Sport media students help get more Rams games on TV

The Rams Network broadcaster Jordan Henry. (Daniel Morand/The Ryersonian)

The Rams Network broadcaster Jordan Henry. (Daniel Morand/The Ryersonian)

Jordan Henry can remember almost every final in professional sports since he was four years old.

“I watched the 1999 Stanley Cup Final with my dad, and from that point on I have vivid memories of watching every Stanley Cup final, NBA final and World Series.”

He grew up with passion for sports and by the age of 16, he was working as a play-by-play announcer. Today, he’s a sport media student on a roster of The Rams Network employees who are set to produce 16 regular-season games for Rogers TV.

Over the past few years, Ryerson University has made a concerted effort to invest in the broadcasting of Rams sporting events. The sport media program was introduced 2014, changing the way sports is covered at Ryerson.

Last year, The Rams Network took a huge leap forward when Sportsnet donated $750,000 to build an industry-standard broadcasting centre inside the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC).

Armed with a new control room and a group of sport media students eager to exercise their skills, The Rams Network is giving students the unique opportunity to work on industry-level broadcasts for cable TV.

Ryerson and Rogers TV have partnered for productions in the past, and the expanded schedule this season is a testament to all the hard work and technical improvements The Rams Network has made.

The new broadcasting centre features a state-of-the-art switchboard, replay system and audio board that give students experience using industry-standard equipment.

The students who work on the productions rotate positions, except for the on-air talent. Henry, for example, will be responsible for calling men’s basketball games this season. This allows play-by-play announcers and colour commentators to familiarize themselves with the team, sport and league they’re calling.

RTA’s sport media program draws in some of the best young minds in the sports broadcasting industry. In the program’s first year of existence, over 1,000 students applied and only 60 were accepted.

People from coast to coast who are passionate about sports applied, including Henry from British Columbia. Like many students, his decision to apply was not an easy one.

Henry was in his first year studying engineering at the University of Victoria when he had a revelation in class that changed his career path.

“It got to the point where I was spending more time in my class preparing for my games than I was paying attention to my classes,” said Henry, who was juggling his job as a play-by-play announcer with his first year of undergraduate studies.

That was the turning point when he decided to enroll in a program across the country.

Today, sport media students are being groomed to work in the industry by some of the best teaching professionals in sports broadcasting. Professors like Joe Recupero witness the knowledge and skillset of the students firsthand.

“I’ve taught at other schools with sports broadcasting programs and the students here are far and away the cream of the crop,” he said.

Sport media students are also required to complete hours of experiential work in the industry. The Rams Network provides a convenient outlet for students to earn work hours toward their degree and practice their skills in sports broadcasting.

The Rams Network coverage on Rogers TV is well underway, with all 16 games appearing on Rogers Super Sports Pak and Rogers TV Toronto. Ryerson is also producing 65 home games for OUA.tv – a website that routinely airs live sporting events from universities across Ontario. All 16 games will appear on Rogers Super Sports Pak and Rogers TV Toronto.

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