said. Slats says the actual personnel numbers are small, but the job the crew accomplishes week after week is huge. ” It takes about 10-12 people to do a game. We have 7 cameras. I think the biggest challenge was to get it started.” said Slats.
He adds coaches and communities were hesitant at the launch of the Blitz Game of the week 4 years ago. Slats says it was like pulling teeth to get coaches and communities to traditional Friday night games to Thursday. But the level of professionalism of the production crew and the look of the broadcast has really changed minds. Now, teams clamor for a chance to play in the Blitz Game of the Week. ” This year, our fourth year, I had coaches calling me saying, we want to be on the Thursday night blitz game of the week…and that’s the most satisfying, knowing the coaches, athletic directors, the communities, look forward to seeing their schools on TV.” Slats said. Pearlman says the crew doesn’t mind the travel because it takes broadcasting for the people, to the people. “The teams, the cities that we go to, and we go to a lot of places outside Savannah. We do several in Savannah, but our goal has been to reach all the people in the the outlying 26 counties that we cover.” said Pearlman.
When the crew arrives on site, no matter the location, Pearlman says his team’s talent turns the task into a performance worthy of an artist of the highest caliber. ” It’s beautfitul. It’s like a concert, a ballet, where all the cables, everybody has their job, two guys set up cameras, everybody has their job. 2 guys set up camera’s. 1 guy builds the jib. My audio folks, they put the cables in, wire up the headsets, the IFB, everything Ken and his color-guy need…then another 2 guys build the inside of the truck, the entire control room.” Pearlman said. That control room is responsible for everything you see coming out of the live location for the WSAV Thursday Night Blitz Game of the Week.