"I definitely like boys' games, which are a quicker pace," explained Jessica Lutz, a New England School of Communications junior from Franklin, Massachusetts. Lutz took the opportunity to work as a technical director for Maine Public Broadcasting during the games. "I sit at the board and make the cut that the director calls for. If there is no quick action happening, the director will sit on the live shot, but if the game is under two minutes and it's a close game, they'll be cutting to more shots on the floor instead."
For the last five years, NESCom students, many of whom are audio, video, sports and live sound majors, have assisted MPBN with transmitting the games so those who can't make it to the auditorium can enjoy the tourney from the convenience of home.
"We reached out to them a few years back when we had to cover two different venues, Bangor and Augusta, at the same time," explained Nick Woodward, director of MPBN media production services. "We realized we could work with NESCom, use their equipment and give their students the opportunity to work on the games."
And that hands-on learning experience has been a memorable one for NESCom senior Andrew King of Colorado Springs, Colorado. He's been volunteering to assist MPBN during the tournaments since he was a sophomore.
"They're just fun people to work with," said King. "And it's a great opportunity to work on my skills in a live production environment. At NESCom most of the games we cover aren't on TV, so [with MPBN] you have that added pressure of being live on TV, which is always fun."
A total of 15 students and six faculty members volunteered to help MPBN broadcast this year's match-ups. The students say no two games are ever alike.
"[One game] we had a microphone on the court that wasn't working. When we went to look at it, someone had caught the cable with their foot and ripped it out. We had to go without it the entire game until they could find a part to fix it, so that was a challenge," explained King.
Game after game, the employees at MPBN have been impressed with the professionalism and insight the NESCom students bring to the court.
"Without the NESCom students who have been trained on the equipment, we couldn't produce what we do," explained Woodward. "They are creative, dedicated, and they're from a different generation so they may see things on shows I don't watch and may have ideas on what would make a good graphic or look for a replay reel."
And although MPBN and the NESCom students have closed the books on yet another successful basketball tournament season, the working relationship between the two will continue on long after the Bangor Auditorium doors have closed for good.
"They definitely have students we would love to hire if we had the positions available," said Woodward. "NESCom is a tremendous institution, and we're lucky to have them in the state and as a network partner."