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Detroit Red Wings Radio Reverts to World-Feed Model for Three-Game West Coast Swing

25/01/2022

Detroit Red Wings Radio Reverts to World-Feed Model for Three-Game West Coast Swing Daniella Bruce becomes first female radio broadcaster in franchise history By Kristian Hern ndez, Associate Editor

Tuesday, January 25, 2022 - 10:25 am

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Story Highlights

Little Caesars Arena is popping with energy this season, but, with the National Hockey League continuing to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, the Detroit Red Wings turned to an old trick. For a three-game trip to California, the broadcast team produced a world-feed-style radio broadcast and, in the process, made digital reporter/producer Daniella Bruce the first female radio broadcaster in the franchise's 96-year history.

It's one thing to do a game live with people in the building, says play-by-play commentator Ken Kal, but it's even more difficult when you have to watch it on a television and describe the action. [Bruce} was really relaxed, and I thought she did a remarkable job. By the third game against San Jose, she was comfortable in the booth.

Extensive R sum : Bruce's Background Made for an Easy Choice To understand the impact of the three radio broadcasts, it's important to know the journalistic journey that Bruce has been on. The Michigan native is a life-long Red Wings fan. Cheering for the team during her childhood and adolescent years, she listened to Kal on the radio throughout the latest golden era of Red Wings hockey, which included four Stanley Cup championships in 12 seasons. After interning for local news station HOMTV, WJBK Detroit, and ESPN and graduating from Michigan State University in 2016, she decided to stay in her home state and worked for State Champs! Network, a then-linear program on the airwaves of former Fox Sports Detroit. Then, in 2017, she went to work for her favorite hockey team.

https://www.sportsvideo.org/new/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Opening.mp4

They had a job posting for their team reporter and in-arena host, she recalls. I went through four or five rounds of interviews. I actually didn't get the job, but they wanted me on the team. The Red Wings didn't know exactly what I was going to be doing yet, but they wanted to do a pregame and intermission show at Little Caesars Arena.

That idea eventually became Game Day Live during the venue's first season, in 2017. Since then, the club has added The Forecheck, a live-streamed pregame show occurring 3 hours before every home game. Subsequently joining the broadcast team full-time as digital reporter and producer, Bruce participates in a number of other shows, including The Word on Woodward. In what has become a preseason tradition, the Red & White scrimmage hosted during training camp at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City, MI, highlights the organization's best prospects.

Setback Is Opportunity: Quick Change After COVID-19 Positive Test Nearly halfway through the 2021-22 regular season, the radio-broadcast team had to overcome a challenge that players and coaches down on the ice regularly deal with. Prior to a three-game stint on the West Coast for contests against the Los Angeles Kings (Jan. 8), Anaheim Ducks (Jan. 9), and San Jose Sharks (Jan. 11), color commentator Paul Woods was placed in COVID-19 isolation after a positive test result. Since Kal sat next to Woods for a home game vs. the Sharks on Jan. 4, he wasn't able to make the flight either. With a short turnaround, the Red Wings radio team decided to stay in Detroit and call the games from Little Caesars Arena. Kal tested negative, which allowed him to participate in the remote call, but finding his partner took some extra time to figure out. That's when Bruce became the perfect replacement.

These three games were all late at night, so trying to get a former player was really difficult on short notice, says Kal. I talked to [Ilitch Sports + Entertainment VP, Entertainment Services and Broadcasting] Pete Skorich and said, Hey, what about giving Daniella a shot?' I thought that she had earned the opportunity to do it and wasn't thinking about her becoming the first woman in the Red Wings broadcast booth.

Bruce was ready to go when the decision was made. Her first matchup of the three was supposed to be vs. Anaheim on Thursday, Jan. 6, but COVID-19 once again intervened and delayed her debut a full 48 hours. When it came time to put on the headset, it was in an environment where she never expected to call a game - looking at empty seats in a silent arena - but her lack of experience played to her benefit.

LISTEN to Bruce's comments on making Red Wings history.

Since it was my first [time to call an] NHL game, I didn't really know any different at that point, she says. There were some things you couldn't see on a monitor as opposed to watching the game live in front of you. You can't see how plays develop, but I got used to it pretty quickly, and, by the third period of that game, I felt pretty good.

Even for the veteran Kal, who has done radio for the Red Wings every season since 1995, there were some aspects of the broadcast to get reacquainted with. After doing an entire season in 2020-21 via the world-feed model, the radio team was glad to be on the road again. With this recent curveball, it was back to calling games from Hockeytown.

Tech Setup: Club's Engineers Team Up With Bally Sports Detroit From a technological standpoint, this isn't new territory, but, after a full season without having to put this plan into effect, the team's engineers needed to shake off the rust. Teaming with their regional sports network, Bally Sports Detroit, the crew assembled a simplified version of the complex workflow deployed last season. This infrastructure included technology from LiveU and sending the clean feed of the game 15 miles southeast from the RSN's office
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2022/01/25/detroit-red-wings-radio-reverts...
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