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Sennheiser teams up with FOX Sports to find next great audio tech

Delivering a successful sports broadcast for network television is as much art as it is science, but a confluence of forces are threatening to make it a lost art practiced only by a graying and ever-shrinking cadre of professionals. Sennheiser has teamed up with FOX Sports to reverse that trend with an immensely practical, hands-on, trial-by-fire introduction to real-world sports broadcasting for promising students of telecommunications. David Missall, Sennheiser's director of market development for the Eastern region, originated the program and selected its first student, junior Michael Stevens of Ball State University, to work with industry veteran Fred Aldous in the FOX Sports mix truck at the Coca Cola 600 NASCAR race in Charlotte, NC.

"I don't see a lot of people coming up behind my generation," said Aldous, who holds the dual titles of FOX Sports audio consultant and senior mixer. "Most students are fixated on breaking into the music, recording or live sound markets. I think it's important to show students that there are careers outside of the music business — and good careers at that."

Missall approached Ball State University communications professors to find the most promising student who would benefit from the experience of working at Aldous' side for two frenetic days. After a series of phone interviews, Missall selected Stevens. In support of his expressed interest in broadcasting, the junior had already worked with the Ball State Sports Network as a utility technician, a camera operator and as a technical director. Scaling that experience up to the level of FOX Sports at a NASCAR event would undoubtedly leave a lasting impression.

Sennheiser paid for Stevens' travel, hotel and expenses for the intense, two-day experience. "I was surprised at how much actually goes into that broadcast," Stevens said. "I had the idea that there was a main TV and a sub switch for video replays, but it's so much more than that. FOX had four trucks, and they were all equally important. It was really cool to see how all the components interacted."

Based on this initial success, Sennheiser plans to repeat the internship program on an annual or semiannual basis.