TV Studio Experiences Uptick in Viewership due to Winter Sports Streams

A couple of years ago, Teddy Hawk ‘20 thought of the idea to stream sports events on the TV Studio YouTube channel. The channel reached its peak this past winter, doubling and tripling viewership because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Matt Powers, Senior Writer & Editor

Student Moderator Mr. Francis Rogai acknowledges that this school year has been difficult for the TV Studio, but the student leadership has been exceptional.

“None of what the studio has accomplished would have been possible without the students taking charge and making it happen,” Rogai said. “I plan to continue supporting student leadership within the TV Studio activity. Also, I think this year has shown what might be possible and how the studio might be able to grow and provide even more opportunities for students.”

Rogai also adds that the TV Studio has expanded its horizon this year, engaging its audience with a variety of sports events.

“This was a year of several firsts for the studio. The students produced their first football game, soccer game, squash meet, and swim meet,” Rogai said. “With basketball games being played at Villa, they had the chance to bring the gear to a different location to broadcast. They even co-produced Villa’s senior night basketball game!”

After joining the TV Studio as a freshman and learning from Teddy Hawk ‘20 for two years, Billy Mullray ‘22 was promoted to the role of Director for the 2020-2021 school year. Mullray offered insight into his responsibilities before, during, and after each stream.

“Before the stream, I need to make sure everyone knows what is happening and what job they are starting out with, as well as making sure all of the equipment is ready to go,” Mullray said. “During the stream, my job is to make sure everyone is comfortable with what they are doing and checking the stream to look for any issues that need to be solved. And finally, after the stream, I need to make sure everything gets broken down properly and all of our equipment is accounted for.”

Mullray has to make sure that the cameras, mics, and computers are all working properly. He does a final check of everything before giving a signal to his peers, indicating that the stream is about to begin.

“Getting the cameras and computer up and running quickly allows us more time for pre-stream checks and preparation,” Mullray said. “Five minutes until we start, everybody gets ready to begin, and I will normally start the broadcast around this time as well, just to allow people to click on the video before the action starts. Not long after this, I will count down until the mics go live for the commentators. This is the true start to the stream. From this point on, it is mostly just switching between camera angles and keeping up with the scoreboard.”

The TV Studio plans to continue these streams throughout the spring, emphasizing baseball and lacrosse because of their demand and packed schedules.

“As of right now, the spring season is going to be a busy one for us,” Mullray said. “We will only be able to live stream baseball and lacrosse because of the number of games we have planned, and we are all looking forward to getting started.”

Sonny Petricca ‘22, a commentator who began with football games in the fall and has since continued with basketball, gives credit to the TV Studio’s staff for all their hard work behind the scenes. He believes that without them, none of this would be possible.

“In my time with the TV Studio, I’ve gained a new respect for the guys that work tirelessly behind the scenes,” Petricca said. “Specifically, Billy Mullray, Matt Becket, Chris Krein, and Mr. Rogai. They set up the cameras, mics, the broadcast, I have no idea how they do it and they make our job super easy. They’re the real MVPs.”

For most commentators, hours of preparation are put in before the game begins. However, for Petricca, none of that was necessary. For their first game together, Petricca and his co-commentator, Christian Curatolo ‘21, referred to a TikTok Curatolo had found that included basketball vocabulary and catchphrases.

“During the first basketball game I announced, Big C [Christian Curatolo] surprised me 10 minutes prior to tip-off with 2 note sheets he got from TikTok that contained basketball terms and catchphrases,” Petricca said. “This made the flow of the game much smoother. We even played a game where we tried to say as many of the words on the sheet as we could during possessions.”

Petricca has loved his time commentating and is grateful to Mullray for initially reaching out during football season. He plans on continuing his journey in the booth in the spring and next year, even saying that he may seek practice over the offseason at the local little league.

“I wouldn’t hesitate at all if I was given the opportunity to call games in the spring,” Petricca said. “As far as next school year goes, I’m obliged to fulfill my duties in the student section for some of the games, but I will 100% be in the booth announcing games at one point or another if given the opportunity. Nothing beats announcing Malvern Prep sports.”

In addition to Petricca and Curatolo, Joe Doherty ‘22 has been announcing many of the basketball games. 

“I first heard about the commentating gig from Sonny,” Doherty said. “[Sonny] asked me if I wanted to announce the game and then Mr. Rogai asked me. I was all ears. I’ve always watched sports games and thought I could do what the announcers were doing. I also saw some of the Malvern games a couple of years ago, and I thought it looked really fun and I wanted to be a part of it. I thought it would be great to be able to get out to a game in person.”

Doherty says that at first, he was nervous, but quickly got the hang of it. He tries to use common catchphrases from well-known announcers to make the commentary sound more professional.

“In the first game, I got a little nervous, but I quickly got a good feel for it. You just have to go out there, have fun and bring the energy,” Doherty said. “I find myself looking at announcer quotes and more specifically, Marc Zumoff catchphrases. I try to incorporate those into my repertoire to seem more professional.”

After getting some games under his belt this past winter and greatly enjoying the experience, Doherty sees sports broadcasting as a potential career path for him. 

“It would be a dream come true for this to turn into a career,” Doherty said. “Watching the sports I love while getting paid would be an awesome experience. I do think I’ll try to do something along the lines in college but I’m still not completely sure.”

The TV Studio appreciates the support from this past winter and is looking forward to broadcasting this spring season.