When I was younger, I would sometimes mute the television and try to broadcast Yankee games. For awhile, I wanted to be a sports broadcaster – a desire that has never really gone away. So, when I went to college, I knew that I wanted to take some steps to get there. Or, at the least, try my hand at it.
During the first week of school, BC had a student activities day where all of the on-campus clubs set up tables with information on how to sign up. I waded through the dance clubs, the a capella groups, the musical productions – theatre was never my strong point. I finally came across WZBC radio, showed an interest in the sports program, and was eventually given a one-hour weekly sports slot, with the freedom to talk about whatever I wanted. I was elated.
My first show was October 13th, 2009. I was randomly partnered with a guy named Sean Slattery, who I didn’t know at the time. It ended up being an incredibly lucky break – Sean and I have built up a great relationship over the years. We never ran out of stuff to talk about, and our relative backgrounds (New York and Boston) brought some diversity to the shows. Sean and I are actually the only seniors left that still do a weekly sports show, a testament to our similar personalities and commitment to the program. If I was partnered with anyone else, I don’t think I would have been involved in the program for all four years.
Our show, by the way, was called Crowd Noise. I don’t remember exactly how we came up with the name (it was at some point in the fall of ’09), but I think Sean suggested it. It’s just an awesome name.
We broadcasted the show in the smaller, AM studio, located within the larger, FM studio. It’s straight out of 1973. Posters line the wall, thousands of albums fill up the shelves, and the motherboard hasn’t been replaced in 30, maybe 40 years. And then, of course, there was the ungodly temperature and musty smell – with no ventilation, the studio was (usually) about 84 degrees, with an all time high of 87.
As Sean and I got older, we had more opportunities to contribute to WZBC sports through broadcasts of football, baseball, and basketball games. In September 2011, I flew down to Orlando to do a BC/UCF football game. In October 2012, I flew down to Atlanta to do BC/Georgia Tech. It was always a surreal experience – flying down with the team, the free meals and hotels, and a police escort to the stadium. I also did a few home football games – BC’s press food was legendary. New England Clam Chowder, chili, pasta, chicken piccata, cake, and coffee flowed out in perpetuity.
It wasn’t always easy. We used this old, dinky box that was a bit of a nuisance to set up. The box connected to a phone line, which was then fed through our on campus studio. Sometimes it didn’t feel like working – like this one time when one of the headsets gave out during a basketball broadcast. Sometimes the phone jack failed. These things came to be expected.
One time, at UCF, we were forced to broadcast outside. They had no available booths, so they set up a table for us on the top concourse level. About halfway through the game, it started raining. We almost had to stop the broadcast, since we didn’t want to be electrocuted by our equipment. Later in the game, UCF fans started to harass us. We came very close to calling for security.
Through it all, Sean and I powered on. We almost never missed a Crowd Noise, with the exception of the one semester I was abroad. We probably did, oh, 100 shows in the last four years, most of which were on Tuesday nights. No matter how much work I had, or how many things were on my mind, I always had Crowd Noise. It was a weekly constant, almost like a built-in life timeout, where I could take a break from everything else and talk about the stuff that I love.
On Wednesday, Sean and I had our last show, a bittersweet moment that wrapped up a great four years in the program. I’ll miss it.