Paly on primetime

James Harrison, Staff Writer

None of the six award-winning Paly journalism programs provides the opportunities given by the Midpeninsula Media Center (MC) Sports Program: to allow students to experience professional broadcasting.

MC Sports, one of the many programs offered by the Media Center in Palo Alto, was created last May in an attempt to give high schoolers the experience of running a sports broadcasting show. It is an addition to the organization’s local channels and features broadcasts of local high school sporting events.

Most Paly students first discovered MC Sports at home football games in the fall. Its van, loaded with all the equipment necessary for television coverage (microphones, cameras, monitors, etc.), could be seen parked in the Churchill lot before each game. Paly Voice editor Grant Raffel (‘13) and InFocus producer Ethan Cohen (‘13) have led the student run program since its inception. The team of six to eight volunteers, made up of cameramen, directors and announcers, covers one sporting event a week. This winter, the van can frequently be spotted outside the Paly gym, where the student volunteers are covering both the girls’ and boys’ varsity basketball teams.

The Sports Program primarily covers games at Paly and Gunn High School and occasionally at Menlo and Menlo-Atherton High School. The broadcasts are announced by two commentators and include instant replays. It’s not a live show, instead airing a few days later on the local stations. Chuck Alley is in charge of the program.

“The Media Center van is the MC Sports Mobile Production Truck,” Alley said in an e-mail. “It is a complete TV studio on wheels. We show up to local sports events and games and shoot the games live to tape. Then we bring the tape back to the studio and air the game the following Monday evening at 8 p.m.”

Although MC Sports is new to Paly athletics, this could be an extremely useful tool when it comes to watching game film and gaining support from around the city. Alley believes that games will be shown live in the near future so people who can’t make it to the game will still be able to watch their favorite high school teams play. This program also provides an unparalleled opportunity for many students in the Palo Alto community who wish to volunteer and learn about television broadcasting.

“A lot of what I learned as a young person, I learned from the Media Center,” Wes Rapaport (‘11), a former InFocus producer, said. “It is a great way to learn about things that you don’t really know about in terms of TV. It is also a really great place to meet people who share my same interest. We all have similar interests and we have fun discussions about TV and media broadcasting.”

Raffel seconds Rapaport’s statement by saying that anyone interested in sports or just looking for something to do should think about volunteering for the MC Sports Program. New volunteers get about four to six hours of training and then are put into action. learn. Alley believes that it is a great way for students to work in a professional broadcasting environment. He also notes that the program is planning to expand its coverage very soon and include other local sporting events such as the Northern California Senior Games, Special Olympics and more.

“It all depends on the student volunteers,” Alley said. “This is a student driven and student led program. It also depends on us getting sponsors for the program. We provide free training and all the equipment has been donated by the Media Center right now to launch the program. But we really need local businesses, community leaders and parents to help us fund the program so it is a sustainable program.”

One thing’s for sure, the MC Sports Program, and the opportunities it provides high schoolers interested in TV broadcasting, aren’t going anywhere. <<<