Kitay Productions Adds Sideline Reporter to BU Hockey

When television networks descend on Agganis Arena to cover Boston University hockey and basketball games, they often interview players coming off the ice, or court, between periods. After several years of directing BU’s scoreboard shows, Joel Kitay asked why his production team could not do the same, and broadcast the interviews live on the scoreboard.

“We have a meeting in the off-season where we recap last year and talk about new initiatives,” says Kitay, president of Kitay Productions. “Every year, I try to come up with a couple of things to try to make the show bigger. This year, I came up with the idea of adding a sideline reporter to the in-house video-scoreboard show.”

This week, Kitay’s team will interview students from the BU College of Communication who are involved with the student-run campus TV station to serve as the on-air reporter. That reporter will watch most of the game from the press box or the control room.

“As we get close to the end of the period, we’ll pick a player, and the student reporter will go outside the locker-room door to catch the player as he’s walking into the locker room,” Kitay explains. “The student will ask two or three questions, and we’ll put it out live to the building, probably with a sponsor attached to it. It’s pretty unique — I don’t think anybody’s doing anything like this on a scoreboard.”

Kitay’s production team does not have an RF camera in its arsenal, so recording the interview will require some flexibility.

“We have a drop outside the locker-room door, so our on-ice camera will break from the corner with two minutes left, go around the corner, and plug in near the locker room,” Kitay says. “We’ll pre-set up a handheld microphone there, and we’ll set up a light and be ready to go.”

In order to interview the student-athletes during the game, Kitay had to get buy-in from both the sports-information office and the coaches of both the hockey and basketball teams. He has two exhibition games to practice the logistics of the interviews before the regular-season opener in October, when he hopes to have the sideline-reporter routine down to a science.

“This will give the student some clips for their résumé reel, and we’ll provide the student-run TV station with a little branding,” Kitay says. “It will be fun. It’s something people have not seen before.”