The CBS Golf pros at work

The control room in action. (Credit: Kyle Carbray, CBS Sports)

The control room in action.
(Credit: Kyle Carbray, CBS Sports)

Led by coordinating producer, Lance Barrow and commentators Jim Nantz and Sir Nick Faldo, the CBS Golf team is a tight-knit family. They travel the PGA Tour together for weeks just as the players do, hopscotching from course to course across America. Recently I caught up with them at the Northern Trust Open at Riviera in Pacific Palisades, north of Los Angeles. Production Manager Bob Thiele, another all-star in our business, gave me an update on how the team works, as well as the latest in tech innovations.

Among the most interesting recent advances is the use of fiber cable and wireless cameras. Before fiber, crews had to pull 100-feet long reels of heavy 5-inch coaxial cable. Now the signals from four or five cameras can be sent on one thin mini fiber. Amazing!

To cover a typical event, the team uses four hard wired cameras at the 15th through 18th greens, one Jib crane camera, eight wireless cameras, and one overhead camera in the blimp. They also have a separate unit just for all the audio inputs–including the microphones on the announcers and all over the course. If you heard some of those amazing conversations between pros and their caddies–you know why. The arsenal is rounded out with 10 video-replay devices and graphics generators. All this tech magic is housed and hauled in six mobile trailer units.

Lance Barrow decides what we see, and when. He’s our master storyteller. Director Steve Milton directs the cameras, playback, and graphics inputs. They’re assisted by a team of more than 100 professionals. Even the caterer joins the convoy. He’s been at it for more than 30 years. (By the way, the grilled salmon lunch was fabulous.)

From tee to green, CBS Golf is a well-orchestrated symphony. The CBS Golf brand represents excellence in every aspect of the sport: the best announcers, the best coverage and the best events. But perhaps most of all, CBS Golf stands for tradition. This resonates with its fiercely loyal group of viewers, who embrace the sport in growing numbers. On to the next! Check out what’s up next on the CBS Golf schedule. Fore!

Rick Blane (Credit: Kyle Carbray, CBS Sports)

Rick Blane
(Credit: Kyle Carbray, CBS Sports)

From ‘Captain Kangaroo’ to the 18th Tower
That’s a provocative headline. And it summarizes the amazing career of CBS cameraman Gavin Blane. I first met Rick (as we call him) in the early ’70s at CBS where he was a radio news technician. It was easy to see that with his sharp mind and winning personality that he’d go far. Wasn’t long until Rick moved into TV as a cameraman. And our paths crossed again when we both worked on the popular children’s show “Captain Kangaroo” (Look it up people under 40!).

Rick studied and perfected his craft, and became a top cameraman for CBS Sports. He covered all the big events–NFL, U.S. Open Tennis and, his love, golf. Rick became the lead camera–our man on the 18th tower. That’s his “office.”

View from Rick's camera on the 18th tower. (Credit: Kyle Carbray, CBS Sports)

View from Rick’s camera on the 18th tower.
(Credit: Kyle Carbray, CBS Sports)

That’s where he captures every final shot, every championship putt and where he also leads and teaches many in a crew of camera operators, tech support, and others who make up our all-star CBS Sports golf crew. Big salute to Rick, part of what makes our CBS family so wonderful.

Music’s biggest night

The symbiotic relationship between television and music goes back to the early days of broadcasting.

One of the most noteworthy examples happened 48 years ago this week when the Beatles made their first live U.S. television appearance on the “The Ed Sullivan Show.” A record-breaking 73 million viewers–more than 40 percent of the American population at the time–tuned in for the legendary broadcast on CBS and the fab four’s stateside popularity immediately took off.

The Ed Sullivan Show featuring The Beatles, performing on Sunday, February 9, 1964, from CBS' Studio 50 in New York. (Credit: CBS Photo Archive)

The Ed Sullivan Show featuring The Beatles, performing on Sunday, February 9, 1964, from CBS’ Studio 50 in New York.
(Credit: CBS Photo Archive)

Music continues to be one of the most powerful and unifying forces in our culture, bringing people together across regions, sensibilities, and walks of life. Music plays a hugely important role in television, with soundtracks serving as a “fourth dimension” that enhances drama by further triggering our emotions. In TV marketing–as in all advertising–the music track can make or break a promotion. And television–whether it’s news, sports, scripted series, advertisements, or music videos–continues to be one of the most valuable ways for musical artists to get exposure.

CBS has long recognized the relationship between TV and music. We acquired the rights to broadcast the Grammy Awards–the music industry’s premier event–in 1973 and have been broadcasting it ever since. On Sunday February 12, we’re excited to welcome the 54th Annual Grammy Awards. It’s an opportunity for everyone in America to come together at one time, in one place, and celebrate music’s greatest talents.

Where to find the Grammys: