The crack of the bat. The rising voice of the excited announcer.
The group sigh or adulation from a sellout crowd in the middle of a playoff game. The song that has carried a team through to the championship. The sights of all these moments are only partially complete without the audio that goes along with them. The sounds of an event can give the audience a greater sense of the space of the event and add many layers of dramatic quality to the overall storytelling nature of sports.
Whatever we hear from an event is in the domain of audio: announcers, music, sound effects, the crowd, or anything that makes noise. The role of audio during an event or show is critical because it adds to the content that is presented. While the medium of television is thought of as primarily visual, the sound that accompanies the pictures is another character or voice that helps tell the story of an event. The people running the show behind the scenes have critical jobs to bring those sounds to life and deliver them to the ears of the viewers or listeners.
As the main audio engineer in charge of the audio mix, known on the crew as an Al, your work will start before you ever arrive at the truck. Most likely, you will get a survey of the show from a producer and/or a tech manager. This will provide key information about the type of event, how many announcers, the type of remote truck you will be working, and many other key details. Hopefully, much of this information is familiar. You might notice some of your audio assistants, known on the crew as A2s, as names you recognize and begin to visualize the layout of your audio board as well as potential issues with setting up.
When you arrive, you have a few brief meetings with the truck engineers and your A2s and the equipment starts to be set up. In a few hours, you will fax out the tape room and graphics for their audio sources. Then a producer, director, or associate producer will work with you to complete the pre-production needs for the show. After an hour's meal break, you are in your audio booth, ready for the show to begin.
As the director calls for the open to roll, you are keeping track of many, many sources. Announcers, crowd microphones, music that you roll, graphics swooshes, and taped elements. You mix these sources together, bringing some levels up, and some down to create an artistic mix of sounds. The viewer at home enjoys all these elements in watching the action, listening to the announcers and the entire show.
After the sportscast fades to black, you might have to feed some post-game sound or small package for the Web. Then you work to help strike the truck and put everything back in its place for the next show.