In August of 2008, I was hired by the Oklahoma City Thunder to accomplish something that had never been done before, start up an all-encompassing NBA broadcasting department and digital programming and production operation in less than 6 weeks. The Seattle Supersonics were relocating to Oklahoma City and the decision was made to bring the media operations in house.
When I came on board just before labor day, there were no TV or Radio contracts, no editing equipment or servers, no computers, no phones, no finished office space, no suitable in-arena control room or camera positions at the Ford center, no production staff, no on-air talent and not much time.
The goals were lofty, secure cable and over the air TV partners, a flagship radio station and create a radio network. Produce every game for TV and radio, create and assemble a weekly magazine show, produce profiles, features stories, tune-in promos, ticket ads, sales and marketing tapes, video news releases, cover all team community service events and create motivational videos for the players. Distribute the material across all outlets including TV, Broadband, Wireless and In-Arena and do it on a modest budget with a fraction of the staff employed by regional sports networks and sports leagues.
It was quite a challenge. By the end of our first season the pieces were in place and the operation was rolling.
In year two, we fine tuned the operations and ramped up the quality and quantity of the content. Thunder Broadcasting won a Heartland regional Emmy for best game broadcast of 2009 and “Air Thunder” was nominated for top series program.