Saturday, 2 December 2017

Special Guest Saturday

Today was a fairly crazy day in the lives of TJ and myself as the broadcast crew for UMFM's Bisons women's hockey broadcast. Normally, our broadcasts are fairly crazy as it is since we chat about all sorts of stuff and have some fun on the radio broadcast, but today was a little closer to insanity as we welcomed a third person into the broadcast booth to do colour commentary! We've had guests in the past, so this shouldn't have thrown us for a loop, but today's guest was one of the people both TJ and I look up to in terms of broadcast professionalism and the national stage on which she performs! It's a big weekend for hockey in Winnipeg, and we're happy to have been a part of the fun!

The woman standing beside TJ in the press box picture above is none other than Rogers Hometown Hockey host Tara Slone! I reached out to Tara and the Rogers team when the Hometown Hockey locations were announced back in October, and Tara was gracious enough to allow us some of her time in her busy schedule to join us for the Bisons women's hockey broadcast!

Tara continually told TJ and I that she had never done this kind of broadcasting before, but we knew she'd be an excellent radio broadcaster. We gave her the all-important position of colour commentator on the broadcast, and she seemed a little overwhelmed at first. However, she absorbed a ton of information from TJ and I as we tried to make her job as easy as possible.

Once the game started, it seemed as though Tara settled in quite nicely! She was making astute observations, she had statistical information that she relayed to listeners, and she sounded like a seasoned veteran of a thousand hockey broadcasts by the middle of the first period. In all honesty, Tara would make an exceptional hockey broadcaster if she ever wanted to do a little extra broadcasting on the side! She'll say I'm crazy for suggesting that, but it's true! She really was outstanding!

I'll talk about the game tomorrow on The Rundown, but everyone from the Rogers Hometown Hockey crew that joined us on this day was a delight to meet. Rob was the first person I met, and he brought the enthusiasm as he stood in Wayne Fleming Arena. Randy, the cameraman who was documenting everything, was incredible as he has a zest for life like no one I've met before. These two guys might be the most positive and happy guys on the planet, and I feel lucky in saying that I met these two gentlemen! Thank you, Rob and Randy!

Deidre, the producer of Rogers Hometown Hockey, is a phenomenal woman who was kind enough to work with me in getting everything for this day set up. We had a good chat about how long TJ and I have been doing the radio broadcasts, a few words about The Hockey Show, how she's related to Friend of the Show Brandon Reid, and the whole Hometown Hockey production. She has a passion for her job and her attention to detail made it easy for me to ensure that the notes we had for Tara made Tara's job as colour commentator easy. It was an absolute pleasure to meet and speak with Deidre, and I hope our paths will cross again in the future! Thanks, Deidre!

And then there's Tara Slone who is simply one of the best at what she does. The fact that she jumped into colour commentary with both feet and not having had any experience in doing any sort of play-by-play in her life is a testament to the professionalism she brings to every assignment and broadcast. She's funny, she's dedicated to her craft, and she's an outstanding woman who did an exceptional job on the UMFM broadcast! Thank you for everything, Tara!

If you caught the broadcast today, I hope you enjoyed our call of the game. There was an obvious drop-off in talent and knowledge once Tara left the booth after the first period and I resumed my job, but I hope you'll continue to listen to TJ and I call games in the second-half of the Bisons' season once games resume in January. We really enjoy calling the games for our listeners and fans of Bisons women's hockey!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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